Saturday, October 04, 2008

Pens v Sens (W 4-3 OT) in Stockholm, Sweden


Sid had 99 goals and was 6 points away from 300 as he began his fourth season in the NHL. The Pens faced the Ottawa Senators in the Globe Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. They also faced shorter glass, taller boards, four feet less ice, 1 bench door, tighter corners, and choppy, snowy ice. Brooks Orpik and Geno Malkin were sporting the A on their chests. As the three national anthems were sung (U.S., Canada, and Sweden), the guys on both teams were rocking and fidgeting like caged animals. Hometown hero Mats Sundin (who has yet to decide what he's going to do this season) came out to drop the ceremonial first puck.

First Period

Just as the game started, the feed began going in and out. Luckily, the technical difficulties didn't last too long because it only took 38 seconds for Tyler Kennedy to break out his signature come-from-behind-the-net-and-turn-out-of-the-corner move to draw first blood. [Pens 1, Sens 0]

Less than 3 minutes into the game, Dean McAmmond was hit with the first penalty of the game for holding. With 41 seconds left to go in the Pens' power play, Chris Phillips felt the sting of the aforementioned shorter glass and got hit with a delay of game penalty for popping the puck over the glass. The Pens didn't score on the 5-on-3, and they didn't score on their remaining power play. It was as if you could actually see the momentum shift to the team in red.

The Sens stepped up and began playing a much more physical game. Ex-Pen Jarrko Ruutu greeted his former teammates by drilling one of the new guys (Ruslan Fedotenko). Immediately after that, the Saint put a nice hit on Chris Kelly. Recognizing that things had the potential to get nasty, Coach Michel Therrien put Eric Godard out on the ice. No fights broke out; instead, Shean Donovan redirected a quick shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. [Pens 1, Sens 1]

Just after that, a giveaway to Sid nearly negated that goal. Instead, it lead to another Senators penalty as Kelly was called for holding. The ice needed to be repaired at this point. It made me smile because it reminded me of all the ice repairs that were made at the Winter Classic - although the waiting fans in the Globe didn't face the same snowy conditions as we did! The Pens' power play got underway, and that other hometown hero (Daniel Alfredsson) and Ruutu got a shorthanded 2-on-1 chance. Flower stood tall and prevented Alfie's shot from getting by. Dany Heatley got away with hitting Brooksie from behind into the boards. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Just seconds after the Kelly penalty ended, Jason Spezza was called for holding. But again, the Pens did not score on their power play.

They'd get another chance after super douche Chris Neil drilled Kris Letang from behind. Letang, who at first seemed stunned, was able to get up and rejoin his team on the power play. With 50 seconds left on Neil's boarding penalty, Jeff Taffe took a penalty in order to prevent Kelly from getting a breakaway. There was some confusion as to where the faceoff should occur, and much to Therrien's dismay, it went down into the Pens' zone. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4, and the Sens didn't score on their abbreviated power play. With less than 30 seconds left in the period, MAF mishandled the puck and gave it away to Anton Volchenkov, who had a great chance to score. Flower corrected his own mistake and made the save.

Second Period

The second period began with FSN Pittsburgh announcers Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey discussing Neil's hit on Letang and David Koci's hit on Sergei Gonchar in reference to a lack of respect among some of the thugs in the NHL today. MAD MAX Talbot was incredible. He worked the puck behind the net with the tenacity of that chubby little squirrel that raids my birdfeeders. Brooksie was then called for interference. On the ensuing Senators power play, Filip Kuba attempted to get the puck in, but it hit Neil (taking him down) and ricocheted right to Geno. He streaked down the ice with Christoph Schubert hot on his heals. It was a stunning effort from Geno as he guided the puck in and scored as he himself nearly went into the net. [Pens 2, Sens 1] The Sens didn't score on their power play. Remember that momentum shift from before? It shifted back to the Pens this time.

Geno was a machine. He more than deserved the McDonald's Player of The Game distinction that he earned. Heatley was called for holding. This power play was uneventful save for the moment when Kelly lined our Siddo up for a big hit, but The Kid stood firm like a mighty oak. Kelly bounced off our title man like a bird off a window. The Pens didn't score on their power play.

After a spat between Mad Max, Jason Smith, and Ruutu, all the big guns for both teams were out on the ice for the next shift. The refs warned them to check themselves, but Godard didn't listen and was penalized for hooking. On the ensuing Sens power play, Geno made a wicked spinning move that drew gasps from the Swedish crowd, but he didn't get another shorty. Seconds later, Heatley settled a bouncing puck, went to his backhand, and promptly scored. [Pens 2, Sens 2]

Antoine Vermette spent a good portion of his time shadowing Sid during the second period. Letang made a beautiful tape-to-tape pass to Max, but they couldn't manage to get anything going. The ice needed a little attention again. TK got hit from behind by Phillips, who was inexplicably penalized for slashing instead. The Pens looked so much better on this power play, but they still couldn't manage to get one past Martin Gerber. Unfortunately, Geno was out for an extended shift and was too tired to stop Spezza from getting the puck. Spezza scored a shorthanded goal. [Pens 2, Sens 3] The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

With less than 2 minutes left in the game, Mark Eaton was called for hooking. Exactly 30 seconds later, the shorter glass bit the giant Hal Gill in the keister as he sent the puck up and over the glass. The Sens didn't score on their abbreviated power play.

Third Period

The third period began with Eaton in the box for 1:26 and Gill in the box for 1:56. On the 5-on-3, Max outskated Alfie and nearly got a breakaway. Alfie had to dive to poke check Maxie to prevent it. Seconds later, Sid easily beat Kuba for a shorthanded breakaway of his own, but Gerber shut him down. Eaton returned to the ice, and the Sens didn't score on the remainder of Gill's penalty.

Then, FSN Pittsburgh had the world's most annoying advertisement appear in the lower left corner of the screen. It was for the new Max Payne movie, it was huge, and it was accompanied by loud rapid gunfire sound effects. FAIL. I forgot all about it after the Sens gave the puck away to Siddo. He made a beautiful pass through Alfie to Rob Scuderi, who promptly scored his 1st goal in 96 games. (It was only his 3rd goal in 220 games!) Sid quickly retrieved the puck for Scudsi. [Pens 3, Sens 3]

Fedotenko may have gotten away with high sticking Volchenko - Steigy and Errey mentioned it, but I didn't see it. (I think it happened off camera, and there was no replay.) The Sens would get their power play another way though when Letang went to the sin bin for a questionable holding call. The Sens didn't score on their power play.

Letang suffered another big hit, this time from Vermette. He was stunned for a moment but continued playing. I wish they could bottle the energy Kennedy has. I'd buy a year's supply. He was everywhere. That kid is unreal! As the third period ticked away, Pascal Dupuis got away with a chop to Ruutu's hand. With 20 seconds left, the puck took a weird bounce on the choppy ice and bounced up and over MAF's glove. Fortunately it bounced over the net rather than into it. Then, Neil drilled Matt Cooke with less than 2 seconds left in the period. (I think Friend of The Show Bobby T. needs to come up with a nickname for Neil now.) It caused a slight ruckus on the ice but didn't lead to a fight.


Seven of the last 8 regular season games between the Sens and the Pens had been decided by one goal at the start of this OT period. Both teams stepped up; it was good end to end hockey. With less than 30 seconds until the game would have gone to a shootout, TK brazenly stole the puck right off Spezza's stick and went streaking down the ice. Using Smith as a screen, Kennedy blasted the puck past Gerber to win the game!!! [Pens 4, Sens 3]

We do this again tomorrow at 2:00pm Eastern.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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