Friday, November 28, 2008

Pens v Sabres (L 3-4)

I'd like to see this again tonight:

Many thanks to Friends of The Show Molly M., Julia M., Carroll T., and Nulpher for answering my call to find the link to this video. :)


It was a scheduled backup goaltender night, and since our backup is now our starting goalie, rookie John Curry got his first start in an NHL game. His performance proved that once again, the Penguins have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to goaltending. The Pens started the game 5-0 in their last five meetings with the Sabres. Even though the streak ended, it was an amazingly entertaining game to watch. Patrick Kaleta spent the better part of the night in the box. The first trip he made was a result of a high sticking call. Okay, since the Pens went an astonishing 0 for 8 on the power play tonight, I won't even bother wasting keystrokes telling you they didn't score on their advantages. You should just assume that fact in this recap as I go through the Sabres penalties.

We were told that the Penguins team, staff, and FSN PGH staff had a Thanksgiving turkey feast in their hotel room in Buffalo on Thursday night. Maxim Afinogenov fired a shot that Curry blocked and held. The whistle didn't blow, and Afinogenov decided to take an extra whack at Curry's hands. This (of course) did not sit well with the Penguins, who promptly went to work defending their new goalie. After all was said and done, Kaleta and our own Hal Gill went to the box for coincidental roughing minors. During the 4-on-4, Bob Errey mentioned that he was going to "beg" Kris Letang to start shooting more from the blue line. (Echo that!)

The puck went to the corner behind Ryan Miller's net. Matt Cooke chased after it while Tyler Kennedy followed close behind. Cookie came out from behind on Miller's left side (the far wall) and passed the puck through traffic right to the wide opeen TK on Miller's right side. [Pens 1, Sabres 0]

The celebration was shortlived. Just under a minute later, Afinogenov tried to get the wrap around but couldn't get through Curry's leg pads. So he decided to go to Drew Stafford on Curry's right side for the tying goal. [Pens 1, Sabres 1]

Alex Goligoski sold a hooking penalty on Jason Pominville by gripping Pominville's stick under his arm and "falling" as he went to clear the puck. After the power play failed to produce, Mike Zigomanis sent a lead pass to Pascal Dupuis. He would have had a breakaway chance but Teppo Numminen hooked him like a fish.

Errey wanted a penalty shot, but instead the Pens got another 2 minutes to do nothing. With 30 seconds left in their power play, Miroslav Satan was called for hooking. On the ensuing 4-on-4, a panel of glass broke and had to be repaired. Errey stated first that he'd like to see the officials tell the teams to hit the locker rooms and just add the remaining 1:08 to the second period only to retract that opinion a few minutes later after realizing what a bad idea that would be for the Pens since the ice was bad for the last half of the Sabres' power play. The game resumed and neither team scored on the 4-on-4 nor their respective power plays. In the final seconds of the period, Brooks Orpik was tripped but no call was made.


Kaleta must have enjoyed the view from the sin bin tonight because he went for a third time for boarding Satan from behind. On the power play, Derek Roy had a great shorthanded chance, but Curry made a beautiful save. With 32 seconds left on Kaleta's penalty, Geno Malkin literally touched a Sabre's hip with the blade of his stick and was nailed with a hooking penalty. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4 or their respective power plays. (Haha, I'm repeating myself now!)

Brooksie got a little too excited and drilled Daniel Paille. It would have been a great hit if Paille hadn't been 15 feet from the puck at the time. Brooksie went to the box for interference. While the Pens were on the penalty kill, Superstar Max Talbot nearly had a shorthanded chance, but he was hooked by Pominville (no call) and was unable to get by Miller. The Sabres brought it back down the ice and after the puck bounced off a skate and changed directions while Curry was still positioned in the puck's original path, Paul Gaustad banged one home for the PPG. [Pens 1, Sabres 2]

The Pens wasted no time (just 34 seconds, to be exact) in getting it back. The puck was loose in front of Miller. As players from both teams scrambled to get to it, Jaroslav Spacek tried to clear it up the middle. Geno was right there to keep it in and fire a quick shot on goal. It was blocked by a Sabre, went into the wall hard, and bounced right to a wide open SIDDO. You know what happened next! [Pens 2, Sabres 2]

Orpik was able to draw a holding penalty on Jochen Hecht after joining the rush. During the Pens' power play, TK tripped a Sabres defender (pretty blatantly, actually) and he stopped playing waiting for a call that didn't come. In an even up attempt (according to Errey), Gill was called for another lame hooking penalty. It was about this time that we were told that Philippe Boucher, who had gone to the locker room for an undisclosed injury, would not be returning. Thomas Vanek missed a wide open shot on the Sabres' power play, and in frustration he lay on the ice and used his stick to trip Letang behind the net. Shortly after Vanek went to the box, a poke check by Geno allowed Sid to get the puck and carry it to the net. He faked a shot then sent the puck through Miller's five hole to score his second goal of the night. [Pens 3, Sabres 2]

Then, Pominville took a similar tripping penalty out of frustration which gave the Pens an opportunity for an extended 5-on-3. The clock ran out before the end of the penalties, so they got to start the 3rd period with 50 seconds on the 2 man advantage.


But for whatever reason, they were only able to fire one measly shot on goal during their 5-on-3. The Sabres gained serious momentum for the big 5-on-3 penalty kill, and following a turnover, they developed a 3-on-2 and Stafford scored his second goal of the game. [Pens 3, Sabres 3]

Something weird happened to Geno. He went to the bench in pain, but on the replay there was no obvious cause. (I got especially concerned because when they showed him on the bench, it almost looked to me like he was clutching his chest.) It must not have been serious because he was back on the ice a few moments later. Curry made a series of saves that were spectacular. He made a pair of glove saves, one even came while he was down on his belly. A crazy save in which the puck danced on the goal line but did not go over it prompted a show of respect for the netminder from the Penguins on the benches as they pounded their sticks off the boards to salute his efforts. The play went under review in the War Room, but since the puck never crossed the goal line, the NO GOAL call stood.

With just 3:24 left in the game and after Curry made a great save and Hecht missed a wide open cage, Gaustad scored the GWG. [Pens 3, Sabres 4] Miller made a fantastic stick save on Siddo to preserve the lead. Curry was pulled in favor of the extra attacker at the 0:33 mark. A quick whistle due to the ref having lost sight of the puck interrupted a shift that may have been able to tie the game. But it was not meant to be.

The Pens come home to face the Devils tomorrow night.

GO PENS!!!!!!!!


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