Monday, May 18, 2009

Round 3 Game 1: Pens v Canes (W 3-2)

[Scroll down to the line to go directly to the recap and see some absolutely BEAUTIFUL shots of the game.]

Okay so I've got a few things to help you pass the time until the puck drops. First, I found this nice piece on It features a playoff preview article and a slideshow of 62 shots of Siddo throughout his career. There are some great shots of him during this playoff run, too.

Good Friend of The Show Jaime made us two wallpapers that just missed being included in yesterday's Rally post. Here is one celebrating the series victory with a whiteout:

(Click to enlarge)

And here is the Round 2 Highlights wallpaper:

(Click to enlarge)

Many thanks to Jaime for creating more wallpapers. :) She's so talented, eh? Love them!! :)

You all likely remember the teasing Sid took for his "beard" last year. I said a few games ago that I thought it was looking slightly fuller this time around. I may have spoken too soon... Check out these two shots and judge for yourself. Here are Sid and Geno in the last practice before 2008 Round 3 Game 1:

And here's Siddo and Geno in the last practice (held yesterday at Southpointe) before tonight's Game 1:

Can you believe it? We're kicking off the Eastern Conference Finals in our house for the second year in a row!! Last year, we took on our cross-state rivals. This year, it'll be brother against brother (← in case you missed the memo, haha) in a battle to win the right to compete for the Cup. What a feeling!

DO IT, Boys! The Canes are one last Eastern obstacle on our Quest for the Cup. Set the tone tonight. So far in my playoff predictions this year, I'm 1 for 2. I'm shooting to improve that percentage.

Pens in 6.

First Period
The following shots were taken prior to the start of the game. (Click most of the following pictures to enlarge for wallpaper quality shots.)

The "brothers" references are going to kill us all. UGH! We get it! The Staals are related. The Staal boys opened the series by taking the opening faceoff for their teams. Our Staal is better than your Staal because he won it cleanly. ;) The Pens went with the seven defensemen scheme again, which enabled the still not 100% Gonch to join the lineup still wearing a brace on his knee. The first penalty of the game came less than 3 minutes into the period when Eric was called for interference following a late low hit from behind on TK. On the ensuing power play, LeGame was denied by Ward, and the Pens did not score.

Seconds after the penalty expired, Walker (the villain of the Bruins/Canes series) was called for interference for sending Eaton into the boards. The Canes boosted their penalty kill with a shorthanded chance by Larose, but Flower boosted his team's confidence with an amazing save to keep the score tied at 0. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Seconds after going back to 5-on-5, Satan was hit with a holding penalty. Flower made another set of beautiful saves, the second prompting a "FLEUR-y!!!" chant from the crowd. The Canes didn't get a goal on their power play. As Satan emerged from the box, his teammates were battling to clear it out of the Pens' zone. He was in the right place at the right time for a breakaway. It was stunning: Satan absolutely undressed Cam Ward and shot the puck right behind him with authority. [Pens 1, Canes 0]

One minute 24 seconds later, the Canes attempted to send the puck to the Pens' zone for a line change. Geno was about to leave the ice, too, following a monster shift with Superstar and Tank. He saw an opportunity and seized on it. He intercepted the puck and passed it to Boucher. Geno sped ahead and received Boucher's return pass. The scoring champ and inevitable MVP promptly scored. [Pens 2, Canes 0] Papa and Mama Malkin were shown waving their towels with fervor for their boy!

Clearly, the quick one-two punch stunned the Canes. There were loose pucks and chances all over the place in front of Ward. Dumb luck kept the Pens from scoring a third goal in the first period. Flower built a brick wall on E.Staal and then Larose. Satan had two more great scoring chances, one off a pretty feed from Siddo.

Second Period
Jokinen and Samsonov had Flower dead to rights, but neither Cane shot the puck. We were told that Ruutu was hurt, and his return was questionable. Siddo forced a turnover behind Ward and set Guerin up for a wicked shot that Ward made an outstanding glove save. The first sign of any animosity between the teams came when a scrum erupted in front of Flower. TK got a breakaway chance of his own, but a Cane caught up and backchecked him to stop the shot. Gronk and Larose mixed it up in the corner a bit later.

Geno is back to his aggressive, beastly self (not that I feared he wouldn't be). Steelers superstar QB Ben Roethlisberger was interviewed at the game. He said he thinks Sid is "unbelieveable." We do too, Ben. And you're not too shabby yourself. ;) Flower, down, made his body tight to the post to rob Jokinen prompting another "FLEUR-y!!" chant. Versus then showed a ridiculously huge graphic right over the action to advertise the upcoming Wings/Hawks Game 2. GRRRRR... Then Larose halved the Pens lead by getting one past Flower. [Pens 2, Canes 1]

A while later, Larose erroneously believed he had tied the game after he fired a shot that crossed the goal line after the refs had blown the whistle. You see, Larose's teammate Cole had leveled USS Gill, pushing the giant defender into our netminder. Instead of tying the game, the Canes had to kill a penalty. With the man advantage, Sid made a quick pass to Geno in front of Ward, but Ward shut him down. Versus - again with that graphic! WTF?! Why are they showing it at key times? GRRRRR!!!! The Pens didn't add to their lead.

Third Period
Cole, on the receiving end of a monster hit from Orpik in 2006 that left him with broken vertebrae, delivered a crushing hit of his own to Brooks. We were told that Siddo made Hello Canada magazine's 50 Most Beautiful Canadians list. Versus reporter Chris Simpson said the Pens were teasing Sid and that, "mysteriously," her issue went missing. She then questioned whether the Boys might be up to something... Surely not our Boys! Heh heh heh... :D

Geno got a breakaway, but Ward denied his shot. Then Cole was hurt by a hit from Cooker. Their knees collided as Cooker sped across the ice. Without the benefit of a good slow motion replay, I can't say for certain that it wasn't worthy of a penalty (there wasn't a call). But what I can tell you for sure is that it was not as blatantly deliberate as A-hOle's™ hit on Gonch.

Cullen was called for delay of game for popping the puck over the glass. With just 17 seconds left on the power play, Siddo passed to Boucher for a long shot on goal from the blue line that slowly skidded over the line. [Pens 3, Canes 1] The crowd responded with a "CAM ward!! CAM ward!!" taunt.

Orpik took a dumb elbowing penalty late in the game. Ward was pulled for a 6-on-4. I don't remember what happened to cause it, but I remember distinctly yelling at the TV that "Eric Staal is a cheater!" when woodstock and I were watching one of their games against Boston. Well, I remember what he did tonight to get called a cheater: While on the penalty kill, Flower lost his stick and Eric got away with sweeping the big stick aside and out of Flower's reach. That should have been an interference penalty, but instead it lead directly to Corvo's goal. [Pens 3, Canes 2]

There was still 1:26 left to go. Ward was again pulled in favor of the extra attacker. Flower was called upon for two more wicked saves; the first one came with a spectacular save to cheat the cheater, and the second came when a seemingly innocuous dump in by the Canes took a big bounce on goal. The clock ticked down, and Boucher's first playoff goal in 5 years became the GWG. Siddo, meanwhile, was held to just 2 shots on goal. (We'll see how that changes for Game 2...)

We get a two day break and then it's back to work at the Mellon for Game 2.

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

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