Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Round 3 Game 4: Pens v Canes (W 4-1)
It's a series CLEAN SWEEP!!!

The Pens lead this Eastern Conference Finals series 3-0.

We all know we want it... but PLEASE resist the urge to say it. Let's not jinx our Boys! Instead we'll simply say, "PUT THE CANES OUT OF THEIR MISERY!!!"

A debt of gratitude goes out to good Friend of The Show Susan B. for graciously allowing me to use the Pens Sweep logo she made for last year's sweep of the Sens.

First Period
Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher opened the game with a siren. Eric Staal got things rolling just over 90 seconds into the game with a goal he got by stuffing the puck past Flower. [Pens 0, Canes 1]

The first of the scrums erupted in front of the Canes' bench. Tank got an early break, but Ward shut the door. But Tank would get his revenge: Superstar let a dump around go through to Boucher at the point. Boucher then intentionally fired the puck just inches wide of the far corner of the net, and a fresh off the bench Tank sailed in and just let the puck come to his blade for the goal. [Pens 1, Canes 1]

Geno lost his stick (it went flying) and subsequently was called for holding the stick of a Hurricane with his free hands. On the ensuing penalty kill, Flower and Orpik worked in tandem to keep Samsonov from getting the puck into the net, but upon closer inspection on the replay, that would have been a goal that would have been nullified because Samsonov kicked it towards the goal line. The Canes didn't score on their advantage. Later, Cullen hit Flower behind the net. As they both went down, the Versus joke actually stated that Flower was "trying to buy a call," but when the replay was shown as they went to commercial, it was crystal clear that was not the case. Cullen actually put a knee-on-knee hit on Flower while Flower had his back turned.

Brooksie was getting booed throughout the game pretty heavily. Gronk and his linemates went nuts. Gronk was hitting everything that moved. He put a series of three hits in a row on Walker, with the first of those hits being a HUGE one that took Walker down. The Pens got a power play when Jokinen was called for crosschecking. The Pens didn't score on their advantage.

Then, with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Superstar scored the second flukiest goal of his career. (In case you missed it, this is his first one.) Talbot shot a long pop-up on net. It should have been a textbook glove save that even a middle schooler would have made. But in the ultimate of fails, Ward didn't manage to get his glove up high enough and instead tipped the puck as it came to him and actually helping the puck reach its destination. [Pens 2, Canes 1] Another good Friend, DayWalk3r, uploaded the video for us:

Everyone on the ice and on both benches and the Versus announcers were all stunned. My favorite part:
"That stands for 'Oh My God' right?"

In the final 30 seconds of the period, chaos exploded in front of Flower. When the dust settled, Geno was called for roughing. The Canes didn't score on their abbreviated power play.

Second Period
The Canes didn't score on the remainder of their power play, either. Geno got high sticked by Seidenberg. The first 30 seconds of the resulting power play was dominated by Eric Staal, who was a one-man wrecking crew, and he came dangerously close to getting the shorty. The Pens didn't score on their advantage. Versus reporter Christ Simpson interviewed Cowher in the stands. Not only did I not care what he had to say, but the full screen shot kept me from seeing what was happening as a penalty was assessed to Seidenberg for tripping Siddo.

To their credit, Versus did replay it for us - Kuni nailed Seidenberg hard into the boards. He lost his lid and maybe his temper too as he stuck his stick out and took our Captain down. Seconds into the power play, Larose got a breakaway after a terrible pass by Gonch was intercepted. Gonch backchecked him and ended up tripping him for the even up call. Neither team scored on the 4-on-4, and the Pens killed the remaining seconds on Gonch's penalty. Just seconds later, Siddo got the puck and lead the charge for a 3-on-1. He sent a nice little saucer pass over the lone Canes defender's stick to Guerin for the goal. [Pens 3, Canes 1]

The end of the period brought about a shooting frenzy from the Canes. Flower stood tall throughout it all, especially in the plays after two consecutive icing calls left the same five tired bunch of Penguins on the ice in front of him.

Third Period
Flower was a complete WALL in the third. He kept everything out. Adams took a penalty but the Canes didn't score on their advantage. Flower continued to see beach balls. A scary moment happened when Geno went to finish a check on Cole, but Cole was already falling, so Geno hit Cole in the head with his leg. Cole, who was on the receiving end of a literally neck-breaking hit from Orpik a few years ago (hence, the booing), went down hard. Officials and players alike could be heard screaming, "Eric, stay down!!!" until the Canes' trainers could come out to tend to him. He, fortunately, was okay and returned for his next shift on the ice.

Corvo was called for tripping Sid, and on the ensuing power play, Larose made a dirty move on Staal by poke checking his leg out from under him. He was called for tripping, and the Pens had 32 seconds with a 2 man advantage. The Pens didn't score while either man was in the box. With less than 3 minutes left in the game and their season, the Canes opened up, but Flower responded in kind. At the 2:11 mark, Ward was pulled in favor of the extra attacker. In the final 90 seconds, Siddo got the puck and went 2-on-1 with Adams. Sid passed the puck to Adams for the empty netter, effectively ending the game. [Pens 4, Canes 1] The clock ticked down and confirmed that THE PENS ARE HEADING FOR THE STANLEY CUP FINALS FOR THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR!!!!!!!!

After NOT touching the Prince of Wales trophy last year and losing at the SCF, the Boys decided that this year, they'd give the hardware some love. (FYI - Mario touched the trophy in both 1991 and 1992... Not such a bad omen, eh???) ENJOY:

Now we just have to wait for the inevitable outcome of the Western Conference Finals. :) Many, MANY thanks go out to Friends Susan and DayWalk3r for their awesome contributions to tonight's post. :)

Can you believe this? This is just such an incredible feeling. We're going dancing with Lord Stanley again this year!! I am honestly at a loss for words to express how exhilarating this truly is. I will look for more great pictures of the Boys with the PoW trophy to post tomorrow. Until then,

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

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