Saturday, May 30, 2009

Stanley Cup Finals Game 1: Pens v Red Wings (L 1-3)

So it begins...

First Period

Hall of Famers Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay dropped the ceremonial pucks to the team captains. No penalties at all were called during the first period, and both teams turned the puck over more times than I could count. Mad Max had a nice early chance off a rebound from Gonch, but it was blocked and Mad Max and Holmstrom mixed it up in the aftermath.

Stuart hit Tank (uncalled interference!), and Brooksie didn't like it so he and Stuart had words. Basically, there was a scrum after every single shot on goal at either end of the ice. Cleary set up a nice play for Zetterberg, but thankfully he hit the post. The first candidate for Subway Sam'ich of the Game came when Brooksie absolutely drilled Hossa with a MONSTER hit at center ice, the former knocking the latter right to his arse.

Holmstrom later puffed his peacock tail at USS Hal Gill. Staalsy and TK went 2-on-1 but the shot was forced wide. The second nominee for the Sam'ich of the Game saw Siddo skating full-on and taking Zetterberg completely off his skates. (It was a thing of beauty.) Immediately following, Letang took a big hit into the boards, and Siddo and Zetterberg got "familiar" with one another in front of Osgood as the play was whistled down. The first mark on the board came when the Pens turned the puck over to Stuart, who fired a long shot from the near boards that went wide and took an un-fortuitous bounce out, hit the back side of Flower, and went into the goal. [Pens 0, Wings 1] I responded by begging and pleading with the Boys through my TV to take a tie to the locker room.

Letang got hooked by a Wing right in front of an official. No call was made, so Letang figured he'd get his own justice by crosschecking the guy, again right in front of that same official. And again, no call was made. The non-call on the guy in white prompted a "B.S.!!" chant from the crowd. With about 90 seconds left in the period, the Wings turned the puck over to Geno. He fired a shot that Osgood blocked but didn't smother. Enter Tank: He swooped through the paint, grabbed the puck, and sent it home. [Pens 1, Wings 1]

Second Period
Geno stole the puck (possibly by tripping a Wing) and got a breakaway. Osgood blocked him, but these aren't exactly Geno's strongest point. Letang made a brilliant poke check on Helm from behind to prevent him from capitalizing on a great chance. Lebda slashed and broke Max's stick. On the resulting power play, the Pens threw everything and maybe even the kitchen sink at Osgood, but the goalie and his defenders kept it out. We got another power play chance when Samuelsson was nailed for slashing then grabbing and tossing Staal to the ice, but the Pens didn't score with the advantage. Right in front of the camera, Kronwall repeatedly crosschecked Staal in the small of the back, but no calls were made.

Adams was pinched for a weak hooking call, but we made up for it when Cooker took a stupid, late, high hit on Holmstrom after the whistle and got away with it as the Adams penalty was ending. Siddo made a fantastic save for Flower by lying down on the ice, stacking his pads, and blocking a shot. It was beautiful!

NBC WTF Moment of the Game: The GoDaddy commercials with racecar driver Danica Patrick have all been terrible, but the one they just showed with the lady cop was the absolute worst. Patrick constantly whines that she's not taken seriously because she's a girl... Well, honey, these commercials definitely aren't helping your cause.

Siddo was hauled down by the moving stick of Hossa, but no call was made. Just before the period ended, another crazy, un-fortuitous bounce off the rubberband boards hit the back of Flower's pad and went into the goal. [Pens 1, Wings 2]

Third Period
Kronwall pulled an A-hOle™: He left his feet to take aim at Geno, but Geno, who always sees A-hOle™ coming also saw Kronwall coming and ducked out of the way just in time. He used the opportunity to create an offensive chance that didn't result in anything. Helm got a breakaway chance, but Gill backchecked him and Flower shut the door.

The only goal the Wings really had to work for came when Abdelkader (← what a mouthful!) hit the post and the puck popped up in the air. Staal lost sight of it, but Abdelkader didn't, gloved it down, and put it in for his first career playoff goal. [Pens 1, Wings 3]

Tank accidentally highsticked Max. Some awful missteps in the Pens' own zone (starting with Flower coming w-a-a-a-y out to clear unsuccessfully) resulted in an offensive onslaught from the Wings, but somehow the Pens kept the puck out. Flower was pulled in favor of the extra attacker (Siddo) at the 2 minute mark. Despite the Wings' best efforts, they couldn't sink the empty netter. (Hossa in particular had the best crack at it but missed.) Time ticked down and the Pens lost Game 1.

There's not much time to get too worried about it. We go to work again with Game 2 in Detroit tomorrow at 8pm Eastern. Also tomorrow: details of the snoopyjode v kcjacoby II bet rematch. WOOOOOOO!!!!!!! ;)

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

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