Friday, October 02, 2009

Pens v Rangers (W 3-2) - Season Opener

The banner ceremony was EPIC. Mario is so much man, I could feel the testosterone through my TV. A surprise: Mad Max Talbot was dressed and skated out for the ceremony — to louder cheers than Mario, (S)Hero, or Danny B. got! Flower, Geno, and Sid also got thunderous ovations. The banner ascended while our Boys saluted it by tapping their sticks and some odd orchestral march (that sounded more suited for the end of a Mel Gibson movie) played in the background. Watch it now:

A good Friend of The Show sent me these next two AMAZING pictures of the banner being raised. Click them for HUGE versions. Thank you SO MUCH, my Friend. ;)

And with that, we realized that, in a matter of minutes, we'd once again be back at square one in the journey to the Cup.

As we waited for the hardware to be safely transported off the ice, we were treated to a snippet of HCDB's locker room speech. My favorite part came when he addressed the newest members of the team:
You're not here to replace anybody; you're here to add. You're here because you're damn good players and you have every right to be here and add to our team and make our team better.


Do something now.

The first 5½ minutes were solid end-to-end hockey. The officials missed it when the Rangers had too many men on the ice. The Saint just missed on a long slap shot. The first penalty of the night was issued to Drury. On the ensuing power play, Gogo dropped the puck in front of Flower (likely expecting Gonch to pick it up). Our champion netminder had to make a diving poke check to prevent Higgins from capitalizing on the error. Gogo made up for it at the other end of the ice with a nice pass to Gonch, who shot the puck on goal. The puck was deflected by Geno's stick for the goal. [Pens 1, Rangers 0]

The Pens immediately followed the goal with two near misses. TK + Staal + Cooker still = pure gold. Together they make an incredible line. Dupuis collided with Girardi. Adding to the list of many reasons why he's awesome, Super Duper was shown quickly making sure Girardi was okay before getting up and rejoining the play. Brashear and Godzilla faced off: Brashear started the fight with a quick left jab stunner, but Godard didn't bow out. Far from it. He came back with a few nice hits of his own. The fight ended with both big men bloody and exhausted. It should technically be a draw, but I'm giving Godard the advantage because that initial hit didn't take him down.

In the last quarter of the period, Gonch attempted to clear the puck out of the zone. It hit an official and took a fortuitous bounce in the opposite direction, so the Rangers (specifically Drury) scored and tied it up. [Pens 1, Rangers 1]

Siddo was subjected to an high hit from Marc Staal. In retaliation, our title man slashed him on the leg. Seconds later, he was in the box. On the penalty kill, Cooker to Gronk nearly ended with a shorty, but Lundqvist shut the door. The penalty was successfully killed, and the period ended.

Two minutes into the second, we were told that Sidney was 8-0 on his faceoffs for the night. :) Then it was time to CALL THE COPS because Flower just robbed Prospal with his glove. What a save! Super Duper got penalized for hooking. On the penalty kill, Kotalik played old school (sans a helmet) for a spell, and Flower made another amazing save on Gaborik, who made his way to the net unchallenged after getting around Letang. The penalty was killed.

Godard had two near misses. After the second one, the net was dislodged behind Lundqvist and a brawl erupted behind him. Later, Dubinsky lost his stick after it became wedged in between the boards. The Pens were then able to develop a 3-on-1, with Guerin firing the initial shot. It was blocked, but the rebound took a strange bounce right to Letang. He sent the puck to Siddo, who was all alone in front of the net. (You know what happened next, right?) He promptly banged the go-ahead-goal home. [Pens 2, Rangers 1]

Once again, the Pens immediately followed up with an attack. A mere 68 seconds later, they capped off the onslaught with a long shot from the point by Gogo. Gogo TK got the insurance marker. (Gogo was initially credited with the goal, but later we were told that, upon review, it was in the net because of a slight deflection from TK's stick.) [Pens 3, Rangers 1]

At center ice, while Siddo was making a beeline for the Rangers' zone and Dubinsky was hot on his heels, Letang was felled by an unpenalized high stick from the Ranger. Orpik was later called for delay of game after sending the puck up and over the glass. The resulting penalty kill saw a bit of inconsistency from the officials: Earlier, play was stopped immediately after the puck landed on the top of Lundqvist's cage. But this time, a Ranger popped the puck off the back of Flower's cage as play continued. No matter. The penalty was killed.

Lundqvist made a big save on Gronk. Later, Gaborik had a few seconds in front of Flower to eye up his target and send the puck to the back of the twine. [Pens 3, Rangers 2]

Anisimov was called for hooking (no score), and Orpik was called for interference (killed). Superstar, Gronk, Gogo, and TK gave musician Taylor Swift a Pens jersey (with her name on it) which she wore while performing her concert last night. Siddo, perhaps showing off for his two grandmothers who were in attendance, busted out the trademark spinnerama move and, while it didn't result in a goal, it did wow the subdued crowed back into a "LET'S GO PENS!!!" chant. Geno sent a pretty pass between his own legs to Adams, who then fired the initial shot and another off his own rebound, but Lundqvist made two big saves to keep Adams off the board. With 1:17 left in the game, the Rangers pulled their goalie in favor of the extra attacker. No matter. Time ticked away to a Pens victory! (Incidentally, Lundqvist is now 0-6 at the Mellon.)

This version is a wallpaper for iPhone or iPod Touch users. :)

Tomorrow, we take on another NY team - the Islanders. Bring it.

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

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