Sunday, March 4, 2007

Hat Trick

That's right, baby, three nights in a row with a full blown recap. Don't you feel privileged?

Big news in Inglewood this evening, as the Jack has its first, actual, confirmed human reader. Well, probably:

She says she reads it and expects greatness.

The pressure here in Inglewood has never been more intense.

Anyways, as I now write with what may be the specter of impending doom lingering overhead, much happened in the hockey universe:

~The Pens came home to play Philly and were forced to wake up early, WAY early to get to the arena for a 12;30 PM puck drop. I assure you it was obvious early on:

"Tag! You're it!"

Honestly, not many folks were surprised by the slow start. The Pens were playing a team that they had dominated all season, and were starting the game much earlier than they were used to (and I'll also throw in that, with Coburn and Upshall, this is not the same Philly team they had been playing all year).

However, the Pens eventually found their sea legs and got cracking on showing off their trade acquisitions. Gary Roberts spent the first intermission cloning himself and was everywhere during the second period, scoring a tip in and then assisting on the second score by Eric Christensen. Oh, he hit some guys, too:

Roberts is cuckoo for Kukkonen

Before you knew it, the game was 3-3 and headed to overtime. The session started off with some three on three action due to carry-over penalties, but the Pens couldn't accomplish much (as talented as they are running out Sid, Malkin, and Staal in that scenario, they can't really take risks without a high probability of giving up an easy breakaway), off to the shootout we went.

Christensen did The Move again, and apparently Marty Biron is the only goalie in the league who hasn't seen it, because he was fooled.

Then comes Ruzicka, who tries to go glove-side on Fleury, and should know better. Zilch.

Malkin attempts to get cutesy and dekes himself out of the puck.

Scottie Upshall comes in a-blazing, but apparently he didn't watch Ruzicka, cause he goes glove-side as well. Nada again.

Up comes the suddenly shootout-resurgent Crosby...

Crosby depositing his money in the National Five-Hole Bank

Pens win. Even better, they got a little help tonight from some very unlikely sources.

~The Boston Bruins headed into New Jersey tonight, on the brink of the playoff qualification precipice, starting the goalie that Detroit didn't want...and came out with the win. Brodeur started things off in style with his usual pre-game warmup:

Marty offers his rubber sacrifice to the puck gods

The Bruins may have found something, however. Joey MacDonald (.872 save percentage in 7 games with Detroit) turned aside 26 of 27 shots for the Bruins, and they got yet another lights-out game from Brandon Bochenski, who has posted eight goals, six assists, and a plus-seven rating in 14 games with the Bruins so far. Makes me wonder who else might be having their talent wasted in Chicago? Thanks Bruins, the Devils stay 8 points ahead of us.

~Speaking of Chicago, they stayed home to host the Senators tonight, and things looked bleak (what else is new) early on in the game, as Ottawa got contributions from each of their top three lines on the way to a 3-1 lead after two periods. Chicago was not to be counted out, however, as they matched their two period shot total in the third and got a second goal from Radim Vrbata at the two minute mark to pull the score even at three apiece. Chicago went on to win in the shootout, and Ottawa got a point after all, but I'm happy that a team like Chicago kept Ottawa from getting both points. We'll take care of the rest.

~Carolina decided to help the Pens by...well, rolling over and playing dead, apparently. Carolina came out flat, and Atlanta took advantage, scoring an ugly, but countable, goal early on:

Hossa mistakes Walker's nose for the puck, but the refs still count it

It was all downhill from there, as Walker and the Hurricanes never recovered. Atlanta walks away with both points and remains right behind the Pens in the standings.

~Out west, things were interesting this evening. San Jose took a trip to Dallas, as both teams tried to stop the bleeding of their recent poor play. San Jose was sharp early on, scoring a goal on their only shot in the first period:

Turco was too busy busting a move to bother with that "goalie" nonsense

The game didn't get any better for Dallas, as San Jose continued to pour in the goals, while Dallas took a more hands-off approach to their offensive woes:

"Think we can just will it in from here, coach?"

All this added up to a 4-0 loss that allowed San Jose to climb back to one point behind Dallas for the 5th seed in the West.

~Last, but certainly not least, a back and forth tilt between "blood rivals" Detroit and Colorado. The two dueled back and forth, but Colorado's Paul Stastny notched two assists to run his points streak to 15 games (8G, 14A in that stretch) to overtake Malkin for the rookie scoring lead. They also had a little help from a slightly confused Detroit squad, but with good reason:

"Get it off me, man, get it off!"

Yet another crazy night in the NHL. Here's looking to tomorrow. What's on tap? Rangers-Islanders. Yes, that's right, one dang game. But, GO RANGERS!!!

1 comment:

Sherry said...

See, when I first saw that picture, I thought somebody was holding it to his head.

This just makes it ten times better.