August 3rd, 2020. AUGUST. You remember March 10th? Me neither. Nor do I remember much about mid-late June when the NHL started talking about ‘bubble hockey’. Many of us were stoked that hockey would be back. Many of us didn’t believe it would ever happen. Some of us were too busy day drinking White Claws to notice (…cause there ain’t no laws…).
But the plan was implemented. Phase 4 was reached, and hockey was started again. I didn’t bother with this in the last write up because I was too damn stoked that hockey was back to bother with the lengthy intro. Or I was scrambling to write the damn thing and didn’t take the time. We may never know which one it was. Shut up.
The first game was weird, with the long intro, the lack of the crowd, the piped in crowd noises and silliness. But it didn’t matter – hockey was back.
Last night, none of it mattered. Our boys were suddenly in as close to a ‘must win’ as you can get, and it was AUGUST. So it was time to Get. It. Done.
No lineup changes on either side, proving that Sullivan either has complete faith in his 0-7 in his last 7 playoff games goalie or he just doesn’t have any answers. In my experience, Michael Sullivan is never short on answers.
Tempers were up early. Nothing major, just general grumpiness from both teams. Play was sloppy, too. Lots of poor passes and bouncing pucks and bad decisions, until…
Crosby (2) from Guentzel (2), Sheary (1) – 4:25 – EV
8th all time in playoff points. All. TIME.
Sid didn’t try to get extra cute. He saw a bunch of space between the pads of Price and that was that. Full marks to Jake on the sick feed, too.
You could see the Pens chests puff up just a bit. Started reading plays better, pushing hard against the Habs, and pushing them into making mistakes like Too Much Man.
PP 1 took the ice after a break and, lo and behold, Horny was back on the top unit. As he damn well should be. A few great looks, but nothing doing. But you know it’s going better when even the second unit gets a couple solid chances.
Moments later, Sheary hit a guy and, I sh!t you not, did NOT fall down! I know. I had to pause and rewind just to verify, but it happened.
First half of the period was all Pens. Again. But this time, they got a goal to show for their efforts.
Oh hey, remember the first game when Pettersson took a penalty? Yeah, me too. I bet Sully will remember, too, since he did it again in game two. It wasn’t egregious, but it certainly didn’t help anything.
During the PK, Yo-Lol Arm-EA decided to hold Jackoff Johnson which, if you’re scoring at home, counts as his ‘one good thing’ for the game. I, for one, was upset to see it so early.
Shortly after THAT, McCannotKeepTrackOfHisStick ripped the net off its moorings and the puck confused the zebras who thought it may have crossed a line. Which line, I have no idea, cause it definitely wasn’t the goal line. No goal, obviously. But during the scrum, Dumo started playing tackle in the slot and we ended up with a 4-3 for a while. Pens kilt that, then did nothing even strength, then kilt the last lil bit when the Kanaduns forgot how to count AGAIN (two too much man in one period, lulz), and the Pens got to flex the PP one more time.
The Pens apparently forgot how stiff their first PP was and went limp this time. Side note: McCann needs to Chill Out, and quickly. Playing super nervous, both these games. We ain’t got time for no yips, dammit!
Stats after one:
A minute into the 2nd, Geno decided that a back hand hope pass into the middle was a good idea. Kids, this is never a good idea. As a result Murray was forced to wake up and flash the leather to stop YO….L. I didn’t really remember YO-elle AR-Me-Ah, but damn if he isn’t showing up all over the place for some reason.
Things got a little hairy for a minute and then I realized who was ‘defending the blueline’ and it was no longer a surprise. Johnson just has to have pics of GMJR and/or HCMS doing… something. I can’t even imagine what, and I don’t want to so don’t try to make me (oh good lord, midgets, maybe???)
Crisis averted, back and forth became de rigueur. Then a scrum ensued after Murray’s best save of the game so far, and Rust decided to get his money’s worth and went off for a rough.
Pens didn’t care, though. Sweet kill and momentum gained, as Bourbon Bobby pointed out for us. (Side note: there’s never been a hockey player named Dexter. Thanks L1!)
You know who I like? Johnny Marino. He’s just… good. Wins a race back to the puck, then gets handsed by our new best friend, yo-LL Army-a.
The PP was soft, then soft, but then stiffened up noticeably with a great scrum in front of the net. It’s almost like Horny is good at this and should ALWAYS BE ON THE TOP PP UNIT but I’m just some doofus who inherited this blawg from some financial doctor or something, so I’ll just stick to stringing together mildly amusing comments and drinking bourbon. You’re welcome.
Nothing came from all of the fun and games, so we were back to 5 on 5. For some reason, the Canadiens decided to start messing with Sid. Bibs again smartly pointed out something which was ‘don’t poke the bear.’ Seems silly to me too, Bob-o.
At this point, play was pretty choppy. Lots of stoppages and messy exchanges. But happyily for us, 5 on 5 sounded dumb to our new besty, YOEL ARE-ME-Ah who tried to break Schultz’s arm and then Zucker’s face, which brought out Angry Geno who scrummed it up with Shea Butter Weber. This removed the Malkin Howitzer from the PP (pew pew) arsenal, but the Pens were determined to stiffen up and ended up drawing ANOTHER penalty! Les Habitants lack zee pash-i-yence, non? Huhuhuhuhuh!!!
5-3 time. Timeout time. LETS DO THIS.
Uh….spoiler alert. They didn’t do this. 0-5 on the PP. This is officially A Problem. A Big Problem (potentially). Maybe Recchi isn’t the man with the plan? Just throwing it out there.
Anyway, back to live action. Lots more insanity, with the Pens looking like morons (guess who?) and then geniuses (not the who you guessed a second ago), but nothing got through Price. And finally I can go pee.
Stats after two:
Thoughts after two:
- Coaching on the PP isn’t the best, maybe, but Sid and Geno and Letang are all on the ice, most of the time. I’m told those guys are good.
- McCann has got to be making GMJR wonder about things.
- Who watches tape of Johnson and concludes he is a top 6 NHL defenseman?
Just to change things up, the Pens give up the odd man rush in the opening minute. Murray, thankfully, was well rested and wasn’t having it.
When Sid’s line hit the ice, it was a new look with Horny on Sid’s right. A second later you saw why that wasn’t very common when he couldn’t catch up to a Sid pass. This just lead to more ice tilting in the wrong way for a little while, just to keep us awake.
Seven minutes in, still lots of messiness, but the Pens slowly started regaining their footing. Zucker – Malkin – Rust spent their entire shift in the OZ with a couple quality looks, but no dice.
At that, the wheels fell the hell off. The Habs (which is short for ‘French people who live in Canada’ – quite the nickname, really) were buzzing and it’s possible that this was a GOOD thing, at least for Murray. Because for the first time since the 2018 playoffs, he was looking like the goalie we willingly gave up a future HOF goalie for. He made more than a couple Big Time Saves, and looked more and more comfortable as the period moved along.
The team from Canada was getting more and more desperate, so the Pens got to push back a little and Old Man Marleau was rewarded with a nice chance and got nothing but CLANG. Oh well.
I wasn’t sure how I felt about writing that ‘oh well’ because Montreal didn’t quit and Murray had to keep coming up big. But then Oh! Sheary! put an end to the Panic! At the Hockey Game and laid a beauty of a feed on Zucker, and I exhaled for the first time in about an hour.
Zucker (1) from Sheary (2), Dumoulin (1) – 14:41 – EV
So naturally, when I exhaled, the refs did too, which left plenty of room for swallowing their whistles. There were no fewer than three uncalled penalties, the most flagrant of which pulled down Dumo and kept the puck in long enough for the inevitable…
KockyEnemy from LeakinIn, PeeTree – 17:50 – EV
Are you kidding me? Of course not.
The Pens kept trying for the ENG. Three icings to ruin our collective sphincter, but then Jake decided to bring it to a merciful close.
Guentzel (1) from Rust (1) – 19:50 – ENG
- Murray with a big one. He really needed a big one, and he got it.
- Crosby is On It.
- Nice to see Jake pot one, even an ENG.