Recap 25: One Helluva Homestand

Ung has inadvertently been using his mom’s estrogen cream as hand lotion for the last week and was too busy playing with his new bewbs to do the cap, so hold onto yer butts kiddies. Good ol’ Unkel Zooker poured a few drops of KY into the DVR and sent Mrs Z into the other room so he could share some positivity with yinz.

The Pens came into the night sporting a 10-2 home record and a moderately quiet 7-3 record in their last 10. The bridge jumpers have changed into their parade planning hats, but probably taped a couple razor blades in the bill just in case. 

The Pens somewhat curiously weren’t winning faceoffs early on, but were otherwise dominant all over the ice. Every line had solid first shifts, including the fourth line that had Scevior (wtf?), apparently reclaimed from the dumpster on fifth avenue. They seemed to generate at least one chance on every trip into the offensive zone, and were being real dicks in the neutral zone, followed by some good transitions back on the offensive.

A few minutes in, Sid lured 9 of the 10 players on the ice over to the side wall and neatly slid a pass over to Letang who was inexplicably in EXACTLY the right place at the right time. Tanger promptly skated in and let a heavy wrister loose….that would have missed the net by 2 feet if Kinkaid didn’t almost deflect it in with his glove. C’est la vie.

The Pens continued skating extremely well and drew a penalty at about the 5 minute mark. The PP has left us often joking about the idea of declining the penalty, but there have been signs of life and this version was another example of what you would expect to see. The 1st unit was skating and moving the puck like they had Tchaikovsky piped into their helmets. They still didn’t score, but let’s not be greedy. Multiple shots, and quite frankly some unlucky bounces, but really worth the two minutes of your time. 

The Pens would continue to assert themselves for the next several minutes but there was starting to be a weird feeling that Kinkaid might be the break-glass-in-case-of-a-Pens game type goalie. This took a calamitous turn at the 9:16 mark when…..dry heave….vurp…gag… Jack Effing Johnson launched a ho hum shot from the left point and……hold on I just technicolor yawned my potato soup onto Mrs Zooker’s pillow…. In the net past Jarry.

Slow motion replay showed it was deflected slightly off of John Marino’s leg on the way in. Jot that down because Marino ended up being the Rags biggest offensive weapon on the night. I had just got the last bacon bit out of my nose when the Pens took a penalty around the 12 minute mark for TOO MUCH MAN. This had been a persistent issue for a stretch a few weeks back but had been much improved the last dozen games or so. Interestingly the first 30 seconds plus of the PK looked more like a PP with the Pens generating several chances, including Dumo nearly potting his annual goal. No dice, but they killed the penalty with little to no threat from the Rangers. 

Pens kept the pedal down and at 18:54 were finally rewarded. Sid got the puck on the right wall and found Jake busting into the zone for a Kunitz-like knuckler past the left shoulder of Kinkaid.

Guentzel (8) from Crosby (15) – 18:54 – EV

It truly rescued what could have been a magnificent, but wasted effort. The period would end at 1-1, but the Rangers were playing with fire and ERREYBODY knew it. 

The second period started with the Rangers getting their skates under them a bit better and some back and forth. Then at :55, Mathisfun was falling to the ice and tripped a Ranger on the way down. The PK unit was probably looking forward to a nice easy couple of minutes as the Rangers first PP looked more like the lamo version the Pens have been trotting out there for much of the season. This version was much the same, and shortly after a meh one timer chance for Zibenejad, My Boy Blue and Tanev drove into the Rangers zone on a 2 on 1. Ultimately Blue skated in hard on an angle and at the 2:40 mark he slid the puck gently through the crease in Kinkaids crotchless jockstrap and across the line. Shawty, bith. 

Blueger (4) from Tanev (6), Dumoulin (3) – 2:40 – SHG

This energized the Pens even further and the next few shifts in particular were a series of generating quality chances and playing pretty good defense. The Rangers were clearly more engaged and showing the requisite desperation now that they were trailing.

SIDEBAR: Now that Jake is off his temporary schneid, Rust has taken up the mantle for gripping the stick a little too tight. He was set up with some excellent scoring chances in the first two periods but just couldn’t finish the deal. I don’t expect that to continue but I’m sure he’s getting frustrated. Moving on.

The next 15 minutes was mostly some good entertaining hockey with the majority of the chances being generated by the Pens. The Rangers were clearly getting a little better as time passed, but the defense and Jarry were up to the task. At one point Letang paid tribute to Phil the Thrill by ripping a shot so hard off the crossbar it came the whole way back to the blue line.

The Pens kicked the amps up to 11 in the final minute of the period and at 19:40, Kapenen would pay it off. Toward the end of a long shift for both teams, Geno found him moving across the slot area, and he showed some excellent patience as he skated backward with the puck and placed it perfectly back to the far side over Kinkaid’s shoulder.

Kapanen (7) from Malkin (13), Rodrigues (2) – 19:40 – EV

In a word, it was TITS. Dude has a scoring instinct that is really starting to blossom. GET IT?!? It’s almost Spring and I said blo-… yeah, nevermind. I’m still a little wobbly from tossing my cookies when JJ scored. Onto da turd, 3-1 good guys. 

Not gonna lie, as the 3rd started, enough blood was still being re-routed away from my brain that the “a 3-1 is the worst lead in hockey” thing didn’t even dent the veneer. This is about the time Dillon would be throwing in a CFRism to make Ung reach for his blood pressure meds to wash down with bourbon. ANNNNNYWAY, the Pens started off the period well enough, but the passes weren’t connecting quite as cleanly and the Rangers were showing some fight.

At the 3 minute mark, Sid took a marginally bad penalty that was another one of those instances where it WAS a penalty but there was definitely some embellishment by HowdyDoody. CHEL officials apparently like being obtuse though so out came the PK unit full of confidence. You may recall me mentioning earlier that poor John Marino would be the leading scorer for the Rags on the night. Yeah. 7, say again, SEVEN seconds in Strom, sends a normally pretty harmless wrister along the ice toward the goal, which Marino went down to block like he always does.

Unfortunately he instead deflected it past Jarry and put the Rangers within a goal in a game they really should have been losing comfortably. Fortunately I had nothing left on my stomach, but the sphincter was beginning to pucker.

Tanev would extract a small measure of revenge a couple minutes later when Howden was skating with the puck near his bench. Tanev lined him up for a letter perfect, clean, bone jarring shoulder to shoulder hit.

Crosby, however, was not satisfied and would spend some time before his next shift giving the refs his opinion on the penalty. Probably a bad idea, since most referees are emo douchebags who have long memories. This manifested itself immediately as they spent the next few minutes swallowing their whistles on some pretty obvious penalty calls against the Rangers.

In any event, there was some run of the mill back and forth until about the 14 minute mark, at which point 2010 Playoffs Letang started creeping into the game. It started with a couple bad giveaways in his zone but didn’t result in any high danger chances, but you could kind of feel it coming. With just under 3 to play, the Rags took their TO, to rest up for their final push. Sid won the ensuing faceoff to Letang who PROMPTLY gave it away and led to a glorious scoring chance that Jarry miraculously saved. 20 seconds later he was flat footed and looking the wrong way in front of the net when another incredible chance happened, again stopped by Jarry. I won’t dwell too much on the 3 or 4 saves Jarry made at the end, but I’m pretty sure the FBI was waiting in the locker room after the game to haul his ass away for felony robbery.

So, tragedy averted, the Pens had several chances at the empty Rangers net, including the temporarily stone-handed Rust clanking one off the post, before Sid said “Fuck you Jobu, I do it myself”.

Crosby (9) Unassisted – 19:27 – ENG

Great presence of mind to get to the red line before shooting to avoid the icing call if it didn’t go in…..HAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Yeah right, like he was gonna miss. Game bithes. 


– Geno continues to look reinvigorated. He literally looks two or three steps faster than he has to this point in the season. Now if we could just get him to stop making those STUPID passes on 2 on 1s… 

– ERod got another point tonight, but he does NOT belong on that line. Get well soon McCann. Please. Seriously. 

– KK is looking more and more comfortable. He is a natural scorer, and he absolutely belongs on a line with Sid or Geno. Sully, dont fuck this up. 

– Don’t love the defensive breakdowns at the end of the game, but Jarry sticking his balls in the Rangers’ collective mouths is a GREAT sign. 

Hugs and Kisses on all your pink parts.