Boston is one thing. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m used to the ‘normal’ alignment or whatever, but splitting the season series (ish, 3-4-1 is still sub-optimal) somehow doesn’t bother me much. Winning the season series against the Crapitals is a different matter entirely.
And the Penguins have been holding up their end of things, going 4-2 against them to this point, though 3 of those wins were in extra time. In fact, those three points the Pens granting to the Craps are why this division race is as close as it is. If only they’d won those in regulation. Of course, if my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle.
Minor change to the lineup as early season super-helpful-step-up guy Freddie Gaudreau would return to the lineup.
Capitals were all over the Pens right out of the gate, and their game plan was as predictable as it was effective. The Pens would have a chance here and there, but nothing other than a one and done before they were back on the defensive.
And as usually occurs when you spend too much time defending, you eventually make a mistake. This time, it was ERod whacking a puck over the glass in the defensive zone, a call that will be called by every ref, in every game, in the same way, every time. Shit, they even watch replays of this stupid call sometimes to make sure they get it right. Imagine if they did that with more calls…
Anyway, ERod to the sin bin and it was time to see if the PK was up to the challenge. It took an entire 12 seconds to prove that they were NOT.
Timothy Jimothy did the thing he was trying to do while Dumo and Ceci were, uh… well, not doing the thing they wanted to do, I suppose. 1-0 bad guys, thanks to one of their wurst, and that’s saying something.
The Pens would get a powerplay when our old buddy Captain Schultz would interfere with Jake, but the PP was flaccid and, frankly, difficult to look at. I mean honestly, what is worse to look at than a flaccid PP?
For the next 7-8 minutes, it was a wash-rinse-repeat with the ice tilted decidedly in the favor of the home team. Jarry was forced to stand tall time and again, which he would. But one of the reasons for that was the curiously terrible play of The Captain, who just was OFF the entire period. Granted, those kinds of games can happen, even to the best. They’re just kind of jarring, ya know?
So with Sid off, and his line ineffective, and nobody able to generate any continuous pressure, it would take some puck luck to even it up. Enter Kasperi Kapanen
Kapanen (9), unassisted – 15:27 – EV
Just a great heads up play by a dude with great instincts and a perfect shot by a guy who is used to shooting perfectly. Just what the doctor ordered. Brand new hockey game.
The rest of the period was dumb. Especially when ERod got destroyed by a friendly fire shot from someone who feels bad after watching him flop around like a fish. If I had to guess, season over, which is a shame as ERod was doing lots of good things for this team. Next man up!
The second period had a good enough start, with McCann drawing the hold from KutzNutsOff and the PP would have a chance to really stiffen up.
It did not stiffen up, not even a little, but that sausage pic was a little gross so I’m not posting it again. And I sure as hell am not searching for an even grosser pic – I don’t need the FBI all up in my bidness.
Here we had a bit of back and forth with the Pens starting to push a bit, but nothing really came from it. Sid’s line was still sub par and with no ERod it was shenanigans everywhere else. Of course, McCann – Carter – Kapanen became a thing and started looking good, so that was neat, but nothing happened.
At least until Freddie G said ‘hey look at me!’
Gaudreau (2) from Zucker (7), Sceviour (4) – 8:32 – EV
Great zone entry and possession by Zucker who looked like he was really interested in making a difference tonight. And that pass from him too… damn. Gaudreau got a little lucky, but luck is all part of the process. 2-1 good guys.
But just as you were getting excited, this
What a weird bounce but whatever. The problem is this one came off of a perfectly clean faceoff win and set play. Just like the PPG. Gotta stop those sets, fellas. Yet again, brand new hockey game.
The next several minutes would feature the Pens giving as good as they got. Which wasn’t great, but at least it wasn’t running around hockey and getting destroyed. You could feel the Pens picking it up a bit, which was good to see.
At least until Ovechkin’s replacement, quite literally, would deliver. Oh, and his name may be familiar.
Oh look, a set faceoff play. Oh look, the Penguins unable to defend. Granted, it was a great feed by Schultz, but Dumo just got out worked by this guy:
3-2 assclowns. Dammit.
Of course, we wouldn’t have to be sad for very long, because CV-or, who has survived being waived twice and is just still calmly doing his job, worked hard in the OZ with ZAR and the Craps made a whoopsie and ZAR said TYVM
Aston-Reese (9) from Sceviour (5) – 18:11 – EV
Forechecking pressure leads to good things, pretty much all of the time. Freddie – CV-or – ZAR are not expected to do much but try hard. Sometimes trying hard is enough. Yet another Brand New Hockey Game.
Well, here we go. All tied up after 40 minutes with the division leaders, a team the Penguins have generally had an advantage over for the entire existence of both franchises. Both teams had pretty good records tied after two, but the Pens have been more decisive in the situation. Would that continue?
Well, I know one thing that would continue – refs swallowing whistles. Remember last game where I mentioned that when the refs ignore plays they effect the game? Do you remember which side gets the advantage? HINT: it’s not usually the side that is playing within the rules. Crazy, I know.
That said, nothing was particularly egregious. I think it was just a volume thing. The Pens superior skill put them in some good positions to Do Good Things, but the Craps general crappiness would often neutralize those chances. The zebras just were not that interested.
For a long time, it felt like nothing was going to happen. But that’s when KK woke EVERYBODY up.
Kapanen (10) from McCann (14), Carter (13) – 10:55 – EV
Good defense leads to good offense, but are you KIDDING ME WITH THAT PASS? McCann takes notes from Sid the other night, using geometry to get things done. And Kapanen. I mean…. I really am short on words here. That shot was so precise and so FAST I think Vanecek is still looking for it. He. Did. Not. Move. He HEARD the puck go by his ear but he most certainly did not see it. They say light is faster than sound, so that means he heard the puck go by his ear sometime after it actually had already stopped moving in the goal. Just an absolutely faptastic shot by KK right thar.
The next 9 minutes were.,.. frustrating. I mean, they were mostly OK, but it was rough sledding. Plenty of up and down and no time for sphincter resting. Raffl (wow he is still a thing?) would take a penalty holding Petterrrrrsssssson, which was a change up, but yet again the PP was limp.
Ultimately, there were no big to-do’s to be did, which I think is good. It made me nervous, but that’s nothing new. And then, when it got to crunch time… when the Craps yanked Vanny for another skater, THAT is when it got really annoying. Annoying because Super Tanger would have a great opportunity for the ENG but hit the post. And then Rusty Ballz would have a CLEAR shot for the ENG but would opt to lay it ahead for Jake for reasons with which I am unfamiliar. That particular boner occurred with about a minute left and enabled a whistle and some rest for both sides, which would prove ominous.
Especially when Piss Muthafriggin Wilson is on the ice
OK, it’s time. It’s time to go off. Kids, believe me when I tell you this goal didn’t need to happen. Believe me when I say that if two PROPER defensemen had been on the ice this would have probably gone in a different direction. I say this merely because it is true. I have a love-hate relationship with Kristopher Letang. Not Pierre level, don’t be gross, but it’s pretty bi-polar, I will admit. Much of the time, my first instinct is to defend the guy. But when this happens…
Why? I really want someone to ask him why. To find out what was going on in his brain on this particular play. Dumo made a decision and took the guy. That’s logical. He knows he has a partner who will see what he is doing and cover for him. For a second, Letang really did. But then, for reasons that I can only imagine involve religion and/or some form of statistical evolution that I have never heard about, Super Tanger decides that the Right Play is to go behind the goal. Perhaps Wilson smells bad and this was related to an odor so horrific we can’t comprehend. Perhaps it was self preservation – his lizard brain, if you will, telling him to move as far away from the Evil Being as possible. Those are actually somewhat plausible. But from a hockey perspective, this is not just wrong, this is SLAP YO MOMMA wrong.
Which means that after almost sealing the deal with a 120 foot lob shot Letang was single-handedly responsible for gifting at least one point to the team the Penguins were chasing for playoff positioning. T.Hanks, Letang.
OK, so overtime is fun. But overtime against the Craps is getting annoying.
The first two minutes were hellacious, with the Craps owning the puck. My sphincter agreed that this was terrible.
But then, Marino would get the puck and head the other way. And we were treated to this.
Guentzel (22) from Marino (9), McCann (15) – 2:11 – OT
The boards. My favorite part about this play is McCann with the self pass off the boards. That is what smart hockey players do – they understand their environment and they use it to their advantage. Sid did it the other night. Well, probably most other nights. And this was the second time tonight we got to see McCann do it. Dammit – he’s making my Blueger vs. McCann call in the expansion draft even harder.
- It’s almost like a script against the Caps – face big obstacles, someone gets hurt, everyone is getting smashed, but the skill beats the brawn in the end, somehow. Fun to watch.
- Sid’s line was NONEXISTENT during this game. That is NOT a trend that will continue, so don’t you worry.
- Letang with brainfarts in at least the last 2-3 games. Not a great thing. I hope Reirden can get him re-calibrated quickly.
- Losing ERod blows, but it makes some personnel decisions easier when everyone is sorry. T.Hanks?