Losers of 3 in a row, the last two in heartbreaking fashion, the Penguins waddled into Nashville desperate to stop the bleeding. The 58-minute men were committed to finishing this one off this time. Or so they said. I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist, so I made sure to have plenty of b-hole lube, both internal and topical.
The big news of the day is that the Pens put a stop to the Blandisi experiment, with Adam Johnson making his NHL debut. Because if one Johnson can’t get it done, maybe two will. #twss
The good news is that Murray owns the Gnashville Cosby’s (who fittingly just added domestic abuser Auston Watson back to the lineup), shutting them out his last three starts against them, going alllll the way back to one very special night…
Which history would repeat itself tonight? Sorry to spoil the ending, but why not both? Ugh, I’m having b-hole flashbacks just writing this. Let’s get it over with…
The first two minutes had the Preds swarming in the Pens end (hehe), but it actually had me feeling better about the game. After all, if they take the FIRST two minutes off, surely they’ll be awesome for the last 58! (thanks Letang).
Turned out to be a fluke, though, and the Pens proceeded to own the territorial advantage through most of the rest of the period. And looked good doing it. Sid’s line (of late featuring Rust) was again dominant, with Rust getting a post and a crossbar. Rust also had some nice moves shorthanded to no avail. That PK was required because of a Blueger ‘trip’ on Kyle Turris which is notable because I now recall hearing of Kyle Turris. Hi Kyle!
The Pens looked better on the PK than the Preds did trying to score. Apparently, they’re the 30th ranked power play for good reason.
The Pens kept pressing and had several great opportunities, but like that time you took the ‘nice girl’ to the dance, just couldn’t score. You’re fault, dumbass – she was president of the Math Club for a reason…
Stats after one:
Part way through the 2nd period, I discovered the funnest name in the NHL right now. For whatever reason, I find Rocco Grimaldi hysterical. The fact that he is 5’6″ is also fantastic.
Anyway, hockey… yup, they were still playing. And it was pretty even, though the Pens just looked like the better team. Rust hit another post or crossbar, I forget which because bourbon.
But then, he missed the post entirely…
Rust (18) from Letang (39) – 5:57 – EV
Rust had been the hardest working man on the ice to this point, so it was great to see him get rewarded. Letang with the perfect option play… kept it down low, fast enough to tip, slow enough to catch. Rust, because he’s a Quality Hockey Player, was smart enough to realize he had some space to work with and catch the pass, which Pekker was NOT expecting. Then it was just a matter of waiting him out and sliding it home.
Some penalties happened. B-Jugs got rung up for ‘skating past a guy angrily’ or something. Grubland really did hook Sid. And Sid really did trip Ellis, who I love watching fall to the ice…
Anyway, neither team did squat on the PP, with the Pens doing their very best to make the Preds awful power play feel better about themselves by comparison. Brutal, really.
Also, I’m pretty sure ThePhil! is never scoring another 5 on 5 goal.
Stats after two:
Of note: the rest of the team must have sucked at the faceoff dot because Sid was a god, ultimately going 20 for 24. WOW.
Pens up 1-0 on the road, and playing a pretty perfect road game to this point. The first 16 minutes of the 3rd are hard to re-live. My b-hole had to be re-hydrated at least twice, and my liver also paid a steep price for the Pens shenanigans.
There was a ridiculous sequence when no fewer than 7 bodies were in the Pens crease and somehow the puck didn’t go in. Upon closer review, Letang stopped one with his nuts.
But then, because the Hockey Gods have somehow decided that it’s time for a Reckoning with a team that has been just too damn dominant for too damn long, the inevitable occurred.
OK, so we all know that Matt Murray has been a great goalie in the past. His two Cup wins, including one FROM THAT VERY SPOT RIGHT UP THERE prove this. His stats since returning from injury tell us that he’s a great goalie RIGHT NOW.
But WTF was that? Seriously, WTF WAS THAT????? I’m sure he’s more upset than anyone about it, but I can’t exactly explain that to my b-hole now can I? I’m sending him my bill for bourbon and b-hole lube RIGHT FRKING NOW!!! !@%@^%!@^#!^%%$@$@$%^^&&&!#^!#^!
Once again, the Pens play a nearly perfect road game. Once again, they fail to finish it off. I just… yeah. Moving on.
The OT was less fun than others. Lots of skating back out of the zone. Puck possession is king in OT and both the Pens and Preds did their best to keep the puck the entire time, with the Pens having the slight edge.
At one point, ThePhil! had maybe the best backcheck of his career, stealing the puck from (some douche) and looking like he planned it all along.
Towards the end of the OT the Pens had their best chance, with Letang again making a phenomenal play and setting up Jake, who shockingly missed it wide, and it was off to the shootout.
Ryan NotHandsome – MISS
ThePhil! – UGH (he looks like Eeyore right now and that’s not good)
OtherRyan – SAVE
SID: I GOT THIS
Another guy shot, but he sucked, so…
- Sid dominated
- McCann mccan’t even help ThePhil!
- Rust is good EVERYWHERE
- Murray is still awesome, but JEEZUS…
- SECOND PLACE BITHES!!!!!!!!!!!
Things went according to plan across the board yesterday with the Penguins winning and every one of their Metro Division peers losing. The Columbus Blue Jackets’ 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers dropped them behind the Montreal Canadiens for the second Wild Card spot as the Canadiens beat the New York Islanders 4-0. Both Montreal and Columbus have a roughly 50% chance of making the playoffs now, although Columbus has the slight edge if they end the season equal in points as they have more regulation wins than Montreal. For now, karma is slapping the Blue Jackets silly. Elsewhere, the Carolina Hurricanes lost to the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3, which puts the Penguins a healthy four points ahead of Carolina for third in the division.
All that’s going on tonight is the Washington Capitals are in Minnesota to play the Wild. A win by Washington puts them five points ahead of Pittsburgh and the Islanders, which may not be insurmountable yet but is going to be interesting on the final game of the season when the Islanders visit the Capitals.