Going into the game we had the story of one team who is heading in the right direction to the top of the Metro and the other standing next to me in line for the lottery picks. OUR beloved Pens are finishing up a 4 game road trip looking to take 7 out of the 8 points out of OUR journey. Recent history has not been OUR side seeing how WE seem to play down to the bottom dwellers levels but yet somehow managing to lift up OUR sacs and rise to the occasion against the NHL top tier. I had gone into this game believing that all was right with our Best (scapegoat) defenseman, but would find out that he suffered a bad haircut or some shit during the Dallas game and would rejoin the “Let’s see how many stars we can have on the IR” list.
Let’s get dahn to business, shall we
When the men in white came out they looked, oh, uninterested in starting a productive narrative of how they wanted the game to go. Don’t get me wrong, they had a few chances in the first 3 minutes but nothing that would make you take notice that A) The Pens really want this game. Or B) They’re just trying to feel the Rags out. The first real noticeable play that was made by a Pens player was when Schultz broke up a streaking Brett Howden after J. Johnson missed his man. The Rags would follow it up with some extended zone time, in which Murray had to make some moves and come up with a save or 2. Soon after Pens turn the puck over in their zone, forget that backchecking is a thing, which leads to a 3 on 2. Zibanejad to Buchnevich to B.Lemieux who manages to get one past the glove of Murray. 0-1 Bad Guys
After the goal McCann, Blueger and Trottman came out with the first real energy that we’d seen from the Pens. Simon would get a good look after Cullen fed him from the goal line but I’m pretty convinced that until Mears starts pronouncing Simons’ name the way that I say it’s pronounced that the kid will never live up to his potential in Pittsburgh.
Petterson decides to take a hooking penalty infront of Murray on Lemieux and the Rags would get the first powerplay. About a 40 seconds into the penalty the Rags get set up in the zone, DeAngelo makes a cross ice pass to Lettieri who would put one between Murrays’ stick side and the post. 0-2 Bad Guys
Rangers Twitter team sucks as bad as the actual team and didn’t make a gif so I’m sending in this kid to rally up the troops
Looks like the kid knew how to light a fire under the Pens sacs because B-Jugs comes right back and finds a way to slip one by Not Hank.
Pens almost decided to give away any momentum gained off the B-Jugs goal but Murray stood strong and made an initial save then Trottman ends up keeping it 2-1 when he finds the puck floating next to an open net and swept it away. Right after the Pens created some noise in the Rags end, created some chances and then Sid made a fort inside of the Rags cage, refs told him to get back to work.. End of the 1st: 2-1 Bad Guys
Before I could get back to my seat infront of the tv from intermission, the Pens would somehow find themselves on the powerplay. I’m told that Sid took a stick to the face from Skjei. It took about 12 seconds of messing around for Sid to realize that he owns property behind the net, finds Schultz into the high slot and…
Pens play didn’t pick up as much as you’d want it to after they tied the game up. They were making some sloppy decisions like Phil making a really careless pass to Dumo along the blueline that almost lead to a breakaway oppertunity. After they settled dahn a bit, JJ got a shot off that led to Sid playing around the fort, SNEK nearly scores.. JJ was oh-so close to getting a breakaway opportunity but was called offside. Then Cullen drank some Boost and got one tightly in past Not Hanks glove side. 3-2 Good Guys
J.Johnson gets a penalty for there being too much gravity or some shit. Rags get some solid zone time, MMX had to make a few saves but the Pens get the kill.
After the kill, Horny immediately takes another penalty for a high stick because he’s Patrick FRK’N Horny and he’ll do whatever he wants and you’ll just take it. Pens would get multiple chances at shorties during the kill, how many you might ask, let’s ask my favorite mathematician
Then I lost count, but this happened
Sid and Snek also jumped in on the short hand attempts but came up dry. Howden would go to the box after the Rags laid back to back dirty hits on McCann. The one from DeAngelo to the chin may want to be looked at again, but who knows. Pens would get their turn on the powerplay, but the Rags got the best looks on it with 2 or 3 or 4 short chances. B-Jugs and Horny with a quality chance just before the end of the period. 4-2 Good Guys
Alright, lets get dahn ta business. McCann gets the first quality shot while streaking dahn the slot. A. Johnson makes a wicked awesome steal, Dumo with a shot that doesn’t get past Not Hank.
McCann puts a shot on net, Teddy with the cleanup . Rags challenge, call stands.
Pens would get a powerplay for delay of game from the Rags failed challenge. Rags get the kill. For some reason I wrote the name “Fred” right here in my notes, whatever.
Murray made some saves. Sid, Snek and Rust played around the Rags net with the puck like they were the Harlem Globetrotters. Johnson hit someone. 5-2 Good Guys
With just under two weeks to go in the regular season, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. In the Eastern Conference, all but one playoff seed has been effectively resolved, with seven teams above 97% as far as making the playoffs, and the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens as the last two teams with a chance of making the playoffs. Out West, the Arizona Coyotes’ furious push to squeak in may have fallen short, but with games against their foes for the Wild Card, Colorado and Minnesota, coming in the next week, things could change in a hurry.
Let’s focus on the Carolina Hurricanes for the moment. According to moneypuck.com as of this morning, the ‘Canes sit at 97.83% for their playoff odds, and given the tight nature of the Metropolitan Division they could very quickly rise if things go their way. Tonight is the first of a home-and-home for them against the Washington Capitals who sit one point ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Islanders for first in the Metropolitan Division. Two wins for the Hurricanes could put them tied with the Islanders and Penguins, and set up an interesting weekend for them in Pennsylvania, at home in Philadelphia on Saturday then in Pittsburgh on Sunday. From there, their last three games are at Toronto, hosting New Jersey, then finishing in Philadelphia on April 6.
For maybe just tonight the rooting interest for Penguins’ fans will lie with the Blue Jackets, who are hosting the Islanders with a chance for Columbus to both bolster their playoff chances and damage Montreal’s. Montreal and Columbus face-off in Columbus on Thursday, so between tonight’s games and Thursday’s, there could be some major changes in store. Of course, New York losing will be of benefit to the Penguins, so maybe just don’t root for either team and give the Hurricanes all of your energy. Whoever wins the Metro will face the first Wild Card team which is presently Carolina, so maybe the Penguins and Hurricanes could square off in the first round?