Monday, April 14, 2008

Breaking backs; game notes

The following notes were compiled as we watched the game tonight:

  • We're starting to see about Marian Hossa in the playoffs, as he rings one off the post early on the first powerplay. It's not like he's disappeared or anything (same can't be said for Dany Heatley this year), but his luck seems to be very snake bitten. But with such a skilled player generating so many chances one has to go in soon, right?
  • No problem here with the penalty on Maxime Talbot for goaltender interference (even if Martin Gerber flew back like he was totally run over). Gotta protect the goalies, especially this year when it seems like goalies are getting run or contacted a lot more than years past.
  • By the time the first commerical break has hit, Ottawa has certainly shown their opening "pop"...They're out-shooting the Pens 5-3 (and have 4 more blocked or missed the net) and have generally dominated physical play and puck possession. If you didn't know which team of this series had the 2 games to 0 advantage, 7 minutes into the game you probably wouldn't guess it was Pittsburgh.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury makes a 10 bell save on a sequence which showed Nick Foligno (who's skating like his hair is on fire) split the d and then a snap shot from Daniel Alfredsson, who looks nothing like a guy just coming back from injury.
  • We wanted to see if the Ottawa fans would once again courtesy boo Sidney Crosby, but really it took 10 minutes into the game for him to bring the puch up the ice to find out. That is not a good sign. This game has been so far about how fast the Sens have been and how up to the task Fleury's been.
  • And they're kinda lazily booing him too, doesn't have as much vile as it did last playoffs. For a change the fans seem more enthused about rooting their own team than booing the Cros. That's cool with us.
  • Sure sign that it's playoff hockey: players like Rob Scuderi, Jordan Staal and Sergei Gonchar are throwing honest checks.
  • Gerber is matching Fleury, making beautiful saves on Ryan Malone and Hossa. Gerber's tracking the puck so well right now.
  • Evgeni Malkin appeared to be shaken up a little when Dean McAmmond stood him up at the blueline and looked like he elbowed him in the face. You'd think McAmmond, who got knocked out by Chris Pronger's elbow last year, should be a little better with his body control...
  • Folino opens the scoring when he jukes by Ryan Whitney and beats Fleury with a great wrist-shot. This gives the Senators and their crowd a life, and more importantly we'll get a chance to see how the Penguins respond with losing for the first time this post-season.
  • Maxime Talbot ties it up! Impressively Whitney started the rush behind his own net and every Penguin touches the puck. Excellent puck movement. Talbot (who extended his shift) had enough to slip behind Andrej Meszaros and backhand one past Gerber. What a beautiful feed he got too from Marian Hossa.
  • Halfway through the period, Adam Hall-Talbot-Georges Laraque have a great shift and cycle the puck in Ottawa's end for 20-30 seconds continuously. Noteworthy because it keeps Heatley's line in his own end more than they want to be....This happens just after the Jarkko Ruutu-Jordan Staal-Tyler Kennedy 3rd line kept Alfredsson and co. on their heels for the majority of a shift....The initial burst of energy from playing at home looks like it's worn out.
  • Good old fashioned scrum with 6 minutes left in the 2nd on the powerplay...Petr Sykora launches a slapper and then all the boys collapse on the goal, whacking away. Finally the Sens smuggle the puck up but as things tend to do in the playoffs, mayhem ensues.
  • Crosby strikes :12 seconds in! Chip it in, fish 'er out and knock it home. At this point it's 2-1 Pens and just one minute into the 3rd. The next goal is going to be--
  • JORDAN STAAL FINALLY DOES SOMETHING WITH HIS LIFE! Before we can finish about the Crosby goal, Kennedy fires a cross-ice pass to Staal who bats it home.
  • Only a bonehead takes a penalty Chris Neil does, punching a player in the face when your team is clinging to it's playoff life. His team just gave up two goals in less than 2 minutes and he pulls that? Not smart, guy.
  • Powerplay city and Hossa shovels a puck in the net. Credit coach Michel Therrien for taking a timely penalty to rest Malone, Malkin, Crosby and Gonchar who had just played an extended powerplay shift. Small move but it paid off.
  • Pens sit on the clock and take the air out of the puck for the last 5 minutes and that's your game.

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