Thursday, April 30, 2009

Malkin nominated for Hart

We have a bunch of random Pens stuff today. We'll start off with the obvious. Geno was officially named a finalist for the Hart trophy yesterday. We doubt this is a surprise to anyone and is obviously well deserved. We may be biased, but we feel he deserves to win it. He played outstanding this season all around, including having the most takeaways in the NHL. Ovie is the obvious favorite for, what we feel, is the media's obsession with his antics and Geno's lack of coverage. Unfair to say the least, but Pittsburgh will always feel Geno deserved the award.

Also on Geno, after not growing a playoff beard last year, he decided he is going to this year "to change a little bit my luck." Way to go Geno!

We've read and heard a lot of people complaining about the back-to-back travel games (Friday and Saturday, May 8th and 9th) during this series and our thought was the same as theirs, unfair. No other series has back to back games like Pens, Caps. We had read before the schedule was released that Mellon Arena had events scheduled during that time that could effect scheduling so we decided to check it out. As the schedule normally goes, it's every other day, so if they play Friday the 8th the next game should be Sunday the 10th and then Tuesday the 12th. Checking the Mellon Arena schedule, Yanni is scheduled to be there the 12th which would interfere with that every other day schedule. Our thoughts are that this is probably why they have to play back-to-back games because the game that would normally be on the 12th is at home and it's a no can do thanks to this guy. Obviously not confirmed, but it makes sense. So if you want to blame it on someone, blame Yanni.

The Pens website has a Pens, Caps series preview available.

We talked about Crosby switching hats towards the end of the season this year when he normally only wears one all year because of his many superstitions. The Pens have an article on how and why this came about. It's a nice story you should check out.

If you haven't checked out the article on Geno's parents yet, you need to read it here.

Always check Empty Netters for good stuff

Saturday seems so far away. Go Pens!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Pens headed to Washington

So we finally find out who the Pens are playing in the second round of the playoffs, the Capitals. How does that sit with you? What doesn't sit with us is the inevitable obsession that is sure to be coming over Ovie vs. Sid. No matter what, that trumps anything and everything else and it does get a bit old. And then you add in the Caps fans' obsession with Sid and you get overload.

We're sure the NHL and every media outlet known to man are excited about this one. Case in point, Conference semifinals feature Crosby vs. Ovechkin. That is the TV schedule for the next round.

Which looks like this for the Pens:

Saturday, May 2 at Washington, 1:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Monday, May 4 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Wednesday, May 6 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, May 8 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, May 9 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Monday, May 11 at Pittsburgh, TBD VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Wednesday, May 13 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS

Saturday can't get here soon enough. FSN is supposed to have up to three games in this round if the series were to go to seven games. We don't know which ones at this point. Either way, we have to get Versus ASAP because we're not missing any more games.

The Pens removed the interim tag from coach Dan Bylsma today to officially make him head coach. We think this is a good move and a good time to do so. He's done a great job and it's nice to go into the next round with head coach Dan Bylsma.

We're sorry we missed a couple of days, been really busy. And this morning's post wasn't so hot either. There will be more later, including a bunch of good links in case you missed some of them. And before we go, the latest episode of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins. Definitely one of the best. Enjoy.

Go Pens!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Steelers and the draft, more Pens stuff

The Steelers only ended up making one pick on day one of the draft because they traded their second round pick to Denver. They now have three picks in the third round and none in the fourth. But as to who they chose today, DE Evander "Ziggy" Hood from Missouri. We're going to be honest in just saying we know nothing and direct those of you like us to places who do. We basically knew nothing about the draft, we've been wrapped up in hockey, hockey, and more hockey.

Hines Ward will sign a new contract this week that will make him a Steeler for the rest of his career. It has not been decided whether it will be four or five years, but it will create cap space for the Steelers. Great news there. Ward is also only 220 yards away from being the first Steelers receiver to get 10,000 yards.

The cover of Madden has been announced and Troy Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald will grace it. This is the first time there will be two players on a cover. We really like the design of the cover and think it looks nice. Now we just hope Troy will avoid the "Madden curse."

As for hockey:

Penguins' Locker Room: Malkin savors victory, eyes some rest  Geno says he's ready for the next round and also thinks maybe Sykie is tired of playing with him after three years. Yeah right. Nice to see Geno's playful side.

Here are the second-round matchup possibilities for the Penguins:

• If Washington (down, 3-2, to the New York Rangers) and New Jersey (up, 3-2, over Carolina) advance, the Penguins will face Boston, with the Bruins having home ice.

• If Washington and Carolina advance, the Penguins will meet the Capitals, with Washington having home ice.

• If the Rangers and Devils advance, the Penguins will face New Jersey, with the Devils having home ice.

• If the Rangers and Hurricanes advance, the Penguins will face Carolina and have home ice. (From

So who do you want to see in the next round? Feel free to leave your comments.

John Tortorella has been suspended for one game after his incident with a fan in Washington. Between Avery and this we don't know how they're beating the Caps.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Crosby gets the last laugh, Pens advance


Wooooooooooo! All is well for Pens fans as Sidney Crosby gets the last laugh in Philadelphia once again and scores two goals to lead the Pens to a 5-3 victory to clinch the series. What a game. After being down 3-0 we really thought this was going to a game seven for sure. Yeah, there was a lot of time left but the Pens hadn't been playing too well the last couple games. But wow, they played great the rest of the game and scored four unanswered goals to win it, and then Crosby's empty netter to seal the deal.

The first period the Pens had some good chances and were playing well. And then we saw a turnover in front of the net for a good slapshot chance by the Flyers that thankfully didn't go in, but all we were thinking is here we go. And then it happened again, Max Talbot turned the puck over in his own end and it led to goal. We felt the Pens needed to get the first goal to win this game in Philly and we'll be honest, we got pissed and left the room. Although it was for good reason, our cat needed his medicine! We get the medicine and come back in the room to give it to him and the Flyers score again. If anyone was near our house they probably heard screams. The cat probably didn't like it either. End of period.

The second period would be a big one, although you wouldn't know how big at the beginning. The Pens had a power play but wouldn't get a goal, big surprise there. Then the Flyers get a power play and score, 3-0. Ugh. But then the entire game would change in the matter of a minute or two. Max Talbot, black eye and all, fought Carcillo. Talbot may not have won that fight, but good for him to try to get his team going. Carcillo tries to rile up the crowd while Talbot puts a finger to his lips telling them to shut up. Carcillo really didn't need to do this with his team up 3-0 but obviously he couldn't resist. Maybe he should have...

Right after that fight the Pens get on the board. Malkin was playing like a beast and tries to put in a wrap around on Biron but he holds it out. Fedotenko finds the puck and pokes it under Biron's pad. Pens down by two.

The Flyers decide to push Feds around and a scrum ensues around the net. After the penalties it's 4-on-4 hockey. A couple minutes after the first goal, Mark Eaton scores his second of the playoffs and the Pens are only down by one. Tyler Kennedy took a shot and Biron can't glove it, it goes into the air and Eaton hits it with the shaft of his stick into the goal.

The Pens would have some chances on the power play but nothing going on. The Flyers would get a power play but the Pens kill it. With three minutes left in the period, Sidney Crosby would get the fans to shut up by scoring the game-tying goal. Another goal Biron should have gloved. Game tied.

The Pens had some good chances late, but Biron would keep those out. The Flyers fans couldn't even get themselves to chant Crosby sucks after that goal. Who would have thought they would turn down a chance to do that?

A couple minutes into the third period, Malkin and Gonchar would team up. Malkin left a drop pass for Gonchar who would blast a slapshot past Biron. Wow, four unanswered goals and the Pens are leading 4-3.

Now it's time to hold your breath and hope the Pens can stay out of the box and play good defense to preserve the lead. There was a lot of up and down hockey, but in the end, the Pens were too much for the Flyers and Sidney Crosby would score an empty net goal with 27.4 second left in the game to seal the win. What a way to score one too, his first attempt is defended and goes off the side of the net but he collects the puck and turns to the other side to put it in. Whew. What a game.


- The Pens really responded after being down by three goals. They played well and didn't make many mistakes. Four unanswered goals to win it?! And an empty netter?! Wow.

- Everything is just as it should be in Philly. They chant Crosby's sucks all game and guess who gets the last laugh? Sidney Crosby. Did they really think it would be any different this time?

- Sid and Geno had monster games, which is exactly what the Pens needed. And then to get goals from Eaton and Gonchar is awesome. The Pens third line had another good game. They may not have gotten on the board but they continue to be great at puck possession.

- We weren't the only ones that thought Rob Scuderi had a great game, were we? He blocked a shot and then was playing with really only one arm but continued to attempt to block shots. He also made a huge play in the third period with his stick to save a potential goal.

- NBC was better without Pierre but we still don't like it so...NBC still sucks.

Tickets to the first two home games of round two will go on sale on Monday at 10 a.m.

Bring on round two. GO PENS!!!

Back to Philly, game 6

Well, it's back to Philadelphia and NBC for game 6. Philly is bad enough, we don't need NBC to go along with it. We heard somewhere that Pierre McGuire was not going to be doing the Pittsburgh game and all we can say is we sure hope not. NBC may still suck, but it sucks a whole lot less without Pierre. And we can only hope that the obsessive Mike Richards talk will also be non-existent.

We'd be lying if we said we weren't nervous. We did pick the Pens in six because we knew this series wouldn't be easy, but when it comes down to watching the games and waiting, it ain't easy. We're definitely not saying that the Pens can't win this series or won't win this series, but we are nervous. And let's face it, we're nervous with good reason. It's in Philly, it's an NBC afternoon game, the Pens did not play well at all past the first period in game 5 and Philly got all the bounces.

The first goal is so important and the Pens really need to set the stage and get the first goal. The earlier the better. The first goal also kills the crowd and the quieter the fans are, the better. Although they can feel free to yell Crosby sucks all day if they want because a pissed off Sidney Crosby is only benefiting to the Pens. And obviously a good outing from Marc-Andre Fleury can keep the Pens in any game if they can get a goal or two past Biron.

Bill Guerin addressed the team right after their 3-0 loss in game 5. No one knows what was said and the Pens obviously prefer to keep it in-house, although it seems he gave the team a blunt assessment of how the team has been playing. Ray Shero brought Guerin in partly for this reason and it seems he's willing to step up and be a leader. Hopefully whatever he said fires the Pens up for game 6. We really don't think we can handle a game 7.

Yinz Luv 'Da Guins new episode:

Jim is participating in the Beard-A-Thon to raise money for charity. If you'd like to pledge Jim, go here.

The Caps beat the Rangers last night 4-0 to avoid elimination. If our mind serves us correctly (that's a big if) Henrik Lundqvist stole the show in game 4, much like Fleury in game 4. And then in game 5, the Caps come back and shut out the Rangers. Sound familiar? Anyone? Kind of odd. All we're hoping for is a Pens win and a Rangers win so Ovie can go home crying. And then read the Caps' message boards. (We can't find the link to that but Ovie says he likes to read what the fans have to say. After finding love on the internet at one point, this isn't surprising. We really wish we could find that link so you could read his comments. Eh.)

Also of note, Rangers coach John Tortorella got into a confrontation with a fan in Washington. Considering how their fans are trying to be like Philly's, we're not surprised. He threw a plastic bottle over the glass and then proceeded to climb up on the bench and wave a hockey stick at the fan. As bad of an idea as that was, we can't really blame the guy. It appears that he may have had liquid (okay so it had to have been beer) poured on him. Bad idea to go after the fan, but when you're losing a potential series clinching game and some idiot behind the bench pours something on you and probably talked about your mom or some other equally disgusting comment, we'd want to hit them with a stick too.

Go Pens!

Friday, April 24, 2009

We're going back to Philly, Pens lose

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

We basically looked like Sid up there when FSN went out. And when the Flyers scored. And when Geno scored. And then when he didn't. And then when the Flyers scored again. And then when the Flyers scored again. And then when the game was over and we know it's back to Philly and NBC. You get the point. The Pens had a chance to wrap this series up at home in front of a whiteout crowd and failed to do so. Miserably. But you knew that already.

The Pens came out strong and had quite a few good scoring chances, including a wide open net in which Tyler Kennedy tried to put in a wrap around but hit the side of the net. That missed opportunity would basically tell the story for how the rest of the evening was going to go unfortunately. Somehow Martin Biron looked good and the Pens couldn't get one past him. Technically Geno got a puck past Biron, but it was called no goal because he kicked it in. Talk about bad luck. While that non-goal call was right, why couldn't it have just hit his stick?! Although we had to wait a while to see it because FSN went out because of a lightning strike (coincidence? we think not). Although for anyone who didn't see that non-goal, you should know that Geno did not try to soccer it into the goal and get away with it. He was trying to kick it to his stick but he unfortunately did not get his stick on it before it went behind Biron.

The Pens had a few other chances that just did not go their way. The Flyers seemed to get all the bounces to go in their favor. But bad bounces aside, the Pens just did not play well. How do you get on the verge of winning a series against your cross-state rivals at home in front of a whiteout crowd and play so poorly? We're still clueless on that one.

We don't feel the Flyers really played all that well either. They obviously played better than the Pens and capitalized on a few more chances, but it's not like the Pens were beaten on. Well maybe we should rephrase that, the Pens were beaten on, just by themselves and not the Flyers. Although we should also note that we missed a good portion of the second period so if we sound nuts, please excuse us.

With the series now at 3-2 and it heading back to Philly, it's not exactly the best situation. The Flyers obviously now feel they have a good chance of winning this series if they can force a game 7. Each team has won at the other's arena, so anything can happen. We just hope the Pens fix their problems and come out with some purpose in game 6 or we're in for some trouble.

- The Pens' third line played well as usual lately. Their puck possession is nuts. They created many of the scoring chances the Pens had. Now if T.K. only buries that wrap around, who knows where we'd be.

- Were we the only ones that felt Philippe Boucher did not play well. If we heard right, he was involved in two of Philly's goals. He turned the puck over for one of them for sure. He just didn't look good to us and we miss Kris Letang. If Letang is not hurt, he really needs to play next game. And as for Satan, he was just there. Kind of like Sykora lately. We'd rather see Sykora because we know what he can bring to the table and we feel it's better than Satan. We were really hoping that Satan would surprise us but he didn't.

- The Pens' defense needs to step up a bit more and there needs to be way less turnovers. How many times have we seen turnovers at the blue line lead to goals? Too many. And please just get pucks on net and stop trying to make the perfect play. It leads to turnovers too often.

- Please don't let Biron shut you out.

Headed back to Philly for game 6 on NBC. What's worse than Philly and NBC? Not a whole lot. We only hope the Pens wake up and take game 6 because a game 7 with the series on the line might be more than we can handle.

Go Pens!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sykora's out, Satan's in

The Pens have decided to sit Petr Sykora tonight and play Miroslav Satan. We were a little surprised by this decision but at the same time not. Sykora hasn't really done anything for quite a while, which is obviously frustrating, and after that open net miss maybe that was enough for Dan Bylsma. It should be interesting to see how Satan performs tonight. After heading down to the Baby Pens maybe he has a new passion and will play out of his mind tonight. The Pens really need to end this tonight and not head back to Philly. 

Dan Bylsma has said that he will be shuffling the lines as he did in game 4. He said you will see Satan with Geno and Feds but you'll also see others with Geno as well. We've also heard Satan will be on the fourth line the majority of the night. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

Kris Letang is also a game-time decision after some kind of injury in game 4. Philippe Boucher will take his place if he is unable to go.

Time to get this done. Go Pens!

Let's finish this thing

The Pens have the opportunity to end this series and advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It can't really get a whole lot better than ending this series in five games, being at home to do it with a whiteout, and eliminating the Flyers from the playoffs. We just hope Fleury can pull off another amazing game and send the Flyers home for good. We really don't need this series to go any longer and have to go back to Philly. The Pens need to remember what they're playing for, which we don't think will be much of a problem, and play more in the offensive zone instead of their own end. Will someone please tell Fleury the Flyers still think they have him figured out? Should be good for another amazing performance.

Fleury's play limits options  You should read this article just because Collier calls Fleury "the smiling netminder with the chocolate Tootsie Pop eyes." Now if you're of the female variety, that probably sounds pretty good and you could stare into them all day although slightly creeped out that a man said that. If you're of the male variety you probably just plain find that strangely creepy.

There will be a whiteout at tonight's game. The atmosphere should be unbelievable and we think the whiteout always looks great. Now if we could only be there...

Go Pens!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pens win in a Fleury, series 3-1


The Pens beat the Flyers 3-1 last night to take their series lead up three games to one and will head back home for game 5.

Wooooooo! How does it feel to be up three games to one in the series? How about beating the Flyers in Philly and quieting the crowd? How about going home to play game 5 for a chance to win the series in five games? Good, huh?

The Pens didn't play their best game last night, but you wouldn't know it looking at the score. Marc-Andre Fleury stole the show by making 45 saves and holding the Flyers to one goal up until there was only a little over eight minutes left in the game. And those eight minutes were pretty crazy. Fleury stood tall against the Flyers and made save after save, many of them highlight reel worthy. Can you think of a better played game by Fleury other than game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year? We can't. He was seeing everything and making every save. How did he make that save when the puck came off of the boards and up next to his right post without even looking? Nuts. If he can continue to play like this, it will be awfully hard for the Pens to lose whether they play their best game or not. You heard that the Flyers thought they had Fleury figured out, right? Yeah, it sure looked like it.

The Pens may not have dictated the play but with Fleury's help, they did what they needed to do to get things done. The Pens gave the Flyers eight power play chances in which they couldn't even score once. That's not to say that they didn't any get shots off, but once again, Fleury stole the show and was the Pens' best penalty killer. But the Flyers figured MAF out. Yeah.

The first period was scoreless with both teams having a couple power play chances. The Pens also had a couple almost goals, including Sykora's open net miss. We weren't the only ones that screamed at the TV on that one were we? Sykora just can't get a goal. If he is hurt, it's obviously showing. But that miss! Ahhh! He must have bad luck because we don't know how that doesn't go in. We also saw some line switch-ups including seeing Malkin on Crosby's wing.  Dan wanting to be aggressive and get the first goal in Philly maybe? Nah.

The second period would see some scoring. The Flyers had a power play early in which the Pens would kill. At the end of that power play, the Flyers would turn the puck over and Chris Kunitz would get the puck to Matt Cooke who had just come out of the box. Cooke would get it back to Kunitz who then make a cross-ice pass to Sidney Crosby who was charging to the net. Crosby would fall going to goal but still managed to get his stick on the puck that would go into the net, while he followed. The goal was reviewed but held up. The Flyers are probably still complaining.


The second goal came not long after the first when Tyler Kennedy scored his second goal of the playoffs on a nice backhander. Cooke would get his second assist on as many goals for his first two points of the playoffs.


The Flyers would finally get a goal after all those shots with a little over eight minutes left in the period from Daniel Carcillo. The rest of the period would be a wild one with the Flyers trying to tie the game and the Pens trying to hold on to their lead. As one would expect, the Flyers would pull Biron for the extra attacker and with 51.3 seconds left in the game, Craig Adams would get possession of the puck and pass it to Talbot who would gain the red line and shoot it down the ice and into the empty net. Someone can score an empty netter?! Who would have thought! Pens seal the win 3-1 to put them up in the series 3-1.

- Tyler Kennedy has been really impressive. He's scored two goals, he's great at working the boards, and he's all over the ice. He may be kind of small, but he plays big and he's not afraid of anyone.

- It's so nice to see Jordan Staal playing so well. He really blossomed after Dan Bylsma took over and he's just gotten better and better. He may not always show up on the score sheet but he's definitely showing up on the ice. His defensive skills are awesome.

- Marc-Andre Fleury obviously didn't like it that the Flyers thought they had him figured out because after a lackluster game 3, he came out last night with a mission and he accomplished it. He by far was the best player on the ice last night and just stole the game for the Pens.

- Sidney Crosby makes big time plays in big time games, period. He really steps up to the task. Those Crosby sucks chants probably didn't hurt his motivation either.

- Geno had his first game of the playoffs without recording a point. He still leads the playoffs with seven, with Crosby right behind him now at six. We really don't think he played badly at all, just didn't get on the board last night. It happens. Although if Petr Sykora would start producing, it would help Malkin out a lot.

The Pens can clinch the series Thursday night at home. Not only would we rather the Pens clinch as soon as possible, but let's save ourselves from another game on NBC while we're at it. Game 6, if necessary, will be Sunday at 3 p.m. on NBC. Game 5 is Thursday night at 7 p.m. on FSN.

Go Pens!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Game 4

The Pens play tonight at 7 p.m. on FSN. It will never feel so good to hear Steigy and Bob. Time for the Pens to forget about game 3 and play their game. There isn't a whole lot else to say. Come out strong, shut up the crowd, and play your game. Lookin' for a win tonight. Let's go Pens!

Monday, April 20, 2009

No need to panic, Pens lose.


We knew the Pens didn't have to win every game to win the series, it is a best of seven after all, but it doesn't matter, losses still hurt. Watching the Flyers score two goals in the first few minutes was not the start we had anticipated. That felt like the worst thing that could have happened. When you're on the road it's always a good idea to start fast and score first. That obviously didn't happen. And who wanted to give the Flyers the idea that they could win this game, let alone this series? No, we weren't panicking yet, there was a ton of time left. But in that environment and down by two only a few minutes in isn't exactly your idea of good.

When the Pens scored with only 11 seconds left in the first period, we thought YES! this is exactly what they needed. What better way to get the momentum shifted in your direction than scoring with mere seconds left on the clock? So you can imagine our, and probably everyone else's, dismay when the Pens scored 13 seconds into the second period to tie it. All of a sudden those two Flyers goals didn't look so bad.

Unfortunately the feeling didn't last long. Before you knew it the Flyers scored again to get the lead 3-2. What a downer. But not nearly as much of a downer as the next goal. The Pens had a power play and that should be a good thing, right? Not so much this time. Okay okay, worse than usual, we get it. All of a sudden it's 4-2 after a shorthanded goal by the Flyers. We really couldn't have been the only ones that hoped that this wouldn't happen to the Pens. It seemed like that was all you heard about on their power play. The Flyers scored the most shorthanded goals. Blah, blah, blah. That was a killer.

The third period included two goals by the Flyers, one of those being an empty netter at the end of the game after Fleury had been pulled. Geno would score a second goal but it wasn't enough to beat the Flyers. The Pens would lose 6-3 to put the series at 2-1 Pens.

The random thoughts section of this post should be a long one, partially thanks to NBC.

- What exactly was Geno thinking about before the game? They showed him sitting in the locker room with his arms crossed and doing nothing and looking a little...intense. We just found it kind of interesting.

- What was with the Sidney Crosby questions every five seconds? Is there no one else involved in the game? Ridiculous. The leading scorer in the league and the playoffs is on the same team but who cares obviously. We like Crosby, you all know that, but there is more than one person that plays for the Pens. NBC doesn't know that. And what was with telling Sidney to keep smiling? A little creepy.

- Did anyone actually like that above the ice, behind the net camera angle? We thought that was terrible. We couldn't even see the puck. And then when the Flyers scored on one of their power plays, we didn't know till everyone freaked out. Okay, we know, that's a whole couple of seconds after the puck goes in but it really ruined things for us.

- As for more serious things, what happened to the Pens defense? Things weren't looking so good. Fleury may be the goalie, but there is a defense for a reason and it was not helping MAF out by any means. It's way too late to be making careless mistakes and those things can't happen again in game 4. Tying this series would be the last thing we want.

- Where was the discipline? The Flyers did their usual stupid penalties thing too but that's not the Pens' game like it seems to be the Flyers. As more than one player said, the Flyers sucked the Pens into that style of play and it obviously didn't work for the Pens. There needs to be some restraint in the next game because playing like that isn't going to get them anywhere.

- We still like the hits, just not after the whistle. Chris Kunitz has been an absolute beast on the ice, hitting anything he possibly can. We don't know if becoming a father helped out, but we love it. And it doesn't get much better than his huge hit on Kimo Timonen. Wow. We need to see that a few more times. He also wasn't afraid to take on Hartnell when he had a problem with the hit. We like Kunitz's grit.

- Most people are helping out the team and have done something to stand out so far in this series but where is Petr Sykora? You could usually count on Sykora to take a Geno pass or two and bury it into the back of the net but not lately. He really needs to step up or we think someone else should take his spot on Geno's line.

- We hate talking about the Refs but what are they on? Yes, their jobs aren't easy, but some of these calls or non-calls are a little ridiculous. How did Staal getting a stick to the face end up with him being penalized? And of course a goal was scored by the Flyers on that power play. We can deal with some of the calls, they'll happen in every game, but that was too much.

- We love that Philly hasn't lost it's touch. The Crosby sucks chants started even early that we thought they would and the boos were as loud as ever. The chants about the refs were really classy as well. Fans are fans at times but Philly really takes it to another level. The Crosby and refs chants being encouraged is too low for our liking. Why an organization would let that happen we'll never understand.

- Geno is playing like Geno and we love it. He is playing at such a high level it's incredible. Which is also why we don't think it's fair to have invisible Sykora on his wing when maybe someone else could be a lot better.

- The Pens need to get back to their game. Be aggressive, no after the whistle garbage, and find their defense and they'll be fine.

- NBC sucks.

Go Pens!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Game 3, Yinz Luv 'Da Guins

With the Pens up 2-0 the series heads to Philadelphia for game 3. We all know what it's like in Philly. Harsh. Popcorn on the bench, profane words of every variety, and of course Flyers fans, like Caps fans, have their target set on Sidney Crosby. You know the boos and the Crosby sucks chants. Blah blah, what's new? You'd think the fans would learn not piss off Sidney Crosby but they obviously never will. Kind of like how their team will never learn to stop taking stupid penalties. But as Pens fans, we don't care because the end result benefits us. Please Philadelphia, do as you always do.

We expect the Flyers to have a little more energy considering they're at home and they're just like their fans, dirty, so that should get the team going. As for how long until they melt down and take stupid penalties or how soon Sid gets pissed is what's yet to be seen. And we're not betting on which one happens first because it's just too close to call. If the Pens can get the first goal, we think that will really wear on the Flyers and we all know what happens then. If the Pens stick to their game, they should be able to win again to all but put the series away. 

Unfortunately it must be watched on NBC unless you can get a CBC broadcast of something. Between NBC's bad product and their refusal to let the Pens show the game on their big screen, it makes us sick. We don't know who will be doing the game, but yesterday Darren Pang was between the benches instead of Pierre McGuire and he was much less annoying for the little bit we watched the Caps game yesterday. As for the rest of the broadcast, well it was your typical quality from NBC. And since we mentioned the Caps, they lost again yesterday 1-0 to the Rangers. The Rangers now have a 2-0 lead in the series. Looks like Ovie isn't doing much for his team in the playoffs, is he? We believe he has two assists, while his Russian league mate Geno has five points. We also heard about Ovie's superior defensive skills while the Rangers' only goal was being scored. What or where was Ovie? Standing around at the blue line of course! Who should be MVP?

Post Gazette coverage  Great article on Sergei Gonchar and Rob Scuderi and his father who is a retired police officer. Worth your time to read them.

Here is Yinz Luv 'Da Guins Game 2:

Go Pens!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pens take 2-0 series lead

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Woooooooooooooo! What a game last night huh? Just when you think the Flyers might have gotten a win, the Pens fight back and win 3-2 in overtime. This was a great game to watch with tons of action with not a lot of stoppages. The Flyers obviously listened to their coach about being more disciplined, well at least until the end of the game, because there were no where near the amount of penalties as in game 1.

The Pens came out flying to start the game and got plenty of good chances in the Flyers' zone. They were swarming and it just felt like it was only a matter of time before they buried one in the back of the net. The game went over seven minutes without a whistle, which was plenty entertaining and all Penguins. Malkin would hit a post and there were hits all over the ice. It seemed like every Pens player on the ice were making big hits, one after the other. Who said the Pens can't be physical? The Pens had a power play but wouldn't cash in. Not long after that, the Flyers got a power play and it wouldn't take long before Scott Hartnell would deflect a shot behind Fleury, Pens down 0-1. Of all people to score. Hartnell would then pull something else on the ice. Sykora had a nice chance and Hartnell couldn't get back to defend so he threw his stick at Sykora to impede his shot. No call. WTF?! How could you not see that? One of several bad non-calls last night. Before the period was over, Marc-Andre Fleury would show why he's so important. He made two huge saves in a span of a few seconds. It's nice to have a good goalie, isn't it?

In the second period the play wasn't quite as fast, but the Pens had some chances early. You know the types, the ones that make you go AHHHHHH! The ones that just don't go in. Frustrating. Fleury would make a few more nice saves and there would be some 4-on-4 hockey before Bill Guerin would put one home to tie the game. Yeah! Dan Bylsma had just put Crosby and Malkin out on the ice together and they would each get an assist on Guerin's goal. Score is tied 1-1 after the second.

Just a few minutes into the third some guy named Powe would get a goal for the Flyers to put them up 2-1. We don't even remember ever hearing this guy's name and then after that goal, we heard it all night. We swear he was on the ice the entire rest of the game. With a little more than eight minutes left in the game, Marc-Andre Fleury would make a toe save that would rival his amazing save in game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals last year. Amazing. What do those people who think Fleury sucks have to say about that one? Nothing? Didn't think so. He gave a little jump after the save and was grinning ear to ear. Nice save Flower. Instead of that sure goal for Carter to put the Flyers up 3-1 and probably give them the win, the game was still in reach.

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

Turns out that save would mean something. At 4:04 left in the game the Pens would get a power play. Now was the time to tie the game, the power play had to be clicking on all cylinders. And then it came. A pretty amazing goal considering what happened. Kris Letang took a slap shot that seemed to hit more than one person on it's way into the net. The last person it hit was Evgeni Malkin who got the goal to tie the game at 2.

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

The Pens were flying after that and obviously wanted to end this game in regulation. But it wouldn't happen, the game was destined for overtime. And now, it's play until someone wins, no matter how long or how many overtimes it takes. Hold on. This is when you find yourself holding your breathe and feel your heart skip a beat every time a puck goes near the net. There was quite a bit of that on both ends of the ice. With 4:34 left in the first OT period, the Pens would take a penalty. On that penalty kill the Pens would take the puck down ice shorthanded and Biron would come out to challenge. There's an empty net and AHHHHHHHH! the Pens couldn't put it home. Biron ended up out at the blue line. WTF?! We didn't get to see that unfortunately but all we have to say is WTF?!

With 3:02 left in the OT the Flyers would take a penalty to create a short 4-on-4 before the Flyers would take another penalty at 2:35 to give the Pens 1:29 of 5-on-3 play. Thank you Flyers! With 1:31 left in the OT, Bill Guerin would squeeze a puck in between the post and Biron's blocker for the win. How exactly did he do that? He sized things up and what a perfect shot to make it through. Pens win 3-2!

- What was up with the Refs tonight? The game definitely was not called as tight as game 1 was and there were a lot of missed penalties we thought. We know, can't blame anything on the Refs and we're not, but it is a little ridiculous.

- The Pens were hitting anything that moved last night, especially early in the game. If the Flyers want to play a physical game, the Pens will play a physical game. And win.

- All we kept thinking later in the game was that Marc-Andre Fleury did not deserve to lose. He was playing great and made a highlight reel's worth of saves, especially the toe save a la game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals last year. He can take this team far.

- Mike Tomlin had some nice seats on the glass last night with his two sons. Tomlin had on a white Sidney Crosby jersey and his sons both had white jerseys as well although we didn't see which player. It's nice to see him supporting the Pens as the Pens supported the Steelers this past season.

- Speaking of supporting, FSN showed Dan Bylsma, Tom Fitzgerald, Kris Letang, Phillippe Boucher, and Ray Shero taking in a Pirates game Thursday on their day off. Again, nice to see the teams supporting each other.

- It feels great having a 2-0 lead on the series, especially with going into Philly on Sunday afternoon. The Flyers wanted a split and they almost got it. The momentum going into Sunday's game 3 is on the Penguins side, right where it needs to be going into a place like Philly. We can't wait to hear the Crosby sucks chants and all the Cindy Crysby and diver signs. We all know what happens when Philly is at it's best (worst). You get the best out of Sidney Crosby. Will they ever learn?

Go Pens!

P.S. Some members of the team have great beards started like Bill Guerin, Max Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, and even the owner himself Mario Lemieux. We hope to find some pictures soon so we can keep up with the progress. ;)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Game 2

In just a few hours the Pens will be playing game 2 against the Flyers. If they play their game as effectively as they did in game 1, they should be able to get another win. The question is though, what Philly team will show up tonight? The one that showed up in the last game of the regular season and the first game of the playoffs, or a better and more disciplined Flyers? Either way, we feel the Pens are better, especially with the way their defense played in game 1, but it will be a lot easier if the Flyers can't figure out what's wrong and fix it.

Old news by now, but David Carcillo was suspended for one game for the blow to head he put on Max Talbot at the end of game one. Coach Stevens was also fined $10,000. We think this is a good call, but it shouldn't matter much other than this guy can't be attempting to hurt anyone in tonight's game. We think a couple of those other hits were just as bad if not worse than this but whatever.

And on to some disappointing news for those of you lucky enough to be in Pittsburgh. Game 3 on Sunday will not be shown on the big screen outside Mellon Arena because NBC says no. Last year this wasn't a problem and now all of a sudden it is. We hate NBC to begin with for hockey and basically everything else too so this isn't too surprising and doesn't make us like them any more now obviously. It seems like a selfish way to deprive a couple thousand people the enjoyment of watching the game in their hometown with the people that share their passion. Terrible decision by NBC in our opinion and it's just going to turn the whole Pittsburgh market (and beyond) on their station. Thank goodness FSN appreciates Pittsburgh and it's fans.

The other problem we have with this is the fact that last year when the game was shown on the jumbotron inside Mellon Arena you had to pay like five dollars or something like that to get in and that money went to charity. So basically NBC is denying the Mario Lemieux Foundation a lot of money if the Pens continue on in the playoffs and they are shown on NBC. Ridiculous. 

Empty Netters has a phone number and Pensblog has a ton of e-mail addresses and phone numbers. If you disagree with this, let them know it. We think NBC won't know what hit them. They just might get how much sports mean in Pittsburgh after this.

Enjoy the game and here's to winning game 2. Go Pens!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yinz Luv 'Da Guins!

Here is the latest episode of Yinz Luv 'Da Guins for your enjoyment.

We have no idea if anyone else will find the commercial part hilarious like we did but we laughed for way longer than we probably should have. Thanks Jim for the laughs and keep 'em comin'.

Go Pens!

Pens beat Flyers 4-1, take series lead 1-0

(Matt Freed/Post-Gazette)

Wooooooooooooo! Could last night's game have been any better? Okay, so there's always room for improvement, especially on the power play when the Flyers give you endless ones, but an almost shutout is something we'll take. Not to mention a 1-0 series lead.

The Pens executed their game plan pretty well and it worked out in their favor. They played the majority of the time in the offensive zone, they were aggressive and physical, and didn't let the Flyers get under their skin. The same can't be said of the Flyers. We wish the Pens had made them pay a little more on the power play, but so far the Flyers look like they'll be taking a lot of penalties. But then again, what else is new? Scotty Hartnell decided to give the Pens a lot of that time, including getting a ten-minute misconduct penalty. That one was at the very end of the game, but he was still causing trouble like he always does. And as long as he doesn't injure someone, we say go for it, it can help the Pens.

Speaking of injuring people, why exactly do the Flyers get away with as much as they do? How many times last night were they trying to hurt people? The trip of Letang, the hit to the head on...we forgot, the hit on Staal, the cross-checking over and over. A lot of that stuff is just plain dirty and it's ridiculous in our opinion. Godard may have to make an appearance.

Overall the Pens played pretty well and the Flyers did not. The Pens can work on a few things but you can't argue too much about last night's game, especially when they won 4-1 and are leading the series. Fleury looked good, confident, and comfortable in net, while Martin Biron did not. If the Pens stick to the game plan of playing a north to south game, being aggressive and physical, and playing in the offensive zone they shouldn't have any problems winning this series. Especially if the Flyers remain as flat and undisciplined as they were last night.

Random thoughts:

- How great does Tyler Kennedy look? He's all over the ice, fighting for the puck, getting there quicker than anyone else. He's like a little ball of fury. A tough one at that. He was rewarded last night with his first playoff goal in his career and he deserved it.

- Mark Eaton looks good lately as well. He's making all kinds of plays and even scored another goal last night, his first in the post-season in his career. His sliding across the ice and breaking up that pass in front of the net was nice too.

- Chris Kunitz became a daddy yesterday to a son named Zachary James about 10 hours before the start of the game. He didn't get a goal but he was hitting people all over the place. We think he'll be a nice factor in the post-season as it moves on.

- How awesome are Malkin's parents? They are having the time of their lives watching their star son play hockey. Dad and Mom are obviously very proud. It looked as if Dad was going to cry after he scored a goal and Mom had a 71 on her cheek and was waving her towel. We like that they don't hold back their emotions and it's high fives all around. If you head over to Empty Netters, Seth saw a nice group of people with Dad chanting MVP and taking pictures with him. As Seth said, we don't know how much English they understand but they sure get the MVP and how much fans love their son.

Okay, we borrowed (stole) Seth's picture:

(Seth over at EN)

- How ready is Sidney Crosby for the playoffs?

- We love Matt Cooke.

- Jordan Staal is really coming into his own too. He had a great game last night.

- The Flyers are dirty.

The Rangers beat the Capitals last night 4-3. How awesome is that? But yet somehow Ovie still managed to get the number 1 star. We know they don't have to win to get that but the number 2 star had a goal and two assists while Ovie only had two assists. No, we didn't watch that game but you can't tell us that Ovie was shutting people down with his superior defensive skills or anything.

The Devils also won last night over the Hurricanes 4-1. Still want the Devils now? :)

Go Pens!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Go Time

You've just been Geno'd

The season flew by and the playoffs start today. We don't know where the time went but it doesn't get any more exciting than this right now. Cross state rivals in what should promise to be a hard-fought, physical match-up. If you're anxious, it's okay, we are too.

That picture, we don't have the original on this computer, is what we think of first when we think back to last year and the Flyers in the playoffs. If Geno can pull that one off again, we'll probably start a small riot in front of the Flyers fans' house down the street. (We know, ewww).

You could probably say a lot about this series but at the end of the day the Pens have home ice, it's going to be physical, it's going to be emotional, and it's going to be exciting. We think if the Pens can jump on the Flyers from the start, they'll be able to keep the momentum we feel they have on their side. The Flyers couldn't even beat a team with not much to play for in the last game of the regular season to gain home ice advantage, they obviously don't have any momentum coming in. Both teams have some nice depth but we think the Pens can be too much for their defense and Marty Biron to handle and jumping on them early only makes things worse for the Flyers. At the end of the day it's just time for the Pens to play their game and they should come out of this series alive. We're just hoping for no injuries and lots of penalties on the Flyers. Oh, and a working Pens' power play.

There are a ton of other links on the Pens site for great reading material, there are just too many to link to here. We know there are probably also a million other things we could talk about, but we're just ready to start this series.

The Post-Gazette is also awesome for coverage and reading material, go here to check it out. And the best part of hockey coverage over at PG, Empty Netters.

If you're in the Pittsburgh area, the big screen is up and running so you can watch the game outside Mellon Arena. We really wish we were closer to the 'burgh so we could at least go to watch there with a ton of other Pens fans.

We just searched for tickets to game 2 and some were available in level C. Believe us, it took a lot of restraining not to order those. Unfortunately we could really only make it to a weekend game and Friday night would be a possibility but iffy. Basically the point of that is that the Pens released more tickets today to both games. Doubt they will be available for very long and are probably gone by now, but for future reference, keep looking for tickets because you just might get some. Ticket exchange is also available if you want to pay those prices.

We will also be keeping up with the players' playoff beards. If you go to any of the games and get pictures of players with their playoff beards, or lack thereof, please send them in.

For now, that's it from us. At 4:37 a.m. it's time for sleep. Enjoy the game tonight, we know we will. 

Go Pens!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Schedule is out, Pens play Wednesday

The NHL has released the schedule for the first round of the playoffs and the Pens will play on Wednesday at 7 p.m. It can't come soon enough.

The rest of the schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, April 15 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Friday, April 17 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
Sunday, April 19 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. NBC, CBC, RDS
Tuesday, April 21 at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Thursday, April 23 at Pittsburgh, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC, RDS
*Saturday, April 25 at Philadelphia, 3:00 p.m. NBC, CBC
*Monday, April 27 at Pittsburgh, TBD VERSUS, CBC

* if necessary

All games other than the NBC games are also on FSN.  Link

Go Pens!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Rangers beat Flyers, home ice for the Pens

We can all thank the Rangers for beating the Flyers today and giving the Pens home ice advantage in the playoffs. Who would have thought a couple months ago that the Pens would go from 10th place to 4th with home ice advantage? It seems nuts but it's reality and how could Pens fans be any happier? The schedule is still expected today and we'll get that up when we find it. The playoffs start Wednesday so the first game will not be before Wednesday.

We saw while watching part of the Chicago/Detroit game on NBC that they will have games on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Saturday's game was announced as Rangers/Capitals. Saturday the 25th is on the schedule for 3 p.m. as well. As much as we don't like NBC, the more hockey we get the better.

We'll post the schedule when see it.

Go Pens!

Pens looking good, Geno wins scoring title


What a great night for Pens fans. A win with a chance at home ice advantage and Geno winning the Art Ross trophy for being the league's leading scorer. Alexander Ovechkin made the race close in the end but after going scoreless in his last game and having two points last night, Geno won with 113 points to Ovie's 110. Congratulations Geno, you deserve it.

Geno said he was nervous. Did he look it? We don't think so.

Besides Geno winning the scoring title, the Pens know who they'll be playing in the first round of the playoffs and they also still have a chance at home ice advantage since they won last night. Philly needs to lose today against the Rangers in regulation for the Pens to move into the fourth spot. Even if the Flyers lose in OT or a shootout, they will remain in fourth place because they would have one more point than the Pens. With a loss they would be tied with the Pens in fourth and the Pens would have the tiebreaker. The only problem with this is the Rangers don't have a whole lot to play for today. They are locked into their 7th place position and can't move up or down, but we can still hope they beat Philly. We know it sounds nuts, but be a Rangers fan today.

Last night's game against the Canadiens was a little odd overall we thought. Carey Price basically stood on his head and made save after save as the Pens swarmed him. The Pens were badly out-shooting the Habs in the first two periods. Geno didn't waste any time getting a point in this game by making it 1-0 early with less than two minutes played. With 4:25 left in the period the Pens thought they were up 2-0, but Talbot's "goal" was called a no-goal because of a high stick. Not long after that the Habs would score to make it 1-1.

The Pens had a lot of chances in the second period but Carey Price was robbing them left and right. No score in the second, game still tied 1-1.

About halfway into the third the Habs would be on a power play when Max Talbot would score on a breakaway with Pascal Dupuis to put the Pens up 2-1. Dupuis' backhand pass was a nice one that Price didn't think was coming. Then on the same power play, Letang gets the puck and skates down ice to the far faceoff circle and lets a slap shot fly that burned Carey Price. Pens up 3-1 and win the game.

The schedule for the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs will be announced sometime today. They will not start any sooner than Wednesday.

We weren't thrilled to hear the Pens would play the Flyers in the first round but there probably won't be a more exciting match-up. We obviously worry about the physical aspect that generally comes with a Philly match-up. Whichever team comes out of this alive will surely be a bit bruised and tired. Buckle up because here we go and it may be a bumpy ride.

Go Pens!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pens - Canadiens

Short post from us this morning. The Pens will play their regular season finale tonight against the Montreal Canadiens at 7:00 p.m. If you get FSN Pittsburgh, Inside Penguins Hockey is on at 6:00 and pre-game at 6:30.

We feel like there isn't a whole lot to say about this game. Pens can get home ice if they win tonight and Carolina and Philly lose out. Fleury will start in net tonight and Dan Bylsma has not decided on Phillippe Boucher. Miroslav Satan has been recalled from the Baby Pens but we don't know when or if he'll play. Geno is four points ahead of Ovechkin in the scoring race with one game to play for both of them tonight, with Ovechkin against Florida. Malkin's confidence in his winning the scoring title "I'll score, too, so I win." Said with a smile of course. Way to go Geno!

Once a second choice, Malkin nears scoring title  Crazy he was a second choice huh?

Enjoy the game and then get ready for the playoffs!

Go Pens!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Fleury on IPH

If you don't get FSN Pittsburgh or just haven't seen the Inside Penguins Hockey episode with Marc-Andre Fleury and Max Talbot as guests, you really need to. It was asked about in the comments so here it is for you to enjoy.

Pens beat up on Islanders

(Peter Diana/Post-Gazette)

The Pens beat the Islanders 6-1 last night. The game started out pretty slow and with the Islanders getting the first goal about five minutes into the game. The Pens didn't let themselves stay down for too long though. With a little less than six minutes left in the the first, Phillippe Boucher scored the Pens' first goal with assists going to Malkin and Fedotenko. You wouldn't think Boucher was out for so long seeing him in this game.

The second saw two more Pens goals in the first half of the second period. Dupuis had a goal around four minutes into the second to put the Pens up 2-1. About five minutes later, Matt Cooke would make the score 3-1. Kennedy and Staal received the assists on this goal and Staal made a beautiful pass to Cooke for the score. After the goal, Cooke could be seen telling Staal he made a great pass. The Islanders would get a 5-on-3 power play that was killed by the Pens. Garon made some really great saves at the end of the period to keep the score 3-1.


Four minutes into the third period, the Islanders would get yet another 5-on-3 power play that would once again be killed by the Pens. With 8:52 left in the period Bill Guerin would score a goal against his former team to make the score 4-1. Sidney Crosby would get the only assist. Not long after that the Pens would get a power play in which Gonchar would score. malkin and Crosby got the assists to make the game 5-1. With 3:02 left in the game, kennedy would add on another goal to make the game 6-1. Kennedy's goal was awesome and he made a nice move. Game over, Pens win.

After the game the Pens did their annual "shirts off our backs" promotion. For those who may not know what this is, fans are randomly chosen to receive the jersey off the back of one of the Pens, which they then sign. We definitely wish we could have been in on that, it's a great gesture by the team to reward their loyal fans.

Here is Geno, Sid, and Letang:

Last night was also the annual awards ceremony, including the "Good Guy" award and MVP. You can watch all of it here:

Geno's interview with Dan Potash:

His English is great and he looks great after a haircut. On Alexander Ovechkin not getting any points tonight and him having a four point lead on him in points, "it's great news." Said with a smile. We couldn't have said it any better ourselves. How can you not love the guy?

Something else you can get in on would be the Penguins Beard-a-thon where you are encouraged to "grow one for the team." It is intended to raise money for the Mario Lemieux Foundation. You can participate by growing a beard, pledging someone you know, or pledging one of the participating Pens players. We find this to be a great idea for some fun and helping out a charity. If any guys or guys you know are going to participate in this and you want us to call attention to you or them, let us know, we'd love to help and view all the great beards. Go here to check out the website.

The Pens' last game of the regular season will be Saturday against the Canadiens in Montreal. Could be a game that really matters when it comes to the playoff seeding. We can't believe the regular season only has one game left. Where did it go?

Go Pens!

One thing on the Steelers. They have offered Byron Leftwich a two-year deal. He visted with the Tampa Bay Bucs yesterday.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Pens - Islanders

The Pens have clinched a playoff spot and there are only two games left in the regular season. We don't know whether to feel good or bad about that. Hockey is a long season but it never seems to be long enough for us, although we are ready for the excitement that is the playoffs. And yes, that includes playoff beards. We'll be keeping a close watch on all those good, bad, and downright ugly beards. Let's just hope Sidney Crosby has a chance to grow one. It also leads us to our quote of the day by Bill Guerin:

"We do have some guys (on the team) who have a hard time growing a beard. We can always pencil them in."

We were supposed to be talking about the Islanders right? Sorry, the playoffs just sounded so much better. Phillippe Boucher and Mathieu Garon figure to get playing time tonight against the Islanders. That is one nice thing about securing a spot and playing a team like the Islanders, you can get some guys who don't get a lot of playing time in there. It should be interesting to see how Dan Bylsma decides to play the rest of the guys, especially Crosby and Malkin. Geno needs to win the scoring title. He's been the leader all season and now is not the time to let that go. Especially to Ovie. And a team like the Islanders seems like a good team to record a few points against. We're rooting for you Geno!

The Pens are holding a collection for the Fallen Heroes Fund which will benefit the families of the Pittsburgh Police Officers who lost their lives in the line of duty Saturday. You can click here to read the article and also find out how you can donate if you aren't going to the game tonight. Our thoughts are with those affected by this tragedy.

Go Pens!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

We Made It! Pens beat Lightning 6-4

The Pens made it! They clinched a playoff spot by beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-4. They were making it look easy until they decided to give up a goal. And then another one. And another one. And another one. A tad embarrassing, but we'll take it. Although it's not time to let go of leads, no game is really over until the clock says 0:00 in the third period. Nonetheless, the Pens are heading to the post-season and Geno collected a couple of points (thank goodness). Crosby also got his 100th point of the season, putting both him and Geno over that mark.

The first period ended without either team scoring a goal and things were just kind of eh. Nothing all too exciting going on that period. The best thing we saw was a shot off the post to Fleury's left and he gave that post some lovin'. A little rub, a couple of taps for his beloved post. Say it with us now, AWWWWW!

The second period things started heating up. The Pens had a power play early and ended up with 1:30 of 5-on-3 time. NOTHING! C'mon Pens, that can't happen. With 15:00 left in the second, Fedotenko scores a nice goal with the assists going to Kennedy and Staal. Pens up 1-0.

Edited to add:

There were a couple of penalties and a 4 on 4 in there before the Pens would score on a power play with Crosby scoring a goal, assists to Malkin and Kunitz. Pens up 2-0. It wouldn't take Sid long to get on the scoreboard again when he scored another power play goal about a minute after the first one with assists going to Malkin and Kunitz yet again. Pens up 3-0. Pens had to kill another 5-on-3 but no problems there.

The third is where it got interesting. A little over a minute into the period, the Pens would score again with Matt Cooke punching in a rebound just before getting hit with a high stick. Letang and Staal get the assists on that one, Pens up 4-0. The David Koci decided he would have some "fun." He checked Max Talbot into the boards and then decided to put him in a headlock. Talbot skated down ice and Koci decided to follow and do a little cross-checking. Then Eric Godard decided that was enough and got the best of Koci in a fight.

Then the Pens started losing their lead. The Pens were on a power play and the Lightning get a shorthanded goal. The Pens were up 4-0 and one goal is obviously not the end of the world but a shorthanded goal? That just felt so wrong and it was only the beginning. Martin St. Louis would score on a nice give-and-go with Steven Stamkos. You had to admit that was pretty. Then less than a minute later, they would score again when Marc-Andre Fleury is run into and is forced off balance. Score is now 4-3 and it's time to worry. You didn't have to worry too long though because Sykora finally got his 300th career goal two minutes later to put the Pens up by two, 5-3. 

The Lightning just wouldn't go away though and scored yet another goal with 40.6 seconds left in the game to make it a one goal game yet again. But with 12.5 seconds left in the game, Jordan Staal out-skated Stamkos to get to the puck and score into an empty net. At least Staal could get it into the empty net. Pens win 6-4 and clinch a playoff spot. Playoffs here we come!

The Pens made us nervous and let up a four goal lead, not exactly soothing by any means, but they did clinch a playoff spot. That trip to the playoffs is something none of us thought was going to happen just a short time ago. With only two games left in the regular season, we can't even digest the thought of the Pens being out of the playoffs. Thank goodness for Dan Bylsma. 

Pens will play again on Thursday at home against the New York Islanders. This will be fan appreciation night which means the shirt off our backs promotion. Wish we could be there for that one. The Islanders just got beat by Carolina last night 9-0. Yes, you read that right. Geno needs to get as many points as possible that night. Ovie, you're going down!

We couldn't resist mentioning this one. The Pens post-game show on FSN mentioned that Ben Roethlisberger is one of nine finalists to make it on the cover of Madden '10. The "winner" will be announced the day of the NFL draft. We can only hope he's so lucky as to NOT win this prize. He has a questionable O-line, he really doesn't need the "Madden curse" too.

Go Pens!