11 wins in a row, and we can’t take it lightly. You know why. Because the target on the Pens’ backs hasn’t been bigger in the regular season for a long, long time. Last season, with the words “Stanley Cup hangover” being thrown around, people knew they had to beat the Stanley Cup Champions–but it wasn’t anything like this. You didn’t see stretches of domination like this. The Pens’ let up in the third period, but they were facing a hungrier Leafs team that had just decimated the Caps’ defense in the third period only a couple nights ago. Not that the Caps defense is good or anything, but still.
For some reason, Ron Wilson’s team lately has found their confidence around 20:00 of the third period, and they’re pretty comfy with that, or at least they were.
Another reason you can’t take this lightly is because the Pens have totally been this team, not being able to turn it on until they were down. The Pens have totally been this team, chilling in 13th place in the East in December flipping out half the time and twiddling thumbs the other half. The goal of every franchise is to never skate that team. But every franchise does.
Regardless of where you are in the standings, it’s impossible to look at any regular season win and say, “yes, this is it.” Until the team you skate is raising the Cup, it’s never “it.” And even then, it’s only that way for a little while. Such is the joy of the NHL.
Do not take this win lightly. But please, please enjoy it.
Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) just tweeted this bit from Bylsma: “We still think we can get a lot better than how we’re playing right now.”
11 straight wins, let’s do this.
WORST REASON FOR THE PRESS TO SHOW UP
The Press sent all their best guys to Pittsburgh because Canada was in town. Snore.
Shortly after the opening faceoff, the Leafs defense falls completely asleep in their own zone and hands the puck to Kunitz, who feeds Crosby. Crosby comes inches from scoring right there, and it’s basically on. Godard then takes the ice and starts making swift feeds to the point like a regular Evgeni Malkin working the half wall on the PP. Could have sworn he played more than 2:42. BUT OH WELL I MEAN IT’S CANADA
Errey loves to talk about Gustavsson. Just HOW big is he, you might ask? Well, I mean, we didn’t get any stats, but pretty big. He’s making all the huge saves early. We would provide a visual, but apparently nobody in Canada thought of taking a picture of Gustavsson making a save in the first period.
Kunitz and Sid come in on a rush, and Koon hits the post. Sid attacks the puck like it needs to be put out of its misery. Gustavsson is helpless. Goal.
No idea what Canada was thinking with this shot. Terrible shot framing.
Errey asks the eternal question: “WHAT WAS KOMISAREK DOING.” Regarding his defense on the play, that is.
MOMENT YOU MOST/LEAST WANTED COLBY TO COME HOME
Pens follow the goal up with some outstanding defensive play.
Sid and Colbs have a moment.
Colby loses his helmet, yells about it.
Meanwhile, Orr wants Engelland. Canada jumped all over this:
That last one is just stunning work.
Tang ends the period in perfect finesse, jumping all over every puck in the existence of the world.
The shots by the end of the 1st are 13-4. eep.
My feed was ESPN America, and it was playing this amazing Jack Daniel’s commercial that I can’t find on YouTube about giving all your man friends whiskey for Christmas.
Well, we’re not your man friends, but we want whiskey for Christmas. The ad is not on YouTube. But it damn well should be.
PERIOD THAT COULD HAVE GONE EITHER WAY UNTIL THE PENS CHANGED THAT
The period starts with Pens making a lot of great chances happen that they can’t really finish. The Leafs come back and almost capitalize on a giveaway by Fleury while Steiggy and Errey are probably eating sandwiches or talking about thighs or something.
The Leafs get their second penalty of the night for Too Many Men and Ron Wilson doesn’t even look pissed about it. Yet. Apparently CEC has some intense strobe light in the penalty box. Bizarre.
The best thing about the penalty was that after it FSN showed baby pictures of Colby Armstrong’s son that we didn’t screenshot because we were too busy being girls and looking at the pictures earnestly.
Pens get into some more penalty trouble. Adams rapes Sjostrom. That’s boarding I guess.
Leafs fall tragically asleep at the point. Dupes and Kunitz rush up-ice completely undefended. Gustavsson should have just skated out of the net as soon as they crossed the blueline and gone to beat the everloving shit out of Kaberle and whoeverthefuck else they had working their points.
SEQUENCES THAT BROKE YOUR UTERUS, REALLY
Craig busts out of the box, almost snipejobs Gustavsson.
Next sequence, all the Pens collapse around the Leafs’ net. Letestu would not be denied. Booooom.
It was that TK-Letestu-Conner line on the ice. Everyone is already saying that you don’t break up this line. We’re inclined to agree, we just gotta see who (other than Comrie) is willing to either get scratched every night or get waived. Don’t know about the cap situation once Staal is activated. We don’t want to jump the gun on these things.
. . .couple breaths later, Crosby and Kunitz are flying down ice on a 2-on-1. Koon places the pass. Last season, maybe, Crosby guns that wide, but still finishes the season with over 50 goals. This season he already has 26 so fuck everything. That’s #26, by the way. Again, Komisarek had no clue what was going on.
So much love in the room.
oh yeah 4-0. everyone pregnant up in here.
MOST PREDICTED BREAKDOWN
You knew Mike Komisarek was going to flip shit eventually. He’s always on the precipice of some homicidal rage that ends in him eviscerating himself on live television.
Fleury and Michalek stand tall for the rest of the period. 4 on 4 happens at some point. Steiggy and Errey were probably so caught up remembering the 85-86 Penguins top PP unit that they forgot to explain the penalties.
Early in the third, we learn that last game the Leafs played against the Caps was the first time in FRANCHISE HISTORY that they had scored two goals in the last three minutes to tie the game.
Yes that had to be its own award.
Komisarek Breakdown Watch reaches Code Red when Rupp hits someone and Komisarek reacts like his entire family and all the world’s innocent orphans were just killed in an earthquake of fire.
Kid in the yellow hat is going to be a career fourth-liner, and loves it.
Back at the ranch, people are running Sid, specifically Rosehill. Rosehill hit Paul Martin for no reason. Then three people attack Rosehill.
So Godard destroy’s Rosehill’s face.
We’re down with the sickness.
Unfortunately, the Pens weren’t. Crosby got 4 minutes for something.
Leafs get a PP goal.
someone, somewhere, thinks this is okay:
Repeat: CODE RED.
MOST HEROIC PK UNTIL THE PINEAPPLE GOT INVOLVED
Pens kill a bunch of shit after. Then Grabovski gets a loooong shot in on Fleury. 4-2 at this point. Everyone is scared. Chernobyl watch.
This guy’s pants so full of jizz:
sorry just. what a picture. Not to mention the lack of Leafs goal celebrations photographed by Canada. WHAT THE FUCK CANADA
THE ROLLER COASTER BEGINS
Martin dumps Kadri, which seems like a good play, but then the Pens can’t get puck possession and ice it at least a million times.
They have one shot in the period.
To get the second shot, the TK-Conner-Letestu line goes to work. Kennedy rushes down ice, passes to Letestu, who gives it a go.
oh hey, did you see that?
I tried to cap Letestu’s hair during 2nd intermission but apparently it was too awesome and it broke my computer.
MOST IN NEED OF A LIFE COACH OR PRESCHOOL TEACHER’S AIDE
ALTERNATIVE THREE STARS
1. Tang – made love to every puck like it was about to be pregnant with his only child
2. Chris Conner – laying out dudes twice his size and making all the right plays and basically being the best person.
3. Komisarek’s family hypnotist – going to be making some really expensive phone calls tonight.
Go Pens, fuck yeah.
lost in shootout. Image from Puck Daddy who covered this issue.
P.P.S. Some WC promo:
we have mixed feelings about this, but we think maybe HBO was thinking of us and our addiction to them when True Blood is on. Possibly.
I mean, there’s no way that you can be a Caps fan or Pens fan and lack interest in this program. It’s going to be so interesting and bizarre to watch.
TOMORROW: Blingees and hair.
and once more with feeling