Phil Kessel is the antichrist.
Or sold his soul to the devil.
Or something equally as terrible that would cause a person to take happiness and joy away from James Neal, possibly the only person on this earth to deserve happiness in the first place.
Other than overcoming Mr. Neal in the scoring race, his hobbies include things like kitten molestation and Ending All Things Good.
Maple Leafs, this is the last time that you cross us and come out on top.
Don’t turn your back on us.
MOST SURPRISINGLY NORMAL BEGINNING TO A GAME
With the Leafs, and with Hockey Night in Canada, you go into things expecting glamour and showmanship and downright tomfoolery from our neighbors to the north.
Someone is going to make a fool of himself, act over entitled, and make outrageous claims – and these don’t always just come from Mr. Cherry.
But no, this game started out like a game we were playing with a real team.
We exchange some penalties, we let them get some odd man rushes, Malkin and James Neal make some magic happen – it’s a normal hockey night. Oddly enough.
MOST UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCE
Of course, being able to watch a respectable hockey game in which the Leafs are playing doesn’t come without a price. They could score, in theory.
Mikhail Grabovski redirects a Phaneuf-er and Brent Johnson can’t do too much about it.
To make up for it, Steve Sullivan does some neat things that make us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside. Paul Martin has a moment of sexiness that makes us ladies feel faint. The period still ends with us wanting something more.
SECOND MOST UNEXPECTED CONSEQUENCE
The second period starts kinda slow.
While Penguins hockey is undoubtedly the most exciting hockey, there are lulls, and the first five minutes is one of those lulls. We use the opportunity to catch our breath and overcome the sometimes overwhelming honor of being a Penguins fan.
While we’re relaxing, so is Gustavsson. It is not the most common of things for us to say “watch out when Matt Cooke is near your net!” but once again, this is one of those times.
Never turn an eye on Mattie Cooke.
SHORTEST LIVED HAPPINESS
A mere minute later, Tim Connolly takes it all away from us.
A Malkin-hooking gets the Leafs a PP goal and the advantage once again.
It’s starting to feel like maybe you should have made that deal with the Devil.
You would have if you loved the Penguins more.
MOST BREAKING-EST NEWS
If you hadn’t heard fifteen times, Mister Mats sometimes ventures out of his home and into the community. It always causes a ruckus.
Smile, Mats. You are being watched.
The Pens tie it up once again when Malkin waits Grabovski out and gets in a shot that rebounds directly into the sweet care of Kunitz, who holds it gently by the hand and walks it home.
That photo is something special.
BIGGEST MEDIA BONER
At the beginning of the third period, MacArthur grabs a puck and puts it into the Penguins net, making it 3-2 for the Leafs. The media doesn’t care. They have come down with a disease that is common in Pittsburgh and clearly now spreading to other parts of the world -
The overwhelming urge to photograph James Neal seems to come before documenting many actual game events to photographers. And rightfully so. Why take a picture of some Leafs jobber scoring when you can catch James Neal doing anything.
He’s like a kitten. It’s kind of cute when he sneezes, blinks, and sighs.
We don’t want to miss anything that could potentially go viral so we can never look away. Imagine if the people filming “Sneezing Panda” had let MacArthur get in the way.
Luckily, when everyone is distracted by James yawning, Malkin puts a hole in the back of Gustavsson’s throat net. Once again, it’s tied up.
Can we get a Neal photo to celebrate?
WORST WAY TO END AN EVENING
Kessel, unfortunately, is not aware of the New Son of the NHL and the sort of honors he deserves due to that title. When no one is looking, he puts a puck behind poor, poor Johnny, giving him his 10th goal and the advantage over James Neal in the goals race .
It’ll be coming back this way in no time.
Unfortunately, however, this little pull-ahead was the last action a net saw during the game, closing it out at 4-3. Our final rush was impressive, but no dice.
It’s the last game we’ll ever lose.
BEST WORST NAME
ALT THREE STARS
Every once in awhile we just feel the need to thank him for being on our team.
2. James Neal
For giving us that endless entertainment and pride new parents feel for their children
5 points in 6 games. Closing in on 100.
Get it done.
Sometimes you play a good game of hockey and in the end you still lose to the Maple Leafs. It’s embarrassing but it’s just what happens.
So, of course, we’re never going to lose again.
Sounds good to me.