it scratches and burns

Just when you thought you were done with Canada, you had to go to a Sens game.
No one has been pleased with this arrangement and despite tireless work to rectify it. . .we're still in Ottawa.
Apologies for the inconvenience.
please fasten your seatbelts and do as instructed by the flight crew.


Steiggy and Errey looking overly thoughtful to begin our broadcast.
We are reminded about Gonch's presence, which Malkin seems entertained by. He said earlier that there were "no friends" on the ice, perhaps to persuade us all that his love of Sergei won't prevent him from being a dick when he needs to be. Oh Gene we trust you. We really do.

A little concern is not amiss. The Sens have a history of scoring 5-10 goals against us whenever the hell they find it convenient.

It's always the first period.
The Pens have had a few spectacular first periods. But they haven't really meant much later on, after we've all been lured into a false sense of security and monsters are on the loose and all we want to do is cry. As if on cue, James Neal buried one. Tangradi was on the ice for whatever reason with Neal and Malkin. Whether Tangradi suddenly remembered that the reason he is on the team is to drive his body Ryan Malone style to the net, or if he mistook a small pile of snow in Anderson's crease as a distant Cheesecake Factory, is unknown. But he went to the net and drew enough attention with him that Malkin was able to feed Neal a pass cross-ice. Neal made no mistake. It was like a real hockey goal, the kinds we used to see on TV as small children.

As always our general reaction to a James Neal goal is one of crying and moaning (you know the good kind).

Evgeni's Feelings (notice the capital F of Feelings) make their first appearance of the season when he decides to have one of his tiny tantrums that almost always lead to bizarre penalties. Only Gene can get away with such displays because they somehow prove his innocence, like a teenager who doesn't understand that driving too fast past the police barracks is just going to get them in trouble, not actually accomplish anything.
Gene said "fuck" a lot and had to sit in the box once is what we're trying to say. It was one of his Feelings games.
Everyone. The first period ended with Letang going all Patrick Bateman on somebody who was trying to go in alone on MAF.
First and second period the Pens were on the PP 8 times but nothing happened. Dupuis got called for boarding and nothing also happened except that Matt Cooke had the longest breakaway ever, it was like Karlsson wasn't even trying to keep up with him. Cookie is not fast.

Karlsson looks like a spent mare. What was with him today. Norris Trophy up there in Canada's Capital of Dicks wasn't looking so hot at all.

Anyway Anderson still wasn't giving one up to Mattie. Press was all over it, though. They sensed a moment. Their senses were wrong.

Jason Spezza is still in the NHL.

He forced MAF to give up his only rebound of the night, which led to a sloppy seconds goal by a Cornell boy named Colin Greening, who we'd actually never heard of but he doesn't appear to be totally worthless on paper, anyway. Stat padding. It's tied.

Spezza is Gollum.

It's at this point that ROOT Sports finally realizes that Niskanen hasn't played all period, and we begin our final descent into purgatory and possibly hell, where the local time is Fuck.

That third period puke feeling during a tie game, when if you win, it's a good win, and if you lose, it's the third loss in a row to some asshole Canadian team that you usually try to pretend isn't even there.
But they're watching. Canada is all-seeing.
The Penguins' defense somehow dragged itself together in Niskanen's absence. Ben Lovejoy actually played more than 10 minutes and didn't falter in all of them. Letang played almost 30 minutes.
Paul Martin had an amazing journeyman game that will leave you shaking and sobbing on the floor should you choose to relive it. What a game by Paul Martin. What a third period by Paul Martin.
Tanner Glass had a revelatory shift with Evgeni. Already made more of an impact on one shift than Eric Tangradi has made in his entire library of NHL game experience. We don't even know what happened. Sid almost scored eight times, Gene hit the post on a 3-on-1. Joe Vitale almost murdered a man in open view of thousands of people. Malkin may have attacked Chris Neil for no known reason during a change. Fleury was a fucking brick wall.

This feeling is irresistible and bad for your health.

When overtime started it was all Sens and we all threw up.
Engelland does a clean defense on a breakaway. Gets the puck and doesn't trip the man. Redemption play from Engo who made a couple little mistakes earlier. Martin has a similar play with another breakaway. Why are we giving them up in the first place? Who knows. And Orpik lifts a stick to save our souls.
It does go to shootout though. Fucking shootout.

Milan Michalek tries to go five hole. Fleury doesn't care. Save.
James Neal, whatever, of course he was going to score. 1-0.

Jason Spezza skates in on Fleury as children everywhere begin to sob without knowing why. He scores. 1-1.
Sid puts a disgusting move on Anderson, though. More disgusting than your bins get when there's a holiday and no one comes to pick up the trash for like 2 weeks. 2-1.

MAF has perhaps his first serious shootout error ever when Kyle Turris shoots on him, MAF stops it, but it drops and just ever so slowly flutters to the back of the net. Tough to take that. Turris, who looks like one of those suspiciously tan pretty dudes from high school who always came to class late, didn't bring a lot of skill to the skills competition there.

And then it was Malkin's turn, and Malkin is always shitty at the shootout. Kim said "gene is usually really bad" to me in chat just as he skated to the middle. And you know that saying like YOU HAD ONE JOB? Well, Gene had one job, and he buried it. Came easily. No fuss.
3-2 in the SO
Pens win 2-1.

Fitting that Tanner should congratulate MAF in an early candidate for MOST ADORABLE PHOTO OF SOMEONE CONGRATULATING MAF.

Bye Canada.

sad for everyone except us



Chris Phillips this is not the place or time for such actions.
Matt looks seriously shocked.
3. Deryk Engelland. Christ Jesus God this hurts to look at.
Click for full size, k.

2. gonch probably we miss him when is he coming home mom why isn't sergei coming home
1. Paul Martin. duh. Probably should have been a real one but people who do three stars selections possibly don't watch hockey and they chose, after the goaltenders, someone named Mark Borowiecki who had 7 hits and a giveaway. Sure, Ottawa, whatever you say.

Next, we take the Isles at home. Pens have had just one home game so far. But they're coming home again now.
We look forward to it the way you look forward to episodes of The Price is Right when you are taking a personal day to sit at home and eat snacks.


About Zoë

from Fayette County, living in Boston, chronically fussy. Writing about the Penguins, the CWHL/women's hockey, and hockey/sports media criticism.