the end is just the beginning

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accurate tweet by @lisarec

Timing is everything.  If there were five more minutes in this game, the Blue Jackets probably would have scored the tying goal.  If Malkin had showed up to class on time, he might not have ever had that iced caramel latte of a hat trick.

We say it was a Starbucks iced caramel latte because really his previous playoff hat trick was the artesian espresso of playoff hat tricks.  This one was decent and refreshing but it evidently wasn’t the kick in the ass that we needed to stay on track.  Jackets fans didn’t shut up.  No one shut up.  Everyone was incensed, violent, and still standing.

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That’s Malkin’s first goal of the playoffs.  This clearly indicated something, but we couldn’t see what through the haze and burn of our tears.

Then he went and got another one.

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Everyone was so relieved that this was happening that maybe poor decisions were made along the way–the kinds of heady decisions that are just made in the moment and reflect badly on the family later.

Brandon Sutter scored a shortie and the dreaded 3-0 lead was in full effect.  Everyone put their sick day hoodies on, poured a shot of bourbon, and waited for the first shots to be fired.

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We coasted on that for awhile.  The second period was kind of felt like the eye of the storm.

Then, Gene did something no one expected.  Literally no one.

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He put the team on his back and scored a fucking hat trick on enemy ice.

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This was a great moment.  But it was diminished by the push that was to follow.  This didn’t break anyone’s spirits.  This wasn’t Malkin vs. the shell of Cam Ward’s soul.  This was the Penguins versus the hopes of a generation.

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Somewhere in there, early third period, Joe Vitale got hurt.  As much as PH Staff has a Deep Affection for Joe Vitale, we have to admit that our care level was low.  It was important to just get out of this shit alive.  That was just a gut check.  Like “oh a depth forward has just been injured, allow me to wonder how the hell this is going to play out while I oil my god damn double barrel”

It took over eight minutes after that, though, for the CBJ comeback to begin in earnest.

First, a goal that was technically shorthanded by Fedor Tyutin of all people.

Three and a half minutes later, CBJ on the power play.  Anisimov.  Big goal.  Knew he was going to score one since the beginning.

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Dan Bylsma called a timeout after this goal but it really didn’t seem to calm anyone down.  The energy in the building felt like a snorted caffeine pill chased with a concentrate of tears.

Biding time.  It was less than two minutes later that Nick Foligno opened the dimensional rift in his crotch again and summoned the hell demons.

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Like, really.  This was a grim time.  There’s no way around describing how grim this was.  It was like the Penguins had just lost the game.  It basically felt like we had lost the game for the rest of the game.

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but there weren’t five more minutes on the clock.  It just ran out on the Columbus Blue Jackets.  There were some close calls in the night, but just. . .the sand ran through their fingers and that’s all there was.

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It just ended up that way.

The Columbus Blue Jackets showed the world that they are a hell of a hockey team and that they exist in an amazing hockey city, which is something we’ve known for awhile, and we’re proud at how loudly and rudely they were able to announce it, even though it was at the expense of the Penguins.  We hope the Penguins learned that punitive lesson.  Were they scared shitless by the wild card seed like they were supposed to be?  How deeply are they going to be affected by this down the road?

And we could interpret this as a cruel joke, because it means we have to get whomever emerges from the river of shit that is the Flyers-Rangers series.  We didn’t ask for this.  This is just the hand that was dealt to us in this hell casino they refer to as the NHL.  And yet it’s quality entertainment which we will drink heartily through a bendy straw as we lean over the dock and look into the Sea of Truth.

Delirium has arrived.

Please go to bed.

Go Pens.


About Zoë

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