To say that Eric Staal is having a rough start to the season would be the understatement of the year. He is responsible for giving his brother Marc of the Rangers a concussion last February that has left him out of the game to this day. The struggling captain is -17 on the season. The Hurricanes let go head coach Paul Maurice go on last Monday, replacing him with 1984 second draft pick Kirk Muller. This is Muller’s third loss with the team since beginning his coaching duties on Tuesday against the Panthers.
The game started off with a real fast past. A lot of back and forth, but the Hurricanes dominated puck control and keeping it in their offensive zone. The Canes out-shot the Pens 12-8 in the first, but Brent Johnson came up huge between the pipes all night. No one scored in the first 20 minutes of play. Very few whistles blown and only one penalty, to Patrick Dwyer in the last seconds, putting Pittsburgh on the power play for the start of the second.
More after the jump…
The Pens came out harder in the second. Our fourth line has been critical the past few games. Craig Adams lit the lamp first, one timing a gorgeous pass from Sidney Crosby.
Our defense had an amazing period. The Canes were held to just 6 shots on goal. Brooks Orpik blocked a shot by Jeff Skinner with the net open. A few minutes later though, Jamie McBain put one past Johnny in a very crowded net situation. Johnny argued interference, but the goal stood.
Puck drops in the third, and this period E. Staal decides to play Gordon Bombay style hockey. “Take the fall! Act hurt! Get indignant!” What a diver!
Paul Martin seems to be pulling himself slowly from his slump. He put a nice pass to Adams who carried the puck in. Dropped it to Arron Asham across the ice who fired it past Brian Boucher. A minute later, Pascal Dupuis scored after Evgeni Malkin showed off his ice dancing moves with a slick spino-rama in front of the net. (Take that, Jeff Skinner!)
Bit of a scrum behind the net with about 10 minutes left in the period. Steve Sullivan went to the box for roughing after putting a love tap to the face of Jiri Tlusty. Everyone was protecting the captain though!
The Cans scored one more time and James Neal had a goal waved for goalie interference by Geno. Complete bogus call. Malkin was shoved into Boucher.
The last 5 minutes of the game were intense and insane. If you think that the Pens have the refs in this league in their back pockets, you are insane. The Pens couldn’t buy a call in their favor in this game.
Jordan Staal took a puck to the face and was cut right under his eye. It didn’t look as bad as when he broke his nose two seasons ago, but it was pretty bad still. Complete stunned look from Mr. and Mrs. Staal in the stands. Can’t imagine watching your child get hurt on the ice at any age.
Asham took a penalty for too many men on the ice. Then Duper joined him in the box for holding E. Staal. Most unreal call. Dan Bylsma has never EVER been so animated. I thought he was about to stroke out.
Matt Cooke was then called for tripping. E. Staal is diving all over the place at this point. Heart Attack City: Population=Me.
5-on-3 hockey with under 3 minutes left in play. Brent Johnson made the save of his life after the puck rang off the post and he threw his body on it, sending his stick sailing back into the net. Canes ferociously trying to get to the puck under Johnny. E. Staal and Adams get into it and are sent to the box with 17 seconds left in regulation.
Pens pulled out a HUGE win here. I cannot remember a more intense last seconds of the game in a very long time. I think my heart was racing as much as it was in the final seconds of the Stanley Cup game in 2009. Pens win 3-2.
- Deryk Engelland left the game with a lower body injury and did not return to the game.
- Paul Mart is showing signs of life the this week. He is making great passes and smarter decisions protecting the net.
- Adams had an amazing night with one seriously beautiful blocked shot, putting his body in front of the net.
- Nice to see Johnny pull out a win, after his last three times in net being losses.
- Crosby’s defensive game is outstanding. His backhand should be its own player.
- Eric Staal is a douche. Seriously.
- Matt Cooke is so essential to this team’s PK unit. His play this season shows how important he is to this team. He is the king of of the forecheck.
- The Pens lead the league in disallowed goals. Not a stat I want us to lead in. Chris Kunitz has to be at the top of that list, but Neal took the reigns last night.
- Zbynek Michalek and Kris Letang have both passed their baseline tests.