Tuesday, June 3, 2008

There Will Be Blood

In their 4-3 triple overtime win last night (technically also this morning), the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a performance that was gritty, gory, and gorgeous.

Funny, all three of those words also describe Ryan Malone.

Yay for Bugsy lovefests!

There was more blood in this game than an episode of ER, and I loved it. That's what hockey is all about. As long as no one was seriously injured, it just proves how much these guys are willing to sacrifice to win it all or, in the case of the Pens, simply live another day. From Rob Scuderi's gusher that led to the winning power play to the puck that dented Malone's already broken nose, this game looked like a cage fight, and the Pens refused to be knocked out.

And now, for my three stars of the game:

3.) A Tie between Max Talbot and Petr Sykora: Both of these players stepped up in the clutch BIG TIME tonight. First, Max was put on as the extra attacker in the waning seconds of regulation, a big reward for a classic 4th line mucker and grinder. Then, he bangs in his own rebound to tie the game with 35 seconds to go. 35 seconds. That's how close Detroit was to winning the Cup, how close the Pens were to meeting the Sabres on the fairways. Thanks to the work of a true blue-collar player, the Cup was put back in its case.

Then, it became Sykora's turn to shine. With a four-minute power play in the 3rd OT, Malkin FINALLY made a great pass, which Sykora blasted pass Osgood to send the Pens back to Pittsburgh to play hockey rather than plan their vacations. Sykora said that in between OT periods, he told the team he was going to score. He said it was just something "stupid" to throw out in the locker room. It's looking pretty smart now, though.

2.) Ryan Malone: What a night for Bugsy! First, a puck to the noggin blasted open his already busted nose. I really thought he was done after that, but, this is the Cup Finals and he is Ryan Malone. I shouldn't have been surprised to see him the next period. Not only did he play, he laid down to block shots, and was screening Osgood on the winning goal. I LOVE gritty performances, and this one is one that I'll remember for a LONG time.

1.) Marc-Andre Fleury: If this wasn't obvious to you, you were probably watching something else last night from 8 p.m.-1 a.m. This was one of the most spectacular goaltending performances I've ever seen from a team with its back against the wall. It was said over and over again that Flower looked loose all day, and it showed in net with his 55 saves. By around the 2nd OT, I knew Detroit would need lucky bounce to win because of just how amazing Fleury was proving to be. It's nice when a goalie deserves a win and his team can find a way to gut one out for him.

Flower, making one of his 8 billion (ok, 55) saves of the game

The Chops live on until Wednesday as does hockey season. Let's keep this going as long as we can - all of us bloggers need material!


Jennifer said...

Oh wow, that was the most incredible game EVER (that didn't involve the Sabres). After Gonchar got hurt and then Malone, I thought that was it, bye-bye to hockey for 4 months, but OMG what did they feed those boys yesterday. They were amazing.

Mary said...

What a game! Seriously, after Sykora called that he was gonna score, I didn't expect it. But wow. And then Gonchar coming back to play on the PP, and Fleury being insane... basically everyone = stunned.

Now let's bring on Game 6!

Katie said...

but OMG what did they feed those boys yesterday. They were amazing.

I believe the answer to that burning question appears to be Domino's Pizza - the pizza of champions.

And then Gonchar coming back to play on the PP

When I saw him back out there, I knew that would be the boost they needed. It takes guts to come back out there after getting hammered into the boards like he did.

dani said...

MAF was amazing!

And I love the picture of their arms up in the air.

Katie said...

Dani, I especially love Therrien's "Rocky"-esque pose. I love watching how the coaches react to goals like that. Lindy's had some good ones...

Jennifer said...

I believe the answer to that burning question appears to be Domino's Pizza - the pizza of champions.

Wow! I say pizza, Domino's Pizza EVERY game day for the Sabres.