Rewind back to the end of the Flyers series last season. What would your brain have done if you could've seen the Pens' stat lines in this game? Jussi Jokinen: 2G, 1A. Jarome Iginla: 2A. Brenden Morrow: 1A. Douglas Murray: 1A. wtf.
Three things about this game.
1. The Pens are the deepest they've been since the '09 Cup run.
2. Tampa Bay sucks.
3. Geno is rising.
Seven games left, and the Pens' roster is getting stronger every game. Kris Letang returned for this one, and his presence was felt immediately. Every player the Pens traded for had a point in this game. The Pens came out with a purpose for this one, and we saw bits and pieces of what this machine can do. The Bolts hung around, but the Pens flipped a switch, and that was it.
Basically, the Pens' biggest concern right now are North Korea and rumors of Sidney Crosby dating pop singers.
Unbelievable Pens fan presence in Tampa Bay, too. There was a LGP chant during a Pens' PK at one point.
Crosby is on the trip with the Pens.
Bizarre no-blink for a 15-second sequence. Perhaps there was a T. Rex around.
Totally forgot that Guy Boucher got fired. The Bolts are coached by some guy named Jon Cooper.
Ben Bishop is their goalie. Sounds like a backup QB.
It was good to see Letang back patrolling the D zone. He looked good.
The Pens got off to another fast start. About four minutes in, Morrow drove right into Bishop's neighborhood and took a dump on his front porch. The puck hit off of Jussi, who was crashing the net.
Right after the goal, the Bolts took a penalty. The first unit did all the work, and the second unit cashed in. Dupuis scored his 20th goal of the season.
2-0. Elite fist pump above the net.
Mr. Cooper took a timeout.
Things settled down.
Malkin and what is left of Ryan Malone had a battle in front of the net. Malkin did what anyone would do if given the chance and slewfoots Malone. Ref was all over it, though. The Lightning wasted no time on the powerpla, and scored some goal. 2-1.
A minute into the period, Hey There Malone goes to the box.
Letang sets up Iginla to unleash a bomb. Kunitz got a piece of it. 3-1.
About three minutes later, Beau Bennett gets called for a ticky-tack penalty on Stamjoke. Pens can't kill anything right now. Connolly makes it a game again.
-- For most of the second, things were chippy. That Gudas bro was really pissing everyone off.
-- Malkin got jobbed from behind, and things got heated.
-- Brenden Morrow and Bolts goalie Ben Bishop got into it a little bit. No idea why they did, but Morrow's doing a ton right if he can get the opposing goalie all jammed up.
-- At the end of the period, B.J. Crombeen started chirping the Pens bench.
Even Mark Eaton was pissed. Crombeen was a marked man.
As he always seems to do against the Lightning, Evgeni Malkin stepped up. Using another early strike, Malkin took advantage of a bizarre turnover and the Lightning not being able to get Eric Brewer off the ice and stormed down the right wing.
He was able to sneak one past Bishop.
Gudas started more shit, and a bunch of people got sent off.
Next shift, the Pens went back to work. Douglas Murray directs one to the net. Jussi with a sick deflection.
The Lightning decided to start taking runs at people. That Gudas guy was out of control, and the refs had seen enough and just bounced him.
Meanwhile, Murray had seen enough of Crombeen.
Then this happened:
Tampa took some more penalties, and the Pens had a 5-on-3 for 1:02. Bylsma decided to throw Tanner Glass out there to see if the son of a bitch could score a goal, and he did. 6-2.
Garbage goal for Tampa closed the book. 6-3.
-- Nice move by Disco to get Glass out there on the PP.
-- Matt Cooke will be a fourth-liner if and when the Pens get a healthy roster. Messing with Morrow-Jokinen would be a huge mistake right now.
-- Haven't mentioned him yet, so we will say Vokoun. All 3 Lightning goals were on the PP. Solid performance. All you can ask for.