So much for being excited about Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun laid his second straight egg in less than a week. If you want to pay someone to fuck up, Brent Johnson was half the cost. Vokoun's spent so much time on his back lately, the grandma from Life Alert is worried about her job security.
The Pens didn't do him any favors, though. The Pens took a million penalties in the second period, and everything collapsed.
So, they've started a somewhat critical mid-season road trip with a bad loss. They did stage a fun comeback, but it was all for naught. Can't really figure out if this is a bad loss or "just one of those games." Doesn't really matter now. Next two games are huge. Two old friends loom. Up first, Jordal Staal.
Pens had a power play early. It was ordinary.
Glass and Adams connected for a couple of scoring chances. After not generating any offense for the first dozen games or so, they're starting to make some moves.
Vokoun and Theodore exchanged some big saves.
TK went off for a board on an icing call. Panthers fucked around for a while and then scored. 1-0.
It was the first time this season the Pens didn't score the first goal on the road. Pens had one more decent scoring chance when Sutter tried to pickle-stab a puck in.
The Pens showed some life to start the second. James Neal scored his millionth goal of the season. 1-1.
Then the Pens went down Penalty Lane.
-Cooke threw it over the glass,
-Then Orpik got sent off.
Panthers had a 5-on-3 for pretty much an entire two minutes. Pens almost escaped. Letang just couldn't get it out. Tomas Kopecky parked in Vokoun's mouth and shit home a rebound.
A huge brawl broke out after the goal.
Craig Adams started the whole thing, but the Pens got a PP out of all that somehow. No idea how that happened. The laws of karma evened it out, and the power play didn't do much.
Glass went off for a high stick a little later. During that shitfest, Dupuis tripped up Huberdeau, so the Pens were gonna be down two men again. But wait. Campballs ripped a slapper past Vokoun. 3-1.
They still had the Dupuis PP to work with, so they scored again. 4-1.
Vokoun's stunned lay-down is one of the funniest things going. He got the cane, and in came MAF. The next few minutes were going to determine whether this was gonna be a quick night or if the Pens had a little fight in them. Engo woke the Pens up by destroying some dude.
Fight it was. Pens came right back and answered. Dustin Jeffrey scored. Again. 4-2.
Neal had a couple chances right after that, but JT answered the bells.
Pens hadn't been to the box for like 5 minutes, so Kunitz headed off for goalie interference. Pens kill it and head the other way. Neal sets up Martin. Big blast. 4-3.
Only other person all time with more confidence than Paul Martin right now was Pablo Escobar during the height of his empire.
The Pens went to the box again. The referee was being a real dick. It was Neal this time. Pens PK got it right, though, and killed it.
Then the Pens got a PP of their own. And they scored. A great sneaky pass from Sid on the boards to Kunitz. Kunitz threw it to the front. Hit something. 4-4.
Theodore was gone to start the third, with Clemmensen replacing him, and the Pens had momentum.
It looked even better when the Panthers tripped Crosby, putting the Pens on the powerplay. The power play had a couple decent looks. The main thing is almost everyone on the top unit was out the full two minutes.
Late on the power play, Crosby and Letang set up a little two-man game, but they weren't on the same page, and it cost the Pens.
1. The Pens fan. He sees what's coming. As soon as Letang raises his stick, he is thinking what everyone else is thinking: Get that puck through to the net, and it is going in.
3. Letang decides to skate 90mph to try to retrieve the puck on the complete opposite side of the rink. Why? What a bizarre move. Did he not know it was even strength?
4. Beau Bennett. Bennett doesn't even have time to say WTF when he sees Letang bolt over to the boards. Bennett diagnoses the play as quick as you can ask a guy to and gets on his horse.
Tomas Fleischmann went from possible goat to hero that quick.
Orpik collided with TK a little bit later. At the same time, some idiot from the Panthers tipped the puck over the glass in the defensive zone. Easy penalty call. Kevin Dineen complains about everything. Jesus, shut up. The power play doesn't do anything, and time ticks away.
The Pens had a ton of great chances, but Clemmensen refused to be beaten.
Tomas Kopecky scored the luckiest empty-net goal ever by banking it in off the boards.
The Panthers fans throw hats and...
Every Pens fan that lived through that '96 series curled up and started sucking their thumb after seeing this.
-- Via Akus, yesterday was the 4th and 5th anniversaries of the Hossa/Dupuis trade and Kunitz trade. Time flies.
-- Fucking rats.
-- Florida plays some noise when a Panthers' penalty is over. Pretty sure that isn't allowed.
-- Hard not to vomit when the Pens were trying to tie the game and they had no other options than TK-Sutter-Bennett while the top line rested.
-- Monster minutes for Crosby.
-- Crosby has 30 points this season somehow.
- Pics: USA Today, AP/Getty