Oh, the first loss of an NHL season. It's good to be back. Everything you thought the Pens did well this weekend went out the window last night. They looked like dog shit.
But it wasn't supposed to be like that. When you make a pilgrimage to Mecca,
you're supposed to bow down, pay your respects, and not compete. We've held our tongue on this Mecca article and waited for Leafs fans to catch wind of it. The friggin' Hockey Hall of Fame is in Toronto. Most important thing Pittsburgh has ever had is that submarine attached to the Science Center.
Really bizarre game. Leafs saw a total of 11:40 of PP time, scoring only once (and that was in garbage time late in the third). The good part of that is the PK unit kept the Pens in the game. That's pretty much the only redeeming fact to come from this. The Pens just didn't look prepared to handle the Leafs' team speed, especially after two dog fights on the road.
We were really expecting Mats Sundin to show up in third period and score two goals. Questionable penalties aside, the Pens, down 3-2 and then 4-2, didn't register a shot in third period until after the 10-minute mark. Woof.
Are we gonna delve further into this game? Absolutely.
Pens had their intros and shit. Biggest move was announcing Vokoun before Malkin and Crosby, unlike that one time where they announced Jay McKee between Malkin and Crosby.
Theme of the entire game was the Penguins wouldn't be allowed to check Mike Komisarek. He showed up early when he tackled Malkin to open the game. A Paul Martin turnover almost led to a Bozak goal. Great play by Kessel to pick Martin's pocket.
There was a big play early in the game where Tangradi had the puck on his stick with Malkin wide-open going to the goal. We're still not sure what he did with the puck. The look on Tangradi's face after the play was sheer "Fuck." We hate to keep picking on the guy, but, come on, you can't blow passes when you're playing with the big boys and trying to prove you belong.
Pens couldn't get anything going. Engelland decided it was time to drop the gloves. He danced with Colton Orr. It woke up the Pens for a couple of shifts.
But it also left the Pens with five d-men for most of the first, and it left Engo in bad shape. He ended up only seeing 7:46 of ice time, although we're not sure he could actually see it.
Kunitz went off for boarding Komisarek on a dump-in. Pens killed it. Crosby saw some PK time.
Pens got a PP later on. It didn't look great, and the Leafs killed it. Then they got another one. Joe Vitale drew it. Good movement, and Malkin puts one home.
Great period for Vitale.
The game didn't really have any kind of flow. The Pens had tons of chances, but James Reimer was everywhere.
Eric Tangradi had 6 shifts in the game, and he made mistakes on at least two of them. This time, it led to a goal. This play was really the first time it donned on us that it may actually be dangerous for Malkin and Neal to be playing with Tangradi. Instead of dumping it in deep, which the Pens' system pretty much calls for, he pushed a pass over to Neal on the boards, setting up Neal to get completely destroyed. Neal did all he could with it. Despres couldn't have predicted the bizarro world he had just skated into, and the Leafs went the other way.
Clarke MacArthur has been a big-time Penguin killer for no reason at all.
If looks could kill. ( via @J_dawg557)
Crosby-Malkin-Neal had a go. Great shift. Reimer was a wall when he had to be. Then the Leafs scored again.
Looked like it was going to be one of those games. But, remember, the Leafs have Dion Phaneuf, so anything is possible. He let Crosby get behind him. His first of the year.
Looking back, the turning point came next. The Pens had to kill like 5 straight minutes of penalties. Engelland, Cooke, and Letang all went off in that span. Pens killed it all off, but it threw everything out of sync.
Malkin tried to do too much on a shift. He turned a puck over in the high slot. JVR snipe.
Pens had zero shots at 10-minute mark. Really all you need to know. Leafs buried it with a Grabovski goal five minutes into the third.
Pens looked tired. Kunitz touched Komisarek, and that is a penaltiy now, so that sucked. Pens got real jammed up at the end of the game after the too-many-men call. Unhinged.
-- Just to troll everyone, Steve Sullivan had a hat trick last night.
-- Malkin got a game misconduct at the end of the game, probably for chirping the refs.
Rough night for Neal and Malkin. Not much you can do when you don't have a third member of your line.
Turning Point of the game
Aside from the JVR goal, Reimer made two huge saves on Malkin midway through the second. Once at point-blank range:
The other on a wraparound:
Reimer wasn't great, but he was solid enough.
Pens in Winnipeg Friday night.