No joke: James Neal's performance in OT has made the rest of the season watchable. After Tyler Kennedy's last-minute, game-tying goal, James Neal put on a show in OT; one of those rare moments in the last two months were you catch yourself slowly rising to the edge of your seat.
But it was all for naught, as the Sharks got a last-second goal from Patty Marleau to win. The Sharks earned the victory, no question. Of all the West teams we've seen, gotta say the Sharks look the best.
Watching Neal, a few things were apparent:
-The Sharks see him six times a year and know how to defend him, so we didn't get the best look at all his abilities because the Sharks D was in his mouth.
-Quick release on his shot.
-Quicker skater than we thought.
-He already needs Sid. Pascal Dupuis is not a playmaker. He is a solid player that you need in order to win a Cup. But Dupes had Neal open maybe 3 or 4 times this game and either didn't notice him or didn't get him the puck. Neal needs a mailman.
As for the other newcomer, Matt Niskanen, he wasn't horrible. Clearly he didn't look comfortable, but there's probably some shit about Bylsma's defensive system that can't be learned in a 40-minute practice session with Will DePaoli in your butthole.
Marc-Andre Fleury is playing the best hockey of his career right now. Pens' defense is doing everything they're being asked to do in order to keep the Pens in games. At the end of the day, games like this will suffice for the regular season, but in a playoff series it is going to be a quick exit for the Pens if they don't get a scorer. You probably noticed that the last two teams to come into CONSOL are playoff teams that are already somewhat settling into their playoff systems.
The Sharks were running the Pens ragged early.
Then the Pens get their shit going.
Tyler Kennedy gets yet another goal. 1-0.
We love jobbing Tyler Kennedy.
Can't remember much more about the first period.
Max Talbot probably got worked over on the boards 11 times.
James Neal had a couple shifts, then the Pens went to the box.
Michalek Island with a huge shot block early on the PK.
Brooks Orpik blocked a shot and left the ice favoring his hand.
He didn't return. Go to hell.
Reminded us of this legendary Tim Curry performance:
0:19 -- Bitch
0:30 -- Would take that woman in red to the bank.
2:10 -- Shero
Another lengthy as sac delay to begin the second because the lights refused to come on inside CONSOL.
We'd make a big deal about this, but we actually don't care.
Adams goes for hooking, and he was Adamant that the call wasn't just.
Sharks score on the PP. What a smooth operation. 1-1.
Later in the second, Dupuis saves a goal in a skirmish.First time he's seen a goal crease in two months. HUGE.
Niskanen gets a nice welcome to Pittsburgh when a Shark smokes him.
Needs a shorter nickname got barely enough of that dude for him to go down.
Pens kill it.
Out of the gate, Engelland destroys Heatley.
Some joke jumps Engelland afterward and even drops a glove. McCreary scratching his sac in the corner.
Engelland knew he couldn't fight. Smart.
Engelland's fighting less and less, regardless.
Working on his game for the playoffs.
Ben Lovejoy, on the other hand, may have been responsible for the Sharks second goal.
Letang races to a loose puck down deep in the Pens' zone.
Lovejoy just stands there, not giving Letang an outlet pass behind the net.
Letang throws it behind the net where, instead, a Shark is waiting. Goal. 2-1.
Pens get a PP. Letang has a great chance. Save by Niemi.
Fleury gets pulled for the extra attacker.
Sharks miss a shot at the empty net, and the Pens head the other way.
They get it into the zone, and James Neal backhands it deep into the zone.
9/11 in the corner. Staal gets the puck, puts it on net.
Neal was rumbling toward the cage like a freight train.
Tyler Kennedy was on the spot, though, to put it home. 2-2.
Kennedy scored, dicks.
Fast-forward to the last 2 minutes of OT. Niskanen commits an unreal turnover, and Joe Thornton feeds Marleau smooth as silk on a breakaway. MAF with a gigantic save.
Mitten lady has unreal seats and refuses to watch the best play of the game?
Pure horror on some of those people's faces. Get ahold of yourselves.
The Sharks come into the Pens zone with under 20 seconds left.
Tyler Kennedy has a chance to get the puck out of trouble, but he loses it.
Unlimited Sharks in front of the net. Someone puts it home. GAME.
Michalek and Letang had 30 minutes of ice time or something ridiculous.
Could watch Michalek Island play all day.
Again, MAF playing the best hockey of his career.
Sounds like Oprik won't be on the Pens first two games on the road trip.Injury situation is unrealistic.Wonder who the Pens will call up now?
Consol is built on an old hospital. Someone needs to bless the grounds or something.
Five game road trip ahead, but two straight games in Toronto? WTF
Test tube, Jeffrey, Kunitz may be back this weekend.