The Pens were down 3-0 after two periods of play. It wasn't for lack of trying. Cam Ward let Malkin know this wasn't the 2009 Conference Finals. The Canes, meanwhile, were scratching goals onto the board. Jeff Skinner was everywhere. The Canes had lost 4 straight games, and three of those games saw the Canes have abysmal third periods that cost them wins. And it happened again in this one. But the hockey gods decided the Canes were due for a win. And that game-winning goal came on a play where Malkin was forced to play big in front of Johnson, but he was dog-tired, and Eric Staal put in some goal.
By the way, when's the last time there were so many breakaways in one game? There were at least half a dozen.
No need to feel upset about this loss. Other than Brent Johnson looking kind of soft, it was one of the best games the Pens have played all season. They ran into a red-hot Cam Ward in the first two periods. The Avs and their NHL-best powerplay are coming to the 'Burgh on Tuesday. #CrosbyWatch.
Oh, and Steve Sullivan has a lower-body injury.
Read more for the recap...
Unreal presence by Pens fans.
( thanks Coffey )
Canes score. That fast. Skinner. 1-0. Pens looked kind of lost after that until Asham dropped the gloves with Tim Allen. Woke the Pens up.
Then later, Asham decked Larose in the Pens' zone. It set the tone for what was an unexpectedly physical game.
Then the Cam Ward Show started. Huge save on Sully in front. Malkin had a great chance all alone. Nothing. Malkin had a handful of solid chances this game. Cam Ward was exorcising some demons.
Jordan Staal takes some penalty, but then Richard Park draws one to even it up. The 4-on-4 was fun.
Malkin ended the period doing his lacrosse thing.
Niskanen went off early in the period for a high stick. Killed.
Sully set up Neal somewhere. Huge save again by Ward. He was beginning to look unbeatable.
Then came a pivotal point of the game. Pens got gifted a power play when Malkin tripped over the net. That Jay Harrison guy was in the Pens' mouth all night. 30 seconds after that initial penalty, Tim Brent tripped Malkin, and the Pens had a 5-on-3. In between those two penalties, Dwyer had a breakaway for the Canes. Big save by Beej.
Then the Pens had that 5-on-3, and it looked good. All it needed were a couple more silver-platter passes for Malkin or Letang to one-time. Pens have a nifty play on their 5-on-3s that leave Sullivan wide open for a great chance down low if Malkin can get the puck to him fast enough. Cam Ward was up to the task. All killed.
Craig Adams had an excellent game. He always takes it up a notch in Carolina. Hitting everything.
It felt like Brent Johnson hadn't seen a shot since the first period. The Canes started attacking after that 5-on-3 PK. Orpik saved some Skinner goal, but the Canes kept at it. Skinner set up Ruutu. 2-0.
Then the Canes scored again. 3-0. Ruutu again. Skinner again. Pens with some bad puck management on that third goal.
This tweet hit the Internet at the start of the third period, and it definitely would have been honored. It's not in our DNA to backpedal after such an outrageous statement.
Eric Staal put Adam's mind at ease when he appeared to have scored early in the third. After Johnson made a save on the breakaway, eStaal continued to jam at the puck. Referee whistled it dead, determining that eStaal interfered with Beej. Oh, well.
The Pens responded to that temporary stay of execution by finally cracking Cam Ward. jStaal one-timer. 3-1. Beautiful pass from Malkin.
The Pens went on the PK a couple minutes after that. Matt Cooke feeds jStaal with a gorgeous pass to spring jStaal on a breakaway. What a player. 3-2.
The Pens went on to kill that penalty and had all the momentum in the world. Richard Park almost brought the house down on a chance to tie the game, but he couldn't get is faculties together. The Canes finally realized that the Pens were coming back, so they started pushing back.
With like 8 minutes left, Dupes forces a turnover in the neutral zone. He comes into the Canes zone, giving Kunitz some room, then feeding Kunitz. Kunitz blasts it past Cam Ward to send the RBC into a frenzy. 3-3.
Then, with under 4 minutes left, the Canes score. Chad Larose is a dick. Malkin did all he could in front of the net, but he had nothing in the tank. eStaal beat Johnson's glove to a loose puck and put the Canes up, 4-3.
Then Chad Larose had a breakaway. No clue what Johnson's move was all about. 5-3.
Remember this face.
But the Pens still weren't dead. Against a feeble goaltender, the Pens may have miraculously tied this thing up. But nothing doing.
Guy with the Cowboy hat. Someone needs to seek justice on him.
-Amazing amount of Pens fans in attendance.
-Malkin looks amazing.
- Geno had a chance on a breakaway with the game tied at three. Ward made the save. Does Crosby bury that? man.
-Kunitz is playing his best hockey as a Pen.
-We know we've pushed for Eric Tangradi, but he looked different this game, in a good way.
- Thanks to everyone for the pics.