Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals Game Five: Varla-soft
This is my first recap in what feels like forever. Let's just say that the end of another semester combined with the big screen outside of Mellon Arena and large amounts of frost brewed beverages have done quite a good job of consuming my game night activities.
For those of you who care, which is undoubtedly a number I could count on less than two hands, I apologize.
For those of you who don't: whoooooooooooooooooooo.
In Game Three, it was pretty much a do or die situation. Tonight wasn't much different.
The Penguins now have a chance to close out the series at home on Monday night and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in as many years.
Alex Ovechkin has been at the forefront of a lot of discussions lately.
Was his hit on Sergei Gonchar in Game Four a dirty hit? Should he have received a five minute kneeing penalty? Should he have been fined, or suspended? Will GEICO renew his contract for the "So Easy a Caveman Can Do It" commercials after this year?
Alex the Joke once again put the off ice distractions aside and did almost everything he could do to give his team the upperhand in this series.
After the first two games of the series, Penguins' fans who have never experienced the Stanley Cup Playoffs before began to lose hope.
People started believing that Simeon Varlamov was an elite goaltender.
People started believing that Ovechkin was too much for the Penguins to handle.
Then the Pens came home to the Igloo and did what they had to do: win two games.
They headed into the nation's capitol tonight without their best defenseman, but with all the momentum.
A five goal Penguin performance in Game Four surely was in the back of the mind of Varla-soft tonight.
After 25 minutes of scoreless hockey, Jordan Staal capitalized on the rookie goaltender's rattled psyche by scoring his first goal of the playoffs five minutes in to the second period.
In the series, the team that has scored the first goal had lost every game until tonight.
In the midst of Bruce Boudreau downing his second five dollar footlong in the first two periods of regulation, Ovechkin responded with a goal to tie the game at one.
After a too many men on the ice penalty against Pittsburgh, Nicklas Backstrom netted a power play goal to put the Caps ahead 2-1 heading into the break.
Playing from behind on the road in the playoffs can prove to be quite a daunting task.
That being said, the Pens needed to even things up early in the third period if they were to have a legitimate shot at winning the game.
Ruslan Fedotenko didn't disappoint. Tank notched his fourth goal of the playoffs on a quick snap shot from the top of the left circle that beat Varla-soft to even the game at two.
Six minutes later, Staal drove the net and Tyler Kennedy shot the puck on Varla-soft.
A scramble ensued in front of the flopping goaltender, and former Capital Matt Cooke was able to wrist a slick backhander over the goaltender to give the Pens the lead.
Ovechk...I mean, the Capitals, weren't about to go down quietly.
Ovechkin scored at 15:52 of the third to even the game once again, and we would be headed for overtime.
Neither team looked ready to take any chances early in the overtime period, but superstar players don't wait for the other team to make a mistake, they create their own chances.
Evgeni Malkin did just that and generated a two-on-one rush up the ice.
Geno held the puck on the right wing while Tom Poti was caught in the middle of the two best players in the world.
Geno tried to slide a a pass across the ice to Sidney Crosby, but Poti went down on his stomach to prevent the pass from getting through.
If you've ever played hockey, or if you've been a fan for longer than a couple of weeks, you would know that Poti was responsible for preventing the pass across the ice. He had the right idea, but the hockey gods had other plans.
Geno's pass deflected off of the shaft of Poti's stick and the puck found its way between the pillows of Varla-soft to give the Pens the victory.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4 Washington 3
Series: 3-2 Pittsburgh
- Sergei Gonchar's absence was extremely evident tonight.
- The Penguins' 6-1 all time record against the Capitals in the playoffs should have been reason enough for Pens fans not to jump ship after Game Two.
- David Steckel had a chance to put the game away in the opening second of overtime. He choked.
- Mark Eaton's picture should be included after the definition of "solid" in Webster's dictionary. I dare you to find the last time this guy made a mistake on the ice.
- For all of the Caps' fans obsessed with the officiating in the series, the penalties were even at four a side tonight, whatever that is worth.
- Bruce Boudreau is a massive human being.
- See you on Monday at the Igloo.
Let's Go Pens.
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