The Pittsburgh Penguins extended their points streak to eight games with a 3-2 victory over the Atlanta Thrashers. The Pens now have points in more consecutive games than there were fans at Philips Arena tonight.
The first period was brutal. There's really no other way to put it. It seemed like the clock couldn't run for more than 25 seconds without a whistle.
Icing, offside, icing, offside, penalty to Bobby Boucher at 2:59. The Thrashers PA announcer proceeded to let all 12 people in the arena, and the rest of the city of Atlanta, know that the Thrashers were on the POOOOOWWWWEERRRR PPPLLLLAAAYYYY!!!! The guy obviously forgot where he was, because no one in Philips Arena has been that excited about a power play, ever.
The Pens had the penalty killed until Hal Gill was called for hooking in front of the net. The Thrashers scored when Slava Kozlov corralled a rebound in front of the net with more room than a fan in Section 137 of Philips Arena, allowing him to get the puck past Dany Sabourin. 1-0 Atlanta, Pens still short-handed.
The Pens killed off the rest of the Gill penalty. The teams then got back to playing the sloppiest period of the 21st century.
Pascal Dupuis finally did something effective when he took a pass from Crosby and sailed down the left wing. Dupuis held the puck until the last-possible minute, then threw one of his patented 97-mph passes to the front of the net.
Satan made a sick play by stopping the puck with his skate, and then banging it home to even the score at one.
The rest of the first period sucked. Malkin must have called Michel Therrien a joke on the bench, because he wasn't getting any ice time. He had four shifts in the first period, one of which was on the penalty kill. That should never happen.
Kris Letang made a play that Penguins' color commentator Bob Errey is probably still aroused by when he kept his head up on the rush and sent a shot-pass to the stick of Jordan Staal. Staal directed the puck wide of the net, but Errey talked about it for the rest of the period.
The second line finally got a shift with about 30 seconds to go in the period, and Malkin forechecked like a demon to force a turnover. Sykora picked up the loose puck, but his shot hit Andrej Pavelec right in the logo.
All you could hope for in the second period was something better than the first, which wasn't asking for much.
Early in the second period, Matt Schneider gave the Pens a power play, but they couldn't get anything going. Mike Yeo had Malkin back on the wing instead of at the point for the first time this season. He can create more on the wing, but doesn't get as many good looks at the net to unleash his wicked one-timer.
Matt Cooke hit the ice, and absolutely destroyed Kozlov along the boards. It was a clean hit, but the Thrashers didn't like it. Some Ostrich guy took a run at Cooke and was called for interference.
During the penalty, Reasoner was booked for hooking, and the Pens had a two-man advantage.
The power play has been experiencing a power outage recently, and this five-on-three wasn't much different. The Thrashers killed it off and stole the momentum.
Atlanta got a power play, but Sabourin made some solid saves to keep the score even.
After the Pens PK, Tyler Kennedy went balls-to-the-wall and flew in on Schneider behind the Thrashers' goal. Schneider blew a tire and coughed up the puck to TK.
TK centered the puck in front to Crosby, who was coming off of the bench. Sid was tripped up, but elevated the puck as he was falling to beat Pavelec top shelf, giving the Pens a 2-1 lead.
About a minute and a half later, A.C. Slater from Saved by the Bell made an appearance behind the Pens' net. Slater wrapped the puck around and beat Sabou in the luckiest moment of his life since he got to bang Elizabeth Berkley in 1992. 2-2.
Once again, the game would be decided in the third period.
Kris Letang opened the third period with a beautiful hit on Todd White in the corner. White was dazed by the hit and had to be helped back to the Thrashers' bench by an official.
On the next shift, Bobby Boucher had his shot blocked at the point, and the Thrashers got their 42nd odd-man rush of the game.
This time it was Kovalsuck, who tried to go five hole on Sabou, but he was denied. Props to Boucher for a backchecking hard instead of admiring the play. After that save, you knew Sabou was going to be all business for the rest of the game.
The Pens' first line put in a great shift, possessing the puck in the Thrashers' zone for over a minute.
Eric Perrin had a chance on Sabou, but he came up with another big save. Jason Williams rang one off the post on the next shift. The ringing of the post is probably still echoing due to the lack of bodies inside Philips Arena.
The Thrashers had another odd-man break. This time Erik Christensen had a chance, but Sabou shut the door again.
Former Penguin Chris Thorburn pulled down Crosby in front of the Thrashers' net, giving the Pens a power play with just under four minutes to play.
Alex Goligoski is my new least-favorite Penguin. He was trying to play like an All-Star forward that has been in the league for 10 years tonight, instead of like a rookie defenseman who might not have a job next month.
Golisuckski tried to walk the blue line with the puck, but the Thrashers realized he wasn't Sergei Gonchar, so they took it the other way.
Sabou made another unreal save on the breakaway. If the Pens didn't score on a power play late in the game for the second game in a row, I would have been ready to throw something at the television.
Malkin got the puck on the half wall, took it deep, sent an airborne pass cross-ice to Sid. Sid wound up, released a slap shot, and Petr Sykora got his stick on the puck to redirect it past Pavelec. Whooooo. 3-2 Pens.
The Thrashers pulled the goalie. Hal Gill had a chance to feed Malkin the puck with about eight seconds on the clock, but instead he iced it. Malkin looked back at Gill with a "WTF man?" look on his face.
Pens win the faceoff, clear the puck, game over. Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
"See you in December, jokes." Final Score: Pittsburgh 3, Atlanta 2
- Crosby had a big night after looking pretty bad against the Wild the other night. A goal and two helpers for the Kid.
- Malkin needs more ice time. He played 21:30 tonight, almost a full three minutes less than Sid. I'm not saying Malkin needs to be on the ice more than Sid, I'm just saying he needs to be on the ice more.
- Zigomanis was unreal in the faceoff circle again. Something like 11 wins, two losses. He leads the NHL in faceoff percentage. Thank you, Ray Shero.
- Sabourin is definitely making a bid to become a starting goaltender somewhere next season.
- Cooke turned in another solid performance with four hits.
- Godard needs to fight soon.
- Next game is Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM against the Vancouver Canucks at Mellon Arena. I'll be in attendance once again, so here's hoping for a better result than Tuesday night.
Let's Go Pens!