I have taken a lot of heat for my dislike of Alex Goligoski this season. I'm not jumping on the "Gogo is the best defensemen in the league" train just yet, but I'll give credit where credit is due, and he played one hell of a game tonight.
The Versus in-studio dorks did a marvelous job of reminding us that Sidney Crosby had not scored a goal in the past nine games at least 57 times during their 10 minute pre-game show.
Actually, the pre-game show consisted of eight minutes of Enzyte commercials, two minutes of Brian Engblom, and Keith Jones arguing about who has seen better results from said Enzyte commercials.
The Sabres started the scoring exactly one minute into the game. When that goal went in, every bad feeling you have had in the past two weeks resurrected themselves and joined together to kick you in the face.
The Penguins enjoy taking penalties early in periods. They did it in the first two minutes of every period in this game.
The Pens killed off the early first period penalty and the rest of the period was about as exciting as watching a WWE pay-per-view at the Miller household.
"Guys, could you stop yelling and cussing at the television? My mother is going to be very upset with me."
Ales Kotaljoke made the Pens pay for the mistake. 2-0 Buffalo.
Another two-goal deficit relatively early in a hockey game. Joe Beninati started calling Buffalo the best team in the world.
Out of nowhere, Pascal Dupuis scored another huge goal, I think. It really would have been nice to actually see the goal, you know, if the VERSUS camera crew was actually watching the game instead of reruns of Teletubbies on split screen.
Buffalo didn't look rattled by the Pens goal, then again, the Pens shots on goal total of six in the period wasn't exactly an impressive statistic.
The fortunate thing for the Pens was that two of those six shots found the back of the net.
At 12:23 of the second, my favorite defenseman tied the game at two with a wrist shot from the right point that found its way past Miller.
Brian St. Pierre is officially the worst official in the league right now. He made a phantom call on Godard for boarding late in the period. It was probably a good call, but of course, the Versus camera crew didn't pick it up. Who shows replays anyway?
The Godfather attempted to drop the gloves with Andrew Peters, who accepted his invitation and then hugged him for three minutes before dragging him to the ice.
Some guy, no one outside of Eastern New York has heard of scored his ninth goal of the season on the Sabres' power play, giving Buffalo the lead heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
The third period was frustrating to watch. Neither team could stay onside. Ryan Miller told his teammates not to take any penalties, for fear that Crosby might swear at him on the ensuing power play.
St. Pierre finally got his whistle out of his a....sorry Ryan.... pocket and called Paille for roughing, giving the Pens their first power play of the night.
One power play would be all the Pens needed to get the job done. Staal kicked the puck to the right point to Evgeni Malkin who slid it across to Goligoski. Gino was calling for the return pass, but Gogo had the hot hand.
Gogo crept down the middle of the slot and unleashed a heavy wrist shot. Miller didn't have a chance. 3-3.
Neither team could get it done in 60 minutes, so we headed for overtime.
Michel Therrien didn't want to waste any time in the extra frame, as he started the period with Crosby, Malkin, Goligoski, and Boucher on the ice.
The Pens gained possession and Boucher fooled around with the puck, waiting for something to happen.
Malkin took over and gained the offensive zone. Gino slid the puck back to the point to Goligoski who worked the left boards before sending a return pass to Malkin.
Malkin dropped to one knee and got away a wobbly shot. The puck wobbled in far enough for Sid to get a piece of it in front of the net. Miller: "Aw, shucks."
St. Pierre called for a review of the play. No one in Buffalo or Toronto could tell whether the puck was high-sticked or not. FSN Pittsburgh would have been all over this, Versus blows.
St. Pierre calls Toronto for the results of the coin flip. It's heads. Pens win.
St. Pierre doesn't speak English so no one even knows what the call was.
Beninati reminds everyone that he is a mind reader and knows exactly what St. Pierre meant.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 4 Buffalo 3 (OT)
- Kris Letang took a shot off of his foot and left the ice late in the second period. He didn't return for the remainder of the game. Again, FSN would have been all over this, but VERSUS blows so check the Post-Gazette's page tomorrow morning.
- Dupuis played a solid game. A goal, four hits, plus-one rating, good to see him back in the lineup.
- Goligoski made Michel Therrien's decision on whom to bench when Whitney returns tomorrow a very difficult one. Going by performance, Boucher sits, going by something else, Eaton sits.
- Fleury stopped 32 shots and made some huge saves in the third period to keep the Pens in the game.
- Tampa Bay tomorrow. Bugsy's return to the Igloo and Whitney's return to the lineup. Should be a good one.