Diary Time: Pens and Canes Score Early and Often in Game Two

xx yySenior Writer IMay 22, 2009

PITTSBURGH - MAY 21:  Joni Pitkanen #25 of the Carolina Hurricanes fights with Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during Game Two of the Eastern Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Mellon Arena on May 21, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It’s 30 degrees outside and apparently the heat is getting to everyone.

James Duthie is referring to himself in the third person (as “Jimmy”), Simple Plan is playing for the NHL on TSN, Duthie referred to an answer on the quiz as “question number c”, the situation in Phoenix is being referred to as “Coyotes Ugly”, and we may have t-shirts coming soon reading “That a baby Bobby.”

All of this happened during the pregame show, so I’m worried about what’s going to go down.

Bill Guerin’s kids are front row and ready, and so are we: It’s game two between the Carolina Hurricanes and Pittsburgh Penguins!

7:30:
We’ve already heard the phrase “Cardiac ‘Canes” (Put a one on the counter). The Pens are pumped up and the ‘Canes are wounded, and Eric Staal hasn’t scored a goal in four games.

7:32:
It’s Pierre McGuire, The man who lost out on the GMship (Yay for made up words) in Minnesota to Chuck Fletcher—Cliff’s son! Take note that Pierre McGuire just said that this is going to be a “hard, slick, hard game”. Take note: this is twice as hard as a normal game.

Erik Cole is back in the lineup, and apparently Tuomo Ruutu is out. Possibly more important than this, Cam Ward has never lost a game two. Interesting.

7:39:
The fact that it’s a “white out” at the “Igloo” isn't very entertaining. I always like it when there’s a color involved in the crowd decoration.

White seems kind of…easy.

7:41:
The Canes have the first shot of the game with a bouncing puck on Fleury as the Penguins broke out and really opened up the ice.

7:42: I’m surprised Pierre McGuire didn’t call that a “Superman Save” by Marc-Andre Fleury. Maybe the Canes have something here.

7:42:
Nevermind. 1-0 Penguins. Jokinen knocked Crosby down, and then simply left him to go to the net unattended, slamming the cross-crease pass home.

7:44:
“Fleury doesn’t like the puck behind him”. Frankly, I’d assume most people don’t.

That’s unfair to Pierre though, it was actually good insight. He was identifying how the dump game affects Fleury and how, when the Canes play the puck out from behind M-A Fleury, he doesn’t like it.

7:45:
TIE GAME!!! A scramble in front of Fleury after Eric Staal drove (behind the icing line) around the net, and Chad LaRose has his fourth goal of the playoffs to tie the game.

7:46:
I think with Pierre McGuire placed between the benches, teams could very well be listening to his analysis of the games and how Fleury “hates it when the puck is behind him”. The Carolina forwards seem to be making a beeline for the ice behind the net.

Things I like behind me: The lady who cuts me hair. Her name is Deb. I trust her.

Things I don’t like behind me: Richard Simmons, a rhinoceros or bull, and Brooks Orpik—You’re not slamming me face first into the boards!!

7:51:
Cam Ward is 5-1 after a loss in the playoffs. Probably a good thing because Steve Yzerman is here tonight—the question is: Is he here with Team Canada or the Detroit Red Wings? Or both? Apparently there’s a wealth of possible answers to this question.

7:53:
How I know that a Penguins fan didn’t jump on the “Crosby-Malkin bandwagon” (As Bill Guerin rubs out Ryan Bayda off the puck): They’re wearing jerseys from 1993-1999.

Even so, with things like eBay and second-hand shops, nothing is guaranteed. You’re all being held for further questioning so we can determine who is authentic and who isn’t.

First Penguins trivia question: In 1991, which players were included in the team photo with the Stanley Cup, but didn’t have their names engraved on the trophy.

7:57:
Steve Yzerman and Cam Ward won’t be happy. Evgeni Malkin scores to make it 2-1 on a puck that dribbled out front after a chance in tight. Not the prettiest goal he’ll ever score, but it counts nonetheless as Malkin gets a salute from his parents.

7:58:
Apparently I’m not allowed to type without anything happening as Jussi Jokinin (victimized by Crosby earlier) is allowed to score the tying goal from “behind the icing line”. And yes, Pierre MacGuire noticed.



8:01:
I’m a little late on this, but apparently the Staal brothers aren’t talking at all during the series—or at least they’re trying not to.

Eric was stranded with his wife and teammates at a movie over the past few days, and because no cab was available, he called Jordan. Even then, apparently they barely talked.

I wonder how awkward a family dinner would be during the playoffs.

Eric: Marc, can you tell Jordan to pass the salt?

Jordan: Marc, can you tell Eric to score a goal first?

Jared Staal: You know I could pass the salt just as easily as Marc could.

Marc Staal: Play a game first!



8:04:
Dennis Seidenberg just scored his first ever playoff goal to give the Carolina Hurricanes a 3-2 lead. If the scoring keeps up at this rate we’re in for a….wait for it….a 16-12 final score.

8:06:
Erik Cole ran into his own player earlier but kept coming back and playing hard. The guys hurt and he’s a trooper as Ward stops a streaking Guerin down the right side.

8:09:
We just had a closeup of the netcam doing its thing. It’s strange that it looks like that thing that came out of the top of R2D2 in Star Wars. I wonder if it does as much cool stuff as R2 did?

8:11:
I want to have the Maxim Coors Light Caddy experience or whatever they call it, and I’m not even good at golf. The beer and caddies are enough to convince me though.

8:13:
Here’s something you don’t see everyday in the playoffs: An off-the-puck penalty! Chris Kunitz just high-sticked Scott Walker away from the play, so we’ll see how the ‘Canes powerplay does.

8:14:
Darren Pang will be happy: Pierre McGuire just said that Eric Staal is “jumpin” tonight as Cam Ward makes a huge save shorthanded on Jordan Staal off of his own (Ward’s) turnonver.

At least he cleans up his own mess.

8:17:
The penalty finished up, but the ice still seems really open—Carolina and Pittsburgh are playing back and forth hockey, and while there weren’t a ton of chances, I got to see Sidney Crosby shoved into Marc-Andre Fleury.

Somewhere Don Cherry just smiled as Carolina takes a penalty and the Pens offense as a chance to finish up the period with the man advantage.

8:20:
Apparently Sergei Gonchar isn’t looking right. I was going to make a joke about “Well he did get smoked by Ovechkin” but we just got clarification that it looks to be an upper-body injury too, which might not be good. Even if it is, this is the NHL and playoff hockey—not the NBA—you play through it. Being soft on the puck is no excuse.

That being said, it’s intermission time: Duthie just used the words “paneling” and the word “panel” as a verb and noun respectively. Sweet.

8:40:
We’re coming back to the second period and the two most interesting things coming out of the intermission show was the fact that Dennis Seidenberg won the people of a restaurant in Raleigh a free bratwurst for scoring a goal, and the question as to whether or not Shane Doan’s “no-movement clause” applies to the team actually getting up and moving and whether or not it’s a breach of contract as Kris Letang hits the post and Sidney Crosby is going off for tripping.

8:42:
The Carolina power play was simply anemic and it’s proven by Maxime Talbot picking up the puck in the neutral zone, walking over the line, and letting one rip past Cam Ward after the penalty had finished up. 3-3.

8:45:
Scott Walker with a low hit on Evgeni Malkin, but no penalty is called and the players are getting a tad chippy out there. In other news, question number two in the “Prove you’re not a Pens bandwagon jumper” quiz is: Name the two players who scored the series-clinching goals in both of Pittsburgh’s back-to-back cup wins.

8:50:
We just saw a road hockey-like graphic on Cam Ward. It was a silhouetted goalie in front of a net (much like the drape that has the holes in it for practicing) with the location that all of the pucks have beaten Ward with during the playoffs.

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Apparently, Talbots' is one of only five goals to beat Ward up high these playoffs. That’s the kind of goals Pittsburgh needs to take a stranglehold on this series.

8:53:
Pitkanen and Crosby are jousting in front of the Carolina net after the two crashed the crease together and now the’yre shoving! Joni Pitkanen against Sidney Crosby…THIS IS THE FIGHT WE ALL WANT TO SEE!! LET THEM GO!!! LET THEM GO!!!!

8:54:
The refs don’t let them go and Kunitz got in on it at the end as the Penguins begin to control the play in the Carolina end, as Matt Cullen gets nailed for high-sticking. The Penguins are buzzing on the powerplay, but Cam Ward is standing tall. The puck movement game is going well, but Ward seems to be anticipating the show very well.

With the way he’s performed these playoffs, Ward has made the jump into the “elite” roster of goalies in the NHL along with guys like Brodeur and Luongo.

Does anyone even realize he won 39 games in the regular season? Cam Ward is the man.



9:02:
Marc-Andre Fleury may be really close to making the jump too actually.

I have trouble believing I actually said that. A lot of trouble.

9:04:
Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire just had a huge conversation over the fact that Penguins’ assistant GM Chuck Fletcher and Pierre topped it off with “Now I get to stay with you for a little longer” which was met with a seemingly sarcastic “Yay” from Gord.

The only way this is funny is if this is actually how he feels. Otherwise, I’m not sold on Miller’s acting ability.

9:08:
I really want people to stop calling Evgeni Malkin “Geno”. Seriously. I don’t care if it’s “the Americanized” version of his name—he’s Russian. No one called Sergei Fedorov “Stevie” did they? Give it up.

On an unrelated note, apparently Gord and Pierre have been staying in the same hotel as Dan Bylsma. Bylsma however, has been there for three months. I wonder if he’ll steal the towels when he leaves?

9:15:
After a very dominating few minutes in the Carolina zone, Chris Kuntiz wheeled out of the corner from a scrum, flipped from backhand to forehand, and fired it high-blocker side on Cam Ward. With the second period coming to an end, it’s 4-3.

9:34:
The third period’s now underway, and I’m not going to lie: The intermission wasn’t really that exciting unless you’re curious about Pavel Datsyuk’s injury. And even then, we really got no new information on it.

9:36:
Note to self—calculating baseball stats during hockey game, despite me not missing much (aside from what I thought was an attempt at “Dream On” by the Pittsburgh organist), isn’t a good idea.

9:39:
Patrick Eaves' first goal in the playoffs in two years has the game tied again, and the 'Canes could capitalize on a flat Pens team right now. The assist goes to Ryan Bayda on the Eaves goal, and Carolina has the momentum early in the third.

9:42
: After a brief room transplant, I’ve found out that Windsor won today’s tiebreaker in the Memorial Cup and that my dad thinks Taylor Hall is “really good”. Good to know.

9:43:
Chad LaRose just drove to the Pittsburgh net shorthanded. During these playoffs he’s really reminded me of Darcy Tucker during the Leafs’ 2002 run where, he was still very much an energy player, but he got big time minutes and important minutes, and made the most of them.

I think LaRose has made himself a lot of fans in these playoffs.

9:46:
Who would win in a fight? The Most Interesting Man in the World or Chuck Norris? Maybe the better question: Who has the better beard? Would they sit outside to watch a hockey game? Probably not, but a whole bunch of Penguins fans are outside watching it, which reminds me of hearing stories of people sitting outside Wrigley Field with radios waiting for home run balls.

OK, so it’s not quite the same, but it’s still cool. Speaking of Penguins fans. They’ll be happy. Evgeni Malkin makes it 2-1.

If it makes Carolina fans feel any better, it took him three tries to get it past Cam Ward as Malkin’s dad smooches his mom in triumph.

9:54:
I know I’ve joked around about McGuire a bit today, but I really do admire him because he identifies “Non-calls” by a referee. In the playoffs, everyone thinks everything is a penalty.

Good for Pierre for acknowledging and telling people that not everything deserves a penalty. Speaking of beards…Mario Lemieux should probably shave his. Then again, if Crosby still lives with him, it offsets the fact “Sid the Kid” can’t grow one.

9:57:
A monumental turnover in the Carolina zone almost led to Jordan Staal scoring for the Pens. As soon as I say that, Malkin gets a hat trick.

A play-by-play: Malkin wins the faceoff and plays it ahead of him into the corner, he picks up the puck and works to the right side of the net inbehind Cam Ward. He comes out front of the net on the forehand, flips to his backhand, and sticks it behind Cam Ward.

Gord Miller just said that if “anyone in Pittsburgh is wearing a hat, they should be ashamed of themselves”. But what if it’s a nice hat? Matt Cooke just called the goal “sick”.

I wonder if Crosby’s unhappy with this delay for hats.

10:03:
Erik Cole and Chris Kunitz are getting a lot of attention—physical attention—out on the ice. No matter what direction this series goes, it’ll be interesting to watch how the games escalate.

10:05:
Marc-Andre Fleury may have a two-goal lead, but he’s not slowing down at all as he makes an outstanding cross-crease save and covers up for the faceoff…and another commercial break. On the bright side, it’s that enjoyable Telus commercial with Timone from Lion King. I want one.

10:10:
Apparently Sidney Crosby tied an NHL record tonight with his sixth game-opening goal in the playoffs while McGuire lauds the linesman again (which I still can’t get enough of).

10:11:
Empty-net goal Tyler Kennedy. 7-4 Pens, game essentially over. Random question though: What happens if the Igloo in Pittsburgh didn’t shut off the spot lights after a Penguin scored? Is it a penalty? A forfeit? Probably not, but there’s more important things on the ice right now: Kris Letang didn’t use the tie down on his jersey (or it broke) after getting a high-stick to the chops and Miroslav Satan was absolutely FEEDING Patrick Eaves in a big late-game scrum.

Reportedly Satan’s other fight was with Petr Sykor. No. 81 sure knows how to pick’em don’t he?

Pittsburgh gets a five minute power play, but even more players are getting tossed now for cross-checking and pot shots, so I think it’s safe to say that (as Joni Pitkanen and Bill Guerin nearly fight) that there are no more warm and fuzzies in this series (that is, if this game ever ends).

10:21:
Minutes later, the game finally ends after a flourish of penalties that would make the gang from Slap Shot proud.

There were goals aplenty and bad blood boiling all game long, so it’s hard to imagine Saturday being anything different. It’ll just be interesting to see if either team can stay out of the box early-on in game three.

After this, it looks like the Penguins really are entering the eye of the storm.


Bryan Thiel is a Senior Writer and an NHL Community Leader for Bleacher Report. If you want to get in contact with Bryan you can do so through his profile, and you can check out all of his previous work in his archives. He can also be reached via email at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com.

Bryan also writes for www.hockeybarn.com.