We all said tonight’s game was “just another game.” The players said it (it only took two periods for one, Eric Belanger to admit that it was “fun” and a playoff-like atmosphere), coaches said it, and even as fans we said it. But we were just trying to kid ourselves. It was evident minutes into this match-up that tonight’s game between Washington and Pittsburgh was anything but. Here are a few notes/observations/mindless ramblings from the game:
- Tom Poti, you are my boy, and you made up for it later on, but I wanted to lose my mind when that puck shot over the glass not two and a half minutes into the game. Luckily, “There ain’t no Poti like a DC Poti,” and I was only mad at you for the next 2 minutes.
- Tomas Fleishmann’s tripping penalty in the latter half of the first saved a goal and preserved Theo’s incredible first period shutout after facing 17 shots in the first 20 minutes.
- Mike Knuble may have unintentionally written some new lyrics to Shaq’s (in)famous freestyle on the first goal of the game – insert ‘Fleury’ for Kobe and ‘a**’ for ‘jock’. That was such a Mike Knuble goal, too. Step 1) Crash net. Step 2) Locate puck, even if 7 feet in air. 3) Put puck in net.
- Of course, the answering goal a little over a minute later by Max Talbot is something that occurs way to often for my liking. Even a few casual fans (shout-out to my Pops) noted how the team often gives up a goal shortly after scoring one of our own.
- While I’m being a constructive critic – is that even a real thing? – our first (and only – more on that later) powerplay did not look particularly sharp. Not a whole lot of time spent in our offensive zone in possession of the puck and at least one shorthanded opportunity arose for Pittsburgh.
- I always love the intensity the boys bring to start the third period. They were firing a lot of shots at Fleury and hitting the Pens hard in those first couple of minutes.
- Whoever taught Crosby to act must have a few Academy Awards under their belt. That head-tilt whiplash effect on the Jeff Schultz holding call sold Mr. Devorski’s crew as the hand didn’t go up until his thespian skills shined.
- Semin’s shorthanded goal. What.Did.He.Do? I would have been happy with a simple clear there but the individual effort was unbelievable. That goal was dirtier than a Metro handrail. I keep checking the score sheet though – why wasn’t Crosby credited with an assist there?
- The Belanger-to-Green-to-Fehr tip in was pretty to watch. I find myself saying that a lot about goals that Belanger assists on.
- In the first two periods alone, I counted 5 missed calls by Mr. Devorski and his crew. There was a trip early in the first period, a slash on Ovechkin after the play midway through the first, a hook on Ovechkin about 5 minutes into the 2nd down in our defensive zone corner, a high stick on Fehr during a rebound opportunity, and a hook that incidentally led to the high sticking call against Semin. Kudos to your crew, Paul, I actually expected you ti miss more That said, I was impressed with out PK throughout the night (although up against an admittedly struggling Pittsburgh PP unit without Malkin).
- Finally, I know our Player of the Game was Alexander Semin, but for the first time in theCAPSlock history (the whole 20 days or so) no player received a 3-to-1 or 4-to-0 vote for the award. Stick-taps go to two other players: Mike Knuble who had the first goal of the game and the last – his first career shoot-out goal (good call Bruce). Secondly – a goalie stick-tap to Jose Theodore as he made some amazing saves once again en route to a 39-save victory.
- One final note – get well quickly Brooksie. It was good to win without you, but it’s better to win with you. Hats off to your streak of 257 consecutive games played.