This is crazy to think about:
Even more crazy is how deep the Pens’ blue-line depth is and that they’re still winning games. It’s great to pat Shero and Co. on the back for having the blue line set up like this, but it comes at a cost. That cost involves banking of Malkin and Crosby to carry the team while Chris Conner is on the team’s third line.
With the stench of the ugly Boston game still lingering in the air, the Penguins didn't look great, but they got the job done. Columbus sucks, but it is worth noting they are going to get Nathan Horton and Marian Gaborik back into their lineup at one point. Maybe then they will actually score.
Pens had a cool Christmas thing:
Then these guys sang the anthem.
Solid job. Elite pants.
The Penguins looked like they were in a fog for most of the first. Luckily, Columbus has no offense right now. The Jackets more or less dominated the first chunk of the game, outshooting the Pens 6-1. Weird seeing the Pens without Orpik in the lineup.
– The Jacket’s transition game was also insane, too. Pens had guys back, so it wasn’t a big deal, but Columbus was preying on every errant pass and missed shot.
– Not much else was going on. The Jackets were having nothing to do with the Pens’ dump-ins.
– An otherwise great road period was in danger when the Jackets took a penalty late, but they killed it.
Highlight of the first period was probably the escalating scandalous wardrobe in the Day Automotive commercials:
Jesus. Gonna make your day.
-Kunitz set up Crosby on a sweet feed early, but McElhinney was there again. He was starting to become a dick.
-And then Malkin brought the house down. What a goal. And what lower-body injury? 1-0.
-Then the Pens were jumping on the PP after Vitale got tripped. Pens were sniffing around early on that but couldn’t start burying the Jackets. Killed.
-The Jackets weren’t getting any good looks at MAF anymore. It looked like they blew their load in those first five minutes then just took a nap and hoped no one would be in the bed when they woke up.
The Penguins needed a goal, and they got one from Sidney Crosby. All he did was go to the net. Pascal Dupuis carried the puck down the right boards and shot it in front. The puck hit Crosby in the right leg. 2-0.
Right after that, things got chippy. Bortuzzo and Despres had to stand up for Fleury in front of the net, and the Jackets got all charged up.
A new theme in the Penguins season is the Simon Despres troll face. It is a developing situation:
Even after all this, Brandon Dubinsky couldn't calm down. He swung his stick at someone and he got asked to leave.
There was some 4-on-4 bullshit, and the Pens escaped it. All of a sudden, there was basically no time left.
Then Marc-Andre Fleury almost scored
With their goalie pulled the Jackets dumped the puck into Fleury just like he dreams about in that situation. He took his shot at the open net:
To make matters a little unsettling, the Jackets came back down and scored to make it 2-1.
No idea why Engelland was on the ice, but whatever.
-The Jackets called a timeout. And they had maybe one or two good chances in their final surge. The Penguins were able to stand them up at the blue line, though, and the Jackets just ran out of time.
– If you strap in for all 82 games every season, you can always take pride in the fact that you watched this game. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
– Pics: AP/Getty