If one thing is certain, NHL teams in the playoff race are starting to settle in. And this game was a perfect example of that.
This game, if nothing else, was well played and playoff-like. In the end, a playoff-like ideal rang true. Score on the power play. The Penguins thrice were able to use the power play to their advantage, especially to tie the game and win it.
In other positive news, this is the second straight game where we have seen Evgeni Malkin play really well. He was all-planet on Saturday afternoon. He had four points, including a must-see backhand roof job that temporarily gave the Penguins the lead late in the third. He included a new celebration as a bonus, which was awesome.
Another quick turnaround tomorrow. A huge match-up with the Blues on NBC on Sunday.
Both teams had a PP with nothing to show for them. And when it was 5-on-5, the Pens were having some issues with the Lightning. The Lightning were handling the Pens’ dumps with ease.
Ryan Callahan almost looks like a completely different player in a Lightning uniform. And how scary is Steven Stamkos? Holy shit.
Brian Gibbons has been getting PK time recently. It’s an interesting little wrinkle, if the wrinkle included a theory that Gibbons has naked pics of Bylsma and is blackmailing him for ice time.
Crosby came on to the PK unit for some faceoff and got off.
Zatkoff best player on the ice for the Penguins in the first
Zatkoff was making some big saves. He faced 8 shots in the first, and it felt like all of them were prime scoring chances. He was definitely the best player for the Pens in the first.
They looked kind of flat overall.
The ROOT SPORTS terrible cutshot of the game
So this actually happened…
Did the play stop? Where did the puck go? Why did the play stop? Only Paul Steigerwald knows.
There were so many penalties. It’s hard to remember which one the Pens got their first goal on, but the goal is all that matters. And what a goal.
Malkin took the puck on a rush and shredded the Tampa defenseman. In the shadows Crosby lurked. Malkin found him. And what a pass it was. And what a shot by Crosby. 1-0.
Zatkoff got the assist, and he’s probably tied with Joe Vitale now in points and or going to be sent down somehow. Great seeing Malkin and Crosby team up for a goal. Don’t get to see that too much.
The Malkin pass was basically the start of him entering 2009 Canes mode for the rest of the game. He drew a trip by Stamkos, and Stamkos was being a douche about it.
Pens PP wanted a goal but couldn’t get it. Pens were starting to take over the game a little bit.
Let’s check out and see what’s going on at the Pens bench. Oh, it’s just Dan Bylsma arguing penalty calls with Tanner Glass and Craig Adams.
Neal and Salo had some kind of bizarro double penalty situation. It’s a stupid call, but that’s what happens when you crosscheck people in their teeth all the time.
The Neal/Salo thing changed the tone of the game again. Goc went to the box, and the Bolts had a PP. Brian Gibbons wanders around like he’s from Weekend at Bernie’s 2 when he’s on the PK. Filppula tied it up for the Lightning before the third. 1-1.
The game was weak for the first half, but it was picking up steam.
Bylsma couldn’t get a good matchup on Stamkos, and Stammer started lurking. He didn’t leave the ice in the third period.
8 minutes into the third, Stamkos finally teabagged the Pens, picking up some trash. 2-1.
Tanner Glass may have a good shift somewhere. Maybe not. He missed the net from 8 feet away.
A Penguin then drew a slashing penalty. Guess who. Evgeni Malkin. And the power play connected. Guess Who. Malkin on a rebound. 2-2.
CONSOL was alive, and the Pens started coming in waves. After a great shift, the puck found Jokinen, who dished it to Malkin all alone. Didn’t look like he knew how much time he had. 3-2.
The game was over. Or…not.
Some guy that we’re not even sure played until that minute did this to Olli Maatta:
Huge goal for the Lightning. 3-3.
In OT, the Lightning took a too many men penalty. You just can’t get sent to the box in OT for too many men. And not against the Penguins’ PP.
The hockey gods forgave James Neal. He knuckle-pucked one home.
– Despres/Scuderi may be a decent pairing.
– If Tampa had a good goalie, man.
– Interesting graph by our buddy Stephen P. He explains:
I’ve been working on creating a metric for calculating the probability that a team wins a game at each second of the game. I attached a graph of the probabilities for today’s game. The back-and-forth in the game shows up really nicely in the graph. I thought you guys might be interested in seeing it.Right now the probabilities are based on the current score, the amount of penalty time remaining, and home ice advantage. I’m going to be doing more work on this in the near future, but I figured I’d give some fellow Pens fans a preview of what I’ve got so far