There’s no definitive blueprint on how to win on the road in the playoffs as an underdog, and there aren’t any plans to preserve Columbus’ Game 2 in the Library of Congress, but they somehow got it done.
The Jackets should be tapping a “Don’t take penalties like a champion today” sign on their way out to the ice to play the Penguins, but they haven’t gotten the message yet this series. They gave the Penguins eight (8) power plays to work with in Game 2, with most of them being really stupid, lazy, and unforced errors, to borrow a tennis term.
But the Pens simply couldn’t get their act together. And actually, when you add in Columbus’ shorthanded goal, the Pens’ 1-for-8 night was a wash. You got to think the Jackets are gonna clean up the penalties in Game 3, and they’ll be playing in front of a jacked crowd.
The Penguins, meanwhile, find themselves staring down the barrel of Hell.
- When will Crosby and Malkin score in these playoffs? Going back to last spring, they’ve gone 19 straight periods without a goal in the playoffs. (Stat via @jmarshfof)
- How will the Pens’ defense respond after a terrible Game 2? The only untouchable performances were from Olli Maatta and Matt Niskanen.
- Are buttholes clenched yet in the Pens fanbase?
Those questions will be answered in Game 3. For now, the Game 2 recap:
Rough start for the CONSOL crowd with the great flag debacle.
Right off the bat, Pierre McGuire was really devoted to keeping everyone aware of the Crosby-Dubinsky mini game. 3:30 into the game, both were on the ice, and Crosby took a hit from Dubinsky and got it to the Banker at the point, who threw it to the net. It hit Gibbons’ sac and got past Bobrovsky. 1-0.
On the next shift, Vitale inexplicably interfered with Bobrovsky and was headed to the box. Every team is going to take penalties, but the Pens have taken some strange ones in the first two games here.
Early in that PP, the Jackets were a mess, and Jaromir Gibbons made them pay. He smoked Wisniewski in a footrace for a loose puck, and while we were expecting him to just kamikaze dive into Bobrovsky, he stopped short, made some move, and made it 2-0.
Todd Richards, the Columbus coach, answered the bell. Instead of calling a timeout, he woke up his team by changing up the power play. Forty seconds later, it was 2-1 when Ryan Johansen ate MAF’s lunch for him. What a performance by Johansen in this game.
Three goals by both teams in the first 5:07. It looked like it was off and running again, but things finally settled down. Columbus began methodically knocking around the Pens’ D on every dump.
Two underlying things in the first:
GIBBONS GETS HURT
He collided with Johansen behind the net and got the worst of it. He did not return.
DID DUBINSKY INJURE CROSBY?
Around 7:00 left in the first, Brandon Dubinsky got back to jamming up Crosby and may have injured him somewhere in that sequence. Crosby ended up with 4 shots on the night, had some rough turnovers, and just looked off.
Fedor Tyutin ended up taking a penalty there, but the Pens didn’t do anything on that PP. Speaking of which, Fedor only played the first period. Columbus played the rest of the game with 5 D and with Jack Johnson playing like 39 minutes.
Letang turned over a puck right to Umberger in the Pens’ zone somewhere. Pierre McGuire basically yelled at him for doing it. It’s a breath of fresh air when you’re used to Steigerwald and Errey going out of their way not to call out Penguins on their mistakes.
Dubinsky took a dumb penalty late in the first. Just a really stupid slash on Craig Adams and after the play, neither of which is necessary. The Pens jumped on the PP, with Ni$kanen and Martin on the back end. Kunitz gained the zone after a bit, dished the puck off, and went to the net where Columbus defenders completely ignored him. The puck ended up on Ni$kanen’s stick, and he picked his corner.
Niskanen just doesn’t miss the net. His goal was Gonchar-like. Head up. Blast.
Pens were up 3-1 after the first period but wouldn’t score again.
Kunitz got a roughing penalty at the end of the first, and the Pens had to kill that off to start the second, and then…
STORY OF THE PERIOD
The Pens went a big 0-for-3 on the power play and also gave up their second shorthanded goal of the series. For the second PP of the period, Bylsma went back to having four forwards + The Banker, and the Jackets capitalized:
Banker was jammed. Not sure if it’s because of the goal itself or because all the forwards on the PP left him and Fleury hanging.
Blake Comeau was in the box for Columbus’ shorty, so when he got out of the box, he decided to go back in by tripping Paul Martin. The CONSOL crowd answered by booing the Pens’ PP while Columbus killed that off, too.
It looked like the Jackets realized they were playing with fire and more or less took the rest of the period off.
PENS OPENING THE DOOR
For the second time in the game, a fourth-liner took a penalty in the offensive zone. This time it was Craig Adams going off for a high stick. Killed.
Rob Scuderi went off. Killed…but hang on.
Because this happened:
It’s almost like Pierre McGuire wants to grab Letang and tell him to chill the fuck out. Everyone does.
JACKETS WALKING THROUGH THE DOOR
What a pass by Johansen. Get real.
Jack Johnson is the story of the series so far. He has never played up to his billing. In this series, he is on a whole different level. Played 3400 minutes this game.
Overtime is usually all about the first lucky bounce or the first PP opportunity. The Jackets got the first chance to end it when Martin went off for a high stick. But the Pens stood tall on the kill.
The biggest chance for the Pens was Lee Stempniak. Bob made a big-time save. Best chance for the Jackets was from R.J. Umberger, who had a turning shot on Fleury.
The Pens got the next two power plays. The Jackets killed the first one on Jack Johnson.
Then Blake Comeau took an awful penalty late. The Jackets killed the first part of it.
It would roll over into the second.
The Penguins’ power play didn’t do anything.
Calvert. Villain. 2 goals. Great night of celebrations for him. Somewhere, an 8-year-old Jackets fan is re-enacting that goal and the celebration in his backyard as you read this.
– Organist played Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good.”
– Umberger was a big help in his return to the Jacket’s lineup.
– Underrated game by Fleury. His defense betrayed him.