In the newspaper and on the Internet this morning, we'll all read that Kris Letang got the number-one star. He had two assists and played his best game of the series. But our first star goes to the man who prevented more scoring chances than a broken condom: Zbynek Michalek. Time and again, he was making little plays that made a huge difference, like somehow blocking that shot when St. Louis picked him, or tripping up Malone on that power move. It's these kind of things that propelled Rob Scuderi to legend status. Only Michalek is better at every facet of the game.
Speaking of Ryan Malone, no clue why all of a sudden he is the toughest player in the league and that no one's allowed to touch him because he's battling through injury. If he's that hurt, he's a detriment to his team. Even when he's healthy, he's a detriment. He was an average player on mediocre Penguin teams, and then he played with Malkin and Sid. He sucks. He's from Pittsburgh, but that doesn't matter. Dennis Miller is from Pittsburgh, too, and that hasn't stopped him from being captain suck.
And speaking of things that suck, O.J. killed more things than the Pens' PK last night. Given the unit's success in the regular season, we are by no means jobbing them. They are facing a top powerplay unit night in and night out. Just can't take too many penalties.
As for the game itself, Tyler Kennedy put the Pens up for good in the third, 30-some seconds after Tampa had tied it. It completely deflated the arena.
From there Marc-Andre Fleury took over and sealed the deal.
The Pens secured the split in Tampa. Game Four is playing with house money.
Some guy who is really into himself came out to sing the anthem. Sgt. Bob
sipped a Dr. Pepper on his couch, unimpressed. In fact, Sgt. Bob didn't even watch the anthem. He's too busy defending our country.
Plus, Tampa Bay sucks. No clue why fans have to cheer at certain parts of the anthem. Lightning fans yell out "bursting" for "bursting in air," because Lightning bursts. Canes fans scream "red" for "rockets red glare." Detroit fans probably sing something about Journey. The only reason Florida even exists is because Ponce de Leon was an asshole.
The rally drums already made the game nearly unwatchable.
Kennedy had a chance off a turnover.
And then it was just back and forth dump-ins.
Then business picks up. Downie runs Lovejoy:
All it meant was the Pens had numbers the other way.
Talbot snipes one. 1-0.
It goes without saying the Pens did a hell of a job taking the crowd out of this game.
40 seconds later, Root Sports zooms in on Mike Rupp's face as he's coming down the wing. They cut to the wide shot just in time to show Asham one-time a pass from Rupp. 2-0.
No clue what type of defense Hedman was playing. Lamp-post city.
Johnny Depp takes a timeout.
The timeout gives the Steve Yzerman time to pay off the refs.
Kunitz elbowed Gagne. Ouch.
The elbow will undoubtedly cost him a few games:
What a mistake.
Tampa Bay starts to pick shit up for a little bit. But the Penguins respond. James Neal gets the puck. He wheels out in front of the net. Some dude hanging all over him. An attempted shot gets blocked. Puck comes back to Neal. Wide open net.
But the goal would not have counted. While Neal was taking a shot, Ohlund crosschecks Kovy into Roloson, and Kovy goes off. So strange. And by "strange," we mean complete and utter bullshit.
Lightning thought there was a quick whistle somewhere.
Then the Lightning take advantage. 2-1.
St. Louis stops complaining long enough to score a goal.
Then does his Paul Simon midget dance.
The rest of the period just had more dump-ins. Vinny takes a stupid penalty after the whistle. No idea why every call needs to be explained to him in great detail. Get in the box and shut up.
The Pens would have 1:40 of PP time to start the second.
Recap: Hate started to surface.
Pens power play was all talk. They set up some shit. Still meaningless.
The Dump-in Bowl resumed after the power play.
Things picked up after a while.
Michalek Island stopping everything.
Ryan Malone got hurt somewhere. Like anyone gives a shit.
No clue if this even happened in the second period, but it is a cool pic.
Wait. A single Pens forward forechecking fruitlessly and wasting energy?
That only happened like 600 times last night.
Orpik tries to buy a high stick on a hit behind MAF.
Lightning trying to buy calls by falling all over the Pens' zone.
Marty St. Louis gets away with unlimited interference penalties.
What a mess.
But the Lightning were coming.
The Pens fought back with the Asham-CFA-Rupp line.
Mike Rupp was giving people finishing moves all over the ice.
News flash: Rupp-Asham-CFA has been the Pens' best line.
There may have been an 8-minute stretch where there wasn't a shot on net, though.
Asham starts attacking Adam Hall. No question he hit him in the balls.
Tampa starts to rough up Kovalev. Refs look the other way.
Then Downie throws the puck over the glass. The pending Downie suspension is probably a blessing in disguise for the Lightning. Terrible hockey player.
This is the point of the game where when you get a powerplay, you have to score.
The Pens set shit up. Finally their chance happens. And James Neal got robbed on the PP. Great save by Roloson, but James Neal needs to bury that all day. He was on the side of net where Bing city sets up. P retty sure he is cursed.
Recap: Boring period. Pens survive it with the lead.
The third starts off bad. Paul Martin gets tangled with Lecavalier rushing the net.
It's the type of call Sid gets every time.
It took the Lightning four seconds to score.
The Pens could have folded after this goal.
But they didn't.
Off a faceoff shortly after the Lightning tied it, the Pens heard a different rally drum:
After all kinds of traffic. TK found it the puck and stuck it right in Dominic Moore's sac:
Eat it. 3-2.
17 minutes to kill off. The Pens made some adjustments and the Lightning couldn't get much. Chris Conner didn't do a whole lot in the first and second periods but he played a heroic third period. Every shift he had in the third period, he did shit.
Roloson made some unreal save on Conner midway through the third.
Still doesn't take away from Conner's performance.
Of course the Tampa found a way to get another powerplay. Ryan Malone is such a dick. Mike Rupp gets called for some type of penalty. But the PK kills it.
As time ticks away, MAF and the defense stand tall. The Lightning jerk everyone around at the end. Lecavjoke buys time on the bench by saying his visor needs wiped down.
But all the tricks in the world couldn't beat MAF.
Lightning got all the breaks and still couldn't win. They try some last surge.