It was almost as if this game was a microcosm of the entire season. Every time it seemed the Pens were done, they refused to die. We know not to get all jammed up about games and shit, but we can't help but see this one being a game that will be remembered for a while. It was very similar to the 6-5 classic in Toronto so many years ago.
All it took for this Pens team to score some goals was to play in Toronto on Hockey Night In Canada. Oh, and it also took the return of Letestu and Jeffrey, who both scored goals as if they had never left. It also took Leafs goalie James Reimer completely sucking. We almost forgot what kind of impact Mark Letestu has on games.
We refuse to talk about the Pens' defense at least until Martin is back. There's really no point. Although we will say that Strait is pretty solid. Deryk Engelland is settling into his role. Letang is pinching, trying to provide some offense. You live by the sword, you die by it. Refuse to job him relentlessly. Michalek Island is a force. Ben Lovejoy is doing stuff. Niskanen is getting comfortable.
We just talked about the defense.
And it also feels like Kovalev isn't even a Penguin yet until he plays a home game at CONSOL. Last night is why Shero brought him in. He made four to five passes that should be studied in hockey art class. Is he a defensive liability sometimes? Sure thing. But that is something people are gonna have to deal with. The guy is an offensive savant. And if nothing more, he has injected a whole lot of excitement into this team.
*Big-time GIF from Michael M. up above*
The Maple Leafs decide to do the melodic equivalent of spraying fecal matter everywhere by having some dude play the SSB on a harmonica and then some emo construction worker shredding O Canada.
Pens shock the world by getting the first shot of the game.
Neal and Kovalev start doing shit.
Neal had some big time chance, open net. But the puck bounced over his stick.
Puck comes the other way.
Maple Leafs offside, and Graballsky shimmies in on MAF.
Pens get a couple more chances, but they are all shots from above the circles.
Kovalev high-sticks someone. PP for the Leafs.
Kulemin completely missed the net on a chance somehow.
Another breakdown, in concert with Letang pinching, led to another Leafs chance.
Another save by MAF.
The Pens get a PP somewhere. Killed.
Strait starts destroying Leafs on a shift.
Phil Kessel almost quit.
James Neal goes off for a high stick.
Leafs score. Lupul's first as a Leaf. 1-0.
We collect pucks for people scoring their first goal on a specific team? So weird.
With the period winding down, the Leafs zone opens up.
Lovejoy with an underrated pass over to Kovy.
Kovalev has three hours to make a play.
Puts it on net. Hits Cujo and goes in. 1-1.
Pens almost score early with the puck hitting Dupuis.
Talbot tries to hit someone in Erie with a shot.
Then Rupp and Rosebud fight.
Kovalev almost sets up a Staal goal.
Then Letestu almost scores. It was beginning to get chaotic.
Dupes goes off for a blatant hook. Lupul scores, but apparently he kicked it in. Looked like the puck hit his leg as he was moving it forward so that the puck would hit it. We will take it. Plus Lupul's face right after he scored looked like he just swallowed his own vomit. He knew. Penalty killed.
Then the Leafs score anyway. 2-1.
Jay Caufield broke down that play after the game. Whatev.
Pens were back on the PK again. Killed.
Then the Pens get a PP of their own. Penalties everywhere.
Mark Letestu strides into the slot. What a shot. 2-2.
Great screen by Staal.
Then it appears as if the wheels fall off. Three seconds later, Letang gets caught up ice.
Leafs come back 3-on-1.
JoffreyLupul beats MAF. 4-3.
We'll tell you what. Two weeks ago at this time, we pack up the picnic basket and head home. Those were the days when teams would sit back and laugh at the Penguins trying desperately to generate offense in the third. Not anymore.
Pens collect themselves and go back to battling.
But they take a too-many-men call.
On the PK, Dion Phaneuf acts like he can't even see Talbot on the boards. Talbot blocks a dump attempt and goes up ice on a breakaway. It was like watching an out-of-control fat kid on his sled. He chugs up ice and buries it on the backhand. We're all about jobbing Talbot anymore, but it was great seeing his trademark slam-the-stick-on-the-ice-after-scoring move. A shorty. 4-4.
Talking about a fucking downer, though.
Leafs come right back and take the lead on the same PP. 5-4.
Maybe a couple minutes later — who knows — the Pens are battling and winning races to pucks.
Pens get a bounce, and the puck lands on Rupp's stick. Snipejob past CuJo. 5-5.
Of course, immediately after that goal, Pens are some Chinese fire drill of a line change, and Rosebud gets a chance all alone on MAF. Too bad Rosebud sucks.
Armstrong tried to job Kovy into a penalty, and it worked. How much you want to bet Ron Wilson facilitated this? First punch clearly by Armstrong. Then he challenged him to a fight? Get real.
We don't want to say the Pens held on for the point, since Toronto needs points more than the Pens. The Pens were battling to score their goals, while the Leafs were just capitalizing off of bad line changes and d-men pinching. Pens deserved a point…and more.
If you didn't know overtime was gonna be Egypt, you're an idiot.
Engelland takes some stick to the chops, but it's forgotten as Neal barrels down the boards.
He somehow takes it to the net. Visions of a miraculous goal dance in your head. No dice.
If you watch that play again, CuJo in net wanted no piece of Neal.
But then Staal sets up Neal with a great chance after the play is broken. Save.
James Neal is going to score soon.
Pens lines were Neal/Staal, Kovy/Test-tube, Jeffrey/Dupes in OT. Pretty sure Letang didn't come off the ice.
Matt Cooke stuck on the ice and made a terrible pass, springing a Leafs two-on-one.
But give Cooke credit; he motored to get back and the Leafs player shit his pants instead of doing anything with the puck.
Pens were definitely pushing shit in OT.
What a pass flknsdaf;kasdfnldsn by Kovy to spring Letestu. He's everywhere.
Time to sit back and dream of the day when Crosby is on the receiving end of that kind of pass.
MAF held up his end with a toe save on Lupul. Letang missed his chance, but it was probably because he was delusional from playing unlimited minutes. It was clear on the replay that the Leafs goalie could be beat. 72 was watching.
MAF made a save.
MAF holds the line.
Shame Kennedy got hurt right before the game. With TestTube back, it would be interesting to throw the Buzz Line back together. Was Kennedy held out for trade reasons?
Leafs fans aren't as annoying as we remember them.
Letang played 32+ minutes.
Kunitz city back soon?
Steigy said if Kennedy had played, Talbot was going to be a healthy scratch.