Even though they lost, it was a great game that had ALL the elements of an awesome game of hockey -- it was physical from the start, the Pens scored right off the bat, there were fights (one of my favorite things), there was O/T, AND there was a shoot-out (another favorite of mine even though I don't always feel it genuinely crowns the true winner).
It was nice to get back to hockey; however, it just intensified my need for more!
A big surprise was the fact that coach Michel Therrien was keeping the lines pretty much the same - no switching around every 5 minutes.
Jordan Staal made an exciting goal from the get-go 91 seconds into the game (assisted by Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin) proving that he belongs on the line with Malkin and Sykora -- I told John that if Therrien makes changes to that line then he didn't just bruise his ribs but also must've suffered brain injury when he fell on the ice at last Thursday's practice.
The most devistating part of the game was when Sergei Gonchar took a hit from David Koci early in the first period and suffered an injury taking him out of the rest of the game. Pittsburgh Penguins webpage reports that Gonchar has a shoulder injury and will be re-evaluated today (I really hope that's not bad news - I'm not sure we can afford to lose him). However, there was redemption shortly afterward when Eric Godard, who was already sporting a black eye (you gotta love that!) picked a fight with Koci and got the better of him -- it was a really good fight that lasted pretty long!!
A second fight broke out between Ryan Stone and Zenon Konopka 4:05 into the 2nd period. This one isn't as exciting as the first, but I'll take it! Supposedly, Stone and Konopka have a history - what drama!
I spotted Crosby, Satan and Sykora gathering together every-so-often to discuss some type of play that you could see develop and eventually pay off when Sykora scores a really nice PP goal standing to the side of the net taking a pass from Miroslav Satan with 4:42 left in the 2nd (Crosby and Satan get the assists). Sykora gets another PP goal 10:51 into the third period assisted by Janne Pesonen and Alex Goligoski.
Sidney Crosby had an AMAZING unassisted, short-handed goal with 2:53 left in the 3rd period to take back the lead of the game (4-3). Unbelieveable!! It didn't last long - Lightning scored 1:34 later to tie the game and send it into O/T.
Neither team scored during the 5 minute O/T and the game went to a shoot-out decision.
- [PP]Miroslav Satan makes a nice move but is stopped by Karri Ramo (0-0)
- [TBL] Jurri Jokinen beats Fleury (1-0)
- [PP] Evgeni Malkin fires a wrister that hits the post (1-0)
- [TBL] First-round draft pick Steven Stamkos slides one underneath Fleury to win the game (5-4)
Here's Pittsburgh Penguins highlight video of the game showing you what I just described above (and was lucky enough to see at the game in person):