Big Lead Sports Bar




Kris Letang was a game-time decision with a shoulder strain compliments of Mike Green in Game Two. I think we're all pleased with the decision to have the young defenseman in the lineup on Wednesday night.

It was Letang's goal at 11:23 of overtime that took a thousand-pound gorilla off the backs of the Pittsburgh Penguins, giving them their first win in an extremely hard-fought series with the Washington Capitals that has had one-goal margins of victory in each game so far. Wednesday's 3-2 final suddenly resuscitated the Pens, who now have new life in the series going into Game Four.

If the Penguins lost this one, their fate would have probably been set in stone. A team hasn't overcome a 3-0 hole in 34 years. But things slowly fell into place, and for the first time in this series, Simeon Varlamov left the ice as the losing goalie. And just think, all it took was a mere 42 shots on goal to do so.

Despite a 1-for-7 power play, a bad first goal allowed, and the inability to close out the Caps in regulation, the Pens did a lot of things well. First and foremost, there was the inspired play of Evgeni Malkin, one day after ducking reporters who were prepared to pepper him with questions about his lack of production thus far in the series. There was a solid defensive effort that clamped down on Alex Ovechkin and allowed shot totals of eight, four, six, and five in the four periods on Wednesday. An overall assault on Varlamov throughout the game eventually paid dividends. And finally, the team's effort sent Mr. and Mrs. Malkin home happy. That might be the biggest victory of all.

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this collision between Orpik and Ovechkin among the highlights:

These two teams next meet on Friday night, shortly after 7 PM in Pittsburgh. Maybe the Pens can recruit Mike Tomlin to sound a siren before the game.

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getfreshdesigns said...

Not really a hockey fan, but I find it kind of funny that the Pittsburgh Penguins series is very similar to the one that their AHL affiliate is having. Seeing as the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins are facing the Hershey Bears (AHL team of the Capitals). and the WB-S just won a game after being down 2-0 in the series.

Koz said...

How about coach composure during this series so far?

Boudreau is always demonstrative and whining after the games, and Bylsma is very calm and collected even after dropping the first two and starting the first 10 minutes last night like garbage.

Gives me hope for a long series.

Chip said...

Geno needs to slap his momma and hip her to the fact wearing red during a WhiteOut isn't the best idea.

I know they're Ruskies but c'mon Mama Malkin. Show some support for your son's team.

Oh and I second the love for Disco Dan. If that previous idiot were still behind the bench, I have no doubt Dupuis and Cooke would be on the 1st line with Crosby.

okel dokel said...

A good win, but I am not sure what to think. We still seem to have problems getting space, but what do I know.

I know one thing. If I hear another person complain about Crosby's diving I will point them to You Tube clips of this series. Ovechkin is good but he is a diver, whiner and he runs people.

Steve said...

If Malkin's mommy wants to wear red I could care less as long as he plays well when she's there and they win. Hell, she can even wear an Umberger jersey.

I always knew Ovechkin's useful career would be a short one and I'm thinking it will fall somewhere between Forsberg's and Bure's in terms of impact and length.

He's clearly one dimensional and too needlessly physical for his own good and that combination will lead to his end. By 2013, Ovechkin will already be on the downside of his career.

BurressWithButterflywings said...

I can't help but wonder if Ovie used a different stick last night because he was more reluctant to shoot than normal had trouble handling the puck, maybe the talk of his Jai Alai stick scared him into making a change?

I like Bylsma's demeanor, that kind of attitude can go for miles in these heated series.

Crosby and Malkin both proved why they are touted as tops in the world with their poise and their desire. You never see Ovie fishing for a puck behind his opponent's goal line let alone his own.

AbrahamNunezPlays9Positions said...

Is it just me or does Ovechkin only hit people who aren't looking.

One time last night Ovie had one of the pens lined up for a killshot, (Kunitz, I think) when the penguin saw him coming at the last second, Ovechkin backed off.

HotDog_Zanzabar said...

Malkin was the #1 star last night, but I think Max Talbot should be commended for the game he played.

He dug the puck off the wall and got it to Fedostinko for the first goal, and his dig off the boards and subsequent outlet pass out of Malkin's reach assured the offensive zone faceoff on the OT winner.

Steve said...
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Steve said...

No doubt, Ovechkin plays like a douche. He's the kinda player to sucker punch someone instead of squaring off fairly. It all comes around and we'll eventually get the long awaited video of him laying on the ice out cold with a high grade concussion. That day will truly be a great one for hockey. God I miss players like Kasparaitis and Scott Stevens.

Yup. Ever since the fight in the Flyers game Talbot's been doing all the little things you need to do to win. I hope he stays on the Malkin line as long as it's working.

Jeff_King_Fan said...

May have an obvious answer but since 1999 which has been the better, more heated rivalry: Pens/Caps OR Steelers/browns?

Both couples have had classic moments, playoff games, and physical fights over the past decade. Your thoughts guys?

Steve said...

Browns? Do they even qualify as a rivalry? I can think of about 20 other teams including the Seahawks that better fit that description.

When you can't remember the name of the head coach, they're officially not a rivalry anymore.

It's kinda sad actually.

Unknown said...

Browns haven't been relevant in years, and I don't just mean in terms of how badly the Steelers whoop up on them annually. Between those choices I'd go with Pens/Caps, although I think Pens/Flyers has been the best rivalry in that span (Steelers/Pats, Ravens are up there too).

Jeff_King_Fan said...

All time, you have to go with the browns. last couple years, as far as the players are concerned, its pens/caps. i still think the steeler fans/browns fans have a more heated rivarly than their pens/caps fanbase counterparts.