April 25, 2008
Don't wake the beast.
What a start to the highly-anticipated series. Maybe it's the Penguin fan in me, but I knew, even after Sean Avery's goal, that the game was far from over. There was 36:23 left in the game. More than enough time for anything to happen. All Pittsburgh needed was a goal to jump start them. As it always seems to be in sports, a lucky break went the Pens way after Jarko Ruutu's pass went off Michal Rozsival's skate and into the net.
Who knows what else would have gone the Penguins way if Jaromir Jagr's pass from behind the net would have been stopped by Marty Straka, instead of out to Scott Gomez for a beautiful wrister past Marc-Andre Fleury.
Other things popping up in the brain:
-Hal Gill and Rob Scuderi is not going to work. I don't know how long Michel Therrien has used them in practice over the last nine days, but neither looked comfortable with the other. There was at least two times they collided into one another and both seemed out of position at times.
-I have always loved to watch and root for Jaromir Jagr. He still scares me when carrying the puck. How many spin-around passes across the middle did he have tonight? Almost all of them created a scoring chance for New York.
-You have to believe that will be the worse game for both goaltenders this series.
-Can the New York media cry about preferential treatment if a Sidney Crosby isn't involved in drawing a penalty?
-The Chris Drury "high-stick" call was a good one. The replays from Versus were inconclusive. To me, it was almost an illusion the way he moved his stick downward to tip it. It looked like the puck hit the bottom of his shaft where it meets the blade, but his downward tipping motion deceives the eye into thinking that's when he hit the puck. Either way, good call.
-Petr Sykora was the best free-agent acquisition in the off-season from a dollars/production sense. What a sniper.
-The refs did not blow a 3-0 lead on 4 even-strength goals.
-Game 2 will be a battle and a half. The Rangers will not let this game out of their memory anytime soon. They're coming out fast and hard and eager to capitalize early on any mistakes. The Pens might be on their heels early on come Sunday afternoon.
-Speaking of Game 2, how huge of of a game is that for Pittsburgh? Home ice. Coming off of a great comeback and the chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead into the "House of Horrors", Madison Square Garden. Therrien's going to have to work on his defensive pairings again if he wants to avoid another multi-goal night for New York.
Let's Go Pens!