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Penguins Torch Blue Jackets 4-1 – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Torch Blue Jackets 4-1

Bracing as it was, the third period of the Penguins’ 4-1 Game 2 triumph over Columbus seemed almost anticlimactic. At least until the Blue Jerkets …er Jackets…tried to extract a pound of flesh in the final minute of play.

The first period?

Heart-attack city.

You see, I was under the misguided impression the teams couldn’t possibly duplicate the opening period of Game 1, which Columbus dominated to the tune of 23 hits and a 16-3 edge in shots on goal.

I was right, in a way. Last night was even worse. Intent on mass destruction of Biblical proportions, the visitors piled up a staggering 26-9 advantage in hits, including seven by a Mack truck cleverly disguised as forward Boone Jenner. True, the shots on goal weren’t quite as lopsided—the Jackets held a comparatively light 12-7 advantage. But it seemed as though they had the puck in our zone for the entire first eight minutes of play.

668659006_slide

Poor Marc-Andre Fleury. He must’ve felt like a mechanical target in one of those shooting galleries at Kennywood. “Flower’s” jersey might just as well have sported a bullseye on the crest instead of a skating Penguins logo.

We somehow managed to clear the puck. It sailed all the way to the end boards behind the Columbus cage. Venturing from his net at a leisurely pace, Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky—cold as a frozen mackerel from the prolonged inactivity—seemed a casual bystander as hustling Conor Sheary zoomed in and stole the rubber out from under his nose.

In the blink of an eye the puck was in the net, courtesy of Sidney Crosby.

Forgive Bobrovsky if he’d forgotten what a puck looked like. It was literally the first time he’d seen one all evening.

Surviving another 12 minutes of mayhem and peril, the Pens carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. I exhaled in relief, hoping we’d find the on-switch to our game in the second period.

Foolish man.

The action picked up right where it had left off. Wishing to help in some small way, I hollered something about puck support in the general direction of the big screen TV, as if my sage bit of advice might cosmically filter through to our boys. But Columbus continued to dominate, doling out checks in road-grader fashion.

Then rookie Carter Rowney stepped up. Or, more appropriately, stepped into. During a delicious 10-second sequence just past the six-minute mark, he flattened not one but two Blue Jackets—Brandon Dubinsky and Jack Johnson—at opposite ends of the ice.

These weren’t love taps. Like a heat-seeking missile, Carter blew ‘em up with hard, clean checks.

Yes, Brandon Saad struck for the equalizer moments later. But, thanks to Rowney, the momentum shifted as audibly as if he’d taken a phonograph needle and dragged it across a vinyl record.

On the heels of Saad’s tally, Jake Guentzel finished off a classic two-on-one with Sidney Crosby to reclaim the lead for the Pens.

668648524_slide

PPG Paints Arena erupted. I gulped my first real breath of air since the opening faceoff.

As the Blue Jackets faded, the Pens put their resilience and Stanley Cup moxie on display. Taking full advantage of a dopey roughing penalty to Dubinsky, Evgeni Malkin beat Bobrovsky like announcer Mike Lange’s proverbial rented mule two minutes into the final frame. With 46 ticks remaining and “Bob” perched sheepishly at the end of the Blue Jackets’ bench, Patric Hornqvist escorted the puck into an empty net.

I hoped for my blood pressure’s sake the closing moments would pass without incident.

Wrong again.

Matt Calvert, ironically one of the Blue Jackets’ better players, went berserk. He crashed into Rowney and recoiled. Then, as if drawn by an invisible magnet, he approached Tom Kuhnhackl with equally bad intentions. Calvert crosschecked Kuhnhackl up high, breaking his stick and driving the unsuspecting Pens’ winger to the ice. An unprovoked, blindside assault, as vicious as it was gutless.

In a typical display of postseason justice, referees Dan O’Halloran and Ian Walsh banished the offender for a whole two minutes.

So much for the punishment fitting the crime. Here’s hoping the league office gets it right and suspends Calvert for a couple of games, if not more.

Emboldened by their teammate’s light sentence, Jenner and former Pen Scott Harrington gooned it up at the final horn. That is, until Malkin stepped into the fray and Harrington promptly melted away.

A little unsolicited advice, Scott. Riling No. 71 is a bad move. Bad.

Hopefully, John Tortorella gives Harrington more ice time in Columbus than the piddling 19:15 allotted in Games 1 and 2.

We can use the goals.

Puckpourri

Crosby paced the Pens’ attack with a three-point night. Sid registered five shots on goal and finished a plus-three to earn first star honors.

Fleury, the number two star, made 39 saves, including a potential game-saver on Saad’s breakaway with nine minutes to go. Guentzel (a goal and an assist) was the third star.

Columbus outshot the Pens, 40-32, and led in hits by a wide margin (51-30). The locals won 57 percent of the faceoffs and blocked 23 shots to the Blue Jackets’ 13.

Jenner recorded a game-high 10 hits. Kuhnhackl (six) and Rowney (five) topped the black and gold.

Still no official word on Matt Murray’s status. The Pens’ goalie is nursing a lower-body ailment, possibly a groin injury.

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32 Comments

  1. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 16, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Happy Easter to All !! 🙂

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 15, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Hey Guys
    Toronto beats Caps in second overtime.
    4 – 3….
    Series is tied 1 a piece.
    Out shot the Caps. Really outplayed them in OT.
    Game 1 went to OT as well.TO should have won that one but a crazy goal from an impossible angle beat them in game 1.
    The young Leafs are not afraid of the Caps.
    Coach Babcock just said his team can out skate the Caps and now my guys believe we can win this series.
    Great for us…

    Plus Nashville beats Chicago 4 to 0.
    They are up 2 to 0….
    What is happening in the NHL?
    ☺☺

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 16, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I dunno Jim. But I’m likin’ it … 🙂

      Happy Easter!

      Rick

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        April 16, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        Hey Rick,
        Talking to Jake Allen’s family today after Easter Service.
        Hockey came up as usual. They noted..

        Blues are 2 and 0 against the Wild.
        Nashville are 2 and 0 against the Hawks. ( the games are not even close. Score was 4-0 last game.)
        Ducks are 2 and 0 against Calgary….That was expected .
        Edmonton are 1 and 1 against former Stanley Cup finalists,.. Sharks.
        This will be a long hard fought series and the Sharks have no answer for McDavid- Draisaitl , Ryan Nugent-Hopkins- Jordan Eberle, combos. Could go either way.

        In the East we are 2 and 0 against Columbus. ( That has surprised a lot of Hockey fans here.)
        Toronto is 1 and 1 against the Caps and could have been 2 and 0 very easily. The worst against the best… How is this happening??

        New York is giving Montreal fits even though the series is tied at
        1 -1.
        Boston,who was not supposed to be invited to the party is doing very well against Ottawa. Most people believe Boston will take the series.

        My Allen family friends are saying that if Chicago falls, then Jake and his Blues can beat Nashville and will be playing in the Conference finals. They are all pretty happy. Jake stole the game one for the Blues in game one and is playing much better.
        What is most interesting to them is all the changes that seem to be occurring around the league. I agree 100 % .
        If by some stroke of luck and TO takes out Washington, Oilers take out the Sharks, Nashville eclipses the Hawks and we remove CBJ…
        The west has changed my friend ???
        FYI
        Happy Easter to you as well. 🙂
        Jim

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 16, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Hey Jim, Rick

      Did you see who was the hero, Kaspari Kapanen. He has 2 goals including the game winner. Maybe the Kessel deal will work out for both teams.

      Well, Jim, it may not be completed yet but this appears to at least be the trumpet heralding the call of the changing of the guard. Too many years of trading off the future by some teams to make a run at the cup may have weakened them too much. I am not counting either Chi or Was out just yet but there does seem to be something not quite right there. With Was’s Monkey and maybe the Chi that struggled early on this year is the real Chi, maybe they just gave their all over the stretch run looking that good, and maybe they have nothing left.

      If Pekka Rinne is getting hot, it could be tough on Chi to climb back in.

      Go Pens drive a stake into Columbus. Make this series as short as possible.

      Happy Easter to all

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        April 16, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Hey Coach
        I watched the game….It was impressive. I used my phone to post last night,( to lazy to go to my home computer) so I did not have the proper spelling for Kapanen. He did indeed score 2 goals and he plays on their 4th line. He has speed to burn and a good shot with a quick release. In my opinion he still needs some work on his over all game like most Rookies but that will come with time. I am hoping this series can go 6 or 7 games and all into overtime because that will tire the Caps for us.
        Happy Easter to you and your family Coach !

  3. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    April 15, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Flash Update,

    The league really through the book at Calvert. He was given a whopping 1 game suspension. Wow, he really learned a lesson on that one. He will never do that again.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 15, 2017 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      One game hardly seems appropriate. But this actually is a fairly significant blow to Columbus heading into a must-win Game 3.

      Calvert is an important and underrated cog in the Blue Jackets’ scheme. He and Lukas Sedlak (injured) formed the hub of a very effective fourth line. Minus those two, Columbus becomes basically a three-line team at a very critical juncture.

      Rick

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 16, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I keep promising myself to double check myself before posting, but that rarely happens. I just read my own post before reading yours Rick, I obviously meant Threw not Through. I hope my grade school English teacher isn’t reading my comments. That is at least the second time I have caught myself on the wrong end of that homonym.

  4. The Other Rick's Gravatar The Other Rick
    April 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    First the good; How about Crosby, Malkin, Guentzel, Sheary, Kessel and all the rest of those forward. Dubinsky is odds on favorite for the Vezina. And speaking of great goaltending, how about MAF sparkling again.

    Now the Bad; 40 more shots against, are you serious? Do the Pens have NHL defensemen on their roster or not. If not for spectacular goaltending the Pens would be behind the eight ball. MAF is the difference in this series right now. Clearly the Pylons placed about the Pens defensive zone aren’t.

    Finally the Ugly;

    The worst part of CBJ’s physical assault on the Pens is that that at least 1/3 or more of their hits were actually illegal hits but the see no penalty, hear no penalty, call no penalty monkeys in stripe failed to do their job.

    And to further disgrace themselves the garage league monkeys turned around and ticketed Schultz for a great defensive play in what could only logically be explained as an attempt to give CBJ a chance to get back into the game.

    And how about the skating posterior named Dubinsky going after Crosby from behind when he was involved in a shoving match with another Jac (insert euphemism here). If Cole doesn’t step in and protect Crosby (Talk about an Unsung Hero- loved the smirk on Cole’s face as Dubinsky got the Penalty) not only would Crosby have gotten injured, nothing would have been called.

    Now let’s talk about the criminal assault on Kuhnhackl. Not only did Calvert break his stick across Kuhnhackl’s neck (talk about a dangerous play) in a dastardly, cowardly attack from behind an unsuspecting victim, he then skated around to front of Kuhnhackl and then hit him again. If I am the Pens, I might have to consider swearing out assault charges on Calvert and name both referees as accomplices for their slap on a wrist penalty.

    Those two referees shouldn’t be allowed to Ref at any level.

    After watching that game I thought for a moment that this was ancient Rome with the mob mesmerized by the Bread and Circuses display. Let’s wait until a player loses his life from a thugee assault by the criminals from Columbus.

    • Jim's Gravatar Jim
      April 15, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Hey Coach
      Good, Bad and the Ugly….Very well written and I agree.
      I want to add a word if I may….The Truth….
      The truth is the League owners want the refs to throw away the whistle and let the rough stuff go uncalled.
      The refs are told to let them play because that is what the advertisers want. More violence. More stick work.
      It is all about greed my friend. It is not hockey.
      Cheers

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 15, 2017 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      First I want to make a correction, I meant to say Bobrovsky is odds on favorite to win the Vezina not Dubinsky. I am still angry!

      Jim, Yes, I know the truth of the ugly, it is what the owners want. It is all money driven; it is about spectacle not sport.

      Maybe the Pens should sign the Hanson brothers or Ogie Oglethrope! puttin’ on the foil anyone?

      • April 15, 2017 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Ha! I thought you were being funny about Dubinsky but I couldn’t figure out the joke. I just figured I missed a great save he made during the game or something.

        About Calvert:

        You mentioning the Pens pressing charges, I was wondering today if there is no suspension if there is precedent for filing assault charges? I remember some county filing something like that in the past, just can’t remember who or where.

        I was also thinking that if the NHL doesn’t do anything to Calvert and someone gets crippled on a play like that they would use this as an example to take the NHL for all they are worth.

        • Jim's Gravatar Jim
          April 15, 2017 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          Right on Phil. That is the only way to stop this foolishness. Sue them…and Sue them hard.

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          April 15, 2017 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Hey Phil,

          I know McSorly was arrested for assault many years back. I can’t remember where or exactly when, however, if I do recall he was convicted but never really served any time, pretty much the civil courts version of the NHL players safety.

          As for law suits, I would bet that any and all lawyers would be chomping at the bit for that lawsuit, particularly for the punitive phase. The leagues track record of apathy would show grounds of gross negligence and open the door for a record setting law suit.

    • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
      April 15, 2017 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

      I’m glad you mentioned the call on Schultz, Other Rick. That was one sweet D-play, and the call was an affront to anyone who appreciates well-played hockey!

      Jayelene

  5. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    April 15, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick
    Let’s be brutally honest..The Jackets hit us with everything they got ! We buckled but we did not break.
    In my opinion the Jackets game 2 was a better effort than game 1 for them. MAF stole the show. Again !
    Crosby shows up and the Jackets are again on the losing end.Down 2 zip.
    As I posted earlier, this series reminds of the early New Jersey Bordeur era teams where opposition teams would out play the Devils for 55 minutes and still get beat almost every night.Very frustrating.
    If you are Columbus….What can u do? Nothing. You hit us 50 plus times and there was more dirty stick work than a LaCrosse game. So I would not change a thing for game 3. Keep everything the same.
    Pens secret weapon is tommorrow you can not be sure who will score for the Pen’s. Jackets can focus on Sid or even Geno but they can not watch all 4 lines. Plus I think Justin Schultz is due for a big game. The d will win us a game in this series before it is all over.
    Let’s go Pen’s.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 15, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      I am holding my tongue, I don’t want to say anything out loud but I am thinking something that goes along the lines you are thinking. (Don’t forget I was a goalie, I am very superstitious and a little off center, ask Rick)

  6. 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
    April 15, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rick,

    You gave the game a good going over, as usual.

    This series hasn’t played out quite like I imagined. Perhaps feared is a better word. I’m liking it in spite of two shaky starts, the shot differentials and being out hit, which was expected. I’m thinking of sending Fleury a gift of some sort.

    I’ll be surprised if Calvert receives any further discipline, except maybe a fine. Even that would surprise me. This is, after all, the NHL, alla Gary “I see nossing” Bettman.

    I’m with you on Sestito, too, but I doubt we’ll be seeing him tomorrow. While Wilson does have his hands full, they like his energy. Sheary also struggled against their size a bit in game one. He seemed to figure it out in game two simply by being faster. Big hat tip to Rowney, too. His dismissal of Dubinsky and Johnson was my favorite part of the game.

    On to Columbus. A split there would be great. I don’t want to see this series go to seven games.

    • April 15, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      Fleury is playing out of his mind right now!

      I think Pens should Sestito it if there is no suspension.

      Otherwise I’m willing to bet Columbus got a stern warning about more penalties being handed out along with a suspension. I seriously don’t think Columbus stands a chance of intimidating the Penguins that way. That stuff works in the regular season because other teams don’t care that much, but is useless in the playoffs.

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        April 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        Great comments, all.

        Had I been on the ice at the end of the game, I would have fought Harrington. Would’ve gotten my arse kicked, but I’d have fought him.

        I’m sure Harrington’s trying to make an impression and earn more ice time. But he uses his stick on people, with no intention of dropping the gloves. He did the same thing near the end of our 4-1 win over the Jackets back on April 4.

        Reminds me of ex-Flyer Ed Van Impe and Chris Chelios. Tough guys both. But you’d have to surgically remove their stick and gloves in a confrontation.

        Okay…I’m finally calming down.

        Rick

        PS–Other Rick, totally agree about the officiating. The Blue Jackets were getting away with murder behind the play. When Dumoulin got sent off for basically being tackled by Jenner, I almost lost my mind.

        Dave Wright likened the officiating to the WWE. While the heel commits a myriad of sins, the good guy gets admonished for retaliating.

        • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
          April 15, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

          Hey Rick,

          You go after Harrington, I’ll go after Dubinsky.
          Wanna put on some foil!

        • 55 on Point's Gravatar 55 on Point
          April 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

          Rick,

          I like the WWE comparison. That’s what it becomes after a while, spectacle passing as sport. There’s no incentive for anyone in league leadership to care while seats are full. But, I saw a story the other day that TV viewership was down this season. Perhaps the pendulum is beginning to swing the other way.

          55

          • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
            April 15, 2017 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

            Hey 55,

            We’re so blessed to root for the Penguins. Win or lose, they’re a wonderfully entertaining team that’s provided more thrills over the years than I can possibly count.

            Having said that, I’ll watch a game between…say St. Louis and Nashville…and it’s downright boring. Very little creativity or flow.

            While I love hockey, if I that’s all I had to look forward to on a nightly basis over a long winter, I’d be tempted to tune in elsewhere.

            Rick

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        April 15, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

        Agreed Phil,

        These flightless fowl proved last post-season that they will not be intimidated. Once the play-offs start they don’t retaliate (not much) but they don’t back down either. They keep playing their game. That really shows character and toughness, not craven back attacks to unsuspecting victims necks.

      • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
        April 15, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        Hi Phil,
        Good points! I think you’re right, the Jerkets’ (I like Rick’s nickname, so I’m sticking with it) rough play is never going to intimidate the Pens. They’ve been up against that for too long now, and play with an amazing level of both confidence and restraint. But there is a real risk to this lax officiating, and we all know what that is. I know we all want to see a healthy crew going forward into the next rounds, and if it takes suiting up Sestito, I’m all for it.
        Jayelene

  7. Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
    April 15, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Hey all,

    I know this is violating the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” axiom. But I’d be sorely tempted to dress Tom Sestito in place of Scott Wilson for Sunday’s Game 3.

    Maybe I’m imagining things. But I sense a buildup similar to that preceding our March 8 game in Winnipeg. Knowing full well that it’s likely to be their last real shot at climbing back into the series, I expect Columbus to throw everything but the kitchen sink at us.

    Not that he’s done anything to deserve a demotion, but I don’t think Wilson’s been as effective against Columbus as he normally is. He’s being overmatched in the dirty areas by the Jackets’ bruisers. Understandable, given that Willy’s 183 pounds going up against heavyweights.

    For one game anyway, I think Sestito’s presence might have a settling effect, both on us and the Blue Jackets.

    Rick

    • Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
      April 15, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes! I’ve been cringing with the thought of what the Blue Jerkets might do on Sunday, given the way last night’s game ended, and the fact that they can’t afford to go down one more. I love the idea of suiting Sestito for this game … your lips to Sully’s ears! (Sorry, Rick, that doesn’t sound good. 😉 ).

      • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
        April 15, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        That’s alright, Jayelene.

        I know what you meant … 🙂

        Rick

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      April 15, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Actually Rick,

      PArt of me is wondering what would happen if Sullie would reunite Rowney and Wilson with Archibald.I know it is not conventional Wisdom, but I can’t help but wonder what the speed of that line combined with the Speed of Crosby’s line would do to the Jackets.

      And Speaking of Rowney, I forget to mention this in my original post but wow what a game Rowney played. Both of those hits; Dubinsky and Johnson were bone crunching. And the best part of the Dubinsky hit; I think he was shocked and embarrassed that he got set on his wallet!

  8. Jayelene's Gravatar Jayelene
    April 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Great piece, Rick! You literally had me laughing out loud with the “forgive Bobrovsky …” observation.

    Like you, I was dumbfounded when Calvert only received 2 minutes. “Gutless” is the perfect adjective.

    It’s good to see the face-off win percentage going up. That’s been a pet peeve of mine (and others here) all season … you can’t score if you don’t have the puck. I’m hoping this uptick is a reflection of improved play, but I guess it could be they’ve just come across a team that worse in the circle than they are.

    Go Pens!

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      April 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Jayelene.

      Truth be told, I’ve been in a little bit of a writing slump lately. But last night’s game definitely got the creative juices flowing … 🙂

      I didn’t think I’d survive the first period … 🙁

      Agree about the improvement in the faceoff circle. I’d sure like to think it’s a case of us getting our game on, rather than Columbus being weak on draws.

      Always enjoy your comments.

      Rick


            

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