Penguins Win Three-fer in OT – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Win Three-fer in OT

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly the three-peat we’ve all been dreaming about. But the Penguins did claim a three-fer last night at PPG Paints Arena.

That’s the best way I can describe a crazy-quilt 6-5 overtime victory over Boston that seemed to be three separate games wrapped into one.

Part one? All Penguins. Indeed, after spotting the Bruins an early lead, our guys methodically took charge. Just as I settled into my seat at the Pennsbury Pub and Grille, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak knotted the score at 1-1 with a well-placed bomb from the blue-line.

The kid’s got a heckuva shot, I noted, nodding my head to no one in particular. The bartenders and other patrons at the Pub are used to me mumbling all sorts of oddities during Pens games. Part of my ritual (and charm).

I smiled as Phil Kessel took a perfect feed from Sidney Crosby and whipped home his patented wrister to stake us to a lead. Warming to the task, I hollered in throaty approval when Kris Letang beat Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask from long range to put us up by two goals.

As we began the second period with a commanding 3-1 lead, I took a swig of beer and allowed myself to relax a little. We’ve got this one, I thought.

Who knew the Bruins had the Pens right where they wanted them?

I squirmed in my seat when the eminently hateable Brad Marchand beat Tristan Jarry with a laser off a faceoff win. Nothin’ the kid could do, I reasoned, trying to ward off fears of an imminent black-and-gold collapse.

Moments later, I watched in horror as B’s defenseman Brandon Carlo wheeled unimpeded into the high slot.

“Oh no,” I yelled, a millisecond before Carlo cut loose a shot. You watch enough hockey, you get a sixth sense about these things. Sure enough, the puck sailed past Jarry, with a little help from Noel Acciari.

On cue, our Pens dissolved into a quivering blob of Jell-O. All I could do was shake my head in disgust as the Davids—Pastrnak and Backes—beat a wilting Jarry to hand the visitors a 5-3 lead. At this juncture, two patrons at the bar, voicing their righteous disapproval, got up to leave. You could hardly blame them. This had all the makings of an ugly, ugly loss.

As I often do, I began to try and formulate a story line, in case I decided to do a game summary for PenguinPoop. Not that anyone was gonna’ read about another black-and-gold meltdown.

I’d barely had time to glance back at the screen when Evgeni Malkin ripped an improbable shot past Rask from one knee, thanks to another golden setup from Sid. I noted the clock. Three-point-six seconds left. Huge goal.

Was it silly to hope for a Pens comeback? After some deliberation, I decided to stick around for the third period and ordered another beer.

So glad I did. I could scarcely believe my eyes when Riley Sheahan (yes, Riley Sheahan) swooped down the left side of the B’s zone and beat Rask to the short side to knot the score at 5-5. Way to go, Riley!

I followed the remaining action with an odd blend of hope tinged with trepidation. Our boys were carrying the play to the Bruins, who—playing their second game in two nights—seemed suddenly frozen in their tracks. Still, I fretted. After all, I’d seen the Pens dominate before, only to surrender an odd-man break going the other way and…

Sure enough, with just over 60 ticks left in regulation, Marchand zooms in all alone, only to get keelhauled at the last second by Oleksiak. What’s that? The ref’s calling for a penalty shot? Crap!

Unable to turn away, but scarcely able to watch, I clasped my hand to my face and watched through spread fingers as Marchand hurtled toward our net at breakneck speed.

This is it, I thought. I cringed when he made his move, taking dead-aim at Matt Murray’s partially exposed five hole. I held my breath, waiting for the puck to emerge from the other side of Murray’s pads. Following an interminably long second, it dawned on me that ‘Murr’ had made the save.

Rarely have I been so grateful to earn a point in a game we’ve should’ve won. It got even better. Like the cavalry coming to the rescue in an old western, there was Malkin and Kessel, churning toward the Bruins’ goal. Working as pretty a give-and-go as I’ve ever seen, ‘Geno’ passed to Phil, who threaded it back to Malkin. The big Russian made no mistake, rifling the puck over Rask’s right pad for the overtime-winner.

“Yeaaaaaah!” I shouted, thrusting both arms skyward in triumph. Not very eloquent, but about all I could muster following such an emotionally draining game.

Spent but grinning from ear to ear, I finished my beer, dragged myself off the barstool and slipped on my winter coat in preparation for the short but chilly walk home. After bidding my adieus, I pushed open the exit door and felt the seasonably frosty night air nip at my face. I hate the cold, but this time I didn’t care.

What a win.

*Be sure to check out Rick Buker’s books,
available at TriumphBooks.com, Amazon.com, and BarnesandNoble.com

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  1. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    January 9, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    I didn’t see the full game so I hate to make too many comments. Thanks for the really good recap. Normally when I see 5 goals against on only 25 shots I think bad goaltending but for the Penguins, I hate to assume anything.

    I did see the Penalty Shot. I saw it a little different than you. In real time I knew he had stoned Marchand. It wasn’t until the replay, in slo mo that I saw anything indicating Marchand had a chance of scoring. Oleksiak looked more worried than Murray did. Murray looked tall and patient. It didn’t look like Marchand had anything to shoot at until he was in too tight to get a good shot off. Murray made Marchand make the first move, just like he is supposed to.

    The gap in the 5 whole looked very small and Marchand couldn’t hit it. He shot the puck into Murray’s Left Knee pad. the puck pin-balled off of the right leg and then followed Murray away from the net as he slid out following Marchand.

    But what may be glimmer of hope is that the Pens did get back – to – back wins and that they are starting to tilt the ice against opponents. They haven’t out shot every opponent, but they are out-shooting most of them. I just hope it isn’t a little to little, a little to late.

  2. Jim's Gravatar Jim
    January 9, 2018 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Hey Rick,
    Jamie Oleksiak got another goal last night. 3 so far. Not bad for a kid buried in the AHL in Dallas.
    Cost us only a 4th round pick. A little early to tell yet but he might just be the best deal of the year for the Pen’s. If he can keep his game at this level, he makes an interesting argument for moving another d-man.
    Plus I read some local media sources commenting about the excellent play of Pen’s prospect,Swedish star Goal tender, 20 year old Fillip Gustavsson. He is the real deal it appears. Why not trade him and another player,( Connor or Carl ) to Calgary,Colorado or Arizona …. teams that require goal tending depth in the future while his value “is very high for a Big winger like LW 6’3″ Brendan Perlini, RW 6’4″ Mikko Rantanen or even young but feisty LW 19 year old 6’2” Matthew Tkachuk . All have 2 years left on their entry level contracts as well so they save Cap space to pursue others.
    Then we have on defense,Oleksiak, Dumoulin,Maatta,Schultz, Cole, Hunwick, Letang and Ruhwedel.If Jamie O continues to develop, maybe he indeed becomes a second pairing, 3-4 behind Schultz . This allows us to move a defense man and either Connor or Carl left over from the above trade plus maybe a draft pick if need be to secure Buffalo’s big left winger Evander Kane.Reports said last week that Buffalo would hold a large portion of his apx. $ 5.3 million dollar annual contract.
    That is my 2 cents worth for today Rick.

    • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
      January 9, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Hey Jim,

      I have mentioned that several times now, use one of the Pens goalies as trade bait. I wouldn’t mind having a big young winger like Perlini, Rantanen, or Tkachuk, or even Tkachuk’s younger brother in the draft, but as I mentioned before, I really would be less than enthusiastic to trade for Kane, unless the team were able to sign him to an extension for next year. Big named Rent-a-Players seemed to end up being a millstone around the neck of the receiving team, particularly in Pgh.


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