Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Eastern Conference Showdown: Caps Versus Pens

So Hockey Mom was in the house for tonight's epic matchup between these two Eastern Conference powerhouses and the Caps' faithful pretty much raised the roof from the minute the boys hit the ice. But before we get into the rock 'em sock 'em action, HM has a Laich update for the ladies. Brooks Laich was seated a few rows behind us in the press box and I'm happy to report that all of his teeth are still perfectly in place but he has a nasty shiner (along with a reported facial fracture). We all know nothing is going to keep our dashing winger down for long though!

In the early goings of the first period, the guys in stripes showed that they are apparently all ready for the playoffs as they certainly had those whistles tucked snug in their pockets when it came to calling several hooking violations against the ice fowl (that were so blatant my grandmother would have seen them). And of course, the Canadian hero and SI cover boy, Sidney Crosby, was rudely and loudly serenaded with jeers and boos whenever he touched the puck. The Caps seemed to be tentative in getting shots to the net, there was a lot of dumping and little chasing going on in the first period. Shots favored the Penguins by 8. Meanwhile, Theo made a sparkling series of stops in his end and was key in killing off the Capitals' two penalties. Other than the excitement of some fisticuffs in the waning minutes of the first, there was not much to cheer about. End of first period: Caps 0 - Penguins 0

With one of the wackiest goals I've seen in a long time, the men in red lit the lamp first. With Jordan Staal on his heels, Mike Knuble crashed the crease and knocked an airborne puck over Fleury's red line. Less than a minute later the blasted Penguins tallied in similar fashion as Maxime Talbot paid an unwelcome visit to Theo's house. The Penguins went on the power play at around the 9:48 mark when Alex Semin was called for high-sticking Mike Rupp (forget the fact that Sasha was blatantly hooked on the same play - jeez those refs were making HM's blood boil) but his mates were successful on their third PK of the evening.

The Caps had to kill off yet another with less than five minutes left in the game when Tomas Fleischmann was called for a trip. But again with the inconsistency, the stripes totally looked the other way on a cross-check from Kris Letang. Unfortunately, Sid the Kid broke free on the resulting power play and slid the puck to an awaiting Bill Guerin. Guerin's goal put the hated arctic fowl up by one. End of second period: Penguins 2 - Caps 1

 Non-game related: during the second period Kiss Cam on the jumbotron, the coolest thing happened! Instead of kissing his gal, a dapper middle-aged gentleman produced a sign that read "Will You Marry Me"? After displaying the sign he produced a ring and a dozen red roses - now those are some true fans! I'm pleased to report she said "yes" and that unique proposal gave this single, middle-aged hockey mom hope that second chances for romance and true love do exist out there! A Hockey Mom toast to the happy couple!

Early in the final period, Jeff Schultz took a seat for holding that #87 character - apparently he didn't get Bettman's memo and broke the "no touch Cindy" rule. On the Pens' power play, Alex Semin decided he'd had enough and basically conducted a stick-handling skills clinic to school Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang for the short-handed goal! Mere seconds later, while Marc-Andre Fleury was on one side of the net trying to eyeball Mike Green, Green passed the puck to the other side to Eric Fehr. Fehr's goal gave the boys a one-goal lead and brought the fans out of their seats. The madness continued with less than four minutes left in the game as Theo stopped a barrage of Penguins' shots but alas, he fell victim to a wicked high shot from Jordan Staal to tie the game. Alas, neither team could get it done in regulation so we were headed to another overtime. End of third period: Caps 3 - Penguins 3

Despite several opportunities to score, the overtime period decided "nada" and these two heated rivals went to the nausea-inducing, nail-biting shoot out. Pittsburgh's Kris Letang scored on his first attempt while Backstrom missed for the Caps. Pens' captain Crosby scored, while Washington's Alex Ovechkin lit the lamp on Fleury. Then his country mate and best pal Alex Semin schooled a sprawling Flower. And looks like we have a new "game over" in Mike Knuble who scored the final tally to win a feisty contest! Final score in shoot out: Caps 4 - Penguins 3

What a game and a win over the hated Pens is always cause for celebration!

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