I used to be watching final night time’s Sport 3 between the Penguins and Islanders on the Fireplace Inn, having fun with a grilled cheese sandwich and imbibing in a brewski (or two-ski). It was between durations and I used to be basking in the truth that our boys held a seemingly safe 3-1 lead.
We’d gotten targets from Kris Letang, Jeff Carter and Jason Zucker. “Zucks” tally particularly was a factor of magnificence, born of teamwork, hustle and a few fancy strikes by the beforehand snake-bitten winger. Tristan Jarry regarded sharp and assured between the pipes.
All of a sudden a stark actuality set in, effervescent up from my hockey unconscious and oozing into my mind like some primordial warning beacon.
With the sequence tied 1-1, the Pens blew a 3-1 Sport 3 lead in opposition to Montreal final fall.
I shuddered…then rapidly tried to reassure myself. No manner that would occur once more. This can be a totally different bunch. Rather more depth and character.
The third interval began. I started counting down the time whereas retaining an anxious eye on the clock within the upper-left portion of the TV display. It ticked right down to 18 minutes, 17 minutes after which…WHAM! John Marino’s helmet was dislodged throughout a scrum alongside the boards. Complying with a ridiculous rule that requires helmetless gamers to go straight to the bench, No. 6 exited the ice, leaving us a person brief. Whereas confusion reigned, Cal Clutterbuck drove to the web and scored.
Little did I do know it was solely tip of the iceberg. Certainly, the gritty winger’s tally touched off one of many wildest finishes to a recreation I can ever recall. Mayhem and chaos dominated, together with a madcap 5-on-5 scrum moments later that resulted within the Pens’ prime line and defensive pairing being crammed into the penalty field like so many sardines in a tin. Which led to an Islanders energy play. Which led to a game-tying objective by Anthony Beauvillier at 5:54.
To borrow a phrase from Mike Lange, I actually didn’t know whether or not to cry or wind my watch.
Then, in maybe probably the most bone-headed transfer of the century if not the millennium, Clutterbuck inexplicably carried out a swan dive on prime of Jarry. The judges gave him a 7 out of 10. The refs issued two minutes for goalie interference. Which opened the door for scoring sensation Carter to beat Seymon Varlamov stick aspect courtesy of a fairly feed from Evgeni Malkin following a diving play alongside the boards by Kasperi Kapanen.
That’s 12 targets (yep…a dozen) in 17 regular- and postseason video games for the large man whereas carrying the black and gold. We should always by-pass the voting course of proper now and identify Ron Hextall GM of the 12 months for buying him.
At this stage I used to be cautiously optimistic that we would truly maintain onto the 4-3 lead. However Clutterbuck, anxious to redeem himself, tipped residence a long-range blast from Scott Mayfield with 5 minutes and alter left to knot the rating once more.
I lined my eyes and shook my head…perhaps muttered an unrepeatable or two. We’re gonna’ blow this one for positive, I glumly thought.
Then the cavalry got here to the rescue within the type of Brandon Tanev. The electrical Pens’ winger circled to the slot as Letang lower free a shot from the correct level. The puck struck the stick blade of Isles defender Noah Dobson and hopped excessive within the air. Timing the fluttering puck completely, “Turbo” waited for it to fall under crossbar degree earlier than whacking it previous a surprised Varlamov, touching off a wild black-and-gold celebration.
Once more our guys had been stingy once they needed to be, refusing to permit a shot on objective for the ultimate 1:55.
On the horn, I used to be lastly in a position to exhale and benefit from the second, our hard-earned 2-1 sequence lead…and my beer.
For the second straight recreation, Sidney Crosby authored a unprecedented defensive gem. With a shade over three minutes remaining and the end result nonetheless very a lot within the steadiness, he scurried again to our zone following a failed offensive thrust.
He’d barely gotten into place when Brock Nelson teed up a shot at a wide-open Pens web from the left circle. Displaying unimaginable presence of thoughts and split-second timing, Sid dove to the ice to deflect Nelson’s shot from hurt’s manner. A save which will develop to rival Frank Pietrangelo’s in Penguins lore.
Sid Selke, certainly!
The Islanders held an edge in most statistical classes, together with photographs on objective (30-27), faceoffs (53 p.c) and hits (47-29). The Pens had 14 takeaways…10 greater than New York. Every group tallied a power-play objective.
Letang paced the black and gold with a objective and two helpers. “Tanger” had three hits and two photographs on objective and completed a plus-three in 24:20 of ice time.
Malkin collected two assists after lacking the primary two video games of the sequence. He changed Evan Rodrigues. With a pair of targets, Carter additionally completed with two factors. Zach Aston-Reese and Frederick Gaudreau tallied assists. Freddy has two factors within the sequence, 5 in 11 profession NHL playoff video games.
Tanev led the Pens with eight hits, tying Islanders d-man Ryan Pulock for prime honors. Turbo’s line held a formidable edge in Corsi occasions (48-35).
Sport 4 is slated for 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Uniondale.
Across the League
Montreal beat closely favored Toronto, 2-1, of their sequence opener. Vegas dumped Minnesota, 5-2, to take a 2-1 sequence lead.
Down 5-3, Florida rallied for 3 straight targets, together with a power-play marker by ex-Pen Patric Hornqvist, to beat Tampa Bay in OT. Sam Bennett additionally scored (sure, needed to put in a plug for “Playoff Sam”). The Lightning lead the sequence, 2-1.
*Make sure you try Rick Bukers books,
accessible at TriumphBooks.com,