The first period of this game can pretty much be summed up in a few sentences. The first real action came when Uber-jerk Sean Avery and Ryan Malone came to blows. They both dropped their gloves and whipped off their helmets. I don't know if it was planned, but they both drifted to center ice before starting the man-dance. Avery struck first with a few weak hits. Malone landed a good punch on Avery, but Avery came back with a wicked shot to Bugsy's jaw that was so forceful, they both went down. Later, Jaromir Jagr sent a lead pass to Martin Straka, who split the Pens' defensemen, but he shot the puck waaaay to wide. The Pens' only shot for the whole period came from a sweet backhander from Sidney, though Henrik Lundqvist made the save with his pads. Evgeni Malkin was tripped up by Scott Gomez. The Pens didn't do anything on their power play. Just after Gomez came out of the box, Big Georges Laraque drilled Paul Mara with a late hit, which earned him a boarding penalty. The Rangers didn't capitalize on their advantage, either. Just like that, the period was over.
MAF and Max discuss strategies (or maybe another prank?) just before the warmup.
The second period was really not much better than the 1st. Sid split the Rangers defense but went down on the play. He thought he was tripped and wanted a penalty, but none was assessed. Marc-Andre Fleury made the save of a lifetime when Nigel Dawes streaked down the ice on a breakaway. Then Sid made an unreal play dragging the puck around Brendan Shanahan's legs. Absolute insanity broke out in front of the Flower. In the midst of it all, poor Daryl Sydor was pulled down to the ice by his head by a Ranger. He landed on top of the puck and lost his helmet. To make matters worse, Fredrik Sjostrom fell on him as he lay on the ice. Then, professional asshat Ryan Hollweg started hitting Sydor in the back while he was still down on his stomach. I'm not sure how that wasn't a penalty, but whatever.
The Rangers got a little Karmic payback on the next play as Ryan Callahan fired a shot that rang off the crossbar. The rebound went right to Dawes, who promptly blasted the puck and rang it off the post. (WOW.) More chaos breaks out in front of MAF. He tries to freeze the puck, but somehow it manages to go into the net. The goal light came on but the horn didn't blow as the refs vehemently waived the goal off. I'm not sure what happened because there wasn't a replay, but when Versus came back from commercial, both Ryan Whitney (playing his usual defensive position tonight) and Jeff Taffe were in the box for roughing and hooking, respectively. This gave the Rangers a full 2 minutes with a 2-man advantage. (You know what's coming, right?)
Bugsy was a total beast on the 5-on-3 penalty kill. He gave himself a pair of shorthanded chances, but the Rangers got the puck and took it back down towards Flower. After Jagr fired a shot, the puck popped up into the air in front of MAF. Rob Scuderi was attempting to glove the puck down and clear it as Gomez was attempting to swat the puck in with his stick. The puck went into the net. Gomez's stick, however, was a high stick, so the call was made to the War Room in Toronto... After a good 3 or 4 minutes, the goal was rightfully deemed to be a keeper since the puck never touched Gomez's stick. [Pens 0, Rangers 1]
The Rangers still had some time with one Pen in the box, but they didn't score on their power play. Sydor then almost pulled a Nicklas Backstrom and bounced the puck off the bottom of the goal just inches from the post. Later, Sid and Dan Girardi fought for the puck behind Lundqvist. Sid won the battle and set Hossa up for a shot. Then the Saint poked at the loose puck, earning Girardi's ire. They exchanged shoves and were promptly separated by the refs. Geno then set Sidney up, but Sid couldn't do anything with it because Paul Mara was holding his stick. Mara went to the box for his offense, but the Pens didn't score on their advantage.
With a minute left in the second period, the Pens suddenly woke up. Laraque had an amazing shift. He protected the puck, took shots, and set up his teammates, but it was all for naught. The Rangers had a one-goal lead to end the period.
Bugsy went to work early in the third period. Right off the first faceoff, he took a shot and then poked away at it. The pace of the game clearly intensified at this point. Sid was in the crease as Geno took a shot, but Lundqvist blocked the attempt at a redirect. Jarrko Ruutu took a penalty for high sticking. He acted as if he didn't know why he took that penalty, but on the replay, it was clearly seen that he whacked a Ranger in the throat with his stick. On the ensuing Rangers' power play, Jagr burst through everyone, but he fanned on the shot because of some nice backchecking by the Pens. With 13 seconds left in the penalty to Ruutu, Michal Rozsival took a penalty for interference. Neither team scored on their respective power plays.
FINALLY, after Brooks Orpik put a big hit on Brandon Dubinsky, Laraque made a nice backhand pass to Malone. Dubinsky stayed behind to have words with Orpik because the hit was almost knee-on-knee, but in doing so, he took himself out of the play. This left Malone and Mad Max Talbot the ability to go 2-on-1. Bugsy sent a backhand pass to Max. Max then easily put the puck into the net. [Pens 1, Rangers 1]
A word about the Versus broadcast: I don't understand why they used graphics that covered more than a third of the ice at the bottom of the screen. I don't care if Professional Bull Riding is on tomorrow night, and I don't care that Bud Light sponsored tonight's game. THAT IS WHAT COMMERCIAL BREAKS ARE FOR.
Geno and Hossa went nuts, but Lundqvist made and amazing if lucky save. Avery went to the box for high-sticking Sidney, but the Pens couldn't score on their advantage. With less than a minute left in the game, Sid tried to split the Rangers defense, but Rozsival wouldn't let him. Then Bugsy got the puck off the faceoff and beat TYUTIN to the net, but Lundqvist wouldn't budge. The game ended at a 1-1 draw.
Just before the overtime period began, VS. showed Max getting funky on the bench. (He must have really liked the song!) Less than 30 seconds into OT, Jagr had a near breakaway. He was stopped only because Sergei Gonchar was holding him. BAD, BAD penalty, Gonch!!! It ended up costing the Pens the game as Chris Drury was able to use one Ranger and 2 Penguins as a screen to get past a very UNHAPPY Flower. [Pens 1, Rangers 2] (I'd be mad, too, if I had to listen to "Sweet Caroline" being blasted over the loudspeakers.)
All I can say is that at the very least the Pens got a point out of tonight's game. I scored a free ticket to tomorrow night's Three Days Grace / Breaking Benjamin concert at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, and then Wednesday I will be taking TSCS on the road to watch the Pens face the Flyers at the Mellon. I will take as many pictures as I can at the game. I may even be able to get a video clip or two, since I just got a new camera that records video - with sound and everything! (My old camera only recorded a silent 60 second clip at a time, so the new camera is a pretty big deal for me!) GO PENS!!!!!!!!!!