[Note: Somehow, someway I apparently still have access to WordPress while everyone else here is locked out or something. The following words were written by and posted on behalf of Rich.]
Phil Kessel will be the headline in all the recaps and highlights of his 300th career goal that buried the Jets in OT will be the focus for anyone who missed the game, and rightfully so. Kessel is a god damn American hero, who not only survived cancer but also prevailed over both the Toronto and Pittsburgh media markets to become a back-to-back Stanley Cup champion. He is the Abraham Lincoln on the Mount Rushmore of fun hockey players. He made hot dogs fashionable. He’s the first hockey player who was smart enough to take naps between shifts. Everything he touches turns to gold. He’s Phil Fucking Kessel.
But let me tell you about Matt Murray.
Steve Mears made a point during the broadcast that Matt Murray is currently enjoying the best start to a career for any goaltender in history. Two seasons, two Cups, plenty of stats to back that claim up — and he proved himself once again in this one. As good as he was against Edmonton, he was that much better against the Jets. Scary to think how high his ceiling is, considering he’s 23 and been in the league for less than two years. He gives the Penguins an opportunity to win every game he’s in net, and on a lot of nights — Thursday night included — he’s the reason they’re still in the game. Edmonton and Winnipeg aren’t exactly taking that next step everyone thought they would, but they still are top-heavy with undeniable talent, and Murray made left their best shooters skating around with their heads pointed to the sky like Eric Lindros in his prime. We haven’t seen stops like these since Ju-Ju Smith Schuster blocked Mia Khalifa on Twitter.
Speaking of JuJu, what a gem this guy is…
Never pulled harder for someone to not be a Milkshake Duck.
Conor Sheary got the Pens on the board first using just the tip to redirect a Jake Guentzel pass behind Connor HELLebuyck.
Halloween really is an underrated holiday. There’s no real point behind or profound reason for it to be a holiday or even a celebration at all but nobody is letting that stop them from piling on seven layers of makeup to try to look like Donald Trump but sort of more look like Macavity from CATS. It’s the perfect reason to get approximately 11 times more drunk than you have the rest of the year combined. It’s the only time of the year people go to hockey games in costume unless Jaromir Jagr is in town or you want to impress potential business partners with your new Connor McDavid jersey. Bring back the Green Man, says I.
Anyway, the Jets tied it up not long after Halloween was brought up and the score would stay 1-1 for the duration of regulation. For two periods, Murray and Hellebuyck (get an easier name, dude) would put on a goaltending clinic. It was basically nothing but back-and-forth action for 49-straight minutes, while the two goalies stood on their heads and stole the show. As far as 2-1 early regular season games go, this was about as exciting as it gets.
Murray made what felt like 70 saves like this, but Hellebuyckckckck wouldn’t be outdone.
Elsewhere, Sidney Crosby was out there reminding everyone why he is still the best all-around player in the NHL…
The game went to extra innings, where Phil Kessel is the reigning, defending, undisputed champion of 3-on-3 hockey:
Just an elite shot. Nothing else to say.