NHL teams who have earned at least one postseason win in regulation know that playing the game like a bunch of petulant little baby children who never won anything before doesn’t fly in the playoffs. They know that, for whatever reason, you can’t score a goal if you just broke your stick over someone’s head. Apparently, news travels slowly to Columbus. They’re the kids in the grocery line throwing a fit, and they’re two games away from going home and going to fucking bed.
Columbus really is a joke. Short of David Clarkson making an appearance in this series, I’m having a hard time coming up with how they will embarrass themselves next, but I know for sure, without a shadow of a doubt, they’ll find a way to outdo themselves again. Imagine Torts in front of a dry-erase board saying, “OK so after Brandon Dubinsky drives the car onto the ice, Scott Hartnell can pull the knife on the ref…” It doesn’t seem that farfetched.
And since Columbus is completely incapable of learning anything, Game 2 felt almost exactly the same as Game 1, start to finish. The Pens came out of the gate slow and the BJ’s were everywhere. Then, ever so surely, the pendulum would begin swinging back in the Pens favor, and before you knew it, they were up on the scoreboard. From there, it was all about holding on, and the Pens executed perfectly.
There’s a reason the two games felt so similar, besides Columbus being the stupidest team to ever make the NHL playoffs. The bad starts could be a problem at some point but the Pens are finding a way to score first; they know the blueprint to winning in the postseason and they are following it to a T. For two straight games, the Jackets have gotten shut right out of the high danger scoring areas. The Pens are keeping Columbus’ shots to the outside, boxing them out like Shaq for every rebound and winning the race to almost every loose puck.
The Pens are keeping the focus on defense, knowing the offense is talented enough to score enough goals to win. Columbus hasn’t figured this out, or anything really.
Columbus came out like they were all on meth, just like they did in Game 1. And just like Game 1, they got absolutely nothing to show for it. The Pens weathered the storm long enough for the Jackets to the inevitable and piss all over themselves.
No clue what Bobrovsky is even thinking here. He has Conor Sheary — who should be on every goalie’s radar as the most relentless hockey player under five feet tall in the league — barring down on him like a fighter jet and he takes his time with the puck like its a bomb he has to defuse. It took over eight minutes for the Pens to get their first shot of the game, and that was it, 1-0.
That goal sucked the life right out of Columbus, which was incredible to watch for a team who should probably be used to dealing with disappointment by now.
We mentioned a lot so far about Columbus being a really stupid group of people, managed by a group of people who are somehow more stupid. Last game, Torts benched Brandon Saad, who was probably their only player to realize it takes goals to win games. So, of course, he got the Jackets on the board to tie the game with a top-shelf snipe over the shoulder of Fleury. May have been deflected; didn’t really matter because…
51 seconds later the Pens got it right back.
What a pass. What a release.
Low-key great play by Ian Cole turn his body to get the pinching defenseman to come towards him, springing Crosby free up the ice. From there, talent took over. Easily the biggest moment of the game.
At the end of the period, someone told Dubinsky he looked like a foot and he took a penalty. The Pens would start the third on the PP.
One second after the PP ended, Malkin drove home the dagger.
Patric Hornqvist would add an empty-net layup to give the Pens the 4-1 win, but the real story was Matt Calvert’s attempted murder…
Scumbag play from a scumbag player. The only time you ever hear Calvert’s name is when he’s doing something that would land a regular civilian in jail. The best part about this is Kuhnhackl getting up and laughing at him. For this reason and this reason alone, I don’t think he’ll get suspended. The league will have a hard time determining if there is any punishment worse than the guy you tried to kill getting up and laughing at you. I’m pretty sure that’s on their flow chart, right above Is He Hurt?
- Fleury, man. Glad we called that guy.
- Have to assume Torts will have his team watching a lot of tape before Game 3. Will it be police brutality videos or actual hockey stuff? Remains to be seen.
- Guentzel and Sheary got pushed around in Game 1. Didn’t happen much at all in Game 2. They avoided contact and were quicker in moving the puck. The results speak for themselves.
- The Pens defense is doing the job. Columbus is helping them in every way possible, but still, no complaints here. Ron Hainsey playing the role of Hal Gill is bringing back some bizarre memories.
- Speaking of defense, gotta love how Sullivan is distrubuting the minutes without Letang…
Game 3 is Sunday night…