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R1G4 RECAP: Live to die another day

Columbus was eventually going to win a playoff game in regulation. The joke is over — and it sucks because they’re a franchise that deserves to be laughed at, but there’s no doubt they’ll give us something else soon enough. The true meaning of the NHL playoffs is, of course, all about lavishing in the misery of the franchise and fanbase you absolutely loathe. The Columbus Blue Jackets  are a douche bag team with a douche bag head coach. Their pissbaby fans — who complain about playoff seeding like they would actually know anything at all about matching up in the postseason — deserve a team who is just good enough to get their hopes up before being swept in the first round. It wasn’t in the cards, but man, oh man, it would have been so satisfying.

They aren’t the worst — Flyers fans are the unstoppable force and unmovable object if we’re talking about fanbases that deserve to have their teams moved — but Columbus is getting there. Any team that has this person as a fan deserves to lose:

Missed opportunity for another solid night of stunned faces in Columbus. Oh well.

It definitely wasn’t their best effort, but if nothing else the Pens kept making a game of it. Have to assume Sullivan is going to have them refocused in Game 5 — for a lot of the game, the Pens looked like a team that was just assuming they were going to win. Most fans were, too, but they’re allowed to think Columbus sucks. Either way, no reason to believe they don’t bounce back. Columbus got a novelty gift but this series is still over. Now, they just have to play another game.

FIRST PERIOD

The officials probably saw some of the tweets from Jackets fans this week and decided to give the Pens an early power play at 19 seconds in. It was a weak call that ended up being inconsequential, as the Penguins could barely get the puck through the neutral zone.

Interesting moment early on when a Columbus fan gave Malkin the Stone Cold Salute.

At least the fifth time this has happened in the last week. The middle finger lives for the Stanley Cup playoffs and, to a lesser degree, the Parkway East inbound.

The next few minutes were all Pens, and it felt like one goal could be the early back-breaker, but that all ended when Jack Johnson cashed a check off of Crosby’s skate that put the BJs up 1-0.

Good investment from Johnson to deposit that one. He really bought in and made Fleury pay. Crosby probably wishes he could repossess that one.

The Jackets kept coming; missing the net on several great, point-blank chances. Fleury was everywhere, while the Pens were just trying to get out of the period alive. But the Jackets got one more with a little over a minute to go, when some guy by the name of Josh Anderson ate Brian Dumoulin’s lunch and swept a puck through Fleury’s five-hole.

The Pens went into the first intermission down by two, meaning they had them right where they wanted them.

SECOND PERIOD

In Games 1, 2 and 3, the Pens owned the second period, and that was the case once again, but it didn’t start that way.

Marc Savard has been paying attention to the lack of headshots delivered to Sidney Crosby this series and did his best to return the average to the mean. Crosby came out of it looking like the newest member of Daft Punk.

In between periods, Torts apparently dedicated this game to the wife of Scott Hartnell and the Blue Jackets came out hard on everything. Fleury had his hands full — this sequence was probably his best saves of the game.

It was all Columbus and it didn’t take long before they punched another home. This time it was Mark Nutella burying a rebound on the doorstep.

The only thing that could slow Columbus down was Columbus — and you have to give them credit for making it this far — but Columbus slowed Columbus down. Kyle Quincy has proven for the majority of his career that he doesn’t belong in the starting lineup of a serious hockey team, and he didn’t waste an opportunity to do it again when it was, basically, the worst possible time.

Can’t teach stupid.

All the Pens needed was an opening; and right away you knew if they could get one goal, Columbus might shit their pants. They took the first step on the ensuing power play when Patric Hornqvist got his nose dirty and jammed one home to make it 3-1.

You could see the Jackets knees buckle after that goal. They knew what just happened, and they knew the Pens were coming for that ass. The Jackets were on their heels for the rest of the second — and looking back the Pens probably could have got more than two goals. They were getting chances left-and-right, and it was offensive specialist Ron Hainsey who stepped up and got the Pens to 3-2.

It was only a matter of time before Playoff Bob made an appearance. Soft goal but was still Hainsey’s first playoff goal since playing for a team that makes the playoffs.

THIRD

The comeback seemed so certain — this was the exact blueprint for success the Pens laid out all series. But the Jackets had other plans, and 27 seconds in they got some insurance.

The game turned into a track meet, which was amazing to watch. John Tortorella’s team abandoning his style to play actual hockey is how we should always remember Game 4. For what it’s worth, Scott Hartnell figured this out after being scratched.

Also, have to mention not enough people are talking about Hartnell showing signs of learning capabilities.

The Pens struck back a minute and a half later when Tom Kuhnhackl jammed one in to make it 4-3.

Just like the Columbus fans in attendance jerking off to themselves chanting Fleury, the back-and-forth on the ice didn’t stop, either. The Pens were getting the better of the chances — maybe none better than this one with around six minutes to go:

It was Hainsey again, but this time Bob stood tall on the doorstep. That save was basically the defibrillation that saved the Jackets season — for now.

The game’s landscape was about to change for good at the hands of a Jenner, this time it was Boone cutting the Penguins off at the head, putting them up 5-3.

Tough sequence and the Pens were at the end of their shift. Would like to see Maatta actually move the guy he’s cross-checking but you can’t win them all.

The Pens got one late to make the Jackets sweat a little.

Jake Guentzel is god damned weapon of mass destruction right now.

At one point later on, the Pens had seven skaters on the ice, which was actually a good try because everyone knows the refs like to let stuff go in the playoffs. They had a 50/50 shot and came out on the wrong end — this time.

In the end, 5-4 was the way she went and if you had money on Nationwide Arena dropping confetti for a playoff win then you can collect your winnings.

Game 5 is Thursday in Pittsburgh.

3 thoughts on “R1G4 RECAP: Live to die another day

  1. When is Murray back? Saw flashes of what worries me about Fleury. He let’s bad goals and even in the games we won, big juicy rebounds where Murray’s rebounds tend to fall in front of him and Fleury kicks them out. I don’t think we can win a series against the Caps with Fleury but I guess let’s finish this one first.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 100% to everything you just said. the Fleurebounds were out in full force last night. He appeared to be flopping all over (and out of) the crease any time there were sustained chances or high traffic around the net. Not good. I had the exact same thought about a potential Caps matchup. The Pens need a stabilizing presence in net, not a gambler.

      Like

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