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The Sports Daily > The Pensblog
RECAP 66: Lottery Kings

It’s a goddamn travesty that Connor McDavid plays out west.

First off, we only get to see him twice a year.  Because the Oilers aren’t the Blackhawks, Flyers, Penguins, or Caps, they get no national TV recognition.  Their games start at dickhead hours, making it all but impossible to to regularly watch a player who will soon become the best on the planet, once 87 and 71 let him.

It seems fitting, too, that Crosby and McDavid would put on a show in the 66th game of the season in honor of Josh Ho-Sang.

But for as much fun as the punch-counter-punch performances from Crosby and McDavid were, it was another former #1 overall pick that stole the show in one blogger’s opinion.

Fleury’s 40 save victory was littered with vintage MAF saves, keeping the Pens on pace and within striking distance of the Jackets and Caps atop the Metro.

First Period

Right from the opening shift, you knew 87 and 97 had a little extra going.  Crosby would get the first chance on a deflection in front and as the Oilers cleared their lines, McDavid took flight.  SportsNet was so desperate for McDavid to be better at something than Sid that they referenced at one point that he had 2:30 more in TOI than 87 at one point.  Might have something to do with the Oilers being able to roll less lines than a coke head on a budget, but that’s none of my business.

But even with McDavid flying, the Birds would strike first.  Scotty Don’t put in some work behind the net on a big time forechecking to track down the puck and work it up to Schultz at the point.  Kunitz went ass to mouth on Talbot while Bonino lurked to pot his 4th goal in the last 2 games. 1-0

Give Schultz an assist in his first game back in Edmonton.

It was Crosby’s line that was really setting the tone for the Pens in the first period, dominating the Oilers down low with the grit of Sheary and Guentzel making it all tick.  But it was the Hagelin-Malkin-Kessel line that doubled the lead for the Pens with a little help from the 3rd best player on the ice.  Peak Oilers goal against.  2-0

Second Period

The Pens would get a chance to drive a stake through the heart of this one with the first PP of the game as Adam Larsson tripped up Guentzel with about 5 seconds left in the first.  Edmonton shut that shit down and capitalized about 2 minutes later.  Noted shitbag David Desharnais chased down a dump in and put Crosby and Streit under duress. Streit with the below average clearance up the wall for Kris Russell to look like an actual hockey player for the first time in his career.  Desharnais with the finish behind MAF on the scramble drill.  2-1

Midway through the period, the game started going from an even tilt to almost exclusively Oilers.  Fleury kept the Pens afloat with another great post-deadline performance.

 

Third Period

Edmonton was gift-wrapped a chance to draw level late in the second after Schultz cross-checked Nugent-Hopkins for having a hyphenated name.  The Pens were able to kill off the carry-over, but not without Leon Draisaitl ringing one off the pipe.

Despite the Oilers racking up chance after chance, Fleury seemed destined to steal the two points for the good guys.  But 29 wasn’t the only goaltender dialed in as Talbot, too, had to make some elite saves as well.  None better than robbery on Dumoulin.

But as the Oilers continued to press, they’d pick up another powerplay with 9:04 remaining as Ruhwedel took down Eberle.  Just as the PP was about to expire, McDavid made his mark.  2-2

Whatever the fuck kind of defending that was out of Rowney, it was like trying to stop a flood with a blow torch.

Somewhere late, Daddy Phil got robbed on a breakaway and McDavid took turns undressing everyone on the Penguins blueline, but wasn’t able to cash in with OT on the horizon.

Overtime

I would assume that because Edmonton is a barron wasteland of cold shit that flowers aren’t capable of growing there.  But Fleury was in full bloom when overtime rolled around.  After Talbot stoned Crosby early, McDavid was released on a breakaway.  MAF got away with a trip, but he stuffed 97 on a breakaway all the same.

Right before Eberle took down Phil to give the Pens a PP for the remainder of OT, Fleury made the save of the game on RNH to take us to the shootout.

Dogshit giveaway from Bonino.  But holy hell what a save.

Shootout

Edmonton chose to shoot first.  Fleury stopped Draisaitl and Letestu and Malkin found nothing but iron on the Pens first attempt.  Crosby, McDavid, and Phil shot in the back half of the skills competition.

 

That release just isn’t fair, but neither is this:

Game.

Notes

  1. Another solid outing out of the Pens backup.  Almost as if the whole maybe getting traded thing had some sort of impact.
  2. McDavid was on the ice for 9 scoring chances for.  He had 7 of them.
  3. Crosby, on the other hand, was on the ice for 6 for, 9 against, and individually had 4 himself.  Neither he, nor McDavid, nor Malkin, were positive possession guys at 5v5.  McDavid was one of 3 Oilers at sub-50%.  The Pens had 1 above 50% because score effects.

The western Canada road trip continues with game 3 of 4 tonight in Vancouver.  Do it.

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