For the first time since 2012, and 7th time ever, the Pens likely faced their first round opponent in the last week of the regular season.
When you look back on that, it’s hard not to think “who gives a shit?”
That year, the Pens lost 6-4 at home then won 4-2 in Philly before the blood-soaked, nightmarish hellscape that followed over the course of the next two weeks.
Make no mistake. Barring a total collapse by the Caps, these two teams are opening up the postseason matched up against one another next week, and because the Pens won last night, it’ll likely open at PPG.
You can draw your parallels between this Blue Jackets squad and the ’12 Flyers, right down to “having a good powerplay, but being pedestrian everywhere else.” Hell, the Pens had to deal with the same sort of expected goon shit from Columbus last night in the name of “sending a message” or whatever Torts tells his bad, idiot teams to do after the game was already out of reach. If there’s one thing John Tortarella cannot do, it’s lose with some dignity and class.
When it’s all said and done, this was nothing more and nothing less, than the 79th game of a grueling NHL season. Next week, the only person that will be talking about it is Paul Steigerwald. And as many parallels as there are that may exist, this is a much different Penguins team than that of 2012. The country club is sinking to the bottom of Lake Erie. This is a team that hasn’t and shouldn’t let the cheapshots and setbacks create demons that need exorcised.
But, yes, Danny Briere was still offside.
Pens had the throttle down early in the contest, picking up two powerplays in the first half of the period. It really kept the Jackets from getting any sort of rhythm going, but a big Bob save on Sheary from an elite Phil feed lifted Columbus to get into the game.
They rallied and pushed more of the possession, but one mistake is all it took for the Birds to capitalize. Really bad turnover by Johnson and Atkinson in their own end to Workhorse Wilson to throw one towards the net for a sick tip from Rowney. 1-0
Jack Johnson so poor he was trying to collect the tip instead of defend it. You’d think after his financial issues, he’d try to give shit away less. Sad!
Once again, the Pens came out swinging early in the period. Maybe had about 19 2v1s or something. Sheary probably had 18 of them, but couldn’t buy one to add insult to injury.
However, nothing is more insulting that someone throwing up the double birds with a duckface in your grill. Boone Jenner retire bitch.
Once Columbus decided to stop giving up unlimited odd man rushes, they started piling it on. After some sustained zone time, the Pens got some bounces to go their way in the form of two enormous blocks from Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl, with the second one sending both Euros off on a rush to victimize the Jackets. Skillful feed from The Kuhn to mistreat Seth Jones, who played so poorly that Jack Johnson’s bankruptcy lawyer was trying to call him after the game. 2-0
Almost immediately after the goal, Jenner and Archibald got in each others kitchens and got sent off for matching roughing minors. With the open ice at 4v4, Crosby and Guentzel put two turnips in heat to get the Jackets running around like the liquor was calling the shots, setting up Dumoulin for his first goal in 151 games. 3-0
Jones again totally lost. Dat big dumb goofy smile though:
Torts challenged that Dumoulin didn’t hold it in, but if there’s one thing Brian Dumoulin knows how to do, it’s hold shit.
Just 33 seconds into the period, the Pens got another bounce to go their way. Schultz just throwing a shot at the traffic in front looking to get any sort of deflection. Grendel with his 3rd in as many games. 4-0
At that point, it was over, but with Foligno in the box for dicing up Cole’s face midway through the period, they had a chance to really blow things up. Instead, Schultz had some trouble holding on to a Crosby pass at the blue blue line, leaving Dubinsky to head off the other way. Streit backed off maybe a little too much there for Dubinsky to score off Streit’s twig and through Murr for the shorty. 4-1
Early reports claiming the city of Columbus fired off streamers for not getting shutout. Not fake news. This is real and totally happened.
The goon shit started flying, but not until after this game was long over. And Sid was having none of it. Boone. Jenner. Retire. Bitch.
- Wilson and Rust both left the game in the second period. Still not sure what happened with the latter, but the former got plastered by David Savard, but did return in the 3rd. Cullen, on the other hand, also left in the 3rd after Hartnell collided with his skull.
- Pens got hammered in the possession share, with not a single player being above 50% at 5v5. Jackets attempted twice as many shots (60-30) at 5v5, which certainly seems excessive, but the location was mostly perimeter-based (via hockeystats.ca), while most of the Pens’ attempts came from the slot. Columbus definitely had the quantity, but really didn’t have the quality.
- But when they did get quality looks, it was Murray being brilliant again, stopping 38 of 39 in total. Yuge 2nd period performance gave the Pens a chance to run away with it.
- But the #1 star of the night was this guy rocking the baller as hell Starter jacket
Pens end the season on a 3 game road trip to Jersey, Toronto, and MSG. Only game at this stage with real implications is the Toronto game, who lost to the Caps last night. Go Pens.