The Penguins game started at 8 p.m. because it’s
Phoenix Arizona, where everything is made up and start times don’t matter. The game easily looked like a Penguins home game with the number of black and gold clad fans in the stands. Fleury was starting because…Dad’s trip? They wanted to let him get some reps? Who knows. Either way, 29 was in the pipes. Josh Archibald made his season debut and Bryan Rust was scratched with injury while Malkin still wasn’t back.
A picture of me, every game Malkin is still out.
The game started off pretty terrible, to be honest. The Penguins took a penalty less than five minutes in. But this is the Coyotes here not an actual NHL team so they got the kill. It seemed like the Penguins were doing that thing every fan has come to know as “playing-a-bad-team-itis” because they just didn’t seem to care all that much. Passes were lazy, coverage was slow, they just seemed to be going through the motions. Meanwhile, Fleury looked lackadaisical at times and almost let a cupcake of a goal. Thanks to Trevor Daley, the puck didn’t go in and the teams were tied 0-0 at the first intermission.
The second period did get off to a better, if more boring, start. They didn’t take a penalty less than five minutes in so that’s obviously a plus. There wasn’t too much to write home about until the Coyotes took a penalty. The man-advantage for the Penguins generated about as much excitement as the color beige and it was back to five-on-five. But then, mercifully, someone decided to poke the teams with a stick and someone did something. Josh Archibald, who was just recalled after the Penguins lost yet another forward to injury, cashed in for his first NHL goal.
It was quite a nice one and the quick reaction from him to put it behind Smith alone was pretty impressive. The party was short lived though. The Coyotes scored about a minute later. Then, on a power play not long after, the home team took the lead. Pens down by at the second intermission. Sad!
In the third, it was classic Penguins under Sullivan hockey. They basically waited around until they couldn’t wait anymore, giving up another goal, before remembering, “oh shit there’s a game going on,” and showing up for realsies fifty minutes late.
Archibald caught Mike Smith out of his net and ate his breakfast, lunch, and dinner to score a sick shorty to pull the ‘guins within one.
Literally, what was Mike Smith even doing here?
Then, with 14 seconds left in regulation, Phil Kessel, noted Stanley Cup Champion, tied it up sending the game to extras.
In overtime, it looked briefly like Nick Bonino and his beard might get the Penguins the win except this is the NHL so of course, it didn’t happen. Pens still got a powerplay out of it, and they did literally everything but score. So naturally, with their first shot on goal in the overtime, some guy named Murphy who hadn’t scored in 50 games or at all this season somehow put a completely benign looking shot behind Fleury. Game. Pens lose.
- In case you forgot, Matt Murray is the starter. Tonight was just more evidence of that. Sorry if you were expecting Fleury to come in on some white horse to save a team that doesn’t need saving, he didn’t. There were at least two, possibly three goals surrendered by him that should have been saves, most notably the overtime winner.
- Sidney Crosby still hasn’t done that thing we’ve all been talking about for what seems like forever. I’ve decided to stop talking about that thing until he does it… because clearly what one single person is doing is keeping him from achieving that milestone. Obviously.
- Pens lost but are still tied for second in points in the Neopolitan Ice Cream Division because #Parity and #LoserPoints.
Pens are home on Valentine’s Day to play the Vancouver Canucks and notable former Penguin, Brandon Sutter.