The 82-game NHL season is long, tiring, strenuous, hazardous — it’s a grind, man. And as far as the schedule goes for the guys playing, the three or four times they go to Buffalo have to be the hardest to care about. Some claim it’s harder to play in Florida or L.A. because the great weather can be a distraction. If that were true, Buffalo would never win a game at home. What makes it hard to play in Buffalo is that you know you probably only have to score one, maybe two goals to win, plus there’s always a good chance Buffalo is just going to score a goal for you. And that’s exactly what happened in this one.
The early going was all about which team could commit the most egregious cheap shot. Shortly after the opening of the game, Sidney Crosby smashed Ryan O’Reilly in his scrotum with an uppercut straight from hell.
Now I will defend Crosby on almost any hill I have to a die happily knowing I did it in the name of the best player playing right now. That said, hitting someone in the dick is where I draw the line. Does Ryan O’Reilly deserve to be hit in the dick for driving his car straight into a Tim Horton’s? Perhaps. It’s a well-known fact that Crosby loves Tim Horton’s.
I still can’t say there is any place where we can say without a doubt, yes, this guy here definitively deserves to have his crotch slashed.
Go ahead, grandma.
As bad as the dick shot was, Rasmus Ristolainen took the actual and literal head off of Jake Guentzel with a hip check that occurred while the puck was going the complete opposite direction in a completely different zone.
Guentzel would later be diagnosed with a concussion. Ristomainen got a five-minute major and a game misconduct; you know it’s a bad hit when someone is getting ejected in a sanctioned National Hockey League game. Have wonder what role Dan Bylsma and his disdain for talented rookies in the Penguins lineup had to do with this. Someone who has lost that much hair in two years probably has something to hide. Just saying. The Pens would get a five-minute power play from the assault and somehow manage to only register two shots.
The rest of the period was forgettable until about ten seconds to go when Crosby scored a goal nobody will ever forget.
A lot of NHL players can’t do this with two hands. So yeah, it’s now officially safe to say Crosby is better with one hand than at least half of the league is with two. He’s already better on his backhand than the majority are on their forehand, so why not? This is vintage Crosby here, though. Ten seconds to go, puck on your stick, you happen to be Sidney Crosby… why not? Why not just walk through everyone like they’re already headed to the dressing room and just one-hand one over the goalie? Seems easy enough. Unreal.
The Pens put some heat on the Sabres in the second but couldn’t get on the board. Bylsma had his team playing to protect the 1-0 deficit. Classic Bylsma logic here. Don’t ever try to score, no matter the circumstance. Down 1-0? Better not try to match that, everybody knows being down 1-0 is better than 2-0.
Two minutes into the third, Sam “The Anvil” Reinhart got the Sabres on the board with a tough-angle shot, bringing the score to 1-1.
Bad angle by Murray, which is something you don’t see too much from him. Bad clear from Frankie Corrado that Cullen never saw. Tough play by Streit to block the initial shot but not be able to gather up the rebound, too. Just a lot going on and none of it positive, but what can you do when you basically owned 99% of the game to that point.
Both teams were trading chances until the Sabres got a power play with around ten minutes to go. The Pens got a huge kill that set the stage for Nick Bonino’s clutch gene.
The puck just finds him March. No other explanation for how this goes.
That put the Pens up for good, but they weren’t done. Conor Sheary saw Crosby score with one hand and figured he could do it with none.
Have to respect the Sabres guy for understanding the situation. Sheary’s hustle and grit were so overwhelming here, this guy just gets lost in the moment of realizing Sheary deserved the goal. It was also a very-Buffalo cherry on top of the Bylsma hot fudge sundae. Plays like this make me think that maybe Bylsma hasn’t lost that dressing room. As long as undersized forwards are being rewarded in a game Bylsma is coaching, it doesn’t matter which team they play for.
Later, Crosby missed on an empty netter and lost his teeth.
Only Sidney Crosby could get hit in the face with a fucking hockey stick, lose his teeth, and people say he took a dive. Look. If you get hit by something and part of your body ejects itself from your body, you can react however you want. You can take all your clothes off and cry in the corner, if you want.
Pens would go on to win 3-1. 11-straight years of Penguins playoff hockey. What a ride.