First and foremost, I want to officially welcome back the final and remaining Pens fans who decided to re-join the bandwagon this season. And no, I’m not talking about you assholes who were about ready to jump off of a bridge back in November, then decided to return over the past couple weeks because the Penguins are on eight-game winning stream and currently tied for 1st-place in the Metro. I’m talking about our beloved Stiller Nation. You know, the yinzers who refuse to watch hockey in any capacity until football season is officially over.
Well, I’ve got good and bad news, Steeler fans.
Let’s start with the bad: The Steelers both sucked this year and didn’t make the playoffs (plus their entire franchise is currently a real life dumpster fire gif). Hence, why we watched Lamar Jackson fumble the football 32 times yesterday against the Chargers instead of watching Big Ben and Philip Rivers combine for a thousand passing yards.
The good: Did I mention the Penguins are on an eight-game winning streak coming into this game against the Blackhawks?
Speaking of good, most of the 2009 champs were in the building tonight to honor the 10-year anniversary of making Marian Hossa look like an asshole:
A few things here:
- If it doesn’t make you feel old that this happened TEN YEARS AGO, then there’s something wrong with your brain.
- Notice Craig Adams standing faaaaarrrrrr away from Evgeni Malkin. Probably didn’t want to get his jaw broken again, and I can’t blame him.
- I’m assuming Pascal Dupuis is currently persona non grata in PPG Paints Arena for the time being. Pretty sure Mike Sullivan still wants to kill him.
Oh, and Flower had some things to say:
Max Talbot also shared some thoughts from inside his shithole hotel room in Russia.
When you’re on an eight-game winning streak, you don’t tinker too much with your lineup. With that said, it’s never a bad thing to give your red-hot goalie a rest whenever you have a backup who’s currently 2nd in the league in save percentage (.926). Not bad.
Legit have never heard of half of that roster. Apparently our old friend Chris Kuntiz still plays professional hockey. Also, not sure if Cam Ward has ever been the same since Geno assaulted him in the 2009 Eastern Conference Finals. Just glad to see he’s not a quitter.
Let’s get to it.
Before you were even finished laughing at Cody Parkey missing a comical 43-yard game winning field goal (which hit both the upright and the crossbar lolz) to send the Bears into the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the hits kept on coming for Chicago.
Two minutes and 43 seconds into the period, Evgeni Malkin found Patric Hornqvist standing all alone in the slot from beneath the red line. Without even blinking, Horny would wrist the puck past Ward, short-side, to get the Pens on the board.
No idea what the best player in the world was even doing there.
The good news is he still leads the league in leadership.
Not even two minutes later, the Pens pounced again. This time, Bryan Rust would dish the puck up to the point from the red line to Letang standing at the point who promptly snapped the puck to the net. While Anisimov was too busy puck chasing, Guentzel was standing alone at the doorstep to pick up the trash.
At this point, it looked like the Penguins were gonna put up a 10-spot and mercy rule the Hawks before the 1st period even ended. On top of the Penguins’ relentless forechecking, they also *I don’t know what the fuck I’m about to say here so I’m gonna throw up a tweet from somebody who does to back up my statement* seemed to find a loophole in Chicago’s neutral zone defense.
Stole the words directly from my mouth.
But then Evgeni Malkin decided to take a dumb hooking penalty and Chicago would ultimately capitalize on the ensuing power play.
Gotta give credit where credit is due – Patrick Kane’s passing is still ELITE. DeBrincat’s shot wasn’t bad either.
As excited as you were to see the Penguins honor Chris Kunitz for the second time since he left Pittsburgh a year and a half ago, you were equally as disappointed to see that motherfucker cash in on his first goal of the season early on in the 2nd.
Sure, it only took him 24 games to do it, but you just knew if it was gonna happen this year, it was gonna be against the Penguins somehow, some way. $100 says he doesn’t score another goal for the rest of his career.
Before you could figure out how to blame Jack Johnson for the Kunitz goal, a few minutes later the PBR Line™ would put the Penguins back on top as Kessel would find
The World’s Best Porn Site The World’s Best 3rd Line Center (who’s not exactly playing up to that status) for a one-timer and through the fivehole of Ward.
You could probably argue that Ward should’ve stopped that one, but nevertheless:
(Friendly Warning: never google “Big Ass Titties Gif” in public)
Five minutes later, the Hawks would get back to work on their second power play of the evening as the other 14 in black was struck with the curse of Chris Kunitz and got called off for a tripping call.
After somehow not being able to clear the puck out of their zone at least three times on the penalty kill, the Penguins would ultimately kill off the power play, but leave Chicago in the offensive zone long enough for Duncan Keith to blast a missile past DeSmith and tie up the ball game.
Which begs the recurring question – can Casey DeSmith stop a slapshot?
The period would come to a close as Kris Letang got called with the most obvious tripping call in the history of tripping calls, yet everyone in PPG Paints Arena seemed to be ready to fight the refs just like Bears fans are still trying to do the same to Cody Parkey.
After another successful penalty kill to start the 3rd, the Penguins would give up another goal almost immediately afterwards as Patrick Kane would make another perfect pass to the tape of Ryan Strome who had basically all day to bury the puck past DeSmith.
Credit to Captain Leadership for setting up a pick on the worst defenseman on the Penguins to give Strome enough time and space.
At this point, you just knew it was inevitable. Even though the Penguins had over 18 minutes to tie the game back up, you remembered that the Penguins don’t beat the Blackhawks. Ever. Specifically, they haven’t done so since March 30, 2014:
Lol at that lineup.
A crossbar here, an unsuccessful 5-on-3 power play there, and before you knew, Toews tossed one into the back of the empty net from about 100 feet away.
- The Penguins may never beat the Blackhawks again. Also sucks to let your 8-game winning streak get snapped by one of the worst teams in the league.
- Speaking of winning streaks, the Blackhawks have now won their last 10 games in a row versus the Penguins.
- WARNING: EXTREME SPIN ZONE ALERT – Although it sucks to see the Pens lose tonight, you never want to be too hot, too early. Best to take a couple punches here and there in January and February, then really start ramping it up before playoff time in March. Perhaps the Penguins did this on purpose.
- These stats over the Penguins’ previous eight games are batshit crazy:
- I don’t do fancy stats or heat maps, but this game was pretty evenly played. Pittsburgh outshot Chicago, 34-31. With that said, the only real stat that matters is the final score, you fucking dorks.
- Last but not least, these dinguses made their way onto the jumbotron:
The Panthers come to town on Tuesday before the Pens head out to California, Arizona, and Vegas for their annual west coast trip before the All-Star Game.
*TURN UP THE VOLUME*