Last night, our Penguinos beat the hated Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 at Mellon Arena. Diego and I watched the entire game from my penthouse suite in Greenfield, and I gotta say, it was probably the best Pens game all season.
The game started out sluggish, with the Pens falling behind 1-0 after the first. I don't know if it was a hangover from the Winter Classic, but they kinda looked like crap. It was a good thing Ty Conklin (who ended up with 33 saves) was on his game, or we could have been in some deep, deep trouble.
Erik Cristensen tied it early in the second on a physical wrap around, which is good to see. He was a beast last night, hitting everything that moved, leveling a Maple Leaf behind the net, and just playing a physical, aggressive brand of hockey. Looks like he finally fiigured out how to be a skilled forward with a little grit. Let's hope he continues to play this way and that this wasn't a one game only situation.
Speaking of physical play, Jarkko Ruutu was the sole reasoon we won last night. A little more then halfway through the second, Ruutu decided to spur the Pens on by fighting notorious tough guy Darcy Tucker. What ensued was one of, if not the best fight I've seen in years, but why take my opinion, take a look for yourself...
This beatdown really fired the boys up, and from then on the game was theirs. Around the 15 minute mark of the second, Geno Malkin flipped one in off of a Sidney Crosby rebound to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. That's how the second would end scoring wise, but the third had some excitement in store.
With 17 minutes left in the third, Tyler Kennedy notched his seventh goal of the season on a rebound of his own shot. He fired a wrister at the goal, and then beat a defenseman to put his own rebound in the back of the net. Then Malkin lit the lamp again 37 seconds later on a sweet backhand flip over the goalie's shoulder, making the score 4-1 Pens. Finally, 11 seconds later, Petr Sykora scored his 12th of the season, ending the run at three goals in 48 seconds. What a way to start off the third boys, a nice four goal lead never hurt anybody.
Malkin made a play late in the third that only superstars make, and it reminded me of a young Jagr when he was with us. His combination of size, speed and skill make him a very, very dangerous man. Take a look at it and tell me this doesn't make you excited to be a Pens fan...
This was the first hat trick of Malkin's career, which I didn't know and kind of suprised me, considering his goal scoring prowess last season, but I guess they are kind of a rare. I'm assuming there will be many more in his career, and who knows, now that he got that monkey off his back, maybe another 1 or 2 this season.
The final was 6-2, with Jason Blake scoring both goals for the Leafs. Like I said, it was a helluva game, and finally, FINALLY we're looking like the team that people predicted would be in the Stanley Cup this season.
Third Star : Jarkko Ruuto
Second Star : Ty Conklin
First Star : Geno Malkin
Announcer Quote of the Night : After Sykora's goal made it three in 48 seconds, Bob Errey said "Are they really gonna leave him in?"...HAHAHA...That poor, poor soul from Toronto never saw that coming.
And since I know you're wondering, yes, they did leave him in...