The Pens were back in action last night at the Mellon Arena in front of yet another sellout crowd. They didn’t disappoint the fans in a high paced, high scoring effort against the basement dwellers of the Eastern conference, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Diego scored some tickets and it was a star-studded event as Pittsburgh celeb Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was in the house (sitting behind Diego may I add) and so were Steelers sophomores Lawrence Timmons and Matt Spaeth (in front of Diego) all sitting in the West Igloo Club.
Diego, please introduce me to your scalper...
The action started out slow in the first period as the Penguins were playing sloppy, but still managed to get the lead on a goal by that crazy Fin Jarrko Ruutu (who happened to be the star of the game but I’ll get to that later). It was no pain no gain for Ruutu as he was slashed in the face, which was split open instantly and required 10-15 stitches before he could return to the game.
In the second Vinny Lecavalier tied up the game early on 1-1, but the tie wouldn’t last long. About 6 minutes or so later the Pens managed to control the puck in the Tampa zone and Geno Malkin buried a backhand rebound to give the Pens the lead 2-1. The best part about this goal was the crowd at the Igloo saw how hard the Pens were working and starting a enthusiastic “Let’s GO PENS!!” chant, seconds later we were rewarded by the Malkin goal and the place went nuts.
The final period was ALL Pen’s as the Staal scored a goal within the first minute. The Pen’s announcer was just getting to the assists on the previous goal when Sykora buried a wrist shot on a couple pretty passes from Geno and Bugsy Malone (two goals happened 16 seconds apart). The final score was 4-2, but Mike Smith robbed multiple Penguins on what seemed liked an unlimited amount of scoring chances in the third.
This was probably the most fun I had at a Pens game all year long, and the main reason for that is a man named Jarrko Ruutu. In the 3rd Rutuu’s stick was whacked out of his hand, but he managed to dribble the puck all the way down the ice at full speed, soccer style. He then made a beautiful heel kick pass, through a defender, right to Dupuis (I believe it was him) who missed the scoring chance. Ruutu was rewarded to a standing ovation and chants and screams of ROOOOO TOOOOO! He was the #1 star of the night in my book.
***NOTE FROM DIEGO***
With the win the Pens are now tied for the lead of the Atlantic division (with the New Jersey Devils) with 91 points.
With a goal and an assist last night, Geno Malkin pulled within three points of the scoring lead in the NHL with 99 total points. (Ovechekin has 102) Malkin would be the second Penguin in two years to break the 100-point mark. (Crosby did it last year with 120 points and in 05-06 with 102)
Keep on Dancing
Pitt is finally healthy, it may have taken all year, but they finally have a full roster for both practices and games. It showed yesterday in Denver as the Panthers destroyed Oral Roberts 82-63. Pitt has been in rare form lately taking the lead early on in games and holding onto it throughout. Earlier in the year Pitt would let teams back in the game late, but that hasn’t been the case lately.
Pitt has been getting solid production out of the starting five, and sixth man Gerald Brown, GB, has also provided a spark on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Fields has been amazing lately, and was an offensive machine last night scoring at will, putting up 23 points total, 16 in the first half. Freshman Blair gave Oral Roberts headaches all day long keeping them out of the paint with that huge frame of a body and also limited 2nd chance opportunities by grabbing 10 boards.
Pitt went on an 18-0 run early on and this one, and Oral Roberts never had a prayer of coming back. This game was so bad of an ass whooping that CBS actually switched over to the Marquette game instead. If Pitt keeps playing the way they are a long run in the tournament is possible. Next on the hit list are Michigan State and that twerp Drew Neitzel at 9:10 on Saturday night… LETS GO PITT!
*** NOTE FROM DIEGO ***
At first I was a little concerned that Lavence Fields decision to switch from his traditional cornrow hairstyle to longer braids would affect his play (and possibly jinx us). After dropping 23 points, 4 rebounds, and 7 assists in 32 minutes played I decided I was wrong and the braids are A ok in my book Lavence, good call!
He's one nappy haired...