Heartstopper

April 25, 2008

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A goal by Evgeni Malkin with 1:41 left in regulation gives the Penguins a thrilling 5-4 win against the Rangers.

PREGAME

-The lawn in front of the big screen outside Mellon Arena is starting to fill up:

outside2

outside

Amazingly, it took Aramark/Satan/Miroslav Satan or whoever sells the $48 dollar beers here until tonight to finally set up a stand outside to sell $23 hot dogs:

food

We spotted a few quality jerseys prior to walking in:

-Kevin Stevens:

stevens

-Mario Lemieux Wales Conference All-Star:

lemieux

-These are the white t-shirts they're giving out tonight at the gate:

tshirts

-No Gary Roberts tonight. He's suffering from that groin injury he sustained while fighing that comet or whatever amazing task he surely was undertaking.

-A few more jerseys we spotted:

-Colby Armstrong which looks older and older to us every time we see it:

armstrong

-Ron Francis:

francis2

Something tells us these next two guys were waiting years for a white-out night to bust these two beauties out.

-Dick Tarnstrom:

tarnstrom

-Zarley Zalapski:

zalapski

-Channel 4 interviewed a couple of Rangers fans about who the Steelers might draft. We think:

rangers

-This place is pretty white:

white

-Jeff Jimerson sings the national anthem. You can barely hear him during "Land of the brave."

-The Penguins' scratches are Darryl Sydor, Gary Roberts, Kris Beech, Jeff Taffe and Dany Sabourin.

-The Rangers scratched pretty much the entire Hartford Wolfpack roster. We're not typing it all. You can look at it here.

FIRST PERIOD

19:43: Jaromir Jagr touches the puck for the first time and gets booed.

19:37: Jagr takes a cross checking call and gets cheered for the first time in Mellon Arena in quite a while.

18:27: Gonchar blasts a slapper from the point. Henrik Lundqvist deflects it away.

15:51: Pascal Dupuis knocks Sean Avery with an enthusiastic body check.

15:23: Sykora gets a quick little wrister off in traffic. Lundqvist makes a nice save on it.

14:40: Sykora feeds a puck into the slot. Evgeni Malkin juuuusttts misses getting a stick on it.

14:19: With an icing call, the Mellon Arena crowd erupts. This is a very responsive crowd tonight. Lots of groans, cheers, boos, etc.

13:17: On a delayed penalty, Gonchar fires a shot on net. A Penguin re-directs it but Lundqvist comes up with a big save.

13:12: Christian Backman is sent off for two minutes. Lundqvist has played strong. The Penguins are out-shooting New York, 8-0.

11:13: The Rangers' first shot almost scores the first goal of the game. Brandon Dubinsky gets off a quick wrister. Marc-Andre Fleury has some trouble with the rebound. A smalls scramble ensues and the puck is cleared away.

6:49: Play is halted after Ryan Whitney and ryan Callahan get tangled up at the blue line. Whitney is sent off for high sticking.

6:20: Jagr controls the puck along the right boards and dishes it to Straka. He then sends the puck into the slot where Dubinsky chips it in past Fleury. The Rangers' ability to crash the net paid off for them there. Rangers 1-0.

4:59: A shot is fired on net from the left boards. Fleury easily absorbs it.

2:30: Sykora is sent off for hooking.

2:12: Jordan Staal blocks a shot at the point by Backman. That had to sting a bit.

1:25: Brendan Shanahan is called for interference. It was a bit of a ticky-tack call if you ask us.

1:48: Dubinsky sneaks a shot off from the boards. Fleury eats it up.

0:54: Ryan malone tries to spin and fire one in on a backhander. No dice.

0:00: End of period. Rangers 1, Penguins 0.

-The Penguins will get 0:35 of power-play time on clean ice to start the period.

-The Penguins have an advantage in shots, 9-7.

-The Penguins are also up in faceoffs, 10-8.

-We saw Jimerson in the tunnel before the game. We would've said something, but we were in awe of that butt-cut.

jimerson

-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:

"Gary Roberts invented the white shirt."

"Avery fears the Cotton Candy Guy."

-A welcome addition to the in-game music is "Snow" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

-Martin Straka was credited with the only goal of the game.

SECOND PERIOD

18:40: Jagr and Jordan Staal battle for the puck in the corner. Watching those two go at it is almost like watching an Oklahoma drill. Those are two big bodies.

18:19: As Fleury saves another shot, we get our first notable skirmish. Avery and Rob Scuderi exchange a few brief shoves before they are seperated.

18:08: Marc Staal fires a slapper from the point. Chris Drury appears to knock it down with a high stick and the puck bounces by a surprised Fleury who was bracing for a high shot. Official review the play and rule it a goal. That looked kind of high to us. The officials explain their decision to Michel Therrien who looks like he just found out someone left an ink pen his whites while doing laundry. The crowd responds with "LET'S GO PENS!" Rangers 2-0.

16:23: This is getting bad. The president of the Martin Brodeur fan club scored. Avery comes down the side and right side and simply burns Fleurhy with a wrister. Rangers 3-0.

16:17: Georges Laraque tries to get his team going as he challenges Colton Orr to a fight. Orr doesn't accept the offer.

12:16: Jarkko Ruutu takes a run at Michal Rozsival along the boards. Rozsival sticks Ruutu on his wallet.

11:47: Ruutu works the puck in on net and backhands it into the crease. It deflects off Rozsival's leg and goes into the net. It's a Michel Ouellet goal but the Penguins will take it. Mellon Arena explode like a balloon that's been popped. The fan shere have been waiting for something to cheer about. Ruutu bumps fists with all his teammates and says something to the Rangers bench before he's pushed away by an official. Versus shows the fans outside cheering. The "Hey Song" is played. Rangers 3-1.

11:33: Just as we try to gather out thoughts and write them down for the Ruutu goal, the Penguins strike again. Crosby controls the puck behind the net and out-works Backman. He dishes a puck to Pascal Dupuis in the faceoff circle who fires a one-timer by Lundqvist. Mellon Arena explodes again. We can't even hear ourselfs mutter a curse word at the quickness of the last two goals. Rangers 3-2.

8:51: Brook Orpik is nabbed for slashing. The loudest uh... chant for bull manure we've ever heard rains down on the ice.

6:59: Given the situation, (down a goal on the penalty kill) Fleury makes perhaps the finest save he's made during the playoffs. Rozsival slides a cross-ice pass to Backman on a similar play to the Ryan Whitney "back door" play. Backman shoots, but Fleury is able to slide over and make a dazzling save.

5:49: Sykora and Crosby come up ice. Crosby slide a pass into the slot. Sykora swats at it but Lundqvist gloves it.

5:25: It's faint, but we hear it:

4:05: Dubinsky hacks out Crosby's feet. He complains worse than a two-year-old about it, but sorry, two minutes.

3:04: Malkin fires a one-timer that goes just wide.

2:55: Malkin fires another shot that Lundqvist deflects away.

1:53: Sykora fires a one-timer that appears to "dink" off the far post.

1:10: Ruutu pounds a slapper from the left side. Lundqvist kicks it out with a "clunk."

0:00: End of period. Rangers 3, Penguins 2.

-The Penguins are out-shooting the Rangers, 18-16.

-The Rangers have a 19-18 edge in faceoffs.

-There was a stretch of about five minutes after Dupuis' goal where where Mellon Arena was about as loud as we've ever heard it. It's been that loud in short spurts, but it was never sustained for that long a period of time. It was just five minutes of pure noise. It was marvelous.

-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:

"The common cold is looking for a cure for Gary Roberts."

"Gary Roberts finds Waldo every time."

"This message is costing me 15 cents. Lets go pens!"

THIRD PERIOD

19:00: Crosby centers a puck to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis whiffs on the shot. The puck settles between his leg. He has trouble getting his blade on the puck and fires a backhander that Lundqvist kicks out. That was a big time chance the Penguins missed out on.

16:01: Jagr and Ruutu appear to get away with interference on each other.

15:20: Marian Hossa takes the puck in the corner and dishes it to Scuderi. Hossa gets it back and throws it into the slot. It appears to glance off a Ranger and beats Lundqvist. The arena simply lights up. Penguins 3, Rangers 3.

15:00: Ryan Malone dishes the puck from the slot to the left of the slot. Malkin then stops and feeds it to Sykora who pokes it into an empty cage behind Lundqvist. Sykora falls to the ice behind the net and his teammate jump on him. We can't hear a darn thing. The noise is insane. Penguins 4-3.

13:53: "Lunnnnnd-Kissssst.... Lunddddd-Kisstt...."

13:31: Malkin gets dumped by Fedor Tyutin on a hip check.

12:54: Fredrik Sjostrom throws a shot on net. Fleury eats it up. Colton Orr crashes in on net but Max Talbot holds him at bay. Attendance is announced as 17,132, a complete standing-room only sell out. It sounds like 27,000 in here.

10:46: Malkin and Sykora out-work a pair of Rangers behind the net for a puck. Malkin dishes it to Sykora who tries to poke it in. Lundqvist stacks them.

9:56: Jagr out-races Gonchar for a loose puck behind the net and feeds it into the slot. Straka misses the puck, but Scott Gomez jumps on it and blasts it by Fleury. So much for the Rangers trying to win this game by a 2-1 score. Don't go anywhwere. Penguins 4, Rangers 4.

9:28: The Penguins get a shot on net from the point. Lundqvist makes the save. Sykora grabs the rebound but can't cleanly get a shot on net.

7::30: It's announced Rozsival was awarded an assist on Gomez's goal. The fans boo. For some odd reason, that made us laugh.

6:51: Jagr gets away with a (really) high-stick on Hal Gill.

5:16: Callahan swings his stick at Adam Hall. Hall responds with a shoulder to the mouth.

4:23: You can really see the empty seats well considering just about everyone is wearing white. It's hard to believe anyone would've left this spectacle. Weak.

3:20: Gomez fires a slapper from the point. Hossa blocks it and charges up ice for the rebound. Gomez cuts the angle down and makes a fine play by diving and knocks the puck away from Hossa. He prevented a breakaway by doing that. Straka is called for interference. The time is now for the Penguins to put this away.

2:52: Malkin sneaks by a check and backhands a pass into the slot. Hossa appears to get a piece of it and directs it on net. Lundqvist holds his ground. The Rangers surround Hossa to prevent him from

2:23: Malkin gets the puck alone in the slot, winds up and blasts a shot. His stick breaks and a Ranger dives to deflect the puck away.

1:41: Holy Ric Jackman was a blast. Want to win the game?, Put it in the hands of your best player. Whitney contrls the puck and the top of the slot and slides the puck over to Crosby in the right faceoff circle. Crosby blasts a one-timer Al MacInnis would be jealous of and it beats Lundqvist to the far side. Officials review the play for some odd reason. We can't see any reason this should even be doubted. The official puts the headset back, chops his hand at center ice like Mr. Miyagi and the crowd erupts.

0:53: Lundqvist leaves his cage for an extra attacker.

0:47: The puck is deflected out of play. The Rangers take a time out. The loudest "Cotton-Eyed Joe" we've ever heard is busted out.

0:30: Malkin tips the puck up ice out of the zone to kill some time.

0:12: Everyone's heart just stopped as the Rangers blast a puck off the post. They had the game tied there.

0:00: End of period. "Song 2" by Blur is played. We can feel the arena shaking literally. Penguins 5, Rangers 4.

POSTGAME

-What more can you ask for in a game? Excitement. Tons of clean, physical play. Some garbage goals and some pretty goals. Two comebacks. Some big saves. Some unfortunate bounces off the post. That was easily the best playoff so far this season.

-For all of those who wanted a Penguins-Capitals series, including us, this wasn't a bad consolation prize.

-Evgeni Malkin actually got credit for the game's final goal.

-Tom Renney was pretty mad about Straka's penalty late in the game. He pretty much refused to answer questions about it after the game. At one point, he even asked a reporter what he thought of it.

-Michel Therrien called it a weird game.

-Sidney Crosby's beard is pretty bad. Fleury's isn't much better.

-The Penguins finished with 26 shots on net while the Rangers had 24.

-New York won the faceoff battle, 29-25.

-Rozsival had three blocked shots. He also led New York with 23:37 of ice time. Fire Craig Patrick.

-Gonchar led the Penguins with three blocks and 25:09. He was a Patrick signing so we guess that cancels out Rozsival.

-We're always a little wary of the hit stat, but Ruutu was credited with a game-high of 10.

-Petr Sykora led all skaters with six shots.

-Straka got a game misconduct penalty at the end of the game. We suppose he got it for arguing his penalty. (Kudos to EN reader John Naugle for the heads up.

-Another shot of the crowd we forgot we took:

crowd

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.



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