What began to look like the Rangers were going to get revenge for the shellacking just two nights ago, didn't end up that way at all. Mike Rupp and Sidney "The Answer" Crosby teamed up to score all of the Penguins goals and route their division rivals for the second of a back to back. Rupp giving his son Mason a nice birthday present with his first career hat trick.
Overall a pretty physical period for both teams. The Pens found themselves on the better-half of a penalty after Daniel Girardi was hit with 2 mins for barely tripping Fedotenko. Power play looked fairly strong with a couple good chances, though nothing manifested.
I do want to point out this play you see below. See the great position the Pens find themselves in after Crosby (top) lifts it over to Malkin who's waiting aside the net. Geno essentially has two options, pass or shoot, and he tries to feed Dad, left side of the net (red dash). Though in my opinion he had two great looks on Lundqvist and should have taken them (blue arrows). Judge for yourself.
Other than that we saw some tumbling back and forth from Sean Avery. He found himself on top of Fleury about two times this period. Gaborik was a beast and nearly had two goals. Pens got another power play chance near the periods end, though that was eliminated after Guerin went to the box for interference.
Period started off four on four which opened the ice for both teams. Though it was the Slovakian Marian Gaborik who drew first blood against the Pens. Sitting in front of the net with his stick down (as usual) Prospal finds Gabby open, but Fleury only stopped one of Gabby's two shots for his 20th of the season, [0-1].
But before you could even catch your breathe Sid "The Answer" Crosby takes a lead pass from Billy G and backhands one over the left shoulder of Lundqvist just 11 seconds later, [1-1]. Not sure there is a better backhander in the game. Is there? Steggie rightly says, "Anything you can do I can do better."
Four minutes later the Pens get the lead after Staalzy takes the face-off in the Rangers zone by FORCE and finds Rupp who gets his own pair of shots, sinking one, [2-1]. Brute strength was the answer to this goals question.
A displeased Tortorella can't find the rest of his collar either.
Tortorella was able to smile one more time tonight. His savior the Slovak scored one more time on a power play before the end of the second [2-2] lining up what appeared to be a close game heading into the third. Pay special attention to the "what appeared to be" part of the last sentence.
Between periods Dan Potash interviewed resident Penguins mobster Tony Granato and asked what adjustments the Pens needed to make in the third. His answer: Get physical with Gaborik. Watch the game in replay and see that indeed happened. Crosby forced Gabby off Fleury...Orpik took a couple shots good shots at him...everyone took to task. Good coaching. Otherwise someone was gonna end up dead.
Now initially the Rangers started off right where they picked up ending the second period. They had a ton of energy and kept the Pens on their heals in their own zone. That was of course until Mike eRupp's took the puck coast-to-coast for his second goal of the night giving the Pens a [3-2] lead.
Four minutes later Eaton finds himself with the puck at the blue line and slaps one on net. Crosby with that great hand eye coordination was able to redirect the puck down to the ice to secure a two goal lead, his second of the night, [4-2].
I said via twitter in the beginning of this period that I'd like to see another 4 goal period as in last game. Okay, so that didn't happen, but interestingly enough fellow Pens Universe native Sammy decides it was appropriate to ask for a Mike Rupp hat trick. Now, of his 6 year NHL career in 363 games Rupp has only registered 6 goals in a given season. To ask for this seemed astronomical...unprecedented...dare I say, foolish. However at the end of the night that is what we witnessed. Mike Rupp single-handedly half of a seasons worth of goals in one game with an empty netter, [5-2]. Crosby assists.
And that is why this tweet is the Pens Universe Tweet of the Night.
- Geno, 5 shots, but a bit non-existent.
- Bizarro Geno  existent.
- Fleury = Solid.
- Sean Avery is a Matt Cooke wannabe. Heard Rupp call him out.
- Happy Birthday Mason Rupp.