After all the talk coming out of the Lightning game, the Penguins responded, albeit a bit late. They had their jump, the forecheck, the attitude and ultimtely the passion. It wasn't the perfect game we’ve been looking for, but it was a game that will shut some people up for a while.
The 1st period started and I was not all that hopeful for the Poni-Malkin-Guerrin line, but they proved me wrong. The Pens got things going with a 4 minute power play after Gonchar took a high stick to the face. However seconds later Chris Chelios took advantage of his AARP discount and drew a penality on Guerin and it flattened the Pens chance to get a jumpstart.
After the penatlies run their course the third line of Cooke-Staal-Kennedy got going, they set up Leopold on the back door play, but Moose says no. Towards the end of the period Sid wins a battle deep in his zone then a few seconds later wins a huge battle iin the ofensive zone, you don't see too many big time players battle the way Sid does.
Just before the end of the period the third line dominates once again, though it was Atlanta who took the early lead. Afinogenov scored his 24th from Bergfors and Antropov. To me it looked like Letang just simply let Maxim go he scores at the backpost 1-0 Atl. Watch the play [here]: without taking away from Afinagenov, Letang’s lack of effort on the play is, well, less than stellar. All this after Billy G takes it upon himself for the second game in a row to get the Penguins amped.
The Pens played most of the first period the way they wanted though still found themselves down 1-0. Gut check time for the Pens. Two minutes into it Gogo jumps into the play and is shutdown. He then slides into the boards with Bryan Little...Little gets hurt and doesn't return. A little later the the Pens get the puck to the point off the back boards right to Sid, though Moose gets to the post and takes the net off...no call.
The Pens get the power play chance it looked good, real good. Why? They actually skated, caused the mini two-on-one's. Moments later, Malkin from Sid from Gogo...game now tied 1-1.
Atlanta gets back to back power plays late in the 2ND and finally cashes one in as Tim Stapleton scores from Oduya (I really hate him) and Enstrom. Yet again Pens play the game they wanted and yet are down heading into the third 2-1. How would this team respond?
Kennedy responses just 3 minutes into the 3rd getting the rebound from a Gonchar blast. (Kennedy from Sid and Gonch). Here we go, now we have the moment....um, crap. Atlanta is desperate, they need the points. Rich Peverley answers just a minutes later from MacArthur and Kane. Great goal for the Thrashers. At this point in the game I honestly stopped taking notes just got involved in the game. Paper scrapped.
Very late in the third just when you think the Pens will fall, Jim Slater takes the dumbest penalty we've seen in a long while. This awakes the Pens power play and old faithful "from-the-point" delivers. Gonch from way down town....bang!
Overtime begins and the Pens have all the momentum. Surprisingly Atlanta gets some great chances after Afinogenov gets blastered into the boards. Somehow Sid gets the puck to Leopold who enters the zone all by himself. He delays on the side boards waiting for help knowing help is coming, even Hedburg looks to see where is coming from. Just then Leopold throws the puck at the net and scores the game winner.