So I guess we call this the Thrill of Victory, eh?
The Pens came out smoking in the first two periods, out shooting the Flyers 31-10. They couldn't get more than 2 past Nittymaki, however, and the Flyers tied the game in the third on a BSFNOW goal (Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While) goal. Richards threw the puck to the net, and Sanderson batted it into the net when it deflected off of Melichar's skate. Sanderson didn't even know he had a goal.
This was a game the Pens needed badly. They did most things right tonight, and to lose this one (or to even go to OT) could have been bad for the psyche of this young team. They kept at it, and Malkin netted the game winner with little more than two minutes remaining in the third.
My question of the night is as follows: late in the third, Meyer hit Army near the boards. It was clearly interference and Army was down briefly. Whitney, in a great show of support, went right after Meyer and was locked up with him. King Goon, er, I mean Hatcher, comes barrelling over, and showing no respect of the unwritten rule about being the third man in, grabs Whitney from behind and tries to fight him. Never mind that Hatcher is too much of a wimp to do more than talk with Andre Roy on opening night. Anyway, back to my rant, already in progress. Anyway, when it's all sorted out by the CZs (Clueless Zebras), Meyer gets two minutes for charging (could have been a major, given how close they were to the boards, but I digress), Whitney gets two for INSTIGATING (?!?!?!?) and five for fighting, and Hatcher gets just 5 for fighting.
What the heck?? How does King Goon come lumbering as the third man in and only get a fighting major? I'd say it was immaterial, but the Flyers almost tied the game as a direct result of the CZs making sure the Flyers weren't any more short-handed. I was pretty disgusted with that one...
Before I sign off, did anyone see the tremendous effort put in by Crosby on the last scrum at the end of the game? He was hit by the shot from the point and went down, stunned. He then got back up and managed to have the strength to get to the front of the cage and mix it up with the Flyers (and throw in a nice slash for good measure).
Man, do I hate the Flyers. I'm so glad the Pens pulled this one out.
Next up: at Buffalo on Friday. Talk about a litmus test...