So what happened?
Dominic Moore should have left well enough alone.
The Pens and Lightning were tied 3-3 in the third period. The Lightning had scored three straight goals in less than five minutes to tie the score. That's when Dominic Moore chose to start jawing with Evgeni Malkin in the faceoff circle. They were both kicked out, and the jawing continued on the wing. The puck wasn't dropped, and James Neal switched places with Geno after things continued to heat up.
From that point on, the score was Evgeni Malkin 3, Lightning 0. Geno had the natural hat trick.
As a fan, it was a satisfying sequence to watch.
Of course, Bob Errey almost ruined the game. James Neal had scored to make it 3-0 in the third period. Bob Errey had no sooner said that the same is / was / should be over than the Bolts scored their first of three goals to tie the score. If I could have reached through the TV to strangle Errey for clearly influencing the play on the ice, I would have at least considered doing it.
Other than the five minutes in the third period where the Bolts scored three times, the Pens played a terrific game. They dominated the shots on net in all three periods, and finished with a 44-20 advantage for the game.
Neal (23, 24), Park (3), Malkin (19, 20, 21)
- Five points for Geno. He should have had a fourth goal, but the refs ignored an obvious slash when Malkin was likely to score a second empty net goal.
- Neal had two more goals. That's three in two games after he was snubbed from the All-Star game.
- The team effort in shutting down Stamkos and St. Louis.
- The power play scored twice in five chances.
- Faceoffs. Wow - lots of them, but the Pens won just 33 out of 79. Special dishonorable mention goes to Malkin and Jeffrey who combined to win just 15 out of 47.
- Vincent Lecavalier. He got into a scrum with Malkin and while both players were completely wrapped up by the refs (and about 5 other players), Vinny clearly threw a sucker punch right into the jaw of Malkin. It was something you'd expect out of Steve Downie, but not a player of the caliber of Lecavalier. Very cheap.
- I was surprised the Boucher pulled the goalie after Malkin put the Pens up by three with an empty-netter. Pulling a goalie while down three (without being on a power play) is pretty unusual.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 23-17-4.
Carolina comes to Consol on Tuesday night.