It was a pleasure to get to see Sid back on the ice again Friday night vs the Ottawa Senators. I'm sure at some point we'll get back to where seeing Sid play is just business as usual (and for the hundreds of fans who leave games early, maybe they've already reached that point) but for now it's just incredible being able to enjoy having our captain out there after going so long without him. Check out our photos from the game after the jump.
Fleury would be starting in net for the Pens.
The game marked another return to Pittsburgh for former Penguin defenseman Sergei Gonchar.
The Michaleks, Zbynek and Milan.
Ottawa didn't take long jumping out to a 1-0 lead and the Pens took even less time to even the score. Chris Kunitz was the beneficiary of a great feed by Crosby and he put it in the back of the net.
Two seconds later Arron Asham squared off with Zenon Konopka in what turned out to be a pretty good scrap.
Less than 90 seconds later, Tyler Kennedy put the Pens up 2-1.
A few minutes later Steve Sullivan corralled the rebound from this Evgeni Malkin slapper and, with the help of a good bounce off an Ottawa stick, he put it past Senators' starting netminder Craig Anderson. 3-1 Pens.
The pressure on the Ottawa goaltender didn't ease up.
Before the game had even reached the ten minute mark, Geno danced around the zone and buried this wrister for a 4-1 Pens lead.
That would mark the end of Anderson's night as he was replaced by back-up Alex Auld.
The Pens picked up where they left off. Pascal Dupuis beat Auld for the 5-1 lead.
Z looked forward to once again carrying bragging rights into the next family reunion.
Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze was honored before the game for overseeing his 1500th professional hockey game.
Ottawa had scored late in the second to cut the lead to 5-2. Pittsburgh responded in the third when Jordan Staal took advantage of Sergei Gonchar's slashing call, scoring on the subsequent 4-on-4 and reinstating the Pens 4-goal lead.
Ottawa struck again in the final minutes to cut the lead to 6-3. Hundreds of Pens fans decided they had seen enough of the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Fleury, Letang, Neal, Staal and the rest, choosing instead to head for the exits.
Now, understandably many of these fans are parents whose young children will be expected at school early the next day, or they themselves will have jobs to report to, requiring them to leave early to beat the traffic.
Wait, what? This was a Friday game, you say? Kids did not have to be in school early the next day and most of the adults would be enjoying a day off on Saturday? Hmmm, this is perplexing. Surely there must be a logical explanation for people to spend hundreds of dollars taking their family to the game to see some of the sport's biggest stars, only to sacrifice some of that excitement in exchange for saving a few minutes on the road.
Anyway, the Pens held on to win, beating Ottawa for the second straight year on Black Friday. Brent Johnson congratulates Fleury on the win. Perhaps Johnny will get the call Saturday night in Montreal. If so, it will be his 300th NHL game.
Evgeni Malkin was named 1st star of the game with the game winning goal and one assist on the night.
Well, it's been fun watching the Pens this week. We'll take a little break before heading down to Raleigh for a rematch with the Hurricanes Saturday, December 3.
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