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The Canadiens top the Penguins in a shootout, but that's pretty much the only part of the game I saw.

The Penguins played the Montreal Canadiens last night. They lost in a shootout. Evgeni Malkin scored on a pretty sick move.

There were a few quirky goals. Kristopher Letang attacked P.K. Subban at the end of overtime for, well, committing P.K. Subban-like atrocities.

Ok, that's out of the way. On to the real story.

One of my best friends (it's always hard to leave 'best friend' singular) returned from Afghanistan over the weekend. We decided to celebrate the occasion by reuniting on Tuesday and imbibing a few choice beverages.

I made a New Year's Resolution to cut out drinking for a year, but when said friend returns from a region where the average lifespan is 47.9 years, you try to appreciate your twenties.

In this instance, a month of sobriety more than sufficed.

I rolled up to his house around 6:00, dressed in whatever I was wearing for the day. Clothes are clothes. He was in his Brooks Orpik jersey. Clothes aren't clothes when you haven't had the option to freely dress for... a while.

When was the last time he was able to wear his jersey and watch a game? Or, hell, even just wear his jersey? You've got to think of the little things sometimes.

We spoke about life, politics briefly. Went into our unique political extremisms. They directly opposed each other, but who cares?

He was home. He was alive. And we were going to watch hockey together.

We reached Burgatory, Fox Chapel's mecca of deliciously customizable food, well before face off. Good. I could take time choosing my alcoholic poison of choice, and he could jump right into downing whatever beverage he wanted.

Long Island Iced Tea. Long Island Iced Tea? There's a joke somewhere. I'm sure I delivered one. But, screw it. Drink away.

Another friend showed up. Additional pleasantries were shared. Stories. Etcetera.

The game started.

We watched the first three minutes intently.

But those damned stories crept in once again.

Our attention was lost. Stories about life in the Middle East, life on the West Coast, life in Pennsylvania. What was good, what was bad. What had happened.

Blink. Check the television. The first period is over. It's scoreless.

Wait, what? It's over? No matter. Tight game, the intensity level is surely high. I'll pay attention to the second period.

We changed our destination of choice, opting for one closer to home and less brutal on the wallet. Our tiny party arrived, used soft sarcasm ("My friend can't believe the Penguin game isn't on right now."), and got the channel we required. Success.

Beverages were chosen. Imbibed. Enjoyed. We talked. Louis Leblanc scored.

Louis Leblanc? Is that a name? Overt alliteration was always the tool of Stan Lee. Maybe he's an Avenger. This can't possibly be a real hockey player who plays for a real team. And one who scored a real goal (or, rather, a real ugly goal), his third of the season.

But he did. Sheisse.

I lost track of time. It's suddenly the third period. Someone scored. Some Penguin. Joe Vitale! Joe Vitale?!

Joe Vitale!

No, wait. Not Joe Vitale. Replay. Replay. Replay.

Pascal Dupuis. Or his skate. No kicking motion. Definitely a good goal.

The official confirms. Yes! Goal. Tied. We jump, high five. Celebrate. Get lost again, occasionally turning back to the game.

Now Lars Eller has scored. Who again? Whatever. I'll stop pretending like I know everyone on the Canadiens depth chart. Eller is beyond me at this moment, and cell phone coverage is too poor for me to quickly Wiki him. I guess I lost track of 2007 mid-first round draft picks. So it goes.

Back to the game. Time to seriously pay attention. Or not.

We lose track. Again.

A little bit of time passes. It seems longer than it actually is. James Neal scores. Yes! He scored.

I questioned him for far too long. It's finally time to give credit to assuredly consistent James Neal. I'll write something on him soon, I'm sure. That's what I'm thinking at the bar, at least.

There's over 12 minutes left in the game. Time to really, really pay attention.

But I turn away for a second and talk, ever so briefly. I blink, turn back to the game. There's a minute left.

Wait. What?

Okay. OKAY. Focus. Focus. Focus.

We're in overtime. Back and forth. Nothing too mind boggling. Break. Face off. Break. Face off. Break. Face off. Letang assaults Subban.

YES. Wait. Why? Replay. Okay. Whatever, let's go to the shootout.

Montreal scores first. Woe. Malkin does that spinny thing. Elation.

Miss. Miss. Miss. Miss. Goal. Goal. Miss. Rinse. Repeat. Goal. Canadiens. Crap.

The game's on Jason Williams' stick. He can't convert.

Alas. A tie masquerading as a loss.

Somehow, I'll manage. After all, there are some things in life more important than hockey.