A very feisty and chippy game tonight between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Winnipeg Jets, which seemed a little odd since neither are exactly rivals but coming into the game the Jets were winners of 3 straight, the Pens on a 5 game tear. No one likes to lose.
And boy did they not. 102 PIMs between both the teams tonight, by far the most of the season, with a combined total of 20 players on both teams ending up drawing penalty minutes. Steve Downie racked up 22 alone, thanks mainly to two 10-minute misconducts.
The game was decided after 65 minutes in the shootout. Fittingly Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored goals on their chances and Marc-Andre Fleury made two saves to win the game.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- Hell of a battle between Steve Downie and Dustin Byfuglien tonight, they were going at each other all night between or after the whistle with neither man backing down, so the refs had to do the only thing they could and rack 'em both up with misconducts.
- And a great 7 second sequence for Downie in the second period: get out of the box for serving a penalty (on teammate Blake Comeau) collect a puck, shoot, be denied, get rebound, score, get hit by Big Buff and then pick self up and confront Buff. Downie might be a psycho, but he's our psycho right now.
- The Pens 3rd line was clicking tonight. Downie went 1g, 1a, Brandon Sutter 1g, 2a and Nick Spaling an assist with all three on the ice for three goals for. It's been a while since the third line had a reliably deep pool of talent to dive into.
- 2 fights by defensemen with Robert Bortuzzo and Simon Despres dropping gloves at different points. Kinda unsettling to drop the team down to 5D, you guys. And it reflected with the "big 3" of Kris Letang (27:52), Paul Martin (23:10) and Christian Ehrhoff (21:41) having to log a ton of minutes with their scrappy co-patriots in the box.
- Rob Scuderi also played a season high 22:51, and had a damn fine game too. He was a +2 on the night and also spent a team high 6:13 on the PK unit. On one sequence, Scuderi stood up talented youngster Mark Scheifele on the rush, collected the puck, calmly made a nice play under pressure. A very fine game from Scuderi.
- The Penguins had an extended 5on3 in the second period and failed to score a goal and went a combined 0 for 4 on the night. It was bound to happen sooner or later but that didn't help.
- Luckily though the penalty killing was up to the challenge and killed off all the Jets PP's, including in overtime. Some great work by Paul Martin to clear the puck away and break up a last second scoring chance.
- And good thing, Martin looked bad on the first goal for the Jets by Andrew Ladd. Letang also had a lapse, letting Evander Kane get behind him in the third period for the tying game.
- Track meet of a game with all the shots (37 for Pittsburgh, 35 for Winnipeg), the sacrifices of blocked shots (19 for the Pens, 17 for the Jets) and all the hits (officially 35-23 in favor of the Jets, though there was definitely some home-friendly scorekeeping there). Just an entertaining, wide-open, end-to-end physical game.
Two more points and the winning streak continues as the road show rolls back East to take on Buffalo (lol) on Saturday night. Go Pens.