Penguins 3, Oilers 2: Pens Rally From Two-Goal Deficit To Beat Not-Good Hockey Team

I DVRed this game and didn’t get a chance to watch it until pretty late at night, and I was falling asleep, so I ended up fast-forwarding through the entire first period, only to see the shot totals before the first intermission: Oilers 4, Penguins 3. It’s the first time in a while I’ve just said “screw it” to watching a period, and wouldn’t you know it, it ends up being the most boring Penguins period of the season. I’m gonna write a book about this magical ability that I just learned I have. I’m calling it “The Secrett”. (2 T’s = no suing)

I ended up watching the rest of the marginally more exciting game, including a dominant performance by a suddenly-uncontainable Jordan Staal, as well as Fleury’s third stellar performance in the past four games. The Pens’ power play actually scored again, but it was on an Oilers defensive breakdown that led to a rush, so the Pens probably forgot they had a man advantage and thus forgot to suddenly turn into drooling vegetables, and Malkin played his most noticeable game of the new year, giving me confidence for the first time in a while that he’s on the verge of busting out of his slump (i.e., ever scoring).

My very first thought when the game began was “Oh crap, a dude named Devan Dubnyk is playing his fifth NHL game — there’s no WAY this guy isn’t scoring against the Penguins tonight. I don’t care if he’s their goalie.” But other than Dubnyk’s second period, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the Oilers.

The Penguins managed to noticeably outwork Edmonton in the third period despite being down two goals and having played a game the night before while the Oilers hadn’t. I picked the Oilers to sneak into the Playoffs because of their semi-annual ability to just play harder and faster and generally far above their on-paper talent, like Nashville, but Thursday night they were just the epitome of a totally nonthreatening team. Turns out, you know who’s playing a lot more like Nashville? Nashville. Nice pick there, me.

The Pens did get away with an extremely lucky missed high stick with 90 seconds left in the third — the kind of factual, visible penalty refs not only never miss, but they even call it in overtime or when the team’s already shorthanded — athough not to excuse the missed call, the Oilers did revert to some seriously lazy clutching and grabbing in the third, getting away with a couple borderline hooks but generally just looking depressingly slow and out of position defensively. Maybe Pat Quinn still thinks it’s 2001 and he’s coaching the Leafs; I’m surprised he didn’t keep trying to give Darcy Tucker way too much playing time.

As a bonus, the Pens not only snagged 2 points for the second straight game, but the Flyers, Rangers, and Devils all lost in regulation Thursday night. Pretty sweet, especially considering no NHL teams lose, ever.

The Pens play in Vancouver Saturday, then they continue traveling further west to play the Northwest Territories Coldeagles on Sunday, then they play the dudes from Mystery, Alaska Tuesday before finally concluding their road trip on Wednesday in The Philippines.


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