Another great game tonight in Pittsburgh and the Pens are now tied in the series with Detroit 2-2. Clearly, I’m very glad I was able to make the trip to Pittsburgh for the finals and lucky enough to have tickets and be a fan at games 3 & 4. I had an amazing time cheering for the Penguins and waving my towel (though I’ll never quite understand the need for giving out towels).
I think Marc-Andre Fleury completely deserved to be #1 star of the game, since he had a 94.9 save percentage and 37 saves against Detroit. I understand Crosby being named #2, since he had the game winning goal and an assist. I have NOTHING against Malkin (in fact, I bought this great “Got Milkin?” t-shirt yesterday complete with a puck being dunked in a glass of milk), but I do question the decision to make him the #3 star of the game. Yes, he had a goal and an assist, but so did Jordan Staal.
It’s my belief that Staal’s short handed goal at 8:35 in the 2nd period was the turning point of the game for the Penguins. Not only did he score the tying goal, but it was short handed! I’m not really sure how they could have skipped him in the 3 stars of the game. He is listed as the third top performer of the day for ESPN. At least he got listed there…
I find it interesting that the team shooting the most has lost every game in this series, all games have been won by two goals (perhaps that’s why Kunitz missed the empty net…), and the scores have been the same by city so far (both Detroit games 3-1; both Pittsburgh games 4-2).
As a side note… Does anyone know if they track missed empty net attempts? I don’t have time to look it up now, but it seems like the Penguins have more missed empty net goals than any team I’ve seen (in years). It’s clear that Kunitz is truly a Penguin now – he’s missed an empty net at fairly close range. Perhaps that’s part of the initiation to the team.
Saturday’s game should be amazing. It’s too bad NBC isn’t allowing the Penguins to show the game on the big screen outside. If you’re a Penguins fan, be sure NOT to record the game on NBC (or unplug the line that records that if you can – I know that’s not possible for those who have cable, but if you have DirecTV unplug the phone line) and go to a bar to watch the game. I’m all for higher ratings for NHL playoffs (especially the finals), but NBC’s reason for not allowing the game to be aired at the arena seems to be completely ratings based, so I think working to keep their ratings as low as possible is the best fans can do to show them how you feel about their enforcement of their contract.
Tags: Chris Kunitz, empty net, Evgeni Malkin, fans, Hockey, Jordan Staal, Marc-Andre Fleury, Mellon Arena, NBC, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Finals
It’s very different to attend a game as a fan. The last NHL game I had attended as a fan was game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Pittsburgh last year (May 31st, almost exactly a year ago). Same teams, same venue and also the only games I attended as a fan last season. Though I was kicking myself a little for not trying to get credentials worked out in case I could afford the flight back to Pittsburgh for the finals, a large part of me is glad. There’s something about being able to get your face painted and jump up and down and lose your voice cheering for your team. It’s a lot of fun. I’m not saying I don’t have a blast as a member of the media. I do. I’m very thankful for the access I have and really appreciate all the Kings, Ducks, Eklund, and many others have done for me in that area.
I traveled all day to get to game 3 of the finals in Pittsburgh. (I left my house around 5 my time and had gotten very little sleep last night.) So, I’m not completely coherent, but we had a great time at the game tonight. My sister’s favorite player is Maxime Talbot. She predicted that he’d get a goal early and he scored within a minute or so of that comment. Naturally, she was totally thrilled that he got (and deserved) the number one star of the game. Not only did he get half of the goals the Pens scored tonight (true, one was an empty netter, but what a decisive empty net goal), but Talbot created a lot of other opportunities and hit the post once.
It was nice to see that there were fewer blatant missed calls in tonight’s game. With any luck, that will continue.
Jordan Staal had a very good game in spite of being absent from the score sheet. He did have 3 blocked shots. Evgeni Malkin increased his scoring lead from 2 to 4 points with his three assists (Sidney Crosby only had one tonight). I may not have a voice and my throat is definitely sore, but it was great to scream like crazy. I have a whole day to recover before I really need my voice again.
I really like that they had a special moment to thank Versus for allowing the Penguins to show the game outside on their big screen in front of TONS of fans. NBC is not allowing them to do that (not even for the finals) and I think it’s a very sad statement. Personally, I think Gary Bettman should have tried to iron that one out. I understand that it’s in NBC’s contract, but the NHL keeps talking about trying to expand the game and gain fans. The party atmosphere OUTSIDE the Mellon Arena for the game looks amazing (if the pre-game atmosphere was any indictaion). The fans are great and that’s what it’s all about. The Pens aren’t charging for the service, so I don’t understand NBC’s issue. If I were a Pens fan who wanted to do that, I would make sure everyone I knew did NOT watch at home, so I could lower the ratings as much as possible. I’d tell everyone to go to one location (a bar that would have it on anyway – Pittsburgh doesn’t have an NBA team, the only thing people care about around here is the NHL Finals – talk about a switch from southern California where it’s all about the Lakers) to watch the game and fight the urge to record. I know many people (like me) even record the games they attend, so they can watch certain plays again when they get home.
The Red Wings still lead the series, but the Penguins have definitely shown that they have life and I’m sure most Penguins fans are happy with the way the tide has changed a bit in Pittsburgh. Needless to say, Hossa got booed pretty much every time he touched the puck. I’m sure you could hear it on TV at times. Fans here in Pittsburgh have good reason for booing him and I’m not really against booing when it’s the other team’s player and with a good reason. (As many of you know, I always frown on booing a player on your own team.)
I hope you’re all enjoying the finals as much as I am.
Tags: booing, Evgeni Malkin, fans, fighting, Gary Bettman, Hockey, Jordan Staal, Marian Hossa, Maxime Talbot, Mellon Arena, NBC, NHL, Penguins, Red Wings, Sidney Crosby, Stanley Cup Finals, Versus