Add me to the long list of people who have a bone to pick with Matt Cooke. And Mike Rupp, you're in the dog house too, big fella. Thoughtless, selfish penalties by those two in the second period of last night's demolition of the Phoenix Coyotes put the brakes on what could very easily have been a record-breaking night for Evgeni Malkin. After the penalties, the Pens quickly found themselves killing off a two-man advantage, the game got chippy, and the Coyotes (or, as Bob Errey, who is apparently an American pioneer living in 1842, would say, "the Ki-yotes") realized they should probably pay some attention to Sid and Geno. Until that stage of the game, Phoenix had done nothing to make the Penguins' stars the slightest bit uncomfortable, and Geno had already put up a 5-spot with 12 minutes to play in the second. We've been waiting to see him get back to this level on a consistent basis for the better part of two years. It's still too early for any kind of formal celebration, but we found GTOG contributor Eloquence grinning broadly this morning.
- "The two-headed monster is making a vicious return," he said. "Geno's shot is getting back to scary levels. But let's see if the PP can stay above 20% for a few weeks (17% the last two seasons; 16.8% right now). Even from Europe, Finesse's wisdom to keep things in perspective is echoing loudly." Until Dan Bylsma gave Malkin a few days to rest his weary bones, his shooting percentage was hovering around 7%. Since Geno returned last week against Philadelphia, he's converting at over 26%.
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- Not to be overlooked on what was clearly Geno's night, Crosby turned on the afterburners against the Coyotes, and could easily have had 8 points himself. "Sid is doing more things with one hand than I can ever remember," Eloquence said, disingenuously. "What about 5:30 into the 3rd period when he dragged two Coyotes to the net before dishing to Letang for a missed open
cage. Again, this is the 3rd period of a 4 goal game. Amazing what a dead piece of wood can do."
- The Penguins have now won 13 straight games with Chris Kunitz in the lineup. Sometimes when Little Artistry wakes up in the middle of the night from a bad dream and needs to be comforted, he asks for Chris Kunitz's hands.
- And if you think Geno is on fire right now, here is one more note from Eloquence: "Now for an edition of our favorite pastime here at GTOG: mocking ESPN. Geno scored 5 points. This should be the newsworthy equivalent of 40-50+ points from an NBA player; 4-5 touchdowns from a QB; or three homeruns in a game from a steroid-injected baseball player. Does ESPN notice? Nope. Instead ESPN has TWO headlines about Favre, one about the emotional state of the Giants' punter, and of course something about Terrell Owens. ESPN probably has a reporter drinking the fluid drained from Owens's knee after his surgery."
- It's OK to let yourself feel good about the Penguins right now. But if you still feel yourself aching a little bit inside, that's understandable, too. You miss Jordan Staal.
Trap game coming against Florida on Wednesday night. Don't even think about the Caps and Captain Hot Sauce Bruce Boudreau until Thursday morning.