Friday, January 7, 2011

GTOPG: Penguins Do Dance of Champions in 2-1 Loss; Carey Price Mistakenly Believes He's Jam-Master Jay

By Artistry

In April, no one in Pittsburgh will sweat the extra point the Penguins lost in Montreal last night any more than they'll remember who scored the winning goal in the Winter Classic. The point is beside the point. We should all look back fondly, however, on Craig Adams throwing himself in front of slapshots as the Penguins' fought off Montreal's seemingly interminable 5-on-3 powerplay in the third period, joining Brent Johnson, Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis, and the rest of the stellar PK unit in overcoming the temporary loss of primary penalty killer Matt Cooke. It was an astounding effort in the team's second game in 24 hours. It demonstrated heart and grit and resilience in the face of adversity the Penguins' never showed last season. It was, once again, the Dance of Champions. Bet you can't not watch the whole thing.

Despite the quick turnaround after the Tampa game, the Pens' had incredible jump right off the drop. Note to the Lightning: that's how you play on the second night of back-to-back games. You don't whine that you had no juice, even when your best player is out of the lineup. Lots of reasons to be proud this morning.

- Penguins' fans tend to lean toward reticence during the regular season. We get on the Consol Arena crowd for taking the team for granted and keeping mum. But at least they're not painfully obnoxious. Here's Finesse: "It's a unique experience watching the Pens play in Montreal. Not because many of the players are from there, or because it is so rich in hockey tradition. No, it's because the game turns into a 60-minute whine-fest from the crowd, begging desperately for power plays every time a Canadien falls over and booing relentlessly at the refs even if a Canadien decapitates a Penguin and gets a 2-minute minor. Without hesitation I would assume that Habs fans know more about hockey than any other fan base -- but sometimes I wish they would act like they have actually watched a hockey game before. They can go cry into their 20+ Stanley Cups they won when there were 6 teams in the NHL."

- Aron Asham answered the bell Thursday after being scratched Wednesday, much like Chris Conner came out on fire after being scratched on Saturday. Bret Johnson regained his early season form with a fantastic performance. There's no shame in being beaten on two unrealistic plays by Benoit Poulion (you always have to account for Benoit Poulion). Depth? Check.

- Montreal is not going anywhere. Carey Price plays extremely well against the Pens, Mike Cammalleri's smile makes us feel like we're having dry heaves, and P.K. Subban is so far under our skin that we considered a major victory when he failed to score in the shootout. And the Penguins just played the Habs to a draw without Crosby, Fleury and Cooke. As Finesse notes, "The 'extra point' is a mixed bag - you hate to give it away in games like the first one against the Caps, but on a night like this, in the second of a back-to-back with your backup goalie in and star player out, that single point is solely responsible for holding down the bile in your mouth that comes up watching Carey Price play pretend thug."

- Ah yes, Carey Price. You knew Chris Kunitz had little chance of beating the Habs' goalie in the shootout with the Chris Kunitz Move, but you didn't know Price would go all Run-D.M.C. on us afterward. "If you were of the mindset that a 23 year-old French Canadian in 40 pounds of goalie equipment couldn't successfully pull off posing like Dr. Dre without looking like a complete loser after stymieing the Pens in a shootout, you were wrong," Finesse observes. "I mean, who has more street cred than Carey Price?"

It's Hard Out Here For a Pimp
- We hope everything is OK with Cookie, Little Matching Suit Cookie, and the Cooke family.
- It's not a terrible thing that Sid gets to kick back for a week. Minnesota on Saturday.

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