Sometimes in the first couple minutes of a game, you can tell when things are or are not going to go your way. Other times, you're up 4-0 in the first eight minutes and you just start hoping no one gets hurt. And then there are other times where you're up 5-0 after the first period and the 41 year-old goalie you chased five minutes into the game comes back to start the second period and you start having flashbacks of John Casey and Brian Hayward in Game 6 of the 1991 finals.
Quick question: is it possible to have flashbacks of something if you have the video constantly queued up on your computer?
The Pens steamrolled the Lightning to an 8-1 victory that was so lopsided it almost stopped being fun to watch. It's a great way to close out the first half of the season but let's not hang any banners. Lots of work to do tonight in Montreal.
- One thing that was on clear display in the game last night was the offensive prowess of the Pens defensemen. Alex Goligoski had four points, and Ben Lovejoy, of all people, attempted 8 shots on goal (4 hit the net, one hit Chris Conner and went in). Kris Letang has officially changed the "Core 4" to the "Core 5" as he, at times, was the best player on the ice by a mile and, at other times, was hanging himself out to dry on defense. It happens.
- As great as Goligoski and Lovejoy were in the offensive zone, Artistry would like to take a minute to relieve himself on the parade: "One thing I noticed about the game last night, if you need any more material, was how stark the contrast was between Gogo and Lovejoy's performance in the offensive and defensive zones. They get all the credit for dominating in one zone, but completely reinforced our point about how weak that third tandem is defensively. Lightning could have scored every time they were on the ice." I did need that material, thank you.
- In stark contrast to the Pens' D was Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who turned in the worst performance of any Pens' opponent we have seen all year. He was slow, terrible, awful, and got knocked over hard by Chris Conner. And this was before he got absolutely toasted on Mark Letestu's goal.
- Bylsma wised up on his mistake from the Winter Classic and inserted Conner back in the game and sat Asham. It's never a bad thing to have a surplus of forwards, but it is a bad thing not to dress the 12 best and that's what Bylsma did in the Winter Classic. Conner was a presence on the ice every time. If Asham has to sit, so be it. Or rotate him with Rupp.
- One negative from this game is only one point from Sid. The one positive is that we got to watch Steven Stamkos get no points and humiliate himself on a penalty shot. As embarrassing as the fall was, watch the burst of speed he had to get the breakaway in the first place. He's in the top 4 in the NHL, but if you had been reading GTOG all along, you would have known that a long time ago.
- Canadiens tonight, and thankfully we won't have to see Maxim Lapierre's annoying smile. Unfortunately, Camalleri's will still be in play. At no point last year did we take the Habs seriously - this year, we aren't making the same mistake.
- We know this isn't our best post, but the AHL just emailed me asking for Victor Hedman's email address. Have to get back to them.
Stay tuned for a recap of last night's 24/7 later this morning.