Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Paul Coffey quarterbacked the power play like Arthur Fiedler conducting the Boston Pops.  Cullen, Brown and Stevens finished with aplomb.  Barrasso was solid, if not spectacular in goal, and of course Mario was the best player on the ice.  Late in the game the Penguins rewarded their faithful with the "chili goal"--goal number 7 when Danny Quinn poked in a rebound on the power play and earned a free bowl of chili from Wendy's for all those in attendance.

Something like that.  

Last night wasn't 1989, but it sure had that feel.  Although the Ottawa Senators didn't throw in the towel, this pivotal Game 4 was over when the Captain snapped a wrister from above the right dot over Brian Elliot's glove midway through the second period--sending Elliot home from work early.  Sid's second of the game gave the Pens a 4-0 lead.  And even though the Sens made a game (and a scrum) out of it and fought back to 4-2, the outcome was never in doubt.  The teams alternated goals the rest of the way and the Penguins emerged with a well-deserved 7-4 victory and 3-1 games lead in the series.

As in Game 3 the Penguins came out flying.  An early power play goal by Malkin, his fourth of the series and third from the right dot on the power play, got the Pens off early.  But the period ended that way thanks to excellent goaltending by Elliot, who was spectacular at times and kept the Senators in it as they were outshot 14-6.  But, ahh the fickle winds of fate.  Elliot went from star to spectator in a 2:25 span early in the second when Sid put a brace (English for two goals, stay with me) around a great hardworking goal by Matt Cooke setup by Max Talbot.  The teams combined for eight goals in the second, one off the record, and the Pens emerged with a 6-3 lead.  Jason Spezza got one back early in the third which kept the beer vendors happy, but Jordan Staal--welcome to the series--closed it out with a power play goal, his first.

The Portenders of Doom have been quieted and the Pens will try to finish things off at the Igloo on Thursday.  The forwards to a man were excellent again last night.  Superstar (Max Talbot for the unindoctrinated) continued to elevate his play in the playoffs and his goal at the end of the second essentially insured the win as the Penguins are now 10-0 when Max scores in a playoff game.  Sid was Sid with two and two.  Is it possible he is continuing to raise his level of play?   He now has 11 points in four games, two off his career series high.

Defensively the Pens seemed to loose focus after going up 4-0 and they gave up two 5v3 shorthanded goals.  Fleury was again sufficient.  He looked bad on Spezza's goal in the third, but he had no chance on either 5v3 goal and he made some big saves again early, particularly when the Pens were only up 1-0 at the start of the second period.  Jay McKie has done well in place of the injured Jordan Leopold and the reunited pairing of Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik seems to have found the chemistry they had in last year's playoffs.  The only sour note is that Tyler Kennedy went off in the second with what appeared to be a right leg injury after taking a hit from Andy Sutton and did not return.

With the Flyers 4-1 home win over the Devils and 3-1 series lead, things are now shaping up nicely for the boys.  If Pittsburgh and Philadelphia both close out the series the Penguins will avoid the Washington Capitals in round 2.  They will play the winner of the Buffalo-Boston series if the Caps and Flyers both take care of business.  The Pens would have home ice against the Bruins, but would start on the road against the Sabres.  Enjoy the chili.

1 comment:

absolute59 said...

David:Not to nitpick and my memory entering its 5 the decade could be wrong but I think the "Chili, Chili, Chili" era was more the early to mid 80s rather than late 80s to early 90s. I think Chili for 7 goals was in the era when you bought a seat and you had a seat on either side you could stretch out; an era when you could look up into high D or E section and and yell "harry is a whale"; and an era when scorin warren got 40. I think by the time they had all the players you describe they didn't need to have "chili" goals. By the time they had Mario, coffey; barasso; quinn; cullen Jimmy Paek; Ulf; Larry Murphy etc. they did not need to do chili give aways.