Hello, Pens fans. Like I said before, the importance of this game cannot be put into words, and I'm not messing around. I'm pulling out a tradition usually reserved for episodes of LOST... the running diary.
8:00 - Oven pizza and orange kool-aid are now in my belly. I'm ready. So are the Pens. It's GAME 4!!!
8:02 - Datsyuk is out. I'm wondering how much of this was planned by the smug genius Mike Babcock. By floating the rumor that he might play, by giving him plenty of time with reporters, and by having him on the ice for the morning skate and pre-game warm-ups, did it force Bylsma to prep for his return? Now that he's out, how much game-planning is wasted?
8:15 - Puck is dropped. These first couple of shifts are pretty important, as it sets the tone for who will control the play for the first 5 or 6 minutes.
8:17 - And there you go. The Pens fast-paced play has drawn a penalty. If the Wings kill this first one off, their confidence will skyrocket.
8:18 - sdak;gjwkojwioejwoij!!!! GOOOALLLLLLLL!!!! WINGS ARE GAY!!!! MALKIN on the PP!!!! Wow. Malkin is a monster this post-season. The Pens are picking up where they left off in Game 3, exposing Detroit's only weakness.
8:26 - After the Malkin goal, the Pens keep up the pressure, forcing turnovers and icings. If you're a fan, you couldn't ask for a better start. Look for the Big Red Machine to slow things down a work their mechanical offense.
8:29 - Edzo just got done mumbling through a response to Doc's question about when he coached Fleury. You can tell he hates talking about his time as the Pens coach because we were a bad team and he was a bad coach. CROSBY in on goal!!! Boooo. Sooner or later he's going to bust through that barrier.
8:31 - The Wings just had their first good push. Zetterberg's wrap around was blocked by Scuds, and then Z deflected a long slapshot. Ooooo some doofus Wing just put the puck in the net after the whistle. That's bad luck for Fleury, almost like someone snuck into the castle to open the gate from the inside. Very bad luck indeed. I smell a goal coming.
8:37 - Yikes. After another push, the Wings get their first PP of the night. I hate their PP. They are always thinking 2 or 3 passes ahead. You'll see what I mean.
8:40 - Fans are going nuts as the Pens dominate the Penalty kill, and as a bonus, Edzo is telling a little anecdote about the great Ron Francis... and also gives the whiners in Detroit a chance to blame the refs for another blown offsides call that led to a goal. Boo hoo.
8:44 - I'm kind of surprised to see that the Wings are outshooting the Pens 13-7 so far because it seemed like Pittsburgh has controlled the play all period. Most of the Detroit shots have been from far away with no screen. I'm not worried.
8:49 - Break out the Jaws music. The Pens are back on the PP. We are red hot right now. This could be a backbreaker. If I'm the Pens I get the puck back to the point and continue to reign blows upon them. Another garbage goal sounds about right.
8:50 - So much for that. Bill Guerin quickly gets whistled for a high stick. We can't blow opportunities like this against this club. The bright side is, I think 4 on 4 favors the Pens.
8:53 - Darren Helm. 1-1 after a stupid turnover by the usually solid Rob Scuderi. We are back to square one. Fleury needs to forget it and the fans need to continue to be loud.
8:56 - OK folks, that it's for the first period. I'd like to think that the period was split, but I think the Wings win that round. The recorded almost 20 shots!!!!! They dominated in the last couple minutes. Thankfully for the Pens, the period ended and Detroit no longer has momentum.
The Wings got lucky with a shitty turnover, and then Osgood almost returned the favor at the end. We absolutely have to take advantage of any miscues because they just don't come around that often. Also, we can't beat ourselves with turnovers.
Oooo, the great Gary Bettman is being interviewed right now. Yawn.
Period 1 is in the books. We'll close up this chapter and be back for Round 2.