(Please read my blog post 'Pens Playoff Fever at Slippery Rock University' first)
The jitters. I know I had them after not watching Penguins playoff hockey in six years. I can only imagine what most of the players felt like...
Unfortunately, their butterflies showed. I had class until 7:30, so I missed the begining. On the radio during the car ride over to the bar Mike Lange gave the shots. They were severly lopsided. When I got there we were already down 2-0.
My friend Rachel and I managed to get seats at the bar to watch the remainder of the game. I had never watched a game at a bar before, let alone a college bar, so I didn't really know what to expect. Here's what I found out: If you want to watch the game, I mean really watch it, stay at home. Sure the atmosphere was great, almost gamelike (hockey+fans+beer=rowdiness), but it took all of my focusing power to watch the game, and most of the time I couldn't hear Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey at all. That being said it was awesome seeing so many of my fellow students getting into it. Like I said before, SRU is a hockey campus.
In the begining of the second when Crosby scored that goal and it was disallowed I thought there might be a riot. I know I felt like rioting. It was unbelievable to me that somebody in Toronto found Crosby's motion to be distinctly kicking. I know I'll probably take some heat for saying this, but I'll say it anyway: Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that the officials in Toronto believe "A Stanley Cup in Canada is what hockey needs, what Canada needs". My suggestion to the NHL? Contract out to the Japanese and have the war-room be in Tokyo. I'm serious.
A couple quick thoughts about the game:
1. M.A. Fleury made some good saves. He didn't look to be controlling his rebounds very well and it sounds like he was a little squirly at the beginning, but you can't blame him.
2. Mark Eaton was blocking shots like a madman. He's incredible.
3. Despite what TSN says, Crosby's goal with 49 seconds left was not "meaningless." Actually it was extremely important. It got that first playoff-goal monkey off of Crosby's back. It confirmed that you can't keep Crosby bottled up forever (although props to Phillips and Volch.). Also it was the most positive note the Pens could've gone out on, even better than if Laraque KO'D Neil.
4. Bryan Murray is a complete moron who needs to stop running his mouth. I have no respect for him.
5. What's up with the assualt on Ryan Whitney? If it continues somebody needs to step up and stick up for him.
6. Ray Emery might be the Sens weak link. He hasn't really been tested so far and it seems like we're in his head a little from that last regular season game.
Overall the Pens looked like they were playing out of control. The seemed like their energy was just all over the place and they were chasing the Sens around alot in their own end. I think if we are going to win this series, we are going to have to win it in the trenches along the boards. Ottawa seems to be to effectively shutting down our rushes.
If we can settle down and focus our energy look for the Penguins to make it a much closer game 2.