Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rocket Man!

It was slated to be a "tune up game" for the Pens Sunday afternoon against the Islanders. It meant absolutely nothing in the standings, and took place during some popular events like the Flyers/Rangers game and the Masters golf tournament. It seems only logical that people would have no good reason to watch. That is, except that Sidney Crosby has a bit of a knack for defying logic. Sid put together a brilliant 2 goal and 5 point night to put himself into a tie for the Rocket Richard Trophy and a tie for second with Alexander Ovechkin for most total points. The Rocket Richard Trophy is awarded to the player or players who total the most total goals on a season. Crosby's 2 goal day gave him 51 and brought him up to a tie with Steven Stamkos of the Tampa Bay Lightning for the trophy. They defeated Alexander Ovechkin, who finished with 50. It must also be said that Stamkos got his 51st on an empty net goal with 12 seconds remaining (3 total on season) while both of Crosby's were scored on Dwayne Roloson (only has 1 ENG on the season). While Crosby clearly was the focus of the day, the game itself was also quite the thriller as the Pens won 6-5 in overtime on a Jordan Leopold goal with only 35 seconds to go in the overtime. It was also quite the night for Evgeni Malkin, who had 2 goals, 4 total points, and one "not-so good" milestone. He reached 100 PIMs for the first time in his career, as he racked up 6 on Sunday. To add to the strangeness of this game, Eric Godard recorded his first goal of the season. This was an extra for Godard, who also got into an extremely long fight with New York's Joel Rechlicz in the second period. It was also the NHL debut of Eric Tangradi, who looked quite comfortable and handled the puck well. Despite all of these statistics and rareties, there were a few downsides. The Pens were again without the services of Alexei Ponikarovsky (suspension), Matt Cooke (left game Saturday after taking punch to head), Brooks Orpik (skate laceration) and Chris Kunitz. Islanders goals were scored by John Tavares (2), Kyle Okposo, Matt Moulson, and Jon Sim. This game officially closes out the regular season for Pittsburgh. They finish with a record of 47-28-7 totalling 101 points and finishing 4th in the Eastern Conference (even though they had more points than 3rd place Buffalo). They open their playoff quest on Wednesday night against the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh. This is also the same night that Wilkes-Barre Scranton opens in Albany for the start of their first round series. So, expect double posts from me for the first few games. And as always, Let's Go Pens!

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