It was an up and down weekend of hockey. The Pens faced off against the best (not counting Vancouver, of course) and worst that Canada has to offer. Check out our photos after the jump.
Consol Energy Center, early morning gameday.
Already having flashbacks to game 7.
First shots of the new guy.
Brent Johnson got loose in his usual fashion, catching pucks behind his back:
Brent Johnson plays catch with Dan Potash (via PensAreYourDaddy)
Let's get it on!
The game got a little chippy. Talbot danced with Mara:
But Weber wanted no part of Cookie.
Cooke and Weber - Pittsburgh Penguins vs Montreal Canadiens 3/12/2011 (via PensAreYourDaddy)
Unfortunately, the Price was right on today.
Tough day all around. Even the Malkamaniac couldn't get the team going.
Things started looking up later that night when we bumped into TK after dinner at Hyde Park. We agreed to let him get his picture taken with the lucky sock. Worked out pretty well for him the next day, I'd say.
Sunday was a new day, with a much more beatable opponent.
Dustin Jeffrey, major puck hog.
Staal, sporting a new look courtesy of an errant stick in Saturday's game.
Are you ready?
Are You Ready? Pens intro, St Patrick's Day version (via PensAreYourDaddy)
Let's get it on!
Most of the activity early on centered around the Pens bench.
Closing minutes of the first period, Kovy goes to the box:
and then Martin...
Good time to break out the sign to celebrate Pensburgh's birthday...you know... the one that happened back in December. I'm holding it too low or you'd see that it says hi to Frank, Hooks and all the other Pensburgh contributors and readers. It's a really tall sign.
The Pens, no doubt buoyed by the return of the Pensburgh mojo to the arena, killed off the 5-on-3 and went on to take the lead before the end of the period.
On to the second period and Talbot shows us a glimpse of what to expect come playoff time.
Tanger started questioning his stick...
and eventually just dropped it...
so, Knitting Lady picked it up and now it's in our living room (thanks, Danny!!!)
Somehow, Neal got hurt...
fortunately he appeared to be okay.
The Genos made it up on the big screen a few times. It's great having them around.
Earlier that morning I shared an elevator with Kovy. I had four floors to tell him how great it was that he was back in Pittsburgh, how he made my first ever trip to see the Pens at the Igloo so memorable by scoring that hat trick including the OT game winner against the Devils, how I thought he could be an important piece in a deep playoff run. What I managed to say was "good luck today". He smiled and said "thanks". ***Note to self: Always take the camera with you, even if you're just going down to get a luggage cart.
Coming out for the third, Coach had something up his sleeve. He was looking for someone, anyone to listen to him.
He finally got the attention of a linesman and went on to draw up something pretty impressive on the whiteboard.
Apparently Cookie picked up his 300th point helping set up Staal's second period goal. Awesome!
Kunitz struck again late in the third to extend the Pens' lead. Damn, it's good to have you back, Kuni!
"See, James, that's how you score two goals in one game. Be the puck."
Fleury stopped 15 of 16 third period shots to secure the 5-1 win.
Kunitz, first star of the game
The Pens are on the road to Ottawa but return home Sunday to host the Rangers on NBC in what looks to be our final regular season trip to Pittsburgh. Let's hope it's a good one!
BONUS LEAFER EDITION: JORDAN EBERLE