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Neal Gets Off Schnide, Pens put Bolts on Brink

It has been almost painful watching James Neal do literally everything except score goals for the Penguins.

After last night, it’s all good James.

Neal’s wrister from the right boards, from a bad angle, got past Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson at 3:38 of the second overtime to give the Pens a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series edge.  The Penguins can eliminate the Bolts Saturday afternoon back in the ‘Burgh.

Other stuff:

- Brooks Orpik on Neal after the game:  “What he’s endured the last 48, 72 hours….. A lot of guys wouldn’t be playing”.  Pure speculation on my part, but could very well be that the hand/wrist injury Neal suffered late in the regular season is fairly significant.

- Marc-Andre Fleury just keeps on keeping on, doesn’t he?  Only giving up goals on a fantastic play by Martin St. Louis and a mad scramble around the net in the closing minutes of regulation, MAF continues to make life very difficult for the opposition.

- Said I won’t speculate on Crosby, but with the Penguins one step away from Round 2, it’s going to be interesting to see if Sid continues with his no-contact status for much longer.

- Stat O’ the night:  Jordan Staal won 82% of his offensive zone faceoffs, including the faceoff that led to Neal’s game-winner.

- I’m so damn confused by the headshot policy.  Immediately after Max Talbot gets hit in the head and into the boards, a handful of NHL commentator “experts” proclaim so confidently “that’s a clean hit”.  How in the f@#k can a shot to the head be “clean” nowadays?  What has happened to getting headshots out of the game?

- Speaking of that issue, and after the multitude of relatively-light disciplines handed down by the NHL recently, should be fun to watch Matt Cooke finally get unchained.  To a certain extent, of course.

- How many damn times will the Penguins get called for goalie interference after they’ve been clearly been cross-checked into him?

- 40:32 of ice time for Orpik.  Good thing the Penguins have the day off Thursday.

- Another good sign:  Eric Tangradi fills in for Chris Kunitz, and leads the team in hits with 5.

- Great showing by Penguins fans in Tampa last night.  Some were estimating Pens fans outnumbered Tampa fans 60/40.  Not sure about that, but great to see for Pens fans, and woeful for Lightning fans.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins, tampa+bay+lightning


Evilpens's avatar

I thinks what Brooks is talking about is the MORONS comparing him to PonikaSUCKSky & saying he is a Bust!

When he went from Playing with Richards & Eriksson to Letestu & Kovalev

They Just keep surprising me!1 I will eat some crow if need Be, But what this team has done without Sid, Geno & Staal for each at least half the season is simply remarkable

Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 11:29 AM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 09:29 AM ET

I doubt that being compared to Poni would keep James Neal from playing.

I was so pleased with the way The Big Dog played last night.  I thought maybe they’d go with Comrie since he has some playoff experience - his run to the Finals while playing with Ottawa in 06-07.  But, he came out and hit everything…parked his big ass in front of the net, leading to a (POWERPLAY?!?!) goal.  Real pleased.

And, man…so happy for Neal.  Dude has been playing some great hockey, the puck just wouldn’t go in for him.  Hopefully this is one of those deals where he got one, now the flood gates open.

Please, no more OTs, though.  My heart can’t handle it.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 04/21/11 at 11:55 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

I am telling you That is what Brooks is doing is trying to shut up the Idiots who have been relentlessly on Him

Brooks is that type of guy ! In one scrum last night Tangradi got involved in & Brooks shook his head NO & told him something & I couldn’t tell what it was & he was turning away from the Camera

But probably telling Tangradi don’t get involved in the stuff

& I agree about OT Playoff hockey is stressful enough Let alone one mistake or as Last Night showed 1 Bad goal can be the end

Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 12:31 PM ET


Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 10:31 AM ET
I’m pretty sure Orpik said “What are you doing!? No, you can’t do that,” then probably something about the refs will take a rookie out of a scrum like that. I loved how he quickly ushered Tangradi away.

Max Talbot gets hit in the head
Agreed, I don’t understand how people think it was a cut-and-dry clean hit. I have no problem with it not being penalized because Talbot was bent over and made a quick turn to be able to take a shot at the net, so what can Brewer do? Just not hit him, and that’s not hockey, but Brewer’s body did hit Talbot’s head, and drove it into the glass.

“...see if Sid continues with his no-contact status for much longer.”
Mark Madden said just before Tangradi was cleared for contact his workouts were pulled away to see how he responded to the sudden change in activity. Hopefully it’s the same for Crosby.

How many damn times will the Penguins get called for goalie interference after they’ve been clearly been cross-checked into him?
If they’re going to continue calling those (which are bs), how about calling Bergenheim for skating backward into and over Fleury, untouched?

Posted by NathanBC on 04/21/11 at 01:34 PM ET

pensfan29's avatar

Tony. I think Neal is sick. I took a picture last night that showed a gatorade and a water bottle, away from the others, that had 18 on them. Im assuming he isnt feeling well and has his own bottles to keep others healthy.

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/21/11 at 03:19 PM ET

Tony's avatar

You know that’s a good point, I remember seeing that myself last night….

Posted by Tony from Virginia Beach, VA on 04/21/11 at 03:22 PM ET

pensfan29's avatar

Posted by pensfan29 on 04/21/11 at 03:26 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

HMMM Didn’t notice that ! Have to watch Sat.

Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 03:28 PM ET


Neal also sat out tuesday’s practice and yesterday’s skate while most of the other guys were there.

Posted by NathanBC on 04/21/11 at 03:35 PM ET

Evilpens's avatar

Now that I see the Pic I remember seeing that & Thinking HMM that’s odd

he is obviously sick & Good Pickup on that pensfan29

Posted by Evilpens on 04/21/11 at 04:43 PM ET

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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

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