Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 10 Plays of the 2009 Penguins Playoff Run

This post is going to be devoted to the top 10 moments of the Penguins playoff run which ended in their third Stanley Cup in franchise history. Please feel free to leave comments and let me know if I missed any or if they should be in a different order. I am sure I have missed some plays, but these are the top 10 in my mind of this year’s playoff run. Without further ado:

10) Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin both score hat tricks in game two of the quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

An unbelievable display of why these are two of the best players in the game. First it was Alex Ovechkin who netted a hat trick and send the crowd at the Verizon Center into a frenzy, a game in which I was at. Hats were being thrown for several mintues and it gave the Capitals a late two goal lead. Not to be outdone was Crosby who scored his own hat trick in the waning seconds of the game on a power play. Now I know you are saying “how can this be on the top ten moments of the playoffs for the Penguins, they lost” but if you sit and think about it you might never see a performance like this in the playoffs for a very, very long time. Two of the best, most hyped players in the game, living up to the hype and giving the fans what they paid for. Truly something Penguin fans will look over because of the loss, but most defiantly a top 10 moment.

9) Mario Lemieux writing the note and sending a text message to the team after game five of the Stanley Cup Finals after the team’s 5-0 loss in Detroit.

After the Penguins 5-0 blowout loss in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals, which put them down 3-2 in the series, it was a very somber locker room as you can imagine. Marc Andre Fleury had been pulled from the game, they had been shut out for the third time in the past six playoff games at the Joe, and they had only scored two goals in three games in the current playoffs. This is where we enter the man they call Le Magnifigue. After the morning skate the next day he left a message on the white board which said something to the effect that they would win the cup on Friday and that he had all the confidence in them. Then this article in the PG outlines a text message Lemieux sent to Ray Shero. The rest is history. What a man. That is why he is a Pittsburgh legend. Not to mention his playoff beard.

8) Evgeni Malkin backhand goal in game three of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Hurricanes.

I was watching this game in a local establishment, drinking a few beverages, enjoying the Penguins success when this happened. As Geno put the puck in the net, I threw my hands up, put my drink down in disbelief, turned to my friend and said I could not believe that I just saw that. Are you even kidding me? Maybe the best goal in the entire playoffs. For a hat trick none the less. A highlight reel goal that we will see for the rest of our lives. What a shot. Nothing more to say about that. If you can’t appreciate that then there is something wrong with you.

7) Marc Andre Fleury’s save on Jeff Carter in game two of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs to keep the score 2-1 Flyers.

Marc Andre Fleury made one of his many saves in the playoffs, this was a game saver. Late in the third period with a handful of minutes left Fleury makes and initial save and the rebound pops to the left post where Jeff Carter is so wide open it would be harder to miss an empty net goal than this one. Fleury does a full split across the goal crease to get a toe on the puck just as it is on the goal line. What a save. It can be said that this probably saved the series for the Penguins. If the Flyers score that goal the game is over. Consequently the Penguins tie the game up then Bill Guerin scores past Marty Biron in overtime to win it. If the Penguins lose that game they are tied 1-1 in the series and the Flyers might win the series. They played the Penguins much tougher after that. Who knows, but that is a big time save.

6) Jordan Staal scores a short handed goal in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals to tie the game at two.

Down by one in the second period the Penguins are on a PK when Max Talbot springs Jordan Staal down the middle of the ice. Jordan gets a step on Brian Rafalski and puts it under the pad of Chris Osgood and ties the game at two. The goal changed the whole momentum of the series and sent the crowd at the Mellon just absolutely insane. The Penguins go on to score two more goals in the period and put an exclamation point in a 4-2 win.

5) Max Talbot fighting Dan Carcillo in game six of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Game six of the first round of the playoffs. Penguins are in Philadelphia and fall down 3-0 in the second period. Off a faceoff at center ice Max Talbot baits Dan Carcillo into fighting with him. Edzo goes absolutely nuts in the booth wondering why Carcillo would fight Talbot in that situation. As Talbot goes to the box, after losing the fight, he puts his finger to his mouth and tells the Philly crowd to quite down. That move by Talbot put chills down my spine and you could feel the game changing. Change it did. The Penguins come back and dominate the rest of the game winning the series as Sidney Crosby threw it into the empty net to end all hope. I love when Sid scored in Philly. Keep chanting “Crosby Sucks” Philadelphia, he loves it.

4) Marc Andre Fleury makes break away save on Alexander Ovechkin in Game 7 of the second round matchup of the Penguins/Capitals Series.

Game seven. Verizon Center. Three best players in the world. Big Stage. Marc Andre Fleury had given up many goals to AO during the series. If you said “oh shit” while AO had the breakaway in the first period you weren’t the only one. MAF should have gotten 5-10 for what he did to AO on that play. The route was on. The Penguins win 6-1 and the game was never really close. Sarge was back and assisted on the first them offensive presence Craig Adams scored like a second later and it was over. AO would score, but it was 5-0 at that point. Maybe his second series saving goal of the playoffs for MAF. That goal goes in and the crowd gets into it, which defiantly AO thrives on, and we have a totally different game. No sir. Game. Series.

3) Max Talbot’s second goal in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals.

A one goal lead didn’t mean much in this series. A two goal lead basically meant the game was over. That is why this goal was so huge for the Penguins. Even though there was a lot of time left on the clock a two goal lead was a lot. Everyone knew the Wings would score, but the Penguins were playing so well defensively that it looked tough for the Wings to get a second. How right was that. 2-1 win. Game winning goal for Max. As Mike Lange says “He beat him like a rented mule.”

2) Rob Scuderi’s goaltender like save in game six of the Stanley Cup Finals.

If Marc Andre already had two series saving saves then Rob Scuderi might have made one himself for game six. With under 20 seconds left in the game MAF was out past the left post leaving most of the net open but Rob Scuderi got down on one knee and made a goaltender like save on a few shots. If that goal goes in it would have been a tie game and the Wings could very well have won the game, the series, and the Cup in overtime. A big time play by a guy who really showed a lot of metal this post season.

1) Marc Andre Fluery makes a game saving stop with 1.5 seconds left on Detroit’s Nick Lidstrom in game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to ensure the Penguins their first Stanley Cup since 1992.

Last but not least the save of the playoffs. MAF saved a series against Philly and Washington, but he won the Cup with his save on defensive guru Nick Lidstrom with 1.5 seconds remaining in the game and the Penguins leading 2-1. MAF made the initial save and the puck bounced out to Lidstrom with a partially open net, but MAF was able to take two quick shuffles and just throw his body in front of the puck and seal the Stanley Cup coming back to the burgh. All the critics that said that Marc could not win the big game had to shut their mouth and watch Max Talbot, Rob Scuderi, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Penguins mob him as they celebrating winning the Cup.

Those are your top 10 plays from the playoff run this year. Like I said you can comment, agree, disagree or just have general comments about the list. There are some more odds and ends YouTube’s and such that will be coming over the next couple of weeks from the playoffs. The CBC did a really nice job of putting videos together for the playoffs so expect some posts about that over the summer.

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