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Two Pickets to Tittsburgh - Hawks 2, Pens 1 (OT)

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This will be brief, as again, I have professional-grade drinking to do. Tonight's matchup lived up to the hype, and it definitely had a playoff type atmosphere. There was certainly a LOT of animosity between the two teams for only playing once a year, as exhibited by the exchange of pleasantries early on between Duncan Keith and Matt Cooke. Keith was lucky to only receive two minutes for his 200-foot charge, and Marian Hossa buried one of the few rebounds Marc-Andre Fleury (in top form) allowed all night on the ensuing four on four. Patrick Kane led the rush, and fought off two defenders along the boards to feed a late Brian Campbell, whose shot Hossa put home. That Kane, I tell ya- too soft, and lazy.

In the second, it once again became the Antti Niemi show, who had an answer for everything Pitt threw at him. There were no penalties after the early going, and the teams traded chances throughout. Last night's game appeared to be catching up with the Hawks. Pittsburgh finally drew even with the extra attacker when a puck kicked free to Jordan Staal who as all alone and had 6x4 to shoot at.

Into overtime, VERSTEEG! ended it by poking his own rebound past Fleury after a Brian Campbell-led rush. Hawks go home happy, 2-1.

Observations

  • Niemi was once again stellar. Let the goalie controversy begin anew.
  • While the Penguins did have a lot of quality chances, the Hawks did a nice job of clearing pucks from the middle of the ice
  • The ice seemed to be in even shittier condition than it usually is at the Igloo, as many pucks rolled off sticks for both teams
  • On the flipside, however, the Igloo does play some kickass jams during stoppages- note "3's and 7's" from Queens of the Stone Age during the second
  • Matt Cooke is a turd burglar. He burgles ALL the turds.
Player of the Game
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Once again, Antti Niemi played an excellent game, stopping 31 shots, many of them in spectacular fashion.