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Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pens Advance On Hossa's Heroics

I can’t believe after all the suffering over the past few years might have actually been worth it. Here we are, back in the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001 and look who it’s against. Our hated cross-state rivals from Philadelphia who we last saw in 2000.

The Flyers won that series 4-2 after the Pens went on the road and won Games 1 and 2. Am I a little bitter? Yes, but what gets me more annoyed is that there hasn’t been an overtime game in recent history that has knocked off the 5 overtime thriller in Game 3 of that series. Anyone remember Keith Primeau racing down the right side and somehow pulling up and firing a rocket over Ron Tugnut’s shoulder? No? I do. It haunts me in my sleep this time of year. Every year.

Anyway, why sit here and focus on the negative things of previous years? We just won another playoff series and are one step away from fighting for the right to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

As with last Sunday I started watching the game at home and made it through the entire first period before having to leave for work. I listened to the 2nd period while in the car and nearly drove off the road twice when Malkin and Hossa scored to give us a 2-0 lead. In the time it took me to park my car and get settled at my desk the Rangers had tied it and I needed half a bottle of Tums to calm my stomach.

As much as I love Doc Emrick, listening to him today was torture. Not because he was calling it soo poorly, which he wasn’t, but because it was bad enough seeing the puck close to the goal line then I had to hear him and listen more intently for his patented “SCORE!”

The finally after 7:10 seconds of sudden death, Pascal Dupuis raced into the Rangers’ zone, made a short pass to Crosby that was deflected. Sid just hacked it into the slot, puck bounced off a player’s skate right to Hossa who was all of 5 feet from Henrik Lundqvist. Hossa made no mistake with the puck and tickled the twine to tickle me pink and propel the Pens into the East Finals.

I nearly tripped over my chair as I was dancing around and hooting and hollering. I can’t remember being this excited since Darius Kasperitis somehow beat Dominik Hasek from the red line in triple overtime. I remember that mainly because I nearly broke my hand when I jumped off my bed and punched the ceiling fan at 2:00am and highly annoyed my parents.

Anyway, we needed to win this game today especially when it went to overtime. I did not want to see this head back to New York anyway, but heading back losing two in a row with an overtime loss the day before had Game 7 written all over it. If Game 7 were to have happened I don’t think I would have lived through it regardless of the outcome.

Now at least the Pens get a few days to get healed up and ready for what will no doubt be a nasty series. It won’t take long for the bad blood to boil over and this could very easily come down to who can control their emotions better. I’ll have a full analysis once my blood pressure and nerves return to normal, until then sleep easy Pens fans, we’re halfway home.

Quick Thoughts On Kentucky Derby

What a race! OK I know I said Big Brown wasn't going to win due to post position, but obviously I was wrong. I can't believe he was 3 and 4 wide until the final turn and still was able to pull away from the field. Him pulling away shows he's got no problem getting the mile and a half at the Belmont should he win the Preakness in two weeks.

I was also saddened to see Eight Belles have a severe injury after the race and have to be euthanized immediately. There is always a sad part to any sport and this is obviously the saddest thing in horse racing. You have to feel for the owners and trainers and even the jockey who have developed a strong relationship with the horse. In horse racing, the horse becomes a family member and seeing this happen is a tragedy every time. It's hard to forget that just a short while back Barbaro captured the hearts of the world.

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