(hat tip to TSW on this post for the image)
Hal Gill had a quite fulfilling Game 2.
Honestly, I can't remember another player being filled with such agony and ecstasy is a playoff game without recording a point.
With such a dynamic offense, the defense was the one aspect of the Penguins that I wanted to see locked down in the playoffs. Not that its been terrible throughout the season, just that no matter how well your offense plays in the playoffs, you need a defense that's willing to match up with another dynamic offense and alter their gameplan.
Gill anchored a solid defensive showing in Game 2, but his efforts were nearly negated with the cross-check to Sean Avery in the final minutes, setting up a torrid finish that no one saw coming.
Gill said it was the worst feeling to be in that penalty box, watching as the Rangers pulled Ludqvist for a 2-man advantage with the game nearing its end and Pittsburgh nursing a 1-goal lead.
But redemption came as the penalty was killed. From the lowest of lows, Gill flies out of the box, only to accompany a clearing pass off the glass all the way into the empty net. I jumped out of my chair in front of the T.V. with what can only be a fraction of the joy Gill must have felt.
And how does one celebrate such a dramatic exit from the sin bin? By flinging your gloves off faster than humanly possible and laying a beat down on Avery as he cowers away.
Gill had his words with Avery during the game as well. Piere McGuire said he heard Gill tell Avery (ed: that story by Joe Starkey is awesome):
You just weren't hugged enough as a child. That's why you've got issues.
Who wouldn't relish the opportunity to say that to Avery's face? I wouldn't because I'm a wuss, but you gotta believe you'd say that to his face if given the opportunity.
This sets up a beautiful backdrop for Game 3 tonight. Gill, Laraque and the boys stayed focused in Game 1 and physical in Game 2. Now, Gill and Laraque have a full 60 minutes and a 2-0 lead to "work with."
Here's hoping they put their time to good use.