Guest Entry #1: Islanders @ Penguins in NHL 12

For all of the fun I have playing sports video games, recounting the stories, and working through the statistics, part of the goal here at STAT BOX STORIES is to get guests and readers in on the action as well.  The first Guest Post of STAT BOX STORIES comes from Eric Veneziano, a Pittsburgh Penguins fan who decided to fire up NHL 12 and re-play Sidney Crosby’s first game back on the ice this season.

As a Pittsburgh Penguin fan it’s been a long hard road since Sidney Crosby has been out of the lineup for almost 10 months and spanning 61 regular season games.  The rest of the team played well last season without Sid and without Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal for most of that time as well.  Staal played the most last year and led the team into the playoffs and almost a 1st round series win.  But you could tell there was just something missing.

This season started off really well with Malkin and Staal playing at the top of their games and semi-newly acquired James Neal playing extremely well.  But everyone was waiting for the day….Welcome back Sid!  So many questions/factors – stamina, timing, taking the first hit, chemistry.  Well all of that was answered rather quickly and maybe it was a one game high(which I hope not) but the entire team looked almost flawless as the Pens beat the Islanders 5-0 with Crosby dumping in 2 goals and adding 2 assists.

I’ll try and recreate some of the magic from last night’s (editor’s note: Monday, November 21st) game in STAT BOX STORIES.

The arena wasn’t quite as electric as it was Monday night in Pittsburgh but the crowd was still fired up.  I really thought I was going to recreate the magic of that night as I took the opening faceoff and got some good chances on Dipietro early.  I was able to keep the puck in the zone right off of the first faceoff for a nice long shift but the Islanders defense held strong.  The rest of the 1st period went by rather mundane as both teams felt each other out.  Only 13 total shots and 3 hits the entire 1st period as it ended in a 0-0 tie.

The second period showed a little more fireworks as the first line of Crosby, Dupius, Kunitz really played well.  Getting ready for a line change, Kunitz made one last rush and fired a slap shot from the circle.  Dipietro gave up a fat rebound and Crosby grabbed the rebound as he was crashing the net, went off to the right of Dipietro and backhanded it in……GOOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!

The 3rd line came out after the goal and grinded out some minutes.  However this isn’t a line that merely takes up minutes, they can put some pressure on you.  Matt Cooke rang the post on a breakaway one-timer and in the process got hooked while doing it…… PENALTY SHOT!  Cooke came in, deke right, deke left and on his way back to the right Dipietro flopped, I tried to go high to the right but somehow Dipietro as he was going down got a stick on it just enough to ring it off the post.  Should have been 2-0.

The rest of the period the teams were playing with more energy and was pretty fast paced and we each traded some good chances back and forth.  With about 2 minutes to go in the period the Islanders got behind my defense coming into the zone and Michael Grabner scored on a sweet one-timer as he top shelved Fleury.  1-1 after 2.

With the game up for grabs as the 3rd period started, the Islanders dominated.  I couldn’t get the puck out of my zone and was only managing a shot if I was lucky when I got the puck in theirs.  However I still held my own until about 1:00 left in the game.  They broke away on a 3 on 1 and I played the one-timer as John Tavaras blasted a slap shot instead of passing from the left circle.  Fleury never stood a chance.  2-1 Islanders.  I did have some chances to tie it up as I got a face off deep in their zone so I dropped Staal in as the LW on Sid’s line and put Malkin and Letang as my defensmen with Neal as the extra attacker as I pulled the goalie.  I got some good shots off and Malkin was able to rip a slapshot from the point that I thought was going in but Dipietro got over and it gave a huge rebounded the bounced to the blue line, picked up by the Islanders and an easy empty netter ended the game.

I had my chances but the Islanders wanted it more in the 3rd.  Not quite the dramatic blowout that Sid and the Pens put on, but it was a great game and I was on the edge of my seat most of it.

Thanks to Eric for contributing this guest STAT BOX STORIES entry and sharing his experience using NHL 12 to try to re-create the games we see in real life.  If you are interested in having your work featured here on the blog as well, go to the Write a Guest Story page here at STAT BOX STORIES for more information.

Guest Author Bio:

Eric Veneziano (PS3 ID: psuexv) is a long time gamer dating back to Double Dribble, NES Playaction Football and Baseball Stars and can actually go back to the Atari 2600 and Homerun and Super Challenge Football (love the unique names).  He currently spends his time playing NCAA Football, Tiger Woods and NHL, having stepped away from Madden for awhile.  He claims not to say many interesting things, but he is on Twitter at @psuexv.

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