Sunday, January 28, 2007

Penguins 7, Coyotes 2

If people don't think that Crosby likes to show why he is the best to everyone just watch Crosby's first game in front on Gretzky. Crosby had 3 assists and one highlight reel goal that certainly will rank right up their with the best of them and for some reason they all seem to happen in Phoenix. Oh yeah and the Penguins also got goals from Ruutu and Petrovicky to turn what was looking like a game into a laugher.

The Penguins started quickly in this game when Crosby was able to find Malone in front while falling. Malone put the puck off the post and past Tellqvist just 24 seconds into the game. The Coyotes got that goal back on the Power Play while the Penguins were down 2 men when Doan found a puck that made it past Scuderi. Talbot was then able to get the goal back just 2 mins later when he wristed a puck at the net and through a screen set by Armstrong.

The Coyotes were able to tie the score at 2 off a goal by Reinprecht but that was all the Coyotes were going to be able to get by Thibault. Whitney was able to start the onslaught by converting a feed from Crosby on the Power Play for his 8th of the season. Ruutu then scored his 3rd goal on a 2 on 1 break and surprised Tellqvist to put the Pens up 4 - 2 going into the third.

With the Penguins on a Power Play, Crosby set up Malkin for a blast the rang of the goalpost. Crosby believe the puck had crossed the goal and and said something to the ref, but instead of waiting for a stop in play, Crosby really want the goal to count so while he was falling to the ice after tracking down a loose puck he backhanded it over Tellqvist. While the Coyotes and the crowd were still stunned by the goal they had just seen, Petrovicky used the lull to score his first of the season. Recchi finished off the scoring by picking up a rebound and chipping it past Tellqvist.

The Penguins were able to pick up all 4 point on their brief road trip to start the second half. Next up are the Panthers who come to town on Tues. Let hope the Penguins show up for this one and don't let the Panthers get anything from this game...


Friday, January 26, 2007

Penguins 4, Stars 3 SO

What is the one thing that you don't want to do against the Stars? Answer, end regulation and overtime tied with them and face them in a shootout. What did the Penguins do? Answer, end regulation and overtime tied with them and face them in a shootout. However for some reason the Penguins were able right their shootout ship and beat the team that is practically unbeatable in the shootout. Christensen was able to get a puck past Turco and Fleury was able to stop all three Stars including Mr. Shootout himself, Jokinen and the Penguins picked up a much needed point in the standings.

The Penguins started off after the All-Star break playing like they were before the break. They did however make one mistake in the first period and that was to allow the Stars to go on the Power Play in which they promptly scored upon on a slap shot by former Penguin Zubov. The Stars took the 1 - 0 lead into the intermission. The Pens didn't let that keep them down and they were able to take the lead on a Staal goal and the 499th goal of Recchi's career. The Pens couldn't keep the lead and the Stars got the equalizer 2 mins after Recchi's goal when Jokinen found a rebound and hit an open net to tie the score at 2. The two teams traded goals in the third with the Penguins third goal being the biggest because it was Recchi who got it for his 500th career goal. The crazy thing about Recchi score his 500th goal on an assist from Crosby is that Staal, Crosby, and Malkin were all under 2 years old when Recchi scored his first goal.

The Penguins then show that they did not want to send the game to a shootout by the way they played in the overtime period. The play by both teams was frantic with multiple chances and a couple of great saves by both goalie as well as a couple of missed opportunities. Neither team was able to get the one they needed to end the game and the game went to the shootout.

Next up are the Coyotes tomorrow in Phoenix...


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Penguins 8, Maple Leafs 2

What a time for the All-Star break to show up just as the Penguins were click on all cylinders after an 8 - 2 mulching of the Maple Leafs they now have a 6 day layoff until they travel to Dallas to play the Stars. They also used this game to jump in to 8th place in the Conference (with current tie breakers) and found they now have a legitimate 2nd line with the play of Staal, Malkin, and Ouellet. Malkin has a career high (yeah a 40 game career high) 5 Assist and Crosby had a Goal and 2 Assist.

The Leafs started things of well for them and was able to convert on the Power Play just 1:31 into the game. They however thought the game was over because the Pens then score 7 straight. Staal started it off by converting a Malkin pass past Raycroft and Ruutu was able to convert a Penalty Shot for is second goal of the season and first since the opener to give the Pens a 2 - 1 lead. Recchi then used his skate to deflect a Whitney pass on the Power Play to give the Penguins a 3 - 1 lead at the end of the 1st Period and started him on his natural Hat-trick. Recchi then used 2 Power Play goals in the second the more conventional way to finish of his Hat-trick and give the Pens a 5 - 1 lead at the end of 2.

The Leafs didn't learn anything form the previous 3 Recchi Power Play goals and continued to take penalties and the Pens continued to score with the next 2 coming from Crosby and Ouellet to push the score to 7 - 1. Things then got a little chippy for the rest of the game with a few fights and a bunch of pushing and shoving after the whistle. The Leafs then stopped the bleeding when Bell was able to score his first ever goal when he used Whitney's slow foot to defect one past Fleury. Malkin then got his 5th assist to finish off the scoring when Malone converted it.

Next up for the Pens are Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Whitney playing in the All-Star games but only Crosby will be playing in the big one. Then a road trip to Dallas and Phoenix to hopefully keep this streak rolling...


Friday, January 19, 2007

Bruins 5, Pens 4 SO

What is it with the Penguins and shootouts? The Penguins dropped to 2 - 12 in shootout since the NHL started using them to decide game that are tied after Overtime. I was and still am a big backer of the shootouts even though the Penguins suck at them. This one however was the Penguins fault for letting it get to the shootout. The Pens blew leads of 2 - 0 and 4 - 3 to let the Bruins get away with 2 point that the Pens are going to need against them to make the playoffs. They did however show something after giving up 3 straight goals to retake the lead. The Bruins did get a number of good bounces and make the Pens pay for the few mistakes they made.

The Pens started the game off well when Malone was able to hit an open net after a beautiful cross ice pass from Crosby. Malkin put the Pens up 2 with a nice shot high to the glove side of Toivonen who went down early. The Pens were able to take that lead in to the break but it seems they thought that was the end of the game because the first 10 mins of the 2nd were all Bruins. Former Penguin Murry was able to start things off for the Bruins by making a nice move on Fleury on a pretty clean breakaway. The Bruins were able to tie it on a Power Play goal by Sturm on a rebound then took the lead 37 secs later off a deflection by Stuart. That last one seemed to wake the Penguins back up as they started skating again and used 2 Power Plays to take back the lead. The first one by Malkin was very similar to his first one after he made a nice pass to himself to get open. The second one by Staal show why he is going to be big for the Pens down the stretch when he got his second shot underneath the pad of Toivonen.

The Penguins then kept up the work in the 3rd period and got a 5 on 3 Power Play to show for their work. They had quite a few good chances but got nothing to show for it and it came back to haunt them a few mins later when a puck came off of Kessel right to Murry. Murry threw the puck on net and Savard found the rebound and put it into an open net to tie the score at 4.

The Bruins came on really strong in the Overtime and if it wasn't for Fleury the Pens wouldn't have gotten to the shootout. Fleury had to make at least 3 of his patented saves with the most impressive a backwards flopping blocker save on Murry. That set the stage for the shootout. Christensen got the first goal but Malkin, Crosby, and Gonchar. Sturm got back the Christensen goal back and that set the stage for Kessel. Kessel was able to squeak the puck past Fleury's left pad and gave the Bruins the extra point.

The Penguins next take on the Maple Leafs Sat in what is there last game before a big break for the All-Star game...


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Penguins 5, Islanders 2

This was not as of an impressive game as the score makes it out to be. The Pens were pretty complacent for most of the first two periods after really taking it to the Islanders for the first part of the game. They did however show up in time to finish off the Islanders and take a big two points from them and leave them just 3 points behind the Rangers and Lightning for 7th place with 3 games in hand. The other bright spot in this game was the play of all 4 lines as well as goal scoring from the top 3.

The Penguins started the game flying compared to the Islanders who thought the game started at 7:30 like normal. The Pens were reward for their effort just 2:32 in when Christensen displayed great patience when he faked Dunham out and slid the puck past him just like he was facing him in a shootout. The Pens were then unable to take advantage of a Power Play and when Witt hit Crosby at center ice the game changed. Whitney and Malone took exception, which was great to see, and the Islanders were rewarded with a 4 min Power Play. The Pens were able to kill it off but never able to get the hop back they had early in the game.

The Islander got on the board on a goal by Park which came as the Pens were seeing how many passes they could get on a 5 on 3 instead of trying to get a goal. The only shot recorded during the Pens 5 on 3 was by Park. The Pens did respond when Ouellet found a rebound and put it into an open net to get the Pens their lead back. The Pens were not able to take that lead to the locker room when Asham was able to redirect a pass past Fleury to tie it at 2.

The Pens must have really been given a talking to or really decided they wanted to win and took control in the 3rd. Crosby start off the scoring when he found a rebound on the Power Play and also put it into the open net. The Pens then show some smarts on the next 2 goal when they were able to learn from mistakes earlier in the game. Christensen's mistake came when he was left alone in front of the net and tried to be to perfect with his shot and missed the net. Later Christensen gained the blue line and just threw a quick wrist shot on the net and it found it's way through Dunham for Christensen's second goal of the game. The top line learned that passing in a 2 on 1 is not always a good thing when they had to changes broken up but the third time Recchi decided to take the shot instead of the pass and Crosby found the rebound for his second of the game and gave the Penguins their 5th and final goal.

Things got a little chippy with about 30 second when Blake was supposedly trying to hook Crosby's hands, which is also illegal, and missed and speared Crosby. Crosby fell down in pain. Crosby then got up and started to go after Blake and was given a penalty for Unsportsmanlike Conduct and Blake staked away. It looks like the Pens are going to send the tape to the league and it is possible that Blake could be suspended and deservedly so.

Next up are the Bruins on Thurs...


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Penguins send 3 to Youngstars game

Malkin, Staal, and Whitney are heading to the YoungStars game during the All-Star festivities. While this was kind of expected and good news for Staal and Whitney, Malkin has hopes and a good chance of being in the big game. Malkin will at least get to show people where he stands against Kopitar in the Calder race.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Penguins 5, Flyers 3

It was a more spirited effort by the Flyers but it was the same as the other 5 in the standings. The Pens did dominate the shots on goal and went periods of time where they would keep the puck in the offensive zone while changing lines. They did however relax long enough to let the Flyers think they had a chance, but they didn't as Staal was able to right the ship and give the Penguins a much needed win. Malkin had a big day with 2 Goals and 1 Assist and Crosby had an Assist. The Penguins need to keep playing like this against the other teams below them like they didn't with the Lightning and the Panthers.

One other thing that did come out of this game was the fact that Armstrong and Orpik need to hit more. Armstong's hit on Carter woke up the Penguins and gave them a Power Play opportunity. The others all need to be defending Crosby and Malkin by hitting the other team anytime they take liberties with the Pens stars. I like the way that Crosby and Malkin take that into their own hands more often then not but no one else on the Penguins seem to be as quick to react.

Next up are the Islanders on Tue in another big game for the Pens...


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Crosby story on ESPN front page...

Finally a Hockey story on the front page of It is a pretty good article so read up.

If you missed it click here


Panthers 5, Penguins 2

My hope is that when Playoff time rolls around that we are not looking back on these games against the Lightning and Panthers and saying this is what kept us out of the Playoffs. They should have 4 points against the lowly Panthers and they have none so far. Tonight's game was worse then last night. Malkin did get his 20th goal. There really isn't much more to say other then another opportunity lost.


Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Lightning 3, Penguins 2

No this isn't the same as the last post, notice the no SO in the title. The game was also different then the last one as it was the Pens that showed up early but just got beat by a better goaltender on this night. The Pens had their chances and were not able to cash in. The Lightning also got some help from Refs that didn't know the hitting the hands of a puck carrier constitutes hooking which lead to the game winning goal.

Crosby started things off pretty good for the Penguins by scoring from his knees just 24 seconds in to the game after picking up a puck from Boyle and beating Holmqvist between the legs. It was short lived however as Lecavalier was able to redirect a puck past Fleury. St. Louis then scored on a bad angle hot on the Power Play as he hit the inside of Fleury's pads and deflected in the goal. The game changed when St. Louis was able to get the puck from Gonchar by hooking his hands off his stick and threw a pass to Karlsson who was stopped first but put the rebound past Fleury. That proved to be the game winner when Armstrong used his body to deflect a puck past Holmqvist. The Pens were not able to get the tying goal with the extra attacker to get at least a point.

Fleury was strong again in net minus the bad angle shot that St. Louis got on him. Crosby had a decent game afterward learned that he was the top vote getter in the All-Star balloting. Malkin seems to be fighting the puck lately whether it was the bad ice or something else but he has been losing the puck quite a bit.

Next up is the Panther tomorrow and they need to beat them...


Monday, January 08, 2007

Lightning 3, Penguins 2 SO

What else is there to start with but if you didn't see Crosby's goal check ESPN or TSN because if you missed it shame on you for six weeks.

The Penguins played pretty well in this one but no where near the level that they played at during the 3 game winning streak. They did show enough to get the game into a shootout but for a team with that much talent they can't beat goalies one on one for some reason. Fleury did play the shootout really well until St. Louis crossed him up with a backwards skating backhander through his 5 hole.

Tampa started the scoring off by getting a Power Play goal when Craig was able to find a rebound off a scramble and put it past Fleury. Crosby was the able to use the goal of the year so far to tie the game back at 1. Again if you haven't seen it shame on you for six weeks. Tampa then got what looked like the back breaker when Tarnasky pick up his own rebound off a Scuderi and putting it past a screened Fleury. The Pens did comeback when Recchi scored a Power Play goal for the Pens 3 mins later. The goal was first waived off by the Ref when he saw the puck kicked into the net however it was Sarich and not Recchi who kicked it in and the Pens had their tying goal.

The real star for the Penguins was Fleury who had another solid game in which he denied Lecavalier on 3 breakaway attempts and played under control and in good position on the others.

Next up are the same Lightning team in Tampa this time on Tue...


Friday, January 05, 2007

Penguins 4, Sabers 2

The biggest news of this game was that they Penguins were able to score their first empty net goal since the 03-04 year. No really it was the fact that the Pens were able to turn in their 3 straight solid game and this time they did it against the best team in hockey. The Pens were not able to shutdown this team like they did the Hurricanes but really not many teams are able to compete let alone come back twice on them and win. The Penguins were lead by their Power Play and Malkin on offense and the Penalty Kill and Staal on defense. Fleury was solid for the 5th straight game after the Christmas break.

The Penguins went down early 1 - 0 when the Sabers got a couple of good bounces and were able to find Roy, who's slap shot just eluded Fleury's glove. The Penguins were able to get that one back in the second period when Crosby abused a Saber without a stick and used him to screen a backdoor pass to Whitney who score for the second straight game. The tie score did not last long for the Penguins however because the Sabers were able to end the Penguins run of perfect Penalty Kills off a good play by Gaustad to stop a Fleury pass and kept the puck in the zone. The Sabers used this when they got another good bounce to the stick of Drury off a pass from behind the net by Briere to put them back up 2 - 1. This was the point that Malkin and Staal decided to take over the game. Staal got the Penguins back even after Malkin danced with the puck and setup Melicar for a shot on goal and waiting for the rebound was Staal. Staal put the puck under a diving Miller and into the empty net. Malkin was then able to put the dagger to the Sabers with 2 seconds left in the period. Malkin got the pass and took one stride and just blistered a slap shot past Miller, who had a clear look at it but probably didn't see it go past him. Moore was then the recipient of Staal generosity for the empty net goal.

This next week could really do a lot for the Penguins playoff hopes. If they play the next 4 games like they did the last 3 they should easily beat the Lightning twice , the Panthers, and the Penguins favorite opponent the Flyers. The last three games coming on the road.

This whole thing starts with the Lightning at home on Sunday...


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Penguins 3, Hurricanes 0

This was probably the best game that the Pens have played all year long. The work ethic was there, they were beat the Canes to the pucks all night, they got a much needed Power Play goal, and they did not allow a Power Play goal. When the Canes did end up getting a Power Play or a scoring chance, Fleury was up to the task by just being in the right position. Fleury didn't have to make any great saves like Ward was have to do all night long. Fleury was just really consistent all game which is about the best compliment you can give a goalie and he was rewarded with his 2nd shutout of the year and his first multi-shutout season of his career.

Crosby started off the scoring when he took a pass from Recchi and raced down the wing and while looking off the defender put the puck 5 hole on Ward. The Pens didn't realized it at the time but it was a good shot because Ward stopped numerous Penguins changes for the next period and a half. Recchi was robbed 2 or 3 times and Malkin was robbed from point blank range. Tablot and Ouellet were both stoned on breakaway also.

The game was then put away by Whitney on a carryover Power Play from the second when he was sneaking in back door and redirected a Recchi pass with his feet and behind Ward. Crosby then finished off his 3 point night when his pass to Recchi was deflected back to him and he beat Ward, who was sliding over to cover Recchi.

If this young team has finally figured out what it takes to beat these good teams maybe just maybe they are on their way to something bigger, but we have said that before.

Next up are the mighty Sabers on Friday...