Friday, January 30, 2015

Time to De-Horn the Devils

By: MF,

Another night and another team for the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins have a jammed packed schedule ahead before the playoffs and every game counts. Tonight the Penguins visit the New Jersey Devils and they need a win to snap out of their current funk. Two nights ago, they suffered a loss at the hands of the Washington Capitals. A good note out of that horrible loss was defenseman Robert Bortuzzo appeared in his 100th career National Hockey League (NHL) game on Wednesday. Also during Wednesday game, Maxim Lapierre became the 34th skater to dress for the Penguins, which I don't necessarily count as a good thing.

Now let's move on to tonight's contest against the Devils. The Penguins come into this game with a 18-3-1 record when they score a power play, so special teams will be essential. The last few games, Chris Kunitz has not been put on the top power play unit. I think this is a mistake. Kunitz makes his presence known in front during a power play situation and is a agitate a goaltender. I think this is the main reason the power play has been lack luster lately, aside from missing superstar Evgeni Malkin. Back to the team stats, the Penguins also come into this contest out-shooting their opponents in eight of their last ten games. However, Wednesday's game would prove otherwise. Hopefully tonight will be different.

Moving onto the offensive power of the Penguins, which will have to bring it tonight. Kunitz currently has a five point (one goal and four assists) streak against the Devils, this goes back to November 16, 2013. While Sidney Crosby has three goals, is a plus-two, and has a 62.7% faceoff percentage when he faces the Devils. In addition, Crosby has a points-per-game average of 1.16, which ties him with Philadelphia Flyers' Jakub Voracek for first in the NHL.

While on defense, Kris Letang is making January his month. Letang has notched 14 points (one goal and 13 assists), which puts him first among the Penguins and fourth in the NHL during this month. He was ranked eleventh in the NHL in scoring among defensemen before January and has jumped to third since then.

The Penguins have suffered another injury as Christian Ehrhoff was the only one missing during the morning skate. Mike Johnston commented on the situation, saying Ehrhoff had traveled back to Pittsburgh. Since hitting his head on the ice during Wednesday's game, the doctors want to follow protocol and be safe. An update will be provided tomorrow. This means that Scott Harrington will be stepping in for the injured Ehrhoff. Also, Beau Bennett will be a healthy scratch and Mark Arcobello will fill in for him. Johnston talked about how lineups will be changing due to having 13 available forwards and decisions have to be made.

The team hasn't been on the winning side of the last few games lately and need a win to get things back on track. That starts with the Devils. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron 
Spaling, Sutter, Hornqvist
Arcobello, Lapierre, Downie
Sill, Ebbett, Adams

Despres, Letang
Scuderi, Martin
Harrington, Bortuzzo 

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 2 Devils 1 OT


2:21- DESPRES SCORES! Letang passes over to Despres who fires a rocket shot from the blue line and it blows past the glove of Schneider! 2-1 Pens!

2:50- Despres sets up Sutter is denied.

3:30- Crosby tries to stick handle past the Devils. Four swarm him and get the puck as a result.

5:00- Five minutes of extra hockey! The Pens need to keep putting shots on net! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- Regulation wasn't enough and this game is headed to overtime.

2:20- Fleury denies Jagr right in front!

2:27- Like I talked about earlier...Kunitz on the first power play unit pays off.

3:11- KUNITZ SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Letang goes to Crosby and he fires! Kunitz finds the rebound in front and buries it! 1-1 tie game on Pens 38th shot!

3:29- Harrold goes for high sticking and a huge power play chance for the Pens!

6:40- Letang fires a rocket shot and it rings off the goal post!

8:34- The Pens are doing a great job of not letting the Devils past the neutral zone, which is why they only have 10 shots on net.

10:29- Perron feeds a perfect pass to Crosby who directs the puck on net, but Schneider slides across to make the save!

13:52- Bernier Scores. Bortuzzo turns over the puck to Bernier. He carries the puck around the back of the net and stuffs one home. Devils open up the scoring 1-0.

16:32- Ebbett and Adams get a 2 on 1 chance. Ebbett holds and fires the shot, which Schneider saves. I don't think Ebbett was award of Adams during that situation.

16:59- Sid attempts a wrap around chance, but Schneider answers with a save.

17:51- Zubrus and Letang are released and things are back to normal for both teams.

18:27- Despres clears the puck out of the blue paint with a wide open net behind him. Unreal and way to close for comfort.

18:56- Kunitz just fires a rebound chance wide of the net!

20:00- Alright time for some exciting hockey...I hope! 4 on 4 for 1:57 to start the third! Come on Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The second period horn jolts everyone awake! Two periods down and one to go. We are still scoreless.

0:03- Zubrus and Letang exchange some words and blows. Both to the box, so 4 on 4 hockey.

1:35- The Pens need to put more pucks on net and stop looking for a perfect play.

3:00- Not the most exciting game, so there is not much to update on. Just back and forth hockey.

6:01- Crosby is flying tonight and so is the entire Crosby line.

9:20- Zubrus is set free and Pens power play ends.

10:50- The Pens cycle the puck around, making everyone dizzy. They crash Schneider's doorstep, but the puck somehow stays out!

11:20- Another power play chance for the Pens as Zubrus takes a seat for holding.

12:47- Elias' shot is saved by Fleury. Solid night for the netminder, so far, looks focused and engaged.

13:20- The Devils have only gotten five shots this period, the Pens have been suppressing the Devils.

16:04- Crosby's line creates some great chances, but Schneider holds down the fort. Only a matter of time till they put one in.

18:23- Perron feeds the puck to Crosby, flying down the center, but the pass bounces off his stick.

20:00- Second period is underway! Time for a goal by the Pens! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and we are scoreless.

1:15- The Pens are having some trouble entering and setting up in the Devils' zone, as the period comes to an end.

3:53- That is all for the Pens power play. They had some chances, but Schneider made the saves.

5:53- Now it's the Pens turn on the power play. Fraser to the box for interference.

6:27- Sutter gets the puck and a step towards a breakaway chance. Schneider stands to make the save!

8:41- The Pens are getting to pucks first and winning battles. They look like a totally different team from the one that played Wednesday night.

11:27- The Pens are made whole again and come up with a massive penalty kill.

12:13- Fleury flashes the glove on Zidlicky's shot!

12:27- Martin comes up with a huge block on Jagr's shot up front.

13:21- Downie is headed to the box for roughing and Lapierre for hooking. 5 on 3 power play for the Devils. Huge kill ahead for the Pens.

15:44- The Pens are crashing the Devils net big time and getting good shots on net.

17:58- Crosby gets a chance on the doorstep. Good start for the Penguins and they have some great jump to their game.

20:00- Puck drop and this game is on! The Pens have to get the win...big time! Lets Go Pens!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Three Cups versus No Cups...You Decide?

By: MF, 

Are you ready for another night of Pittsburgh Penguins hockey? I know I am and this one is going to be a hard one. The Penguins are in Washington to take on the Capitals and these games always prove to be physical ones. The team is coming off a 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets last night at Consol Energy Center. They were without the services of, their top two stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. However, Kris Letang and Patric Hornqvist were in the lineup and made their presence known. Letang recorded five assists (an assist on every Penguin goal) and recorded his 200th career assist on the Penguins first goal. Also, Letang became the first defensman in the National Hockey League (NHL), this season. In addition, he became the first Penguins defensman to notch five points in one game, since Sergei Gonchar on December 13, 2006 against the Philadelphia Flyers. While Hornqvist was getting involved whenever he could and even scored a goal. Now it's time to take on the Capitals.

Moving on from last night's game, the Penguins are headed into enemy territory at the Verizon Center. They come into the arena with a 44% power play percentage (four for nine) during their three game win streak at the Capitals home. Marc-Andre Fleury will start in the goal tonight and he comes into this game with six wins in the last seven against the Capitals. The Penguins will also have the services of David Perron. Perron points per month continued to increase and he has been on fire, since coming to Pittsburgh. He is a skilled player and plays with a lot of passion. During the Jets' game, he came out flying and didn't let up. He has become a great addition to the team.

This game is going to physical, a typical Penguin and Capitals game, and that will call on the enforcers from both teams. One of those guys is Steve Downie. Downie came off a season high seven hits during last night's game against the Jets. Also, he has two goals in two games. These goals, in back-to-back games is the first time for him, since February 24-25, 2012. The Penguins are getting him to produce and not just on the penalty minute sheet. Another guy is the newly acquired Maxim Lapierre. Lapierre was acquired from the St.Louis Blues in exchange for Marcel Goc, after last night's game. Lapierre has 570 career penalty minutes in 579 games in his 10-year career. The 215 pound, 6-foot-2 enforcer, has 65 career goals, 72 career assists, and 137 career points in those 579 games. He is known for his physical play and not for much else. I hope Jim Rutherford doesn't turn us into Goonsburgh and that Lapierre can contribute on the scoring side of things, like Downie has been able to do.

Lastly, there are no new injury updates. Crosby will be a game time decision. Tonight the Penguins have to focus on the Capitals. Play a solid game for a full 60 minutes and stay disciplined to get the win tonight. They can't let the Capitals get in their heads. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron 
Bennett, Sutter, Hornqvist
Spaling, Lapierre, Downie
Sill, Ebbett, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Bortuzzo
Scuderi, Despres

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 0 Capitals 4

3rd Period
0:00- This game is over and the Caps get the 4-0 win over the Pens. The Pens from last night didn't show up tonight and they looked horrible. Johnston better rip them a new one and they need to bounce back in a big way.

1:01- Letang battles hard and gets manhandled on a play. Perron comes to his aid and a scrum ensues. 4 on 4 hockey for 1:08.

1:25- Ward to the box for tripping and Pens with a power play chance.

1:54- Fleury with two huge back to back saves.

4:58- Caps power play for 1:29.

4:34- Kunitz is called for high sticking. 4 on 4 for 36 seconds.

5:57- Ovechkin pushes Ehrhoff to the ice...weird looking play. Ehrhoff goes down hard, but is able to walk on his own to the locker room. Pens come to his rescue. Pens get a power play.

7:35- Green Scores. The Pens with another bad dump in leads to an odd man rush for the Caps, once again. Green is able to capitalize on this chance. 4-0 Caps.

8:58- Fehr Scores. Fleury makes a solid initial save on a point shot. Fehr crashes the net to get the loose puck and put it in. The Pens defense didn't even go after him. 3-0 Caps.

9:17- Downie and Latta drop them

12:13- The Pens only have 20 shots and have had 21 shot attempts blocked.

14:10- The Pens are 13 for 30 in the faceoff circle tonight...not a good night.

16:20- Crosby's line has a great opening shift, but frustration is starting to set in though.

20:00- Third period time! The Pens better snap out of it and turn things around! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- That is it for the second period and the Caps extend their lead to 2-0.

2:40- Ovechkin Scores on the power play. Fleury has a huge screen in front. The Caps cycle the puck and it goes to a wide open Ovechkin. He doesn't miss. 2-0 Caps.

4:20- Right back to the penalty kill for the Pens as Bortuzzo is in the box for interference.

5:09- The Pens come up with a successful kill. Fleury makes a fantastic glove save on Green's shot as the penalty expires.

7:09- Perron will now sit in the box for interference. The Caps get a power play and this is not good timing. Huge kill for the Pens now.

9:45- That is it for the Pens power play and it wasn't a good one. Caps were in complete control.

11:45- The Pens are getting another power play chance as Hillen is called for slashing.

12:10- Crosby makes a pass to Ehrhoff on the rush. Ehrhoff returns the puck to Crosby, but he is hounded on the play. His shot goes over the net.

13:48- Fleury shuts the door on Green's attempt. Great save.

14:58- Letang shuts down a Capitals play...just in beast mode.

16:13- Perron feeds the puck through to Letang, driving down the center. Letang's shot is directed into the netting by Holtby.

18:31- Fleury makes a solid save on a bad angle shot.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have to get this game under control and pepper Holtby with shots! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- The first period horn sounds and the Caps have the 1-0 lead.

1:01- Sutter almost gets a breakaway, but the play is broken up.

4:11- Fleury makes split save, while sliding, on Latta stick handles around Despres and Scuderi.

4:27- Crosby makes a diving stretch to whack at a rebound chance in front, but Holtby is there for the save.

6:45- Sill and Wilson drop the gloves! I would say Wilson got the better of that fight...sadly.

8:06- Despres snaps a shot right off a faceoff win. Holtby grabs the puck up for a whistle.

10:25- Capitals with a successful kill as Carlson is released.

10:45- Fleury makes a huge shoulder save on Fehr's shorthanded chance.

12:25- Perron fights his way to the front of the net and Holtby makes the save. Carlson ends up taking a hooking penalty and the Pens will get a power play chance,

15:06- Ovechkin Scores. Alzner fires from the point and the shot is redirected by Ovechkin, up front, into the net. 1-0 Caps.

15:46- The Capitals get some offensive zone pressure going, but Fleury holds strong.

17:58- Downie and Laiperre exchange words with Wilson. That didn't take long.

20:00- Let the game begin! Crosby is back and I hope he lights the lamp tonight! The Pens have to play a smart and disciplined game! Lets Go Pens!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Due to weather Jets flight canceled in Pittsburgh! Pens vs Jets!

By: MF,

Welcome back! The All-Star break is over and now it's time to get back to business and that starts with the Pittsburgh Penguins taking on the Winnipeg Jets. All the Penguns, except for lone Penguin Marc-Andre Fleury, had a chance to rest up during the little break in the season. However, there is some bad news coming after the break, Evgeni Malkin has been placed on the injured reserve list. I hope he can recover quickly and get back on the ice, so he can keep dominating.

Now lets move on to the game against the Jets. The Penguins have won 20 of their last 23 games against the Jets, going back to March 2, 2008. Not to mention, the Penguins had all 18 dressed skaters record a point during the Chicago Blackhawks game, on January 21st, which was a first for this season.  The Penguins have some impressive numbers when they face the Jets. Fleury has won 16 of this last 18 games versus the Jets. He has not lost a home game since a 4-2 loss, when the Jets were the Atlanta Thrashers, on December 27, 2006.

A career milestone for Rob Scuderi will happen tonight, as he will play in his 400th career game with the Penguins. Scuderi will be the 8th defenseman in team history to achieve such a feat. Scuderi has skated 20 plus minutes in four of his last five games. This puts him at 13 games of 46, this season, in which he has logged 20 or more minutes.

The Penguins are getting contributions and big numbers from a lot of guys. Zach Sill got his first career goal, during the Blackhawks' game, and recorded a career high seven hits. While on defense, Paul Martin is only one point away from having 100 career points with the Penguins (16 goals and 83 assists). Some of the team leaders before the All-Star break include: Malkin with 19 goals, Sidney Crosby with 36 assists, Chris Kunitz with 4 game-winning-goals (GWG), Christian Ehrhoff with at a plus 13, and Simon Despres with 135 hits.

Hopefully, the numbers stay in favor of the Penguins, who are have lost their last four games. Some good news was that all healthy Penguin players were at the morning skate. Even Crosby (lower body), Patric Hornqvist (lower body), and Kris Letang (concussion) skated with the team. Mike Johnston gave an update on those possible for tonight's game and there will be quite a few game-time decisions. Hornqvist, Letang, and David Perron (illness) will all be game-time decisions. He confirmed though that Thomas Greiss will start in the net.

Now there has been talk about Crosby missing the All-Star game and the National Hockey League's (NHL) attendance rule. The rule doesn't allow last minute withdrawals from the All-Star weekend, play in their next team game, even if it's due to an injury. Though Crosby did comment on the attendance rule, "They don't want guys skipping out on the All-Star Game and going to Florida for four days while other guys commit their time to do it. I understand the thought process behind it, but my case isn't the case there. All things considered I wouldn't be playing tonight anyway." (quote from

The Penguins will be without the services of Crosby and Malkin, that much is for sure. They may be missing more, but they must move forward. This team has dealt with numerous injuries and illness and they can play their system still. They just have to stay focus and stay disciplined. Time to get back to work! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Spaling, Perron 
Bennet, Sutter, Hornqvist
Arcobello, Goc, Downie
Sill, Ebbett, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Bortuzzo
Scuderi, Despres

Greiss in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 5 Jets 3

3rd Period

0:22- HORNQVIST SCORES AN EMPTY NETTER! Letang goes to Martin who puts the puck into the Jets zone! Hornqvist gets there first and puts the puck in! 5-3 Pens!

0:44- Jets empty net again.

0:53- Jets ice the puck and Pavelec is back in the net.

1:08- Ehrhoff tires for the empty net, but it goes wide. Pens with icing.

1:30- Jets empty their net.

2:32- Perron pressures at the blue line and gets a breakaway chance. Perrons lets go of a slapper and Pavelec with the save.

4:22- Goal changed now to Sutter, from Martin and Letang.

8:21- Hornqvist battles to get a shot and Pavelec makes the save.

10:12- Downie is back on the Pens bench.

12:06- HORNQVIST SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY!!!! Sutter sets up Hornqvist up front! The puck bounces over the blocker shoulder of Pavelec and Hornqvist was whacking at it! 4-3 Pens!

12:10- Pens will get a power play as Lowry is called for charging on Downie. Downie to the locker room.

12:59- Letang has notched an assist on all three Penguin goals!

15:37- PERRON SCORES!!! Letang fires a shot at center and Pavelec makes a pad save! Perron drives to the net and jams the puck between the pads of Pavelec! 3-3 tie game!

17:06- Wheeler sits for slashing and the Pens get a power play chance!

19:01- Lowry Scores. Thorburn jumps up to bring the puck down and into the zone of the Pens. Lowry picks up the puck and blows it past the blocker of Greiss.

20:00- 20 more minutes of regulation to go! The Pens need to take control and the lead! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period horn sounds and this game is tied at two!

0:04- DOWNIE SCORES!! 4.6 seconds left and Downie ties it up! Letang is fresh off the bench and rips a shot! Pavelec with the save, but Downie jams the rebound home! 2-2 tie game!

1:02- Now the Pens are the ones bottled up in their own zone!

3:06- The Pens get sustained pressure from the fourth line. They crash the net, but can't put the puck in! Jets ice the puck.

5:31- 4 on 4 hockey ends as both guys are out of the box.

7:13- Trouba Scores. Trouba rips a shot from the point, through a screen, and past the glove of Griess. Jets lead 2-1.

7:34- Letang is over it as he has been targeted multiple times during this game. He gets in Thorburn's face and both head to the sin bin. 4 on 4 hockey.

7:41- Jets are pinning the Pens in their own zone and Greiss is stepping up.

11:06- Harrison is bulldozed by Downie near the Penguin bench.

14:57- Jets ring one off the crossbar. Everyone crashes the net as the puck is loose in the blue paint.

16:33- Sill and Chiarot drop the gloves. Sill taking up for Letang after Chiarot hit him into the boards.

17:47- Thorburn Scores. Thorburn is released from the box and puts a shot up into the corner. 1-1 tie game.

18:11- The Pens power play is killed. The Jets come out aggressive and look like they have more fire.

20:00- Second period is underway! The Pens start with a power play for another 1:49! Make it 2-0 Pens! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period comes to an end and the Pens have the 1-0 lead!

0:11- The Pens get a late power play as Thorburn is called for hooking.

0:52- Ehrhoff fires a shot high and wide.

1:35- The Jets only have four shots.

2:00- The Jets get some pressure due to turnovers by the Pens, but the Pens regroup and clear.

3:02- The Pens are dominating the puck control in this game. The Jets have had tons of trouble exiting their zone and stepping up plays.

8:53- Greiss holds strong as Lowry takes a few whacks, after Greiss had made a shoulder save on Kane's shot. All result of a turnover by Despres.

9:19- Downie and Byfuglien show their love for one another...or lack there of that is.

10:59- Letang picks up an assist and it's his 200th career assist! Congrats to Letang!

12:38- SPALING SCORES! Perron goes flying towards Pavelec and pulls him to the side of the net! He makes a beautiful pass to the slot with both Spaling and Bennett driving down the center! Spaling puts the puck in the open net! 1-0 Pens!

13:05- Byfuglien has been stepping up into offensive plays. Greiss making the saves. Could be a chance for the Pens to take advantage!

15:48- Letang steps up to take the puck in. Pavelec makes the save, but gives up a huge rebound in front. Perron goes driving for the puck, but is canceled out by a Jet.

17:43- The Pens start off with some speed and look fresh. Good puck movement.

20:00- Puck drop at Consol and it's official Hockey Night in Pittsburgh! Welcome back after a little break! Time for the Pens to get back on track! Lets Go Pens!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

It's a Wednesday Night Rivalry Game in Pittsburgh!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back on the ice at Consol after a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, last night. It turned out to be a physical game, which amassed into 91 total minutes for both teams. It all started with a nasty hit made by Zac Rinaldo, which left Kris Letang down on the ice. Rinaldo was ejected and will have a phone hearing with the National Hockey League (NHL) on Monday. The game was horrible and the referees had no control of it.

However, the Penguins must move on as they will host the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Pittsburgh. This is how their numbers stack up. The Penguins currently have a 10 game unbeaten streak at home against the Blackhawks (7-0-3) at home. The Blackhawks have not won in regulation when the face the Penguins since February 22, 1997. Lastly the Penguins have a 3.08 goals-per-game average over the last three seasons, which puts them second in the NHL behind the Blackhawks.

Now for individual statistics against the Blackhawks, David Perron has 20 points (12 goals and eight assists) against the Blackhawks, which leads all Penguins. In addition, Chris Kunitz has five points (two goals and three assists) in his last four games against Chicago. Also, Kunitz achieved a career milestone last night against the Flyers, he scored his fifth career shorthanded goal and reached his NHL career 500th point.

The numbers continue to look good as the Penguins killed 28 out of the last 29 penalties at Consol, which puts the penalty kill at 96.6%. The month of January has been good for numerous players. The assist leaders for the Penguins this month are Sidney Crosby (nine), Letang (eight), Evgeni Malkin (seven), and Nick Spaling (six).

The Penguins look great on the statistic sheet, but there has been some problems. Injuries have plagued the team and now they could be out another elite defensemen. Letang was injured after the Rinaldo hit and there hasn't been a full update, The Penguins did call up Derek Pouliot from Wilkes-Barre Scranton. Hopefully, he can get rest during the All-Star break and come back healthy. All of us hope it's nothing serious. Also, the team has been going through a rough patch as they have lost three games in a row. After tonight's game, the All-Star break will start and this will be a good time for everyone to rest. They can look over their system and fix the problems before the playoffs begin.

I just hope the Penguins play a smart game tonight and no one gets injured! Let's make it through this one without any problems! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Spaling, Sutter, Bennett
Arcobello, Goc, Downie
Sill, Ebbett, Adams

Martin, Bortuzzo
Scuderi, Pouliot
Harrington, Ehrhoff

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 2 Blackhawks 3 SO

The Hawks get the 3-2 win and the Pens have now lost four in a row. It was a better game by the Pens, but they couldn't finish. Hopefully the All-Star break gives them a chance to rest up and when they come back they will get some wins on the board.

Kane scores.

Crosby is stopped by the pad of Crawford.

Toews scores.

Perron hits the post.

0:00- We are going to see a shootout!

1:32- Hossa misses an open net!

2:40- Fleury makes the save on Kane's spin-o-rama shot!

3:45- Perron battles through two players to get the puck deep. Such a hard working player.

5:00- This overtime is underway! The Pens need to just crash the Hawks net! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- This game is headed to overtime.

1:19- The Hawks ice the puck.

3:55- Fleury has been holding strong and keeping the Pens in this one.

6:28- Perron just makes his own way to the front of the net! Crawford with the save!

7:33- Fleury gets a shoulder on Richard's shot! Wow!

8:56- Martin lays a hard hit that sends Rundblad flying!

10:10- Finally a stoppage in play as Fleury gobbles up Towes' shot!

12:54- Toews is robbed by Fleury right in front!

15:02- Crawford comes out of the net to play the puck, but it takes a weird bounce landing in front of the net. Perron gets the puck and stick handles around Crawford, but the puck just goes right through the blue paint!

18:24- The Pens come out and start crashing the net!

19:34- Bennett is back on the ice!

20:00- The final period of regulation has started! The Pens have to keep up the pressure and shot total! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Pens have tied up things at 2.

0:44- Kunitz feeds a beautiful pass to Crosby! He goes down to one knee to fire a hard shot, which beats Crawford, but not the post!

2:23- Bennett has gone down the runway to the locker room.

4:36- Fleury flashes the glove to grab up Hossa's shot!

6:24- Fleury stands strong on a Hawks breakaway!

7:35- DOWNIE SCORES!! Downie gets the puck to Harrington at the point! He fires on net! Goc and Downie crash the net! Downie finds the loose puck and puts it in! Acrobello gets an assist and it's his first point as a Penguin! 2-2 tie game!

9:01- Kunitz and Crosby get chances on net and they were right on the doorstep!

11:59- Hawks are able to kill the Pens power play. The Pens looked much better and shot the puck every chance they got.

13:59- Downie is highsticked on the play and the Pens get a power play opportunity!

14:39- SILL SCORES HIS FIRST NHL GOAL! Ebbett feeds the puck to Sill who rips one past Crawford! The Pens have cut the Hawks lead in half! 2-1 Hawks.

17:19- Hossa Scores on the power play. Hossa holds the puck, Bickell screens Fleury. As Fleury looks left (blocker), Hossa goes right (glove). Hawks up 2-0.

18:20- Perron is called for holding and the Hawks get a power play.

18:44- Perron and Crosby get a chance as Perron passes to the center. Crosby is flying down the slot, but misses the puck!

20:00- Now it't time for the second period! I hope the Pens come out with speed and pepper the net with shots! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period comes to an end and the Hawks lead 1-0.

1:22- A issue with the scoreboard clock keeps the teams waiting. The refs get everything figured out and the game is back underway.

2:36- Mark that down as a successful penalty kill for the Pens.

4:36- Now the Pens will have to kill a Hawks power play as they are called for too many men on the ice.

6:39- The Hawks kill it. The Pens need to get in the mind sight to shoot the puck more and do less of setting up pretty plays.

8:39- The Pens will get the first power play of the game as Oduya sits for hooking on Bennett.

8:42- Saad is denied right on the doorstep by Fleury, who keeps his pads strong, as Saad takes multiple whacks!

10:12- Ehrhoff rings a shot off the goal post! Great shift by the Pens third line.

12:56- Rundblad Scores. The Hawks pin the Pens in their own zone on an impressive shift. Rundblad snipes one from the point and the Hawks take the 1-0 lead.

13:31- Saad fires a shot right in front, but Fleury directs it wide!

17:58- Arcobello rips a shot on net and Crawford makes the glove save.

20:00- Malkin is a late scratch! Puck drop at Consol! Pens take on the Hawks! Lets Go Pens!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Cross-State War Continues!

By: MF,

The Pennsylvania cross-state war will continue tonight as the Pittsburgh Penguins visit Philadelphia to take on the Flyers. There is no love loss between these two teams with a National Hockey League (NHL) historic rivalry. This game will be a physical game, as they usually end up being. Let's take a look at the match-up numbers.

To start off, the Penguins are 11-3-1 in their last 15 games at the Wells Fargo Center, which is the home of the Flyers. They also have been tied for the fewest road regulation losses in the NHL with the Winnipeg Jets at five. The Penguins' road numbers continue to look fantastic. The last 10 Evgeni Malkin's last 11 points have been on the road (six goals and seven assists).

In addition, Malkin has 30 points (13 goals and 17 assists) in 23 games at the Wells Fargo Center. Not to mention, 30 of his 59 points against the Flyers have come on the road. The other half of the two-headed monster is putting up great numbers this month. Sidney Crosby has scored in three straight games (four goals). Crosby currently has 13 points in the month of January, which places him third in the NHL. The two of them are ranked first and second in points in the Eastern Conference, Malkin with 40 points and Crosby at 39 points. While on defense, Kris Letang has a four game point streak consisting of one goal and seven assists.  

The Penguins are getting contributions from new member, David Perron. Perron has fit right into the lineup and is getting to work. In his six games Perron has scored five goals, two assists, and seven points. He is on track to surpass his numbers during his 38 games with the Edmonton Oilers. His has made the Penguins top line even more lethal.

On to the morning skate, the only missing player was Simon Despres, who wasn't feeling well this morning. Also, Bobby Farnham was called up and in the rotating lines. On the injury front, Mike Johnston gave an update on Blake Comeau and Patric Hornqvist.

He stated, "Both of them are getting X-rays this week, so we’ll know from those X-rays exactly what the timeline is for them...But the anticipation was, as far as our trainers go with them skating, was for both of them to start skating in the next 4-5 days. I know it’s at the All-Star break, so there won’t be much skating going on at that time. But certainly as soon as we come out of the All-Star break, we anticipate they’ll both be on the ice in some form or fashion -- whether it’s in the morning before we get on or it’s starting to get on with us."

The Penguins have gone through a tough stretch, but it's now time to bounce back.

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Spaling, Malkin, Bennett
Arcobello, Sutter, Downie
Farnham, Adams, Sill

Martin, Letang
Harrington, Ehrhoff
Scuderi, Bortuzzo

Greiss in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 2 Flyers 3 OT

1:32- Giroux Scores. Greiss comes up with a huge save and no whistle. Giroux gets to the loose puck and jams it home. 3-2 Flyers win in overtime. Such a horrible game.

2:56- Flyers back onto the power play as the Pens are called for too many men on the ice.

3:00- The Pens kill it! Martin and Greiss were fantastic!

5:00- Overtime is underway! Sill is in the box for cross-checking to start! Pens with big kill ahead! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- We are headed to overtime!

1:30- Kunitz fires a shot that is waved off. It looked like it crossed the line, but they didn't review it.

3:04- The Pens power play ends.

5:04- Bortuzzo is down on the ice and Brayden Schenn heads to the box for interference.

5:54- Mark that as a successful kill for the Flyers.

7:54- Del Zotto is called for delay of game and the Pens get a power play opportunity.

8:08- The Pens kill it and Greiss was huge in net! He is the reason this game is tied and the Pens still have a chance.

10:36- Greiss makes a huge save with his left shoulder!

11:08- Bortuzzo sits for tripping. The Pens have to kill a huge Flyers power play chance.

13:03- The Flyers pressure the Pens in their own zone, but Malkin gets the puck and goes up ice. He gets two great chances on net, but Emery makes the saves.

15:58- Vandevelde Scores. Del Zotto fires from the point and Vandevelde redirects the shot past Greiss. 2-2 tie game.

17:59- BENNETT SCORES!! Bennett and Malkin get a 2 on 1 chance! Bennett passes to Malkin, he holds and goes around a sprawling Del Zotto! Malkin goes back to Bennett, who puts the puck in a wide open net! 2-1 Pens!

18:24- Downie is back and takes his first shift.

20:00- The third is underway! This will be interesting! The Pens have to stay focus and crash the net! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period finally comes to an end. Things are tied up at one.

2:28- Farnham and Bellemare drop them. Farnham shows class as he doesn't light Bellemare up while he was down.

3:56- Ehrhoff drives center with Crosby and Perron on the wings. Crosby goes across ice to Perron, his shot is saved by Emery!

5:59- Malkin in back on the bench!

6:16- It's a successful Pens penalty kill!

6:24- Flyers now have a 8 second power play.

7:32- Greiss makes a sick glove save on Giroux!

8:24- 4 on 4 for two minutes as Del Zotto launches himself into Bortuzzo. Refs call him for charging.

9:59- Now 3:54 power play for the Flyers as he received two minor penalties. Downie's slash on Del Zotto and then grabbing Schenn's face shield during the fight.

10:06- Downie and Luke Schenn drop them. Downie ends up cutting his knuckles and goes to the locker room. 4 on 4 for six seconds.

11:45- Vorcek gets an extra instigator penalty. Pens power play and by the way Malkin went to the locker room.

12:15- Vorcek mugs Scuderi. Both sit for fighting.

12:22- The Pens power play is killed.

14:22- Emery punches Perron in the side of the head and he will get a roughing penalty. The Pens get a power play chance.

14:57- Scuderi goes to the locker room. Hit in the eye by Couturier's glove.

16:05- The Pens kill it!

17:01- KUNITZ SCORES A SHORTHANDED GOAL! Kunitz flies into the Flyers zone and snipes one past Emery! 1-1 tie game!

18:05- Adams goes for cross-checking. Sill and Michael Raffl ring the bell. Sill dominates that fight!

19:22- The Pens are unable to capitalize.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have a 36 second power play left over to start this period! Time to capitalize! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Flyers have the 1-0 lead.

2:15- The Pens fire one off the goal post!

4:24- Letang is hit hard by Rinaldo and it was an ugly hit. The Pens come to his defense and Letang is attended to by trainers. Rinaldo is tossed and Letang goes to the locker room. The Pens get a five minute power play.

5:13- Now they Flyers have life and follow up with pressuring the Pens in their own zone. Momentum shift.

6:49- Luke Schenn Scores. Bennett feeds a pass right in Luke Schenn. Schenn rifles one past Greiss, screened by Ehrhoff and Harrington. It was the Flyers second shot of the game. 1-0 Flyers.

8:06- Greiss gets a chance to touch the puck and he holds for the whistle. That is the Flyers first shot of the game.

10:02- Letang has been doing a great job of getting involved in offensive zone plays. It feels like he will get a goal tonight or at the least an assist.

12:26- The Pens power play is killed off by the Flyers. They had some great chances, but couldn't put on the finishing touches. Shots are now 10-0 in favor of the Pens.

14:26- Ehrhoff draws a cross-checking penalty on Rinaldo. The Pens deadly power play comes onto ice.

15:24- Spaling was right on the doorstep, but can't jam in the loose puck. Shots are now 6-0 in favor of the Pens.

17:20- Letang has gotten two good shots off from the point. Emery makes the necessary saves.

18:32- The Pens start off with the Crosby line and they get the puck deep. Great opening shift.

20:00- The puck had dropped at the Wells Fargo Center! Time for the Pens to bounce back! Lets Go Pens!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

We are Ready!

By: MF, 

The New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol Energy Center. Today's game is a rare afternoon game, so that makes it a hockey day in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are coming off a horrible loss to the New York Islanders and are looking to bounce back. It won't be an easy thing to do against the Rangers, who have always been a pain in the Penguins' side.

However, the Penguins power play is getting back on track and it couldn't of come at a better time. The Penguins power play over the last five games is 50%, which means they have capitalized on four out of eight. This is a major improvement, but as the Penguins get guys back from the injury list, things start clicking. Plus, new addition, David Perron has been fitting right into the mix.

Speaking of Perron, he has four goals in the month of January, which is the most among the Penguins during that span. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, and Perron are firing on all cylinders, making the first line a deadly combination. Kunitz recorded his 499th career point, during the Islanders' game and is one point shy of the big 500. On another note, Marcel Goc is one of five forwards in the National Hockey League (NHL) to average at least 3 minutes of shorthanded time on the ice.

Let's talk about the two-headed monster of Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Crosby has 12 points in the last six games (three goals and nine assists). We don't have to worry about him anymore, not that I was worried to begin with. Now both Crosby and Malkin are #1 and #2 in the NHL point-per-game race (Crosby 1.25 and Malkin 1.16).

Time to move onto defense. First off, Simon Despres had a grand total of eight hits during the Islander game. This was only the fourth time this season a Penguin skater recorded eight hits or more in a game. Despres accounts for two of the four instances. We can't talk defense without mentioning, Kris Letang. Letang has really been an offensive defender as he has seven points in his last six games (one goal and six assists). This is in large part to him being on the top power play unit and getting involved at every turn.

Now the Penguins have to play a full 60 minute game, if they want to get the win against the Rangers. They need to keep up the pressure at all times and stay disciplined. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Bennett, Malkin, Arcobello
Spaling, Sutter, Downie
Sill, Goc, Adams

Martin, Letang
Scuderi, Ehrhoff
Despres, Bortuzzo

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 2 Rangers 5

3rd Period
0:00- Tough stretch for the Pens as the Rangers get the 5-2 win. By no means do I think everyone should be traded and they suck. It has been a tough stretch for the Pens, but it's a learning process. I hope they learn from these horrible losses and fix the problems. I would rather this happen now, then in the playoffs. However,  the Pens have to learn from these games. Not sweep them under the rug! Tuesday will prove as a test, to see if they learned anything.

1:00- This game is coming to an end.

3:10- The Pens are now using Malkin-Crosby-Perron as the first line.

7:53- The Pens crash the net and hunt for the loose puck. Lundqvist denies both Letang and Perron on the doorstep.

9:55- Perron and Crosby get a chance on the fly. Perron holds and rips a shot, but Lundqvist flashes the glove!

11:02- Rangers power play comes to an end.

11:04- Rangers ring one off the post.

11:23- The Pens get a 2 on 1 chance, but Spaling's shot is saved by Lundqvist!

13:02- Bennett will now have a seat in the box. Rangers to the power play.

13:45- Stepan Scores. Malkin turnovers the puck and the Rangers get a 3 on 1 chance. The puck bounces around, Stepan ends up with the puck. He snipes it. 5-2 Rangers.

15:42- PERRON SCORES!! Perron drives between/through Girardi and McDonagh and is able to propel the puck through the five hole of Lundqvist! 4-2 Rangers.

16:35- The Pens have been able to generate some chances, but the Rangers are doing a great job of putting sticks in the lanes. Thus breaking up the Pens plays.

18:12- Martin with a sneaky shot from the point. It almost fools Lundqvist, but goes off the side of the net.

18:59- Bennett and Malkin team up to get a good chance, but Malkin's shot is gobbled up by Lundqvist.

20:00- One more period to go! I hope a different team comes out of the Pens locker room! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Rangers have the 4-1 lead.

2:18- Mark that down as a successful kill, but every Penguin fan had a panic attack.

4:18- The Pens passes the puck once too many times and Kreider gets a breakaway. Despres is called for slashing.

6:00- That is a successful kill.

8:00- The Rangers will head back onto the power play. Perron called for holding.

11:10- Pens are being outworked, turning over pucks, and getting penalties. Dump that puck and get to work...plain and simple. Hard work = goals.

14:13- Greiss comes in for Fleury. The Pens need to step up...big time.

14:15- Stepan Scores on the power play. Stepan fires a rocket shot passed a screened Fleury. Kreider was a huge wall in front. 4-1 Rangers.

15:31- Despres goes for delay of game and the Rangers get a power play.

17:21- Nash Scores. Nash blasts one from the point and Scuderi deflects the puck, in front, right over Fleury. 3-1 Rangers.

17:24- Malkin is playing with some fire.

20:00- The second period officially underway! The Pens have to get to work and beat the Rangers to every puck! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period comes to an end and the Pens are only down by one to the Rangers. 2-1 Rangers.

0:17- The Pens penalty kill is successful!

2:11- Ehrhoff is released from the box and the Rangers have a regular power play for 1:54.

2:17- Martin is off for cross-checking. The Rangers get a 5 on 3 power play for six seconds.

4:10- Now Ehrhoff will rest in the box for tripping. Penalty kill time for the Pens.

4:50- CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Letang goes to Perron, who steps up a makes a slap pass/shot to the Crosby! Crosby at the side of the net and puts the loose puck in the wide open net! 2-1 Rangers

5:33- Third power play for the Pens and maybe this will be the one! Kreider for interference.

8:55- That marks the end of the power play. Perron had a solid chance at the start of it, but after that it didn't go well.

10:55- Malkin draws a hooking penalty on St.Louis and the Pens get a huge power play opportunity.

13:52- Brassard Scores. Klein fires a hard shot, which is saved by Fleury. The puck takes a weird bounce and Brassard finds the loose puck. He rifles one into the net. 2-0 Rangers.

15:08- The Pens power play comes to an end. The Pens had a few good looks at the net, but Lundqvist stood tall.

15:25- Downie makes a beautiful pass from the slot area, under pressure, to Sutter. He is robbed by Lundqvist!

17:08- A power play chance for the Pens as Mark Staal heads to the sin bin for interference.

19:34- Nash Scores. The puck bounces over Letang's stick at the blue line and Nash takes advantage. 2 on 1 chance, Nash holds and snipes one blocker side. 1-0 Rangers.

20:00- It's a hockey day in Pittsburgh! Arcobello moves up to the second line with Malkin! The Pens need come out with speed against the Rangers! Lets Go Pens! 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

A Penguin Nightmare!

By: MF, 

What seemed like a Pittsburgh Penguin controlled game, turned out to be a Penguin nightmare.

The game started with Hockey Hall of Framer Bryan Trottier leading the New York Islanders onto the ice. He stood at center ice with Sidney Crosby and John Tavares to drop the ceremonial puck. This was all to honor the Islanders final season at the Nassau Coliseum.

Once the ceremony ended, the referee dropped the puck to officially start the game. The Islanders came out with speed, but Marc-Andre Fleury stood strong in the net. He came up with several huge saves to keep the Islanders at bay, including saves to kill off an early penalty, then the Penguins got a chance of their own.

The Penguins received two power play opportunities in a 90 minute span, and they took advantage, . Crosby started the scoring by knocking in the rebound of a shot by Chris Kunitz. Then, on their next power play, David Perron ripped one through traffic past Jaroslav Halak. Just like that, the Penguins were up 2-0.

However, the Islanders didn't back down. Only moments after the Penguins killed off the Islanders second power play chance, they cut the lead in half. The Islanders' talented Captain, Tavares, stick handled right around Simon Despres to slide a pass to Kyle Okposo who tipped the puck in with his skate. The goal was reviewed, and was deemed a good goal.

As the second period got underway, Halak seemed to pick up his game, and the Islanders showed they were not going to go away quietly. Eight minutes into the second period, the Islanders had tied up the game at 2-2 with a goal from Ryan Strome. But the Penguins answered right back. With only 4.4 seconds left in the second period, Crosby put the Penguins back into the lead, thanks to a sick pass across the slot by Evgeni Malkin.

The Islanders didn't let this stick. With about seven minutes left in the third period, Okposo tied things back up with a backhander goal. The Penguins were back on their heels, but there was plenty of time, and they could take back the lead. This didn't happen. The Islanders went ahead for the first time in this game. Okposo earned a hat trick with the Islanders' fourth goal, which came off of a 3-on-2 rush. It was now a 4-3 Islander game.

There was still a chance for the Penguins to make a comeback, but being undisciplined ruined their chances. Steve Downie, who has been controlling his penalties as of late, snapped, after not getting a slashing call earlier. He was called for slashing Brock Nelson and the Islanders capitalized. Okposo put in his fourth goal of the night, and the Penguins were down by two. As a last minute desperation play, the Penguins emptied their net. Michael Grabner nailed home the Islander victory with an empty net goal.

With the win, the Islanders put themselves three points above the Penguins for the Metropolitan Division, and one point above the Tampa Bay Lightning for the Eastern Conference lead. On a good note, Crosby now has 88 points (27 goals and 61 assists) during 49 regular season games versus the Islanders. Also, both him and Malkin, have each reached 50 points, which is only two behind the league leader Jakub Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers).

The Penguins became spectators during their own game and that cost them. Bad turnovers, giveaways, and not staying disciplined cost them the game. They had things under control, but a hockey game is a full 60 minute process. A team cannot show up for one period or two and think they have things in hand. All it takes is one period for things to come undone, and that happened in this one. Lesson learned and time to move on.  

Below are some statistics from the game:

Three Stars

1st Star - Kyle Okposo (four goals = four points)

2nd Star - John Tavares (three assists = three points)

3rd Star - Crosby (two goals and one assist = four points)

Scoring Summary

1st Period
9:08: Power Play Goal (PPG) - Crosby (13) tip-in
         Assisted by Kunitz and Letang

7:38: PPG Perron (9) wrist shot
         Assisted by Letang (20) and Crosby (36)

3:09: Kyle Okposo (10) tip-in
         Assisted by John Tavares (21) and Josh Bailey (9)

2nd Period
Arcobello the new Penguin / Pittsburgh Penguins
7:29: Ryan Strome (8) wrist shot
         Assisted by Anders Lee (5) and Frans Nielsen (14)

0:04: Crosby (14) wrist shot
         Assisted by Martin (8) and Letang (21)

3rd Period
13:18: Kyle Okposo (11) backhand shot
           Assisted by John Tavares (22) and Josh Bailey (10)

8:09: Kyle Okposo (12) wrist shot - Hat Trick
         Assisted by Josh Bailey (11) and Travis Hammonic (8)

2:31: PPG Kyle Okposo (13) wrist shot
         Assisted by Brock Nelson (18) and John Tavares (23)

1:13: Empty Net (EN) Michael Grabner (3) wrist shot

Penalty Summary

1st Period
13:01: Spaling - 2 minute - hooking against Kyle Okposo

9:32: Michael Grabner - 2 minute - tripping against Harrington

8:09: Cal Clutterbuck - 2 minute - high sticking against Letang

5:20: Harrington - 2 minute - hooking against Brock Nelson

2nd Period
16:17: Ehrhoff - 2 minute - holding against Casey Cizikas

16:17: Casey Cizikas - 2 minute - roughing against Ehrhoff

3rd Period
2:41: Downie - 2 minute - slashing against Brock Nelson

Goalie Statistics

Saves: 34
Goals Against (GA): 5
Save Percentage (SVP): .853

Jaroslav Halak
Saves: 24
GA: 3
SVP: .875

Marc-Andre Fleury a True All Star!

By: MF, 

The National Hockey League (NHL) has announced the 2015 Columbus NHL All-Star Game roster.  It was no surprise that Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were among those chosen, but the big shock came with the goalie selections. Shocking was who wasn't on that list, as Marc-Andre Fleury was not among those chosen. I double checked and there wasn't a typo, he really didn't get selected.

A netminder who has been posting career high numbers and top league numbers was somehow left off the list. All this, while second rate goalies, compared to Fleury, like Detroit Red Wings' Jimmy Howard, Florida Panthers' Roberto Luongo, and hometown favorite Sergei Bobrovsky were selected. Fleury has been outperforming all three.

Now, on a side note, the other three goalies going to the All-Star Game are Nashville Predators' Pekka Rinne, Montreal Canadiens Carey Price, and Chicago Blackhawks' Corey Crawford who was voted in by the fans. Those guys, I have no problem with, as they are posting fantastic numbers along with Fleury. The other three goalies are where the problem lies.

Let's take a look at the numbers (I excluded Crawford since he was voted in by the fans):

Goalies/Team GAA Wins SVP SO
Pekka Rinne (NSH) 1.98 28 0.93 3
Carey Price (MTL) 2.19 22 0.928 2
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT) 2.16 21 0.926 6
Jimmy Howard (DET) 2.11 16 0.92 2
Roberto Luongo (FLA) 2.23 17 0.927 2
Sergei Bobrovsky (CBJ) 2.28 15 0.914 1

(* goals against average (GAA), save percentage (SVP), and shutouts (SO) * statistics as of 1/13/15 found at

Two numbers that pop out are wins and shutouts. Fleury has at least four more wins than the other three selected. Not to mention, he has more shutouts (six, which is a career high) than those three guys combined. 

The most bizarre pick is Sergei Bobrovsky. The only reason he was selected is because Columbus is hosting the All-Star Game. Why? There is absolutely no logical reason that he was chosen based on the statistics that he has been posting. Fleury is on pace to record 43 wins, which would be a career high. While Bobrovsky, Howard, and Luongo haven't even reached the 20 win mark yet. Also, Fleury is currently ranked in the top 10 in GAA, SVP, SO, and Wins. In addition, Fleury holds both of the Penguin franchise records for career wins at 310 and shutouts at 34.  

Considering all this, how can you not select him as an All Star? Can't come up with anything? Neither can I, but the NHL had other thoughts. Fleury expressed his disappointment, but said it would give him a chance to rest up. Fleury always looks to the bright side of things. The Penguins locker room even expressed their bewilderment, and Twitter blew up with questions. I have no answers to help, and quite frankly, I think the NHL has lost their minds. 

However, this league is ever changing. Howard was injured (groin) during a game and Rinne is also on the injured list. Their injuries rule them out for the All-Star Game. Thus, a replacement has finally been announced. The NHL made good on their second chance. Fleury has finally been named to the 2015 NHL All-Star Game roster. 

"I'm pretty pumped...It's always an honor when you get a chance to play with all these guys. I'm looking forward to it," Fleury expressed. 

It's a well deserved opportunity for "The Flower." It should have happened in the initial selections, but now Fleury can take advantage. This will be his second All-Star game appearance. His first was at the 2011 NHL All-Star Game in Carolina. He did a fantastic job and was enjoyable to watch. He was making someone laugh at every turn. 

Time for the Flower to bloom for the whole league! 

A New Player is Thrown into the Mix!

By: MF, 

The minute that you take a break from your computer, and Pittsburgh Penguin hockey, they seem to dip their fingers into the trade bin, though this time there wasn't any trading done, per se. This time, they decided to claim a new player, fresh off from waivers. That new player would be forward Mark Arcobello, who was placed on waivers by the Nashville Predators on Tuesday (1/13/15). The next day, the Penguins grabbed him up and he was bound for Pittsburgh. Arcobello isn't a stranger to moving around, as the last two months have been a busy period for him.

First, he was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to the Predators in late December. The next thing he knows ,the Predators are placing him on waivers. Now he is a part of the Penguins. Mike Johnston commented on Arcobello's skill set, "He's a smart player, has a good stick, manages the puck really well. Those are some of the things I saw in his game."

Arcobello comes to the Penguins excited and ready to become part of the locker room. He expressed,
"Anytime you can join a roster with such great players on it and big names it's definitely an honor. I'm excited to get to town and get going."

During his time with both the Oilers and Predators, Arcobello has recorded eight goals and 13 points in 40 games this season. He isn't the biggest guy on the ice coming in at 5-foot-8 and 172 pounds.

However, Arcobello doesn't let this his size get in his way, and sticks to his game. "I'm a smaller guy, but I can play physical at times," he went on to add, "I try to be as smart as I can and be responsible both offensively and defensively."

It will be nice to have a new guy added to the mix. David Perron has already contributed and fitting right into the Penguins' first line. Arcobello will factor into the third line, which has been lacking on the score sheet lately. He may be able to mesh with Brandon Sutter, like Perron and Sidney Crosby, who have teamed up well together.

Arcobello concluded, "I'm really looking forward to it and can't wait for the opportunity."

(All statistics were pulled from and quotes from

Friday, January 16, 2015

We are Almost There!

Consol Energy Center / MF

By: MF, 

We are halfway through the 2014-2015 season, which means we are getting closer to the playoffs. This time gives us a chance to look back to the beginning of the season. The great numbers, achievements, and record breaking statistics.

So, this article is going to be full of numbers. Also, what are my impressions of the team and the new coaching staff? Sit back and relax, as we take a look at the Pittsburgh Penguins far.

Marc-Andre Fleury in net / MF
First, the Penguins are on pace to record 112 points, which would be the second highest total in franchise history (1992-93 season had 119). These points are adding up to wins, which the Penguins have 25 overall. This is just the fifth time in franchise history that they have reached this total at the mid-point. 15 of those wins have been at home, putting the Penguins in third in the National Hockey League (NHL) with such a total. Not to mention, the Penguins are the only team in the NHL to rank in the top ten in wins (25), points (56), goals per game (2.93), goals against per game (2.32), power play (21.6%), and penalty kill (88.2). They also lead the Eastern Conference with a .683 points percentage, making them third in the NHL behind the Anaheim Ducks (.698) and the Nashville Predators (.732).

I could go on and on about the Penguins' individuals and their achievements. Every line has been contributing, along with every player.  Steve Downie is bringing the toughness, and Simon Despres is showing that he can be an elite defensemen. Kris Letang is having a great year, and is still growing as a player under Mike Johnston, and the coaching staff's new leadership. While in net, Marc-Andre Fleury is achieving career high numbers ( I will have a article to follow later on him).

The two-headed monster / MF
Now, I wouldn't be able to continue on the Penguins' achievements without mentioning the team's two superstars, the Captain Sidney Crosby and Assistant Captain Evgeni Malkin. Lets start with Crosby, who has 44 points. He also has a 5-on-5 goals against average per 60 minutes of 1.77, which is in the top 25 in the NHL and puts him as one of the top four forwards in that category. Some say he has been in a slump since coming back from the mumps, but he will be fine. He is the best player in the world and that certainly hasn't changed. Think of it this way, we don't want him to burn out for the playoffs. Everyone can rest assured that he will be fine. Now on to Malkin, who is in the top six in the NHL in numerous categories, which include goals (19), assists (28), points (47), points per game (1.15), and games with a point (31).

Next, let's move to the new coaching staff. Under Johnston, the Penguins have a points percentage of .683 and 56 total points, which is a top mid-season mark among first year coaches in team history. So, the numbers show that the new system is working. I was unsure at the start of the season, but he has proven that he is a capable coach. His system, and new style of coaching for the team, has been taken in well. The players are taking in the new style and it's working, but the true test is when the NHL Playoffs begin.

Even with the injuries and illnesses, which have seen 35 players used in and out of the lineup this season, the team is winning, and showing their depth in their American Hockey League affiliate, Wilkes Barre-Scanton Penguins.

The Penguins need to stay focused for the rest of the season and will only improve as the injured/sick players return to the lineup.

(All statistics were obtained from and

A Battle for the Top Spot

Perron celebrates a goal / Pittsburgh Penguins
By: MF, 

There will be a battle on the Isle tonight as the Pittsburgh Penguins will face the New York Islanders at Nassau Coliseum. The Islanders are only one point ahead of the Penguins. This game will either see the Penguins retake the Metropolitan Division lead or the Islanders separate themselves further.

Now when it comes to the Islanders, the Penguins have gone 1-1-1 this season against them and have a record of 7-2 in their last nine games at Nassau Coliseum. They have been successful against the Islanders having won eight of the last 11 games, dating back to February 5, 2013.

In addition, the Penguins have been doing well on the road, earning points in 14 of their 18 road games this season (10-4-4). Also, This game starts the stretch of three straight divisional contests for the Penguins. The Penguins enter this contest having gone 4-1-1 in their last six games.
Furthermore, the Penguins have averaged 37.7 shots over their last three games. That puts them at above their team average of 31.5 shots by 6.2, which ranks them fifth in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Onto the explosive offensive of the Penguins. To start off, David Perron is fitting right in and putting up the numbers to prove it. Perron has 20 shots since joining the team that happens to be the most on the team during that span. He also recorded three points, during the Tuesday's game versus the Minnesota Wild (two goals and one assist) and established a new season high. Perron wasn't the only Penguin having a multi point game on Tuesday. The Penguins' Captain Sidney Crosby recorded his fourth three-assist game, making him the only player in the NHL with more than three, three-assist games this year. Oh! I almost forgot! Zach Sill notched his first NHL point with an assist on Marcel Goc's goal, during Tuesday's game.
Marc-Andre Fleury makes a pad save / Pittsburgh Penguins

Moving to the defense, Paul Martin has stepped back into the lineup like he had never left in the first place. During Tuesday's game, Martin blocked five shots. This is the third time Martin has blocked five or more shots during the game. The only other defensemen to do so on the team is Rob Scuderi. Martin is a hidden gem, but not to the city of Pittsburgh.

Let's talk about the new player to join the Penguins. The Penguins claimed Mark Arcobello off of waivers from the Nashville Predators. Arcobello joins the team having played 40 games and recording eight goals, five assists, and 13 points during that span. He also has a 14.0 shooting percentage, which would rank him fifth among the Penguins.

A quick injury update: Olli Maatta had a successful surgery and the doctors say there will be no long term damage. Hopefully, Maatta can now have a speedy and healthy recovery.

We have looked at the game preview and numbers, let's move onto the morning skate. All the Penguins were present along with Arcobello. Scott Harrinton, who was recently recalled, was at the morning skate and was paired with Ehrhoff. The line rushes were as follows:

Simon Despres defends / Pittsburgh Penguins
Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Spaling, Malkin, Bennett
Goc, Sutter, Downie
Sill, Arcobello, Adams

Martin, Letang
Harrington, Ehrhoff
Scuderi, Despres, Bortuzzo

The Penguins need to stay focused during this game and not let the Islanders get them off their game. There is no love loss between these two teams, which usually throws one team off their game. The Penguins have to make sure it's not them. It's game time! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Spaling, Malkin, Bennett
Goc, Sutter, Downie
Sill, Arcobello, Adams

Martin, Letang
Harrington, Ehrhoff
Scuderi, Despres

Play By Play
Pens 3 Islanders 6

3rd Period
0:00- Isles get the 6-3 win over the Pens and extend their lead over the Metro Division. Bad turnovers and not staying discipline lead to the Pens defeat.

1:13- Grabner Scores. Grabner puts one in the empty net. 6-3 Isles.

1:45- The Pens have an empty net.

2:31- Okposo Scores on the power play. The Isles crash the net and Okposo puts in the bouncing puck. 5-3 Pens.

2:41- Downie goes off for slashing and the Isles get a power play. Horrible time for a penalty to take.

3:08- Downie is robbed by Halak!

3:37- Crosby bulldozes over Boychuk to separate him from the puck.

5:28- The Pens have to watch their puck control and stop turning over the puck.

6:51- Now the Pens look to be on their heels.

8:09- Okposo Scores. The Pens are caught up ice and the Isles get a 4 on 2 chance develops. Okposo drives down the center and snipes one. He gets the hat trick and the Isles take the lead for the first time during this game 4-3.

8:43- Martin has been all over Tavares and isn't letting up. Martin and Letang are having a great game.

11:35- Fleury has to make another tough save on Leddy's shot! The Pens battle to get the rebound and clear the puck.

13:18- Okposo Scores. A weird bounce gives the Isles a 3 on 2 chance as the Pens are changing. Fleury makes the initial save, but Okposo elevates the puck past Fleury. 3-3 tie game.

14:24- Lee is denied twice by the Flower, once by the pad and one the glove!

15:07- The Pens come out flying this period and have the Isles on their heels right now.

16:38- Letang steps up and draws Halak as he goes behind the net. He outlets to Martin, but Halak grabs the puck up with his glove.

20:00- Now there are only 20 minutes left in regulation! The Pens have to keep getting to the dirty areas and finish off the Isles! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The Pens take back the lead, 3-2 over the Isles, as the period was coming to an end!

0:04- CROSBY SCORES!!! Malkin passes over to Letang at the point! Letang gets the puck to Martin at the side of the net! Martin sets up Crosby at the other side of the net! Crosby puts the puck up high! 3-2 Pens!

1:40- Fleury makes a huge kick (pad) save on Okposo's slap shot.

2:44- Crosby crashes the net, but Halak is able to freeze the puck for a whistle.

4:22- This is a tight game between the two teams. One mistake could very well mean the game will either end in the Pens favor or the Isles.

6:58- The refs are letting the teams play around in the blue paint. Fleury has been mowed over a few times, which is way more then I like. The Pens need to clean out that blue paint every time an Isle steps foot in it.

7:29- Strome Scores. Strome is able to get his stick on the loose puck and put it past a screened Fleury. 2-2 tie game.

7:32- High pace second period with little whistles.

8:25- The Pens are playing a very defensively smart game and the forwards are making sure to get back to help. Fleury is also kicking butt in net.

9:28- Tavares looks to get a breakaway, but Martin shuts them down.

10:01- Clutterbuck goes crashing into Fleury. The Flower gives him a nice welcoming and Sill backs up his goaltender.

11:15- Downie skates his heart out to get behind the Isles defense for a breakaway chance. He is denied by the outstretched pad of Halak!

13:05- Malkin and Spaling are both robbed by Halak. Amazing shift by Malkin's line.

14:17- That is all she wrote and we are back to full strength hockey.

16:17- We will get to see some 4 on 4 hockey. Ehrhoff for holding and Cizikas for roughing will have a seat for two minutes.

18:42- Nielsen fires one off the goal post!

19:04- Matt Martin gets space up  the wing during a chance and passes over to Clutterbuck in front. Fleury denies with the pad!

20:00- Another 20 minutes to go as the second period gets underway! The Pens need the momentum back in their favor. Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- The horn sounds for the first period! The Pens come out with the 2-1 lead over the Isles!

2:54- Fleury decides to come out to poke the puck away from Matt Martin and is successful!

3:09- Okposo Scores. Tavares makes a pretty play around Despres and goes to Okposo. Okposo is able to propel the puck into the net with his skate. The play is reviewed and ruled a good goal. 2-1 Pens.

3:20- Another successful kill for the Pens.

5:20- Now the Isles will get a second crack at the power play as Harrington is called for hooking.

7:38- PERRON SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY!! Letang passes off to Perron by the blue line! Perron fires a shot through traffic, it's redirected, and blows past Halak! 2-0 Pens!

8:09- Another power play opportunity for the Pens as Clutterbuck is caught for highsticking on Letang.

9:08- CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Malkin carries the puck into the zone and passes off to Kunitz! Kunitz slaps one, which is saved by the pad of Halak! Crosby drives to the net and the rebound goes off his shin into the net! 1-0 Pens!

9:32- Grabner will take a seat for tripping up Harrington. Time for a Pens power play!

10:04- Harrington fires a shot from the point, but it's redirected into the netting by Spaling.

11:01- The Pens penalty kill has been on fire and has another successful kill as Spaling is released. Fleury was huge on that penalty kill.

13:01- Spaling skates off to the box as he is found guilty of hooking. The Isles will get the first power play of the game.

14:44- The Isles come with pressure, but Fleury is there to stop them. Coming up big early!

16:48- Crosby battles between Isles to get in the offensive zone then makes a play to Ehrhoff. Halak makes the save and the Isles ice the puck. Hard work by Crosby gives the Pens a great chance.

19:27- Fleury makes a huge save to start this game. The Pens can't let the Isles set the tone of the game like that. They need to step it up.

20:00- The puck has been dropped at Nassau Coliseum as the Pens take on the Isles! Time to come out with speed and get to work early! Lets Go Pens!