Sunday, March 29, 2015

A win for Letang!

By: MF, 

It's the second day of back-to-back home games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were able to dispatch the Arizona Coyotes in a 3-2 win, yesterday afternoon. However, this was not without losing something. Defenseman Kris Letang was hit by Coyotes Shane Doan. He went flying backwards into the corner boards and hit the back of his head. He was helped off the ice and looked to be completely out of it. He went to the hospital after that. Letang was released today from the hospital and has a concussion. Mike Johnston stated that they will take things day-to-day and see how he reacts and recovers from the concussion. It was a scary thing to watch and I wish Letang a speedy recovery. He is the leader of defense and has had a Norris trophy season. I hope he can come back before the start of the playoffs, but wish him to recover fully before he even thinks of coming back.

Tonight, the Penguins face the San Jose Sharks and they will have to step up their game without Letang in the lineup. They will play with five defensemen and if needed, Daniel Winnik will fall back to the defense, if needed. This puts a heavier weight on the defense and goalie to hold down the fort. That means the Penguins' offense will have to step up their game and keep the puck deep in the Sharks' zone, taken the pressure of the defense. As a team, the Penguins are 17-6-4 against Western Conference teams this season.

Two-headed monster time. Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby will be called upon to get the Penguins going and put the Sharks on their heels. Malkin has 3.42 points per 60 minutes, which puts him first in the National Hockey League (NHL). He also has a team high 28 goals and averages 1.09 points per game, which is second in the NHL. As for Crosby, has had three plus points in 12 of 70 games this season (17.1%). Crosby leads the NHL in points with 78 that is two points ahead of second place Jake Voracek (Philadelphia Flyers). He is one of just five Eastern Conference players to average at least a point-per-game, against Western Conference teams. In addition, Crosby is only one goal shy of 300 in his career.

The Penguins are fortunate enough to have an explosive offense, which means they are getting contributes from everyone in the lineup. Winnik scored his ninth goal of the season during yesterday's game and it gave him a career high 31 points. Another guy putting up numbers is Steve Downie. Downie has five goals in his last nine home games. He has some big numbers when the Penguins are at Consol, so look for him to get on the scoreboard. The Penguins had 46 shots during the game yesterday and it was their second highest shot total, this season. They have to continue to get shots on net and the more the better their chances are of getting one to go in. After that, usually, the flood gates open for them.

Without the services of Letang, the Penguins will be down a valuable defenseman. They need to come out with speed and get on the board early. The Penguins have to take pressure of the defense early that way, they don't have to battle late in the game, when they will be tired. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Winnik, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Malkin, Comeau
Spaling, Sutter, Downie
Perron, Lapierre, Bennett

Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 3 Sharks 2 SO


Couture hits the goal post!


Karlsson goes wide!


OT Period
0:00- We are going to a shootout! No matter what happens...just an amazing job by the penalty killers.

1:01- What an amazing job, so far by the Pens penalty killers.

2:48- The Pens penalty kill is working hard and Fleury has made some saves to keep the Pens in it.

3:40- Hornqvist gets a four-minute high sticking major. Sharks with a 4 on 3 power-play for the rest of this overtime.

3:58- Fleury makes a pad save on Thornton.

5:00- Are you ready for some extra hockey? Come on Pens, get time to kick it into high gear and get the win! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- 60 minutes of regulation wasn't enough and this 2-2 game is headed to overtime.

1:52- Spaling is set free! Great penalty kill by the Pens!

2:46- Winnik lays down to block a shot. Lapierre gets the loose puck and battles to get it out to the neutral zone.

3:52- Another Shark power-play. Spaling skates to the box for holding.

4:15- The Pens have generated some rebound chances, but the Sharks defense is doing a good job of clearing them before the Pens can get to them.

4:40- The Sharks are back to full strength.

6:40- Power-play time for the Pens as Wingels sits down for high-sticking on Pouliot.

8:12- Things are still all tied up. The next one will be a big one as time whines down.

10:57- Awesome work by the Pens penalty killers. Crosby is set free and the Pens held the Sharks to only two shots during that power-play chance.

12:57- Crosby heads to the box for tripping. Power-play for the Sharks.

14:30- Crosby enters the zone and carries the puck straight to the net. Stalock covers the puck.

16:15- Both teams are fully engaged in this one now.

20:00- The third period is underway! The Pens have to get more sustained offensive zone pressure and put the Sharks back on their heels! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and this game is all tied up at two.

1:09- Crosby crashes the net to look for a rebound chance. Stalock makes sure there is no rebound chance.

3:30- The Sharks offense has come on during the second period. The Pens have been more on the defensive.

4:22- Couture Scores on the power-play. The Sharks break into the zone with a two-on-one and Martin is caught flatfooted. Couture gets in alone and doesn't miss. 2-2 tie game.

5:05- Lovejoy is now in the sin bin for cross-checking. Sharks back onto the power-play.

6:54- The Pens come up with a successful penalty kill and held the Sharks to zero shots on their power-play.

8:54- The Sharks will now have a power-play opportunity. Lapierre sits for hooking.

10:35- Malkin crashes the net, but Stalock keeps the puck out.

13:16- Smith Scores. Braun fires from the point and the puck is tipped by Smith. It goes by Fleury, who is screened and didn't see it. 2-1 Pens.

15:46- Fleury makes a solid save as Couture crashes the net.

18:16- Quite a few whistles to start this game. Hard to get into a rhythm with all the stoppages.

20:00- Time for the second! The Pens have to keep up the hard work, play smart and take it to the Sharks! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Pens have the 2-0 lead over the Sharks!

1:35- Pouliot has been looking confident and carrying the puck well out of the Pens' zone. He gets better every game.

3:14- Fleury has been sharp in the net against the few shots he has faced. The Pens are doing a great job of clearing the puck out and not giving the Sharks chances on rebounds.

4:32- Some good back and forth hockey. No real chances for either team in the last couple of minutes.

7:08- Comeau almost gets a breakaway, but is called for off-sides.

9:25- The Pens have some jump in their step. Looking good in the first period.

11:56- KUNITZ SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! Pouliot passes over to Crosby, who is all alone on the other side of the ice! Crosby feeds a beautiful pass to Kunitz, flying to the side of the net. Kunitz elevates the puck over Stalock's pad! 2-0 Pens!

12:19- The Pens will get the first power-play as Fedun sits for hooking.

12:52- HORNQVIST SCORES! Winnik wins the battle behind the net and feeds the puck out front! Stalock makes the first save, but Hornqvist gets to the loose puck and finds the back of the net! 1-0 Pens!

14:56- Fleury makes a nice pad save with the Sharks on the rush.

17:05- Cole fires a rocket shot that is deflected and it rings off the post!

17:12- Not too many shots for either team to start this one.

20:00- The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to come out with speed and get on the board early! Let's get the win for Letang! Lets Go Pens! 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fired up and ready to get a win!

By: MF, 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back at Consol, to take on the Arizona Coyotes, after a short little road trip to Carolina. The Penguins are coming off some hard loses and look to be lost on the ice. Tonight they will get back the services of Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. Hopefully, they can spark the Penguins into action. It has been missing in all their games. The Penguins are 8-3-3 on their first back-to-back games. Not to mention, they have four wins in their last six meetings against the Coyotes. During that time, the Penguins have killed off 26 of 27 Coyote power-plays.

Having both those guys back will help fire up the offense. It will also take some of the weight off of Sidney Crosby's shoulders. The Penguin Captain goes into this game with 75 league-leading points (24 goals and 51 assists). He even has a 1.90 points-per-game average, which is tops in the National Hockey League (NHL). Crosby is also one of just five Eastern Conference players to average at least a point-per-game against Western Conference teams. Crosby has had multi-point efforts in four of nine career games against the Coyotes. Now the top team lines of the Penguins are not the only ones putting up some big numbers. Guys like Brandon Sutter and Steve Downie are contributing every game. Sutter has tied his second-highest career total of 17 goals, for the second time in his career. His highest career total is 21 and he could very well tie or surpass that. Downie is a big guy on the scoreboard when it comes to home games. He has four goals in his last eight home games. That is good for a guy, who is seen as only an enforcer.

The offense can't do their job without a solid defense to back them up. Ian Cole was able to finally notch his first goal in a Penguin uniform, last Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. He has proved to be a great addition to the defense and has five goals on the season, which only puts him behind Kris Letang (who has 11). In between the pipes will be Thomas Greiss, this will be his first start against his former team, since becoming a Penguin.

The Penguins be without the services for David Perron, who is out due to an illness. They will have to come out with speed and jump in their step. The Penguins have to get ahead first and stay in front of the Coyotes! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Winnik, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Malkin, Comeau
Bennett, Sutter, Downie
Spaling, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Greiss in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 3 Coyotes 2

3rd Period

0:40- Big save by Greiss!

1:51- Rieder Scores. The Pens miss coverage and Rieder who comes flying down the side. He puts one in an open net. 3-2 Pens!

2:10- Coyotes have an empty net.

4:27- Kunitz is flying on the forecheck. Looking much better in this game then the last few games.

6:36- The Coyotes are back to full strength.

8:35- Riot ensues in the blue paint and bodies are everywhere. The referees get it under control. The goal is review and ruled a good goal.

8:36- CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! The Pens cycle the puck and Pouliot fires from the half boards! Crosby is deep in the blue paint! The puck goes off his stick and leg into the net! 3-1 Pens!

9:26- Sutter is high-sticked again and is bleeding. Stone with a four-minute power-play. Sutter to the locker room.

10:41- DOWNIE SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! Crosby comes flying into the zone and backs everyone up! Crosby makes a backwards pass to Downie, who rips one over the pad of Smith! 2-1 Pens!

11:42- Campbell is off for high sticking Sutter. The Pens get a power-play

12:44- WINNIK SCORES! HIS FIRST AS A PENGUIN! Smith makes a save on a shot from the point! Winnik finds the rebound and finds the back of the net! 1-1 tie game!

15:08- Dahlbeck Scores. Dahlbeck fires a hard shot from the point, through traffic and it blows past Greiss. 1-0 Coyotes.

17:07- Greiss has made some big saves for the Pens. Very solid between the pipes.

17:49- Malkin gets a piece of the puck in the slot to direct it towards the net. Smith makes the save. If Malkin had gotten all of the puck, it would be 1-0 Pens.

20:00- The third period is underway! The Pens need to keep up the hard work and get this win for Letang! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Still scoreless after two.

0:05- Crosby sneaks onto the ice and fires a shot from the center slot! Smith just gets a pad on it.

2:39- The Pens power-play comes to an end.

3:29- Downie and Doan drop the gloves and it was a spirited fight! Downie sticking up for Letang!

4:03- Kunitz accidentally high sticks a referee in the face. The referee is bleeding badly and heads to the locker room.

4:39- McGinn is called for slashing and the Pens have a power-play chance.  

4:45- Letang is down on the ice after a hit from Doan. He was sent flying backwards into the boards and hits his head. The doctor and trainer come out to attend to him. He skates off the ice slowly with help from Scuderi an Downie. Letang heads to the locker room and Fleury follows.

5:10- 18 second power-play for the Coyotes.

6:51- Kunitz just misses a chance on the Coyotes' doorstep. The Coyotes get a chance on the rush, but the play is broken up. Kunitz gets a hooking penalty. 4 on 4 hockey for 1:39.

7:10- The Pens get an amazing amount of time in the offensive zone. Stone ends up with a delay of game penalty. Power-play time for the Pens!

10:18- Greiss gloves up Szwarz's shot. He has been solid in the net.

12:16- Malkin throws the puck in front, but Downie just can't get enough on it.

14:43- The Coyotes kill the Pens power-play. Only two scoring chances on the power-play, too much passing for the Pens.

16:43- Power-play opportunity for the Pens as Moore is called for tripping on Lapierre.

17:45- The Coyotes have become a little more physical. They are forechecking more to get turnovers, but the Pens are starting to counter.

20:00- Time for the second period! The Pens have to keep up the speed and not let Smith breath! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and this game is scoreless.

1:47- The Pens come up with a huge kill. Greiss was solid, making huge saves. Winnik was a beast on the penalty kill. Great job all around.

6:15- Now the Coyotes will have a power-play for 4:24. They can score as many times as they want on this one, as it's a major penalty.

6:47- Comeau ends up with a major boarding penalty and is done for the game. 4 on 3 for 31 seconds.

7:03- The Pens are leading the Coyotes in shots 13-6.

8:15- Hornqvist will head to the box for hooking, but Doan gets an even up penalty. So 4 on 4 hockey time.

8:26- Nice move by Martin to break up the Coyotes play.

8:39- Crosby's backhander is denied by Smith.

8:54- Crosby finds Hornqvist, who has set up camp in the blue paint. Smith denies with the pad and then a scramble ensues for the loose puck.

9:19- The Pens are crashing the net at every chance. Way more engaged in this game and Smith is having to battle with the traffic in front!

13:53- Smith makes a big save on Malkin's shot! Good to see Malkin getting right into things. 

15:13- Both teams are made whole again! 

17:13- We will get some 4 on 4 hockey. Lapierre and Crombeen both sit for roughing. 

17:20- Lapierre makes a curling drag and Smith makes the first save. The ref ends up blowing the whistle and Lapierre can't get the rebound before then. 

18:50- Greiss with a good save to start this one. 

20:00- The puck has dropped to start this game! The Pens have to come out with a fire under them and get in front early! Lets Go Pens! 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Snap it!

By: MF, 

The Pittsburgh Penguins are set to end their short road trip tonight in Arizona. The Penguins will be battling the Arizona Coyotes and really need a win. They have lost their last four games and need the points, as the playoffs are looming. It's crunch time and every team is battling for a better position, this is a time when every point counts. The Penguins need a win not only for the points, but to get them out of losing funk they have been in. They have won four of their last six contests against the Coyotes, dating back to January 27, 2007.

To get the win tonight, the Penguins have to ignite their offense. Lately, they have been struggling to get points on the scoreboard, since Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist have been injured. Though they have plenty of talent, they just haven't been able to put pucks in the net often enough. This will have to be overcome and quickly. A key to that is the power-play, which did end up scoring last game. The Penguins are 24-4-1 when they score a power-play goal. When they get a chance on the power-play, they must take advantage of the opportunity. Also, Sidney Crosby will have to show his star power and use his skills to set up plays. He has 24 points (nine goals and 15 assists) against the Western Conference this season (22 games), which leads the Penguins. Crosby has been leading not only among the Penguins, but the entire National Hockey League (NHL). He has 23 goals (tied for second in the NHL), 49 assists (tied fore second), 72 points (tied for second) and has a 1.09 points per game average (first). Look for him to get things going and light a fire under the rest of the guys.

Now we can't talk about getting a win, without mentioning the defense and the offensive power they possess. A major guy leading the charge is the Masterton Trophy Nominee, Kris Letang. He had a total of seven shots during their last game (versus the Dallas Stars), which tied a season high for him. Letang is achieving many career highs this season and having an unreal season. He has 53 points, 42 assists and 11 goals, which are all career highs for him. Letang is having a Norris Trophy winning season and he is a guy to look too when the offense is struggling. This goes without saying that the reason the defense feels comfortable stepping up into plays is, the amazing work of their netminder Marc-Andre Fleury. He is also having a phenomenal season and reaching new career highs. When it comes to the Western Conference, Fleury has allowed two or fewer goals in 12 of 18 games against the West (8-3-1 record). Having him hold down the fort early will ensure the Penguins get a chance to put a few chances on goal. Not to mention the saying, "defenses win Championships."

In addition, tonight's game will mark Steve Downie's 400th career game (Tampa Bay Lightning, 214; Philadelphia Flyers, 89; Colorado, 33; and Penguins 63 games played). A good way to celebrate is to get a win and snap this four game losing streak! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Comeau
Kunitz, Sutter, Downie
Winnik, Spaling, Bennett
Ebbett, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 3 Coyotes 1

3rd Period

0:12- CROSBY SCORES AN EMPTY NETTER! Crosby pressures and sends the puck down the ice into the empty net! 3-1 Pens!

0:57- Fleury flashes the glove! What a save!

1:00- Smith comes out. Coyotes with empty net!

1:52- The Pens are keeping the Coyotes from pulling their goalie!

3:47- Fleury makes a huge save on Arcobello up front. Pens with a huge penalty kill.

5:41- Letang will visit the box and the Coyotes get a power-play. Only four defense guys for the Pens.

6:32- The Coyotes are starting to pressure the Pens and pin them in their own zone.

8:52- Crombeen fires through traffic and Fleury directs the shot to the corner.

11:09- Downie is robbed by the glove of Smith!

13:32- Fleury has been called upon early in this period, keeping the Pens in the lead.

16:38- Power-play for the Pens comes to an end.

17:30- Perron's center pass is picked off by Rieder in front of the Pens net. Fleury robs Rieder!

18:38- The Pens get power-play #4 as Crosby draws a tripping penalty.

20:00- Intermission ends and it's time for the third period! The Pens need to keep up the pressure and not let up on the Coyotes! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period comes to an end and the Pens have the 2-1 lead over the Coyotes.

0:39- Solid penalty kill by the Pens. Fleury with some strong saves to keep the Pens in the lead.

2:39- Coyote power-play time. Perron for tripping.

5:10- Things have turned around and the Pens are continuing to pressure. They need to get more breathing room with only having five defenders.

7:39- WINNIK SCORES! Crosby wins the offensive zone faceoff and gets it back to Letang! Letang rips the bouncing puck down the center, Winnik gets a piece and it beats Smith! Winnik's first goal in a Penguin uniform! 2-1 Pens!

8:21- Letang gets a line and fires on net. Smith gloves it up.

11:13- SUTTER SCORES A POWER-PLAY GOAL! Smith goes behind the net and tries to clear the puck down the ice! It bounces off of Sutter's back and into the wide open net! 1-1 tie game! Thank you Smith!

12:13- Now the Pens will get a power-play. Vitale goes for tripping.  

13:02- Crosby finds Perron at the blue line. Perron rifles one just wide of the net! Delayed penalty situation.

15:00- Comeau and Crosby get a 2 on 1 chance. Comeau tries for the pass, but Crosby is unable to get a stick on it.

15:39- Crosby sets up Perron, who is crashing the net. Smith with the pad save!

16:24- The Pens have a lot more energy in this period. Look like they had a coming too in the locker room.

20:00- Time for the second period! The Pens need to find some offensive and shoot every chance they get! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period comes to an end and the Pens are down 1-0 to the Coyotes.

1:00- Found out that Ehrhoff isn't playing. Not explanation why, but the Pens have no one to replace him. Only 20 players made the trip.

2:11- Haven't seen Ehrhoff in a long time. Defensive pairs have been mixed up and Letang/Martin are getting extra minutes.

4:59- Crosby fires one from the point with Perron up front. Smith makes a save with his blocker.

6:47- Both teams are made whole.

8:47- Some 4 on 4 hockey. Doan and Adams get matching penalties.

10:42- Zero shots registered for the Pens...I thought I saw a couple, but apparently not.

13:18- The first unit of the Pens power-play got some good zone time. Better looking then the first one, but they are unable to score.

15:18- Crosby has a breakaway chance, but is held up by Ekman-Larsson, he goes to the box. Another chance for the Pens power-play.

15:19- The Pens notch a successful penalty kill. At least they are getting the job done.

17:19- Well now the Coyotes will be looking for a power-play goal. Bennett heads to the sin bin for holding.

17:22- Not what the Pens were looking for on the power-play.

18:26- Rieder Scores. The Pens turnover the puck at their own blue line. Letang is tired and can't catch up to Rieder, who puts one in the net. (Letang was out for about 1:30) 1-0 Coyotes.

19:22- Nice opening shift by the Pens. Crosby draws a penalty. Stone sits in the box for holding and now time for the power-play.

20:00- Game on! The Pens have to come out with some jump in their step and pressure the Coyotes early! We don't want to be playing caught up later in the game! Lets Go Pens! 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Penguins have more Stars than Dallas!

By: MF, 

The Pittsburgh Penguins look to end their short road trip tonight, with a win against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center. The Penguins have fallen into a little losing streak as they lost their last three games. They need a win to bring back to Pittsburgh and start a new winning streak. It will be good for them to get a victory without the services of Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. This kind of win will only help them as the playoffs loom ahead. The Penguins are going into this contest having won eight of their last 11 games against the Stars. They are also averaging a 2.44 goals-against average this month. This matches their production during the month of October and puts them seventh in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Getting production from the offense will be key. The last two few games, they haven't lacked in chances on net. They have lacked on having a finishing touch to get some points on the board. In addition, there has been a problem of staying disciplined in the game, which their last game they had improved. All the lines will have to contribute with two key guys missing from the offense and getting that finishing touch on their chances will make determine if they come out with the win. Last Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, every Penguin skater recorded a shot for just the second time this season. Guys like Chris Kunitz will be looked upon to produce. Kunitz has 10 points (five goals and five assists) in his last nine games versus the Stars. During that stretch, the Penguins are 5-1-1 in the seven games that he recorded a point. Another player to look at is Craig Adams. The fourth line is where things get going and the next line comes out to score. One can't take the Penguins' fourth line to lightly. Adams has nine goals against in five-on-five situations, which is the fifth lowest total in the NHL.

However a game is not won without the stability and strength of the defense. The Penguins have a healthy defensive lineup (knock on wood). The Penguins have only allowed 125 even-strength goals, which puts them sixth in the NHL. That is do in large part to having a solid defense and great goalie. The Penguins have the luxury of having Kris Letang and Paul Martin has their shutdown pair. They have both great defensive sense, but can carry the puck well to create scoring chances. This gives them a added edge, so that the offense is not totally alone when it comes to scoring. A guy on the backhand that has a wicked shot from the point is Christian Ehrhoff. Since returning from his injury (playing in three games), Ehrhoff has recorded 14 shots, four hits, two blocked shots and has spent a total of 22:26 on the ice for each game. Having him back has taken the weight of the shoulders of the top defensive unit and giving the defense a chance to jump up in plays more. Though the defense is confident and can set up when needed, a large amount of that confidence stems from the goalies. Both Marc-Andre Fleury and Thomas Greiss have been unreal between the pipes. Recently, Greiss has been given the chance to get into more games, which leaves Fleury to rest up for the playoffs. Some teams don't have this luxury, this late in the season. Greiss has a 1.56 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in his last five appearances. With these numbers, the Penguins can feel comfortable giving the "Flower" a rest more often and having him fresh for the Stanley Cup run.

Now the Penguins are in Dallas to face the Stars tonight. They held an optional skate this morning and 14 players took part in it. Nothing special happened and no new injury update information. Tonight's game will be about getting to second and third chance opportunities. The Penguins have to focus on getting traffic to the net and finishing their chances, otherwise this game will end like the last three. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Comeau
Spaling, Sutter, Perron
Winnik, Ebbett, Downie
Bennett, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Stars 2

3rd Period
0:00- The Pens fall for the fourth stretch time as the Stars get the 2-1 win. The Pens started to come on halfway through the second period, but couldn't get the win in the end. Good effort in the end.

1:33- Empty net for the Pens.

1:59- Downie goes down hard on the ice and the trainers attend to him. He is able to skate off on his own.

3:31- The referees are going to let the teams decide this one...I mean unless a someone is thrown into the crowd.

5:17- Both teams are back to full strength.

6:28- Crosby is all over the ice right now.

7:17- Finally a penalty is killed. Perron and a Star take a seat. Some 4 on 4 hockey.

7:32- The referees are letting everything go. Nasty battles in front of Lehtonen as the Pens crash the net!

8:43- The Pens power-play expires, some good chances on net. They just need to keep up the pressure.

10:43- Crosby drives to the net, draws a penalty and ends up in the net! Jokipakka in the box for holding.

12:28- The Pens are starting to get some offensive zone time and chances on net!

14:30- Sceviour gets the jump on Ehrhoff and Lovejoy comes over to cut down the angle. Fleury is able to get a shoulder on Sceviour's shot!

16:21- A little stagnate start for the Pens after having to kill a penalty. Some good shifts in the last few minutes.

18:00- A successful penalty kill for the Pens!

20:00- We are headed into the third period! The Pens penalty kill as Downie is in the box for slashing! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The second period horn sounds and the Stars have the 2-1 lead.

2:21- Fleury continuing to make the necessary saves to keep the Pens within one.

4:15- Winnik with a unreal scoring chance, point blank range!

6:34- LETANG SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! Crosby finds Letang, who just rips a quick shot towards the net! It goes through traffic and past Kunitz, who was screening Lehtonen! 2-1 Stars.

6:42- Spezza goes for tripping and the Pens have a power-play chance.

8:18- Letang is set free.

10:18- The Pens need something to get them going...well this doesn't help. Letang goes to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct.

12:29- The Pens come up with a huge penalty kill.

14:29- Now the Stars will get a power-play chance. Comeau goes for roughing and a huge penalty kill for the Pens.

14:44- The Pens give up another odd man rush. Stars with a 2 on 1, but too many passes by the Stars.

16:23- Benn Scores. Benn is left all alone in front and Fleury makes the first save, but Benn stuffs home the rebound. 2-0 Stars.

17:46- Ritchie Scores. Ritchie tries to get a pass to Horcoff in front. Bennett ends up putting the puck through the five-hole of his own goaltender. 1-0 Stars.

18:25- Fleury makes another great glove save. The best part of the first and beginning of this period for the Pens has been Fleury...hands down.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have to come with speed and take it to Dallas! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and this game is scoreless. The #Pens are lucky to still have this game at zero. Not a great start.

0:08- Letang and McKenzie have a big altercation behind the Stars' net. Letang tried to get away, but wasn't able. Then he gave in.

0:58- Not a great first period for Kunitz. He has been turning over pucks left and right.

1:49- The Stars are back to full strength.

3:49- Another power-play opportunity for the Pens. Demers heads to the sin bin for tripping. Not sure if I should be excited about a power-play, given what the last one was like.

4:34- The Pens successful kill the Stars power-play. They are even able to register four shots...more then the power-play.

6:34- Comeau will go to the box for interference and the Stars get a power-play chance.

6:47- Ehrhoff fires a hard shot on net and Crosby just fans on the rebound shot!

9:03- Horrible power-play for the Pens. It comes to an end with zero shots registered. They were just giving up on shooting and looking for pretty plays. Bad all around.

11:03- A power play for the Pens as Eakin takes a seat for holding. The first power-play for the Pens since Sunday.

13:22- Jokipakka gets a chance all alone, but Fleury denies him twice! The Pens need to wake up and slow the Stars down.

14:34- The Stars have great speed to start and are pressuring the Pens. Not the best start for the Pens, they need to pick things up more.

16:29- Kunitz is having a tough start with a few turnovers.

18:36- Fleury makes a few solid saves early. Tempers raise after. 

20:00- The puck has dropped at the American Airlines Center! The Pens battle the Dallas Stars! Put them on their heels Pens! Lets Go Pens! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

St. Patrick's Day Battle

St. Patrick's Day celebration (btw: non-alcoholic drink)  / MF
By: MF, 

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! I hope you have had an enjoyable day and are ready for some Pittsburgh Penguins hockey! The Penguins are starting a road trip tonight against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. They will go into this game and have a chance of hitting the big 40 mark in the wins category with a win today. It would be the eighth consecutive season for the Penguins, excluding 2012-13 season when the schedule was shortened (*cough more like the National Hockey League (NHL) couldn't get their act together *cough). The last time the Penguins faced the Devils, they came out with an overtime (2-1) win, which snapped a five game losing streak at the Devils' home arena. This road series could be just what the Penguins are looking for as they lost back-to-back games last weekend. They have only eight regulation losses on the road, which is the fewest in the NHL. Their last 12 games on the road, they are 8-2-2 and have a 1.83 team goals-against-average (GAA).

Warm-up time / MF
The team's offense has been on fire recently, but that all came to a halt over the last two games. They have unfortunately lost two key players during this road trip. Both Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist didn't make the trip with the team (more details to follow). They will have to use the guys they have, which are still lethal. Captain Sidney Crosby has 13 points (four goals and nine assists) in the last 10 games, going back to the 21st of February. This is the third most in the NHL during that span. Crosby is tied for the most in the NHL with three goals against the Devils. He also has 71 points and is tied for second in points, along with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom (NHL points rates). Crosby is a huge factor in developing plays. Another key guy, which is on the first line with Crosby, is David Perron. He achieved 40 points for the fifth time in his career (17 goals and 23 assists). Perron is on pace to record 20 goals, 27 assists and 47 points. That is unreal for a guy joining the team late in the season and clicking right into the Penguins lineup. Also, Chris Kunitz has an active six-game point streak against the Devils, which amounts to two goals and four assists.  I would also have to mention one of our road leaders, Blake Comeau. Comeau has three goals, three assists and six points in six games, since February 21.

Luckily the Penguins are healthy (fingers crossed) on defense right now. They will have to stay sharp and hold down the fort. The offense will have new lines and be working things out, so the defense has to stay consistent. Thomas Greiss will be in the net, which will give Marc-Andre Fleury a nice rest. Greiss has had a good few games and it's great the Penguins can rely on him. Fleury needs the rest as the playoffs are nearing.

On the injury front, Malkin's injury will keep him out for at least a week and at most 10-12 days. As for Hornqvist, it looks to be about a week. It will be good to get these two guys back in the lineup.

It's a St. Patrick's Day game and the Penguins are ready to top the Devils! Lets Go Pens!

Warm-ups / MF
The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz, Crosby, Perron
Bennet, Sutter, Comeau
Winnik, Spaling, Downie
Ebbett, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Greiss in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 0 Devils 2

3rd Period
0:00- The Pens fall for the 3rd straight time with a 2-0 loss against the Devils. The Pens did everything, but score. The officiating was frustrating

0:48- Henrique Scores. Henrique scores an empty netter.

1:00- Letang is tripped up on the play and no call.

1:33- Empty net for the Pens.

1:56- The Pens have been doing unreal stuff in the offensive zone!

4:42- Crosby has been setting up some big plays, but just need the finishing touches. He is really bringing it.

6:51- Comeau, Crosby and Letang work hard. Comeau snaps one, but Schneider makes the save. Great work by those guys!

8:59- Crosby gets another chance on a redirect attempt off of Letang's slapper.

9:50- Crosby slaps a hard one on net, Schneider with the save. Just a sick release by the Captain!

11:07- Greiss makes a nice glove save on Zubrus.

12:02- Downie shots, Spaling goes for the rebound and so does Bennett! Keep looking for those second and third chances!

13:06- The Pens successful kill another Devils power-play.

15:06- Another Devils power-play. Winnik sits in the sin bin for slashing.

16:19- Nice start by the Pens. Comeau with a few chances, looks really good.

20:00- Another 20 minutes are on the board and time for the Pens to push back! Have to get to the second chances and pester Schneider! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Devils take the 1-0 lead over the Pens.

0:17- Downie is cross-checked in the slot area. He is bent over in pain on the bench.

1:33- The Pens have been crashing the net, but Schneider has been sharp. They are just missing a finishing touch on their chances.

3:35- Josefson Scores. The Devils get another 2 on 1 chance and this time they make the Pens pay. Josefson rips one past the blocker of Greiss. 1-0 Devils.

4:27- The last few minutes have been nothing special. Both teams get the puck in the zone and then it's clear. This cycle continues on and on.

5:51- Back and forth hockey going on right now.

7:43- Great penalty kill by the Pens and Perron is set free!

9:43- Devils will get a power-play chance as Perron sits for holding.

10:38- Now the Devils are getting some extend pressure. The Pens are getting tired and the Devils were able to get a second unit on.

12:44- Kunitz and Downie team up and get right in the face of Schneider.

15:43- Ruutu receives a pass from behind the net and is right on the doorstep. Greiss comes out to make the save!

16:34- The teams are made whole again. Couple of good chances for the Pens on turnovers by the Devils.

18:34- Winnik goes for embellishment and Fraser for tripping. 4 on 4 hockey time.

20:00- Second period is underway! The Pens need to finish their opportunities and get on the board first! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and this game is scoreless!

1:02: Great rush by the Pens! Lovejoy's slap shot is saved, Winnik tries to put home the rebound, bu Schneider is up for both challenges.

1:22- Only one shot in the last seven minutes of play. This game has become more of a close checking game.

3:29- Solid start for the Devils, who have been pressuring the Pens. Greiss stepped up to the plate and the Pens are starting to get their footing back.

5:41- The Pens are getting some more offensive zone time as the period progresses.

8:36- Crosby takes a perfect pass from Kunitz and gets in one-on-one with Schneider, who robs Crosby with a pad save!

10:52- Devils getting a lot of chances and shots. The Pens are having trouble leaving their zone and sustaining any offensive zone pressure.

12:44- The Pens are playing with fire as Greiss is holding back the Devils...for now.

15:25- The Devils get a 2 on 1 chance. Zubrus holds the puck and Greiss makes the pad save. Greiss looks in the zone.

18:14- Greiss with a few good saves to start this one. Looks sharp in net, early in this one. 

20:00- The puck has dropped and this game is on! The Pens have to come out with speed and put the Devils on their heels early! Lets Go Pens! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Let's clip some Wings!

By: MF,

Yet another back-to-back game schedule and the Pittsburgh Penguins are less than surprise there. Yesterday, the Penguins faced off against the Boston Bruins. Things were looking up, Christian Ehrhoff was back in the lineup and the team was whole. It was the healthiest they have been in a long time. Well at least during warm-ups. After warm-ups, Sidney Crosby didn't reappear from the locker room and was a last minute scratch. He was replaced with Craig Adams, but it didn't stop there. Not long into the first period, Evgeni Malkin went down after a hit. He went to the locker room, came back and then stayed out for the next two periods. They ended losing the game 2-1, but Thomas Greiss was on point. He stopped 28 of 29 shots and had a .966 save percentage. The Penguins  just couldn't put the finishing touch on their scoring chances.

A day later and the Penguins are gearing up to face-off against the Detroit Red Wings. The Penguins could hit the big 40 mark in the wins category with a win today. It would be the eighth consecutive season for the Penguins, excluding 2012-13 season when the schedule was shortened (*cough more like the National Hockey League (NHL) couldn't get their act together *cough). They have a good chance of achieving the 40 win mark. The Penguins are 15-3-3 against Atlantic Division teams, this season, which is the most wins (against the Atlantic) in the NHL. Their last eight games versus the Red Wings, they have gone 5-1-2.

With an offense, who may be out their two top centers, the Penguins have to take advantage on the power-play. They are 24-3-1 when they record a power-play goal. If they get the chance, they need to do their best of capitalizing on it. That means putting pucks on net. No fancy plays, just simple ones. Getting the puck to the net and traffic in front. They can't afford to be fancy with the two-headed monster missing.

The Penguins defense will have a bigger weight on their shoulders. They will have to step into plays to help out the offense, which won't be a problem. The Penguins defense is used to doing such things and is very good at their jobs. Look for guys like Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Ehrhoff to get plays going up the ice.They will factor into the Penguins scoring chances and give them some energy, which could be lacking. In addition, Marc-Andre Fleury will have to hold down the fort. With the season he is having that will be no problem and his numbers against the Atlantic Division are great. He is 12-1-2, has a 1.86  goals-against-average, .935 save percentage and two shutouts.

Now let's talk injuries and updates. Andrew Ebbett was called up from Wilkes-Barre Scranton. In his last 10 games in the American Hockey League (AHL), he has six goals, seven assists and 13 points. As for the Crosby and Malkin, Mike Johnston stated that Malkin will not play today. Malkin has a lower-body injury, but Johnston doesn't think it will be long-term. Crosby will be a game-time decision. He wasn't feeling well yesterday and after warm-ups went to see the doctors.

The Penguins will have to put shots on net and get traffic in front. Get to the fore-check early and get ahead before any type of fatigue sets in. Lets Go Pens!   

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Sutter, Comeau
Bennett, Spaling, Downie
Winnik, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Ehrhoff, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Red Wings 5

3rd Period
0:00- The Pens fall to the Red Wings 5-1. Not the best game for the Pens and they let their emotions get to them. Discipline was lacking. Then when they started to get something going they would do something not so smart. Not a good weekend for the Pens.

2:02- Time is the enemy of the Pens.

4:08- Crosby and Perron get a 2 on 1 chance, but Perron is unable to finish Crosby's pass.

6:12- Pens power-play ends.

7:54- Hornqvist has a lot of trouble getting to the bench and ends up heading right down the runway.

8:12- Zetterberg sits and the Pens head onto the power-play.

10:49- PERRON SCORES! The Pens get to the fore-check! Crosby gets some time behind the net and puts the puck right in Perron's wheelhouse! Perron rifles one past Mrazek! 5-1 Red Wings.

14:23- Downie is back in the box and gets a 10-minute misconduct.

15:25- Afternoon games are the Pens friends...never turn out good.

17:01- Red Wings make it 5-0. The puck is deflected by a group of two Pens and one Red Wing past Greiss. Horrible.

20:00- Well it's time for the third period and the Pens need to at least get a goal! Come on guys, snap out of it! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The horn sounds on the second period as the Red Wings extend their lead to 4-0 and the Pens lose Letang (game misconduct) in the process.

1:16- Another unsuccessful power-play for the Pens.

3:16- Ericsson will head to the box and the Pens get a power-play chance.

3:55- Pens can't capitalize on the power-play.

5:55- Pens power-play time as the Red Wings get a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty.

7:48- I am no way blaming the refs for the Pens being down. I still lay blame on them, but the refs are getting a bit out of hand with some calls, like the Letang and Kunitz calls.

9:09- Mrazek decides to take a nap in the crease once the Pens start buzzing around the net. Refs blow the whistle. Letang ends up with a unsportsmanlike conduct and then a game misconduct. Apparently, he mouthed off too much. Just weird calls...just no reason for Letang being thrown out.

10:13- Ehrhoff scores a goal and the ref behind the goal calls a goal. The refs get together, since Mrazek is unhappy. They change it to no goal for goalie interference.

10:47- Smith sets for tripping and the Pens get a power-play.

12:16- Zetterberg Scores. Sutter turns over the puck in the Pens zone. Fleury is left out to dry and Zetterberg scores at the backdoor. Break down on that play. Fleury is replaced by Greiss. 4-0 Red Wings.

13:42- Perron is back.

16:10- Perron limps his way to the bench and ends up heading down the runway with the trainer.

16:37- Some solid chances for the Pens, but Mrazek makes the saves. Nice offensive pressure by the Pens.

17:21- The Pens are back to full strength. Downie and Kunitz still serving their misconduct penalties.

18:12- 48 second power play for Red Wings (5 on 4).

19:21- Zidlicky Scores on the power-play. Zidlicky rips one up high, no chance for Fleury. 3-0 Red Wings.

20:00- Second period time! The Pens have to kill off a 5 on 3 power-play for 1:48 to start! Kunitz ended the period getting another minor and a 10-minute misconduct!  Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends and the Red Wings lead 2-0. The Pens started to meltdown at the end.

0:12- Now Sutter goes for tripping. 5 on 3 Red Wings power play for 1:31.

0:42- Comeau goes down hard and hits his head. Martin and Abdelkader start to fight and Kunitz jumps in. A scrum ensues. Kunitz in the box and the Red Wings get a power-play.

1:54- Pulkkinen Scores. The Red Wings get an odd man rush, which leads to some zone time. They cycle the puck and Pulkkinen is able to slap a hard one past Fleury. Well placed shot. 2-0 Red Wings

3:25- Tatar lays a huge hit on Perron and he is not happy with it.

7:19- A misunderstanding happens in the corner of the Pens zone. Downie ends up getting a 10-minute misconduct.

8:01- Zetterberg and Hornqvist collide at center ice. Zetterberg skates slowly to the bench and is hunched over.

9:25- Martin rips a shot from the point and Crosby makes a beautiful redirect in mid-air. Mrazek makes the save.

11:48- Nice solid save by Fleury. He looked a little shaken up after the save, but stays in.

14:24- Sutter and Kunitz get unreal chances on net, but can't finish them.

16:34- Fleury makes a solid save with traffic in front of him, but the puck bounes up over him. Letang stuffs it back up the pad of Fleury. Ref blows the whistle. 

17:24- Both teams are made whole again as Perron and Quincey are released. 

18:39- Zidlicky Scores. Fleury is screened and Zidlicky fires from the point. Goes glove side into the net. 1-0 Red Wings.

19:24- Some 4 on 4 hockey. Perron and Quincey both in the box.  

20:00- The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to get on the fore-check early and leave the Red Wings in the dust! Lets Go Pens! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back for some home cooking!

By: MF,

Welcome back to Pittsburgh! The Penguins are finally back from their four game road trip out West. They went 2-1-1 and earned five out of eight points during the trip. Not a complete success, but they had some solid games. The Penguins played some close checking games and even got back-to-back wins. Now the Penguins will host the Edmonton Oilers at Consol Energy Center tonight. The last time these teams met was on February 4th, where the Penguins shutout the Oilers. A major point in their wins is when they get on the board early and have an early lead. The Penguins have only entered the third period trailing 16 times this season. That ties them with the Washington Capitals for the fewest in the National Hockey League (NHL).

Getting a win tonight starts with the offense. Though the Penguins have had trouble with their offense, but most of the problems dealt with injuries. They are starting to find the groove again, like they had at the beginning of the season. Of course, the first line has been unreal. That line is centered by Sidney Crosby with David Perron and Patric Hornqvist. All these guys are getting on the scoreboard and making a huge impact. Crosby comes into this game with four assists in his last two games. Not only that, our Captain has one goal, five assists and six points in his last three games against the Oilers. Another key piece in the first line is Perron, who was traded to the Penguins from the Oilers. Perron has 18 points (10 goals and eight assists) in 28 games with the Penguins. In his 38 games with the Oilers, prior, he had 19 points (five goals and 14 assists).

However, the Penguins defense is the shining star in all this. The Penguins have a 2.36 goals-against average (GAA), which places him fourth in the NHL. The last time they came in fourth was 1997-98 with a 2.29 GAA. Since 1997-98, they haven't cracked the top ten except once in 2010-11, when the ranked seventh with a 2.39 GAA. The Penguins are only 0.4 behind the New York Rangers in this category. This all due to the amazing defenders they have. Defenders like Kris Letang, who leads all NHL defenseman with 51 points. Letang has been able to step into plays thanks to having confidence in his defensive partner and goaltender. Paul Martin and Letang have become an elite pairing. Another player showing confidence on defense is Derrick Pouliot. Pouliot is a young defenseman and has been gaining more and more confidence with every game. It's showing how his defensive work is improving along with his offensive ability.

None of this is possible without having Marc-Andre Fleury in the net. In his last two games, Fleury is 1-0-1 with a 0.47 GAA, .984 save percentage and one shutout. His nine shutouts are the most by any goalie since 2011-12. He has been the team's MVP as he is having a career high season. Fleury is in the top ten of each goalie category. Statistics don't lie and all one has to do is watch Fleury in his natural habitat, to see what a phenomenal goalie he is. I am proud to+ have been as a goaltender and would argue with anyone who doubts him.

At the morning skate and everyone was accounted for, even Christian Ehrhoff. Mike Johnston said he has been cleared to play, but Johnston wants to get him into a full practice with contact before putting him back in the lineup. Also, tonight's game will be the first home game for Ben Lovejoy and Ian Cole since the Penguins acquired him.

The Penguins have to come out with speed and get on the scoreboard early! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Geno, Comeau
Winnik, Sutter, Bennett
Spaling, Lapierre, Downie

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 6 Oilers 4

3rd Period

0:24- Power-play ends.

2:24- Geno is tripped up by Lander. The Pens get a late power-play.

2:30- Oilers have an empty net.

4:16- HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby stops on a dime and feeds a perfect pass to Hornqvist! Hornqvist snaps it on net and Bachman has no chance! 6-4 Pens!

5:22- DOWNIE SCORES! Downie drives down the center as Lapierre crosses the middle! Lapierre fires one and Downie jams home the rebound! 5-4 Pens!

9:56- Roy Scores. Pouliot turns over the puck in front of Fleury. Lovejoy and Pouliot are unable to clear the loose puck and Roy makes them pay. 4-4 tie game.

15:09- B.Pouliot Scores on the power-play. Fleury is without a stick and Lovejoy decides to retrieve the stick. Oilers take advantage and B.Pouliot pulls the Oilers within one. 4-3 Pens.

16:20- Hooking penalty for Downie and Oilers get the power-play.

20:00- Time to start the third period! The Pens have to push the Oilers back during this period! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period comes to a close and the Pens have the 4-2 lead over the Oilers!

1:22- Letang and Nugent-Hopkins exchange shoves. Letang goes for cross-checking while Nugent-Hopkins sits for high-sticking. 4 on 4 hockey.

2:16- Crosby and Perron are a thing of beauty...and then Hornqvist is aggravating the goalie. Just an awesome line combination.

4:47- Eberle Scores. The Oilers get a four on two chance. Fleury makes the initial save, but the puck is loose in front. Four white jerseys collapse on the net and Eberle puts it in. 4-2 Pens.

5:39- Crosby finds himself all alone on the wing, but is shot is whacked high and wide. Such a hard shot by the Captain.

7:53- Lander Scores on the power-play. The Pens are slow to get to the loose puck. Fleury seemed to have it, but Lander is able to jam it in. 4-1 Pens

8:58- Oilers will bring out their power-play unit.

9:22- Even with the lead, the Pens are still applying pressure and Fleury is coming up big when he is called upon.

15:48- Letang with a glorious chance on the doorstep. Bachman lays down to make the save.

18:54- Scrivens is chased out of the goal and the Oilers replace him with Bachman.

18:55- CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER-PLAY! The Pens cycle and Crosby slaps a rocket shot, glove side past Scrivens! Just a beautiful slap shot by the Captain! Letang and Malkin each record an assist! 4-0 Pens!

19:31- An early power-play for the Pens. Roy sits for tripping up Kunitz.

20:00- The guys are back for some more hockey! Second period is underway! The Pens can't let up! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- First period ends with the Pens taking the 3-0 lead over the Oilers!

1:05- DING! DING! Cole and Hendricks drop the gloves and scrap it out! Cole in his first Pens home game and first fight in a Pens uniform! He got solid punches in the beginning.

1:20- Fleury makes a solid save. The first quality chance for the Oilers.

2:13- When the Oilers do get the puck in the offensive zone, they are unable to keep it in the zone for an extended period of time. The Pens are doing a good job of clearing them out.

3:39- A successful Pens penalty kill. They are now two for two.

5:39- Some more penalty kill time for the Pens. Kunitz takes a seat for slashing.

6:17- PERRON SCORES! Crosby assess his options behind the net and outlets to Perron in front with Hornqvist! Perron snaps a quick shot into the net, glove side! 3-0 Pens!

7:03- The first period has been controlled by the Pens.

10:21- SUTTER SCORES AGAIN! Downie's shot is saved by the pads of Scrivens, but Sutter gets his stick on the puck first! He nets the rebound! 2-0 Pens!

11:47- The power-play is killed off by the Oilers. The Pens had some good tires, but the Oilers were able to block most of their attempts.

13:47- Now the Pens will get a power-play. Klinkhammer makes his way to the box for cross-checking.

14:39- The Pens come up with a very successful penalty kill!

15:44- SUTTER SCORES A SHORTY! Lovejoy and Winnik battle on the side boards! Sutter joins in and creates a turnover! Sutter gets a breakaway, he freezes Scrivens and goes to the backhand! 1-0 Pens!

16:39- The Oilers will get the first power-play of the game as Spaling is called for interference. The Pens bring out their penalty kill unit.

17:52- Sutter comes flying to the side of the net, but his shot hits the crossbar.

19:15- Crosby breaks down the wing and fires one up high. 

20:00- We are back in Pittsburgh! The Pens have to get on the scoreboard early and keep the Oilers on their toes! Lets Go Pens!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Shark infested waters are no problem for the Penguins!

By: MF,

The last of the Night Owl Club games will be tonight! The Pittsburgh Penguins will finish up their four game road trip tonight against the San Jose Sharks. It will be the first time these two teams have met this season. The Penguins head into this game with only eight road losses in regulation, which ties them with the Anaheim Ducks for the fewest in the National Hockey League (NHL). They also have a 7-2 record against the Pacific Division, this year. On top of that, the Penguins are tied for the second-lowest, in goals-against average at 2.38.

A big reason for their success is the contributions from everyone on the roster, not just the superstars. The Penguins are lucky enough to have talented wingers and centers. Guys like Brandon Sutter, who centers the third line of the Penguins. He has won at least 50% of his face-offs in ten consecutive games, which is a key in getting set up plays. A big factor into the scoring has been the Penguins first line of David Perron, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist. These guys have been clicking. Perron goes into this game with four points (two goals and two assists) in his last three games versus the Sharks. However, the big star one the line lately has been Hornqvist. In his last seven games, he has seven goals, two assists and nine points. Let's not forget that Hornqvist has scored the game-winning-goal in back-to-back games. First against the Ducks last Friday and then the LA Kings last Saturday. He has been on fire and really coming into his own. Look for the first line to get the game going early, but don't forget the second line, which has also been on point.

Now let's move on to the ever deadly defense of the Penguins. I could write an entire piece on each defensive player, that is how good they have been lately. Kris Letang is the only defenseman in the NHL to have 40 assists on the season. All this is lead by the goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. He is having a phenomenal season and giving the Penguins confidence every game that they can win. Even when the other team has more shots or is taking it them, Fleury has held down the fort. He did it against the Kings last Saturday and not only did the Penguins, Fleury earned his ninth shutout of the season. Thus, putting him further in the lead of the most shutouts in the NHL. He tied a team record for the most shutouts in a season, which hasn't happened since 1998-1999. He continues to extend his career high in that category. This gives Fleury a shutout average of 5.7 games in 2014-2015. Prior to this season, Fleury average a shutout every 19 games. This is only one part of his game, Fleury has 30 wins on the season (6th in NHL), 2.16 goals-against-average (5th in the NHL) and .924 save percentage (8th in the NHL). This is truly a Vezina Trophy season for the "Flower." I am proud to call him our netminder!

Onto the game at hand. Everyone was present for the team's morning skate, including Christian Ehrhoff who has missed 16 of the last 17 games due to concussion symptoms. Nothing else was a change. Lineup will be game time. They will have to come out with speed and get shots on net. They can't rely on Fleury every time. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Geno, Comeau
Winnik, Sutter, Bennett
Spaling, Lapierre, Downie

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play
Pens 1 Sharks 2 SO

The Pens fall to the Sharks 2-1 in a shootout loss. Tough loss after they worked really hard in the first and at the end of the third. At least we got a point out of it.

Niemi denies Downie with a pad save.

Wingels scores.

Bennett misses a wide open net shot.

Hertl goes wide!

Sutter is stopped by Niemi.

Thornton rings one off the post!

Kunitz is stopped by the pad.

Burns goes wide!

Malkin stopped.

Fleury with glove save on Marleau!


Karlsson scores.

Crosby is denied.

Couture is stopped!

Perron is stopped.

Pavelski no go!

0:00- We are going to a shootout!

0:05- Pouliot hits the goal post!

1:41- A lot of odd-man rushes for both teams.

2:30- Sutter and Comeau to a 2 on 1 chance, but Comeau's shot goes high and wide!

3:33- The Pens power-play comes to an end.

5:00- Let's end this overtime early and with a Pens win! The Pens have a 1:34 power-play to start! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- Regulation wasn't enough and this 1-1 tie game is headed to overtime!

0:26- Wingels goes for delay of game. The Pens have a power-play.

1:36- Niemi is the only reason the Pens haven't taken the lead. Just being peppered with shots.

2:47- Niemi is holding down the fort for the Sharks as the Pens are making a late surge.

3:35- Some amazing zone time by the Pens second line. Malkin was stick handling in a phone booth. He back hands one and Niemi makes the save.

4:47- Hertl and Kunitz are released and the game is back to full strength.

6:47- Hertl and Kunitz have a bear hug fight. Both skate over to the boxes for roughing and we will get some 4 on 4 hockey.

7:13- The Pens come up with a great penalty kill. Scuderi was blocking shots and getting beating up by it.

9:13- Huge penalty kill for the Pens as Downie is sent to the sin bin for holding the stick.

9:29- Fleury with a solid shoulder save.

10:37- The Pens have stepped up their game and pin the Sharks down for a bit. Niemi scrambling in the net. Keep up the pressure boys!

12:38- CROSBY SCORES! Crosby gets going and flies past the Sharks! He rips his magic backhand past Niemi! Mark San Jose off the Crosby no goal list! 1-0 Pens!

14:40- Pouliot stick handles his way through the center all the way to the net. The puck is knocked off his stick before he can get a quality shot off.

16:25- Hornqvist rifles one that just goes wide of the net!

20:00- One more period of regulation left for the Pens! They will have to get traffic in front of Niemi and force him to cough up some rebounds! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- Second period ends and the Sharks still lead 1-0.

1:01- Niemi robs Comeau with a solid glove save.

1:15- Crosby gets a few chances on net. He really wants that goal. Sharks ice the puck out of desperation.

1:46- Crosby gets some speed down the wing, but his pass to Bennett is broken up.

2:12- Martin was on the bench during the power-play. I wouldn't dream of sitting him. He is great at controlling the puck and calming things down.

3:00- We are back to full strength hockey.

5:00- Some 4 on 4 hockey as Vlasic and Perron get off-setting holding penalties.

5:53- The Pens power-play ends. Way too many passes and not enough shots.

7:53- Pavelski will head to the box for slashing and the Pens get their second power-play of the night.

9:39- Both teams are trading scoring chances and the goalies are stepping up.

11:07- Pouliot gains more confidence every game.

14:20- That power-play comes to an end without any success.

16:20- Now a power-play for the Pens as Thornton sits for roughing.

17:18- Fleury with some great saves to start this period. Locked into this game.

20:00- The puck has dropped on the second period! The Pens have to get traffic in front of Niemi and rattle his cage! Lets Go Pens!

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

0:56- Nieto Scores. The Sharks win the fore-check battle behind the net. Tierney outlets it to Nieto in the slot. He puts one in to give the Sharks the 1-0 lead.

1:00- The Pens kill off the Sharks power-play.

3:00- Scuderi is now taking a seat for cross-checking. Second power-play chance for the Sharks.

4:11- Lovejoy fires from the point and Kunitz bats at the rebound. Niemi with the save and holds strong as Malkin tries to jam it in.

6:37- The Pens are out-shooting the Sharks 9-4.

8:49- Crosby picks up a Shark turnover and rips one from center. Niemi with the outstretched pad save.

10:33- The Pens with a solid penalty kill effort. Scuderi fires a rocket from the point, which is gobbled up by Niemi.

12:33- The Sharks will get the first power-play of the game as Downie heads to the box for tripping. The Pens bring out their penalty kill.

14:58- Winnik gets the puck behind the Sharks defense, but Niemi makes a strong pad save. The Sharks clear the rebound chance.

16:23- Crosby outlets a pass to Scuderi up top. Niemi sees it all the way and makes the glove save.

17:30- Niemi makes a glove save on a wrister by Bennett.

18:12- Malkin gets a look at a rebound beside the net, but is cancelled out by a Shark.

20:00- The last of the late night games has started! The Pens have to come out with speed and pin the Sharks down early! Lets Go Pens!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Penguins will take the crown from the Kings tonight!

By: MF,

Tonight is the second day of back-to-back California games for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They got a big 5-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks last night. The Penguins will look to continue that success tonight against the LA Kings. The team goes into this contest with seven wins in the last nine games versus the Kings, which goes back to November 1, 2006. This is the second time they have faced the Kings this season. They ended up getting the 3-0 win against them.

Last night, the Penguins had an explosive offensive game. Patric Hornqvist got on the board, which gave him 20 goals on the season. This is only the fifth time in his career that he has achieved such a feat. Hornqvist will most likely factor into the scoring tonight. He has six points (one goal and five assists) in his last three games against the Kings. He was also a combined plus-five in those games. Another player who is on fire is Evgeni Malkin, who is lighting up the National Hockey League (NHL). He now has 67 points (28 goals and 39 assists), which ties him with Alex Ovechkin, John Tavares and Nick Backstrom for first in the league. A key to getting a play going is winning face-off. Brandon Sutter has been phenomenal in the circle lately, as he has won at least 50% of his draws in nine consecutive games.

Now it's not all up to the offense to win games, but the defense plays a major role. The Penguins are lucky enough to have a guy like Kris Letang in their lineup. A guy having a Norris Trophy worthy season. Letang leads all defensemen in the league in points (50) and assists (40). He is also in the top ten in time-on-ice per game (25:45), shot attempts (+236) and shot attempt against per 60 minutes (34.26). Not to mention, the talent of the young defensemen, Derrick Pouliot. He has been playing like no other and has two points (one goal and one assist) in his last three games. Look for both those guys to jump up into offensive plays tonight for the Penguins.

Hopefully the Penguins can put together back-to-back wins tonight! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Geno, Comeau
Winnik, Sutter, Bennett
Spaling, Lapierre, Downie

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Fleury in the net!

Play By Play


3:21- HORNQVIST SCORES! Hornqvist battles behind the net to get the puck in the slot area! Martin forces a turnover and Hornqvist rifles it home! 1-0 Pens!

5:00- Five more minutes of hockey! Overtime is underway! The Pens have to get shots on net early on! Lets Go Pens!

3rd Period
0:00- I hope everyone is still awake! This game is headed to overtime!

1:00- Playoff hockey feel in this one.

2:31- I have run out of ways to express the show Fleury has been putting on tonight. The only reason the Pens are still in this one.

4:54- Nolan and Letang are released.

6:04- Crosby is poke checked by Quick!

7:11- Nolan and Letang get tangled up/exchange words in front of the Pens bench. Nolan had previous hit Letang into the boards. They end up in their respective boxes. 4 on 4 hockey.

9:54- Fleury with two amazing saves! One with the stick/blocker and then the outstretched pad!

10:51- Sutter and Scuderi get a chance right on Quick's doorstep.

12:24- Martin dishes out a classic hip check in the defensive zone to deny the Kings entry.

15:16- The Kings look like they got the first goal, but it's waved off. Brown is called for goalie interference.

17:35- A more physical game now. The Pens are now dishing some hits out themselves.

20:00- Let the third period begin! The Pens have to get more shots on net this period! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The second period comes to an end and this one is still scoreless.

1:23- The Kings crash the net and Fleury holds strong. He even losses his glove on the play.

4:18- Another good kill by the Pens. The Kings are shooting at every chance they get, but the Pens seem to be waiting for a pretty goal. They need to get shots on net!

6:18- Sekera takes a seat for high-sticking and a huge power-play chance for the Pens in this scoreless game.

8:09- The Pens ice the puck once again.

9:37- A huge kill for the Pens as Cole is released.

11:37- The Kings are getting more physical. Some words and shoves are exchanged. Cole ends up in the box for interference and the Kings get a power-play.

13:24- Malkin tries a backhanded on the short side, but Quick was ready.

15:15- Now the Pens power-play is zero for three tonight.

17:15- Pens power-play time as Downie is held up by McNabb.

18:17- Brown gets a chance on are rebound shot, but Fleury shuts the door.

20:00- Time for the second period! The Pens have to get more offensive zone time and shots on net! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- The horn sounds on the first period and this game is scoreless.

1:51- Letang is robbed by Quick!

2:52- Crosby undresses Doughty...that was special there. Crosby rifles one, but it hits the goal post!

4:49- Kings kill off another Pens power-play. They had some good looks at the net, but Quick was on it.

6:49- Another power-play chance for the Pens as Greene goes back to the box for roughing.

8:46- Cole jumps into the Pens 2 on 1 chance. He fires a shot over the net!

10:49- Fleury is on his game early in this one.

12:04- A successful penalty kill for the Pens and that was thanks to Fleury. He is standing tall in the net.

14:04- Kunitz to the box for holding the stick. The Pens head onto the penalty kill.

16:41- Killed off and the Pens power-play didn't record a point.

18:41- The Pens will get the first power-play of the game as Greene sits for holding. 

19:35- Fleury with a solid save on Gaborik's shot. 

20:00- The puck has dropped at the Staples Center! The Pens look to become true Kings! Lets Go Pens!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Penguins look to fight off the Ducks!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins are enjoying 85 degree weather and sandy beaches, this weekend as they are in California. They will be making a swing through the state to take on both the Anaheim Ducks and LA Kings. Tonight the Penguins will be facing off against the Ducks at the Honda Center. Some career milestones will be achieved tonight. Chris Kunitz will appear in his 400th game with the Penguins tonight! He has amassed 317 points (142 goals and 175 assists) of his 509 career points (233 goals and 286 assists) in 399 games with the Penguins. Amazing achievement for a hard working guy...Congrats Kuni! Ben Lovejoy will also play in his 100th game with the team tonight! That is a way to welcome back Lovejoy (his second game since being traded back).

Onto tonight's game, Pittsburgh has won seven of their last nine games against the Ducks going back to October 6, 2007. Not to mention, the Penguins lead the National Hockey League (NHL) in team goals-per-game average (since February 21st). With five games played they have 3.80 goals-per-game average, while the Tampa Bay Lightning have a 3.60. Third place goes to the Boston Bruins with a 3.50 goals-per-game advantage only playing four games.

The Penguins suffered a 3-1 loss to the Colorado Avalanche, Wednesday night, snapping a four game winning streak. They had a hard time getting on the scoreboard and looked to be lacking any fire. It was a lackluster performance after having a great four game winning streak. The key to getting back on track is getting the offense on the board. During Wednesday night's game, the only guy to get on the board was Evgeni Malkin. He came into the third period with a fire under his butt and was a beast on the ice. He leads the NHL with the highest percentage of games with at least one point at 72.4%. Malkin is also riding a six game point streak, which is his fourth point streak of six or more games this season. Not to mention, no other player has had more than a two, six-game point streak this season. He is truly on a whole other level. One can bet that Malkin will come out with speed and a lot of energy. Another key to getting the offense going is Sidney Crosby. Crosby has eight points (five goals and three assists) during his active five-game point streak versus the Ducks. In eight career games against the Ducks, he has points in seven.

A team can't win games with offense alone, they have to have a strong defensive core. Leading the Penguins' defensive core is Kris Letang. Letang is having a phenomenal season and doesn't look to be stopping anytime soon. Not only is he strong defensively, he has a great offensive presence. This has to do with his talent to stickhandle in a phone booth and his graceful skating ability. He is approaching career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, power play percentage, and time-on-ice per game. This is truly a Norris Trophy season and he deserves it.

In addition, everyone was present and accounted for at the morning skate today. Mike Johnston stated that Thomas Greiss would start in net tonight. This means that Marc-Andre Fleury will start tomorrow night versus the LA Kings.

Another late one for Pittsburgh Nation! We will all become part of the Night Owl Club! Hopefully, the Penguins award us with a big win! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Perron, Crosby, Hornqvist
Kunitz, Geno, Comeau
Winnik, Sutter, Bennett
Spaling, Lapierre, Adams

Martin, Letang
Pouliot, Lovejoy
Scuderi, Cole

Greiss in the net!

Play By Play
PENS 5 Ducks 2

3rd Period

0:10- CROSBY SCORES AN EMPTY NETTER! Crosby knocks the puck out of thin air and spins around a Duck! He is hooked/interfered with, but still manages to put the puck in! 5-2 Pens!

0:13- The Pens power-play ends.

1:11- Ducks get an offensive zone face-off and pull their goalie.

2:13- Fowler sits for hooking. Crosby had a chance at the empty net, but was hooked up.

2:32- The Ducks now have an empty net!

3:07- Greiss has bounced back a bit as he has made some nice saves as the period whines down.

4:19- The Ducks are not going down without a fight! Third period numbers aren't good for Greiss, but hopefully the Pens can help me overcome them.

6:52- Perry Scores. Perry goes down to one-knee and puts one in the open net. 4-2 Pens

7:56- That is all she wrote for the Pens power-play.

9:56- Power-play chance for the Pens!

10:56- Fleischmann Scores. Fleischmann comes flying into the offensive zone and fires a wrist shot. Greiss gets a piece of it, but it pops up and over him into the net. 4-1 Pens.

13:27- Malkin now has a seven game point streak and is tied with Ovechkin for the most points in the NHL!

16:31- The Ducks pin the Pens in their own zone for well over a minute. Greiss comes up big and Pens ice the puck. They call a timeout.

17:34- Amazing right elbow save by Greiss!

17:57- MALKIN SCORES! Kunitz in on the fore-check to get the puck. Kunitz and Comeau exchange passes! Kunitz goes to Malkin who rifles one! It trickles over the goal line! 4-0 Pens!

20:00- One more period of regulation hockey left to go! The Pens need to keep up the good work and not let up! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00- The second period comes to a close and what a great period by the Pens! They take the 3-0 lead over the Ducks!

1:03- HORNQVIST SCORES! As the Pens cycle the puck, Cole fires a shot from the point! Hornqvist gets a piece of it up front! 3-0 Pens!

1:07- The Pens power-play has been killed off.

3:07- Despres will now head to the box for a two-handed slash on Malkin. Power play opportunity for the Pens.

4:32- The Pens penalty kill is engaged into beast mode.

6:32- Hornqvist will now go to the box for slashing. Ducks to the power-play.

8:07- HORNQVIST SCORES! Crosby wins the face-off and gets the puck deep! Perron outlets to to Hornqvist at the side of the net! He sneaks in a bad-angle shot! 2-0 Pens!

10:09- COMEAU SCORES! Pouliot stick handles through the neutral zone and enters the offensive zone! He drops the puck off for Comeau, who blasts a rocket shot past the glove of Andersen! 1-0 Pens

11:29- Lapierre and Adams go to the front as Spaling comes down the wing. Spaling fires a shot off the crossbar!

13:52- 3 on 1 chance for the Pens with Malkin driving down the center. He goes to one-knee for a shot that goes wide!

15:06- Another successful kill for the Pens. Greiss with a few good saves and Sutter had a shorthanded chance. The penalty kill was doing work.

17:06- The Pens with too many men on the ice. Ducks to the power-play.

20:00- We are back for the second period! The Pens need to pepper the net with shots and look for rebounds! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00- The horn sounds on the first period and this game is scoreless.

0:49- First Pens power-play is killed off by the Ducks.

2:49- Now a power-play chance for the Pens as Perry is called for tripping.

4:01- Comeau sends a rocket shot just wide of the net!

5:47- The Ducks get a 3 on 1 chance led by Getzlaf, but Letang speeds back to confront Getzlaf and take away their chance.

7:13- Greiss comes up with a big save on a shot by Getzlaf.

9:35- It has been a nice start for the Pens and they have been getting to the front of the net.

12:00- Mark that down as a successful penalty kill for the Pens. Very aggressive and Winnik made some really good plays.

14:00- A power-play for the Ducks as Scuderi is called for tripping.

16:14- Both teams are back to full strength.

17:22- The Pens crash the net. Sutter, Spaling and Pouliot battle for the loose puck.

18:14- Some 4 on 4 hockey early in this game.

19:28- Good opening shift by the Crosby line.

20:00- The puck has dropped at Honda Center! The Pens battle against the Anaheim Ducks tonight! Welcome to the Night Owl Club! Lets Go Pens!