Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Penguins play the leftover Penguins!

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins last game before the All-Star Break will be against the New Jersey Devils, and there are precious points up for grabs. The Devils currently hold the final Wild Card spot in the East, and this puts the Penguins on the outside looking in.

However, a regulation win tonight would put both teams in a dead heat for that Wild Card position. Not to mention, a win would continue to propel the Penguins in the right direction. So to say this game is important would be an understatement.

The Penguins have been turning things around and lighting the lamp more often. Even though there is still some flaws; the team is finally coming together and looking like they should. In January, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Kris Letang. Malkin has seven power-play points (two goals and five assists), which leads the National Hockey League (NHL). Crosby is tied for second in the NHL with seven goals and Letang leads NHL defensemen with 13 points (three goals and ten assists). It has been a great month for them, and the team is thriving. Crosby is getting back to his game and is riding a career-long six-game home goal scoring streak. As for Malkin, he became the third player in franchise history to score ten hat-tricks. When Crosby and Malkin are clicking, the team is also flying.

There will be some lineup changes though for the Penguins due to injuries. Letang was present during the morning skate and was confirmed for the game tonight. Chris Kunitz (undisclosed injury) and Beau Bennett (aggravated the previous injury) were absent. Kunitz will not be in the lineup.

On another note, many former members of the Penguins’ organization will be coming back to Pittsburgh. Ray Shero was the Penguins’ General Manager (GM) from 2006-2014 and is now the Devils’ GM. Tom Fitzgerald, who was an assistant coach and assistant to the GM for the Pens (among other things), is now the Devils’ assistant GM. The Devil’s Head Coach, John Hynes and assistant coach, Alain Nasreddine were in the same positions in Wilkes-Barre Scranton for five seasons. Lastly, former players Tyler Kennedy, Lee Stempniak, and Bobby Farnham have crossed over to enemy lines. It looks like the Penguins’ leftovers have been working out well for the Devils, which is good since they are all great guys and are good at what they do.

At any rate, home is where the heart is for the Penguins as they have a record of 5-0-2 in their last seven home games, which includes two straight wins. The netminder, Marc-Andre Fleury has a five-game home unbeaten streak (4-0-1).

In addition, the Penguins are 8-3-4 in their last 15 games and have a five-game point streak versus Metropolitan teams (3-0-2).

The Penguins have to stay focus and play their game. They need to play with speed and not let up on the Devils. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Cullen - Crosby - Hornqvist
Hagelin - Malkin - Kessel
Kuhnhackl - Fehr - Rust
Wilson - Porter - Sheary 

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Daley
Pouliot - Lovejoy 

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
PENS 2 Devils 0

3rd Period

1:01 - The Pens penalty kill has been on it all game as they kill another Devils' power play.

1:38 - Devils ring another one off the goal post!

1:50 - Devils have an empty net.

3:01 - The Devils get a late power play as Maatta is called for tripping.

3:27 - Fleury makes a good glove save through traffic and holds for the whistle.

4:33 - Kessel rips a backhanded pass to an open Malkin. Malkin rips one from the top of the face-off circle, but Schneider gets the glove out for the save.

6:49 - The Devils ring one off the goal post!

7:41 - Schneider robs Dumoulin with the pad. I have to say it was a great save through traffic. He has been on point for the Devils tonight.

8:33 - The Devils are able to kill the Pens power play.

10:33 - A power play for the Pens is coming as Stempniak is called for interference.

12:11 - The Pens are still doing a good job off pressuring the Devils in the offensive zone. Not many whistles right now.

15:38 - Letang feeds a pass to Cullen in the slot. He drives one just wide!

16:28 - Henrique gets a good chance up front, but Fleury makes a solid pad save.

17:44 - Cullen tries a wrap around and keeps whacking at the puck at the side of the net. Schneider holds strong.

20:00 - The guys are back on the ice for the third period! The Pens have to keep pressuring Schneider and not let up! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - The second period horn sounds and the Pens extend their lead to 2-0!

1:23 - Maatta is set free and that makes the Devils 0 for 3 on the power play.

3:23 - The Devils will get another crack at the power play as Maatta sits in the box for interference.

4:39 - KESSEL SCORES! Hagelin picks up the puck into the neutral zone and crosses the blue line! Hagelin pulls back on his backhand and turns to his forehand to make a beautiful pass to Kessel! Kessel puts one up high over Schneider! 2-0 Pens

5:29 - The third line for the Pens gets the puck in deep and down low. Nice offensive zone time.

9:47 - Crosby finds Hornqvist. Schneider makes the save, but the puck is still loose. The Pens crash, but the whistle is blown.

10:45 - Letang takes a shot up high (chest area) and looks to be in some pain. He is talking to the trainer, but stays on the bench.

12:28 - Letang tries to put in a wrap around, but Schneider is there to make the save.

12:48 - Malkin turns over the puck behind his own net, but Fleury has his back.

14:52 - Rust picks up a rebound shot and tries for a wrap around chance. Schneider makes the save and tracks down the loose puck. The Pens with some good pressure.

16:32 - Crosby drives center and passes over to Cullen. Cullen goes across the ice to Hornqvist. Schneider makes the first save and holds as the Pens crash the net. Nice passing by the first line.

17:49 - Sheary is coming down the slot with speed and is denied by Schneider!

20:00 - Time for the second period! The Pens need to hammer Schneider and build on their lead! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - The first period ends and the Pens have the 1-0 lead!

0:33 - Another successful penalty kill for the Pens. The Devils were not about to even get set up.

0:57 - Cullen gets a chance shorthanded, but Schneider makes the pad save.

2:33 - The Devils will get another power play chance as Letang takes a seat for holding.

4:30 - CROSBY SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Letang fires a shot on net that is saved, but Crosby picks up the rebound and buries it! 1-0 Pens

4:38 - Letang with a good hard shot from the blue line, but Schneider makes the save.

5:12 - Now time for a Pens power play as Palmieri will head to the sin bin for tripping.

6:16 - The Pens are getting time to set up in the Devils' zone. The Devils are doing a good job of clearing the puck out of their zone.

8:29 - Successful penalty kill for the Pens and they hold the Devils to zero shots. Slow start for the Pens once again, maybe that kill can get things going.

10:29 - The first power play of the game goes to the Devils as Crosby sits for holding.

11:29 - Blandisi and Palmieri get a 2 on 1 chance. Blandisi dishes a pass over to Palmeiri, but Fleury makes a split save. Blandisi fans on the rebound chance. Unreal save by Fleury.

13:53 - Farnham comes in and gets in close with a bouncing puck. Fleury is up to the challenge and makes the save.

19:33 - Crosby fires one that just goes wide on the stick side of Schneider! It looked to be tipped wide by a Devil.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens have to come out with speed and take control of this game! Get those two points! Lets Go Pens! 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Canucks found in Pittsburgh

By: MF,

Good afternoon! The Pittsburgh Penguins are taking on the Vancouver Canucks today at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins are coming off a huge win against the Philadelphia Flyers! They looked really good in that game and seem to finding their identity as a whole. Now they need to continue that for a long stretch! Since it's a weekend afternoon game, I have decided to just give you the play by play.

Now sit back and enjoy some Penguins hockey! It's a great day for hockey! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Sheary - Crosby - Hornqvist
Hagelin - Malkin - Kessel
Kuhnhackl - Fehr - Rust
Porter - Cullen - Bennett

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Daley
Pouliot - Lovejoy

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
PENS 5 Canucks 4

3rd Period

0:16 - Hansen Scores. Hansen tips it past Fleury. He gets his own hat trick. 5-4 Pens

1:23 - CROSBY SCORES AN EMPTY NETTER! Crosby knocks the puck out of the air to Hagelin! Hagelin instead turns and passes it back over to Crosby! Crosby puts it in! 5-3 Pens

1:36 - Pens kill Canucks power play.

1:50 - Empty net for the Canucks.

3:36 - Canucks get their first power play of the game as Dumoulin is called for tripping.

4:17 - Dumoulin waits behind the net to get the puck up to Malkin, who touches it off to Hagelin. He gets a quick one-on-one against Miller. Miller makes the pad save.

7:00 - RUST SCORES! Rust takes the puck all the way to the blueline with a Canuck right behind him! He turns and shoots the puck towards the net! It finds its way through traffic and past Miller! 4-3 Pens

9:38 - MALKIN GETS THE HATTER! Canucks have a bad change and the Pens make them pay! Malkin fires a rocket shot past the glove of Miller! 3-3 tie game 

9:55 - The Pens are skating with speed and getting some great chances. Things are turning.

12:44 - MALKIN SCORES! Well sort of! Malkin carries the puck to the back of the net and puts it in front after drawing Miller out of the net! Vey (Canuck player) puts it in his own net! 3-2 Canucks

14:00 - Horvat Scores. Letang and Maatta back up giving Horvat room. He rips one past Fleury. 3-1 Canucks

15:17 - Miller robs Hornqvist in front!

16:30 - Pens power play comes to an end.

16:47 - The Canucks get a 2 on 1 shorthanded chance, but Fleury commits highway robbery!

18:30 - Sbisa heads over to the sin bin for tripping. Power play time for the Pens.

20:00 - Time for the third period and for the Pens to get take over the lead! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period comes to an end and the Pens have cut the Canucks lead in half 2-1.

0:11 - Hansen once again takes off and is all alone. Fleury robs him!

1:51 - The Canucks are not giving the Pens much space, but the Pens have to create that space by getting physical.

4:25 - Malkin gets a quality chance at the side of the net, but Miller gets the pad out.

6:07 - Fleury is on his game as he makes a huge save on D. Sedin's shot!

8:20 - The Pens' second line gets some good time and chances on net.

11:17 - The Canucks kill off the Pens power play.

13:17 - Now Bartkowski visits the sin bin for cross-checking. Back onto the power play for the Pens.

14:10 - The power play for the Pens comes to an end.

16:06 - Regular power play now for the Pens for about 1:52.

16:06 - MALKIN SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Canucks win the faceoff, but fail to clear. Letang makes a perfect pass to Malkin! He wastes no time and blows one past Miller! 2-1 Canucks

16:12 - The Pens get a chance to work on the 5 on 3 power play for 1:08 as

17:04 - Another power play chance for the Pens as Zalewski takes a seat for tripping.

17:33 - Cullen shots short-side, but Miller makes the save with his mask. Miller is shaken up from the shot and then Sheary bumps into him.

19:40 - Some line changes have been made. Bennett is now up on the first line with Crosby and Hornqvist.

20:00 - The Pens are back on the ice for the second period and hopefully they are a different team! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period horn sounds and the Canucks have the 2-0 lead over the Pens.

0:30 - Cullen has a chance in front, but is unable to get a shot off.

2:09 - The Pens power play ends...more like a Canucks power play.

3:25 - Hansen Scores a shorthanded goal. Hansen and Dorsett have speed entering the Pens' zone. Fleury makes huge save on Dorsett, but Hansen gets the rebound and puts it in. 2-0 Canucks

4:09 - The first power play will go to the Pens as Sedin sits for hooking. Time to wake up and get things tied up!

5:31 - The Canucks are flying to start this one and the Pens are not. Fleury is definitely warmed up and dealing with quality shots and chances from the Canucks.

7:16 - Fleury is keeping the Canucks quality shots at bay.

8:18 - Daley cuts off the angle for Virtanen, but he is still able to get a solid shot off. Fleury makes a save with his mask!

10:57 - Canucks only have three shots on goal, but look very energetic. The Pens need to pick it up physically to slow them down.

12:52 - The second line for the Pens gets some great time in the offensive zone and pressures the Canucks. The puck bounces around in front and Kessel gets a good shot off. Miller with the save. Nice shift.

14:56 - Fleury makes a quick save on Horvat's shot. Nice works, however Fleury was better.

15:59 - Crosby makes a hard backhand shot, but Miller makes the pad save.

19:33 - Hansen Scores. Hansen comes flying down the wing into the Pens' zone. The Pens don't match his speed and it gives him time/space. He puts one up high into the corner. 1-0 Canucks

20:00 - The puck has dropped on this rare afternoon game! Time for the Pens to send the Canucks home with big L's on their faces! Lets Go Pens! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

No Blues here

By: MF,

The Pittsburgh Penguins are in St. Louis to battle the Blues after a dominating 5-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Sidney Crosby scored two goals in that game. He has been flying in every match. Even though they lost against the Tampa Bay Lightning, they skated well and looked good. The odds just weren’t in their favor.

The Penguins offense has been picking up. Phil Kessel has seven points in the last eight games that amount to one goal and six assists. Kessel also had the assist on the game-winning-goal by Evgeni Malkin in their first matchup against the Blues on November 25. Malkin has also been on fire. This season he has racked up 19 goals, 24 assists, and 43 points. The new addition of Carl Hagelin made an impression during his first game. He tied for the team lead with four shots (SH) in the Carolina game (1/17/16). His time-on-ice (TOI) was at 13:15, which gave him a 1.56 SH/TOI. Look for his role to continue to grow.

As for the defense, Marc-Andre Fleury earned a shutout in their last contest, stopping 22 shots. He has been a wall for the team, and it is nice to see them playing better in front of him. An essential piece of the blueline has been Olli Maatta, who leads the team with a +17. He is also riding a career-long three-game point streak (one goal and two assists). It is his longest streak since December 5-9,2015 (three games with two goals and two assists). The Carolina game was a career milestone for Trevor Daley as it was his 800th NHL contest.

In their last five visits to Scottrade Center, the Penguins are 3-1-1. They are riding a four-game point streak (2-0-2) going into the game tonight. It will also be their last regular-season game outside of the Eastern Time Zone, so we all can stop with the late nights during the week!

The Penguins need to come out with speed and take control of this game early! Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz - Crosby - Hornqvist 
Hagelin - Malkin - Kessel
Kuhnhackl- Fehr - Rust
Porter - Cullen - Sheary

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Cole - Daley 

Zatkoff in the net! 

Play by Play
Pens 2 Blues 5

3rd Period
0:00 - The Pens fall to the Blues 5-2. The Pens played a solid game and dominated for the majority of the game. They also out-shot the Blues, but they needed more from their netminder. Onto the next game.

0:15 - Shattenkirk Scores an empty net goal. 5-2 Blues

0:19 - That is it for the Pens power play.

2:19 - Pens with a late power play chance as Tarasenko sits for closing his hand over the puck in front of his net.

3:29 - Empty net for the Pens.

4:03 - Sad to see the Pens down by two after dominating most of the game. They have out-shot the Blues the entire time.

5:58 - Kessel rings one off the goal post!

8:22 - Stastny Scores. Stastny comes flying into the offensive zone and rips a shot past Zatkoff. 4-2 Blues

8:44 - Kessel gets a good shot off, but it's blocked in front.

11:02 - Big save by Letang as he gets the loose puck after it tickles between the legs of Zatkoff and he clears.

13:20 - Kunitz is set free. Great penalty kill, now time to clear the puck out.

15:20 - Huge penalty kill ahead for the Pens as Kunitz heads to the sin bin for delay of game.

17:50 - Brouwer Scores. Brouwer puts one over the stick of Cole and through the five-hole of Zatkoff. 3-2 Blues

20:00 - We are back for the third period! The Pens have to keep at it and not let up! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period ends with things now tied at two.

2:46 - Tarasenko Scores. Tarasenko protects the puck and pushes Lovejoy back. Trasenko goes from his backhand to his forehand to put it past the blocker of Zatkoff. 2-2 tie game.

4:04 - MALKIN SCORES! Hagelin gets the puck up to Malkin who does a little move to get free! He goes from backhand to forehand and puts one up high on Elliott! 2-1 Pens

5:28 - Letang and Brouwer exchange words and shoves behind the play. Nothing is called and play continues.

7:10 - Crosby enters the offensive zone with Sheary and three other Blue players. He drops off to Daley, but he shoots it wide!

9:33 - Shots for the second period are 10-5 in favor of the Pens.

11:46 - Another successful kill for the Blues.

12:45 - Kunitz and Edmundson are set free. 1 minute of a regular power play for the Pens.

13:46 - Right back to the power play for the Pens. Lehtera skates to the box for interference. 4 on 3 power play for 1:02. Then the rest of the time will be a regular power play.

14:45 - We are going to get some 4-on-4 hockey as Kunitz and Edmundson get matching roughing minors.

14:55 - The Pens' power play is held to only one shot as Stastny is set free.

16:55 - Now a power play chance for the Pens as Stastny is called for delay of game.

19:41 - A successful kill for the Pens and hold the Blues to only two shots.

20:00 - Time for the second period! The Pens have to kill off a Blues' power play for 19 more seconds! Kill this and get back to hammering Elliott with shots! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period comes to an end with things tied at one.

1:41 - The Blues will get the first power play of the game as Daley sits for holding. Late power play chance.

1:57 - KUNITZ SCORES! Letang makes a great up ice pass to Kunitz! Kunitz gets body position on Brouwer and puts it five-hole! 1-1 tie game

4:42 - Daley made a nice, quick move to get in the offensive zone. He goes straight to the net, but Elliott makes the stop.

8:00 - Steen Scores. Zatkoff comes way out of the net (by the faceoff circle) to challenge Brouwer. The puck bounces around, Statsny gets enough control to get the puck to Steen. He puts it in a wide open net. 1-0 Blues

9:33 - Rust gets in the face of Elliott to get some whacks at the puck. The Blues are able to clear.

11:21 - Rust works hard on the boards to get the puck and gets the puck out to Porter in the slot. Elliott flashes the pads to get the saves. Great work by the fourth line.

12:30 - Kunitz gets the puck to Hornqvist, who is flying into the offensive zone. He gets two chances on net, but Elliott stands strong to make the saves.

14:38 - Steen rips a wicked shot that beats Zatkoff, but not the goal post! Close one there.

15:08 - The third line for the Pens does some good work. They get zone time and keep pressuring the Blues.

17:00 - Zatkoff makes a solid pad save and the Pens get a chance down at the other end, but Elliott is up to the challenge.

20:00 - The puck has dropped in St.Louis! The Pens need to take control early and keep it! Lets Go Pens!  

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Critical points game for the Penguins

By: MF,

Hello to everyone! I am glad to be back and to cover the Pittsburgh Penguins as they face the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh. This game is a proverbial 4-point swing for both teams as they are in a tight race to get into the playoffs. The Penguins are only two points out of the final Wild Card spot for the Eastern Conference with 45 points. However, they would have to jump over three teams to claim it. The Hurricanes are only two points behind the Penguins with 43. This is a critical game for the Penguins, not just in the points race, but also essential for them building some momentum.

Special teams will be key in tonight’s game as the Hurricanes beat the Penguins 2-1 with both goals coming on the power play. The penalty kill for the Penguins and power play will be a focal point. The penalty kill has 25 consecutive kills and has been up to the task. Justin Faulk (Hurricanes) is key to the Hurricanes’ power play, so look for the Penguins to pay particular attention to him. They will have to stay focused and keep playing their game. Eric Fehr has been a great penalty killer and is second in the league with three shorthanded goals. Fehr and Matt Cullen have been outstanding, year long, on the penalty kill. Cullen has a team-high of 110:26 shorthanded minutes. Another big player on the penalty kill is Kevin Porter. Porter has zero power play goals against in 39:47 minutes. To top things off, the penalty kill has a season success rate of 85.2%, which is fifth in the league. Also, the Penguins power play has been fire having scored at least one goal in eight of their last ten games. During that stretch, they have gone 11-for-32 (34.4%).

On the offense, Phil Kessel has registered four points (one goal and three assists) in his last five games. While Evgeni Malkin has points in five of his last six games, where is has two goals, seven assists, and nine points. Look for them to get involved early along with Sidney Crosby, who has been on fire.

In goal will be Marc-Andre Fleury, who is 2-1-1 in his last four starts. He has a 1.97 goals-against-average and .943 save percentage, during that time.

The Penguins have to stay focused and capitalize on special teams. This game is an important game for the Penguins, and they need to respond accordingly. Lets Go Pens!  

The Pens lineup is as follows: 

Kunitz - Crosby - Perron
Hornqvist - Malkin - Kessel
Huhnhackl - Bonino - Rust
Porter - Cullen - Fehr

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Cole - Daley

Fleury in the net! 

Play by Play
Pens 2 Hurricanes 3 OT

The Hurricanes come out with the 3-2 win in overtime. Not a great start by the Pens, but they picked up their game and battled. Sad to see them lose the game like that. Discipline is critical in those type of situations.

2:10 - SKINNER SCORES ON THE PP! The Hurricanes change things up at the point and Skinner finds his way to the side of the net. Skinner sits all alone and puts the puck in. Fleury had no chance. 3-2 Hurricanes

2:20 - Hurricanes will get a 4 on 3 power play chance as Malkin is called for hooking. Huge kill for the Pens.

2:42 - Fleury with a easy save on a 2 on 1 chance for the Hurricanes.

3:03 - Crosby's slapper goes off a Hurricanes' stick.

3:31 - Fehr with some great stick handling. Doing work in the offensive zone.

4:42 - Hurricanes are going with two defensemen and one forward. The Pens doing the opposite.

5:00 - 60 minutes of regulation wasn't enough! The Pens need to keep playing with the same passion and fire! Lets Go Pens!

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

0:20 - The Pens showing they want this game and bad!

2:02 - The first line once again is knocking on Ward's doorstep. The puck just stays out of the net.

4:57 - Crosby is an unstoppable force right now. He is controlling the puck every time he steps on the ice. Seems like a matter of time.

8:10 - Crosby is having another great night. He makes a quick move to get around Hainsey and enter the zone. Then gets the puck from behind the net and gets away from two players.

10:43 - Malkin tries for a wrap around chance, but Ward just gets the toe over to make the save!

11:29 - Another successful penalty kill for the Pens.

13:29 - Cole sits for slashing and roughing. Hainsey gets roughing. Hurricanes end up with a power play opportunity.

13:58 - KUNITZ SCORES! Hornqvist keeps the puck in the zone, Crosby picks up the puck behind the net! Crosby outlets to Kunitz in the slot! He beats Ward! 2-2 tie game.

15:50 - The pace of the game has definitely picked up with not many whistles. Fleury has been sharp.

17:25 - Letang lays a hard hit on E. Staal. Letang is having a great game, so far.

20:00 - Third period is underway! The Pens have to get more shots and pressure on Ward! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period ends with the Hurricanes leading the Pens 2-1.

1:44 - Fleury with a huge pad save on a shot by E. Staal.

2:31 - J. Staal looks to have a breakaway chance, but Letang closes in on him and takes the puck away. Great defensive work by Letang.

3:42 - Things have been picking up for the Pens. They have more jump to their game.

6:38 - McClement gets behind the defense and ends up with the puck in front. Fleury comes out with a quick poke check to break things up.

8:07 - Ward comes out to challenge Fehr on his shot. He is able to make the save.

9:31 - LETANG SCORES! The Pens win an offensive zone faceoff and it goes back to Letang! He rips one on net past Ward! 2-1 Hurricanes.

10:16 - Versteeg Scores. Versteeg fires the puck high off the boards and he gets a lucky bounce. It goes off the glass onto Fleury's back and intot he net. 2-0 Hurricanes

13:51 - Letang and Crosby fly up ice. Letang passes over to Crosby. Crosby has little time or space, but gets a shot off. Not sure if Ward got a piece or it went wide.

14:41 - Daley saves the day by getting his stick on the loose puck that was shot by Skinner!

16:08 - E. Staal Scores. Three Pens go behind the net to battle for the puck, including both D-man. The puck props out in front to Versteeg, who gives to Staal. Staal is all alone at the side and doesn't miss. 1-0 Hurricanes.

16:40 - Ward just gets his left pad down to shot Fehr's shot.

18:47 - Fleury comes out to cut down the angle and ends up making a big save.

20:00 - We are back for the second period! The Pens need to ramp up their play and pressure Ward! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends with things scoreless and five shots a piece.

1:55 - Another good shift for the third line.

4:08 - Great kill by the Pens. Fleury was solid in net. Daley is set free.

6:08 - The penalty kill for the Pens will be tested as Daley is called for interference.

8:32 - Kessel fires a rocket shot that knocks off the helmet of Ward! Wow!

10:03 - Shots are 3-1 in favor of the Pens. Not much getting to the nets.

11:14 - Some good back and forth hockey by both teams. Neither team has much of an advantage right now.

13:30 - The power play chances for the Pens come to an end and this one is still scoreless.

15:21 - Regular power play for another 1:51 for the Pens.

15:30 - Now a 5 on 3 power play chance for the Pens for nine seconds as Malone sits for delay of game.

17:21 - Power play chance for the Pens as Lindholm is sent to the box for hooking.

17:26 - Crosby makes his way around Lindholm to get to the front. Ward lays down the paddle to make the save.

20:00 - The puck has dropped in Raleigh! The Pens need to come out and get on the board early! Time to show the Hurricanes who is boss! Lets Go Pens!  

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

No brooms needed in Chicago

By: MF,

We are back again for the second game of a home-and-home set between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks took the first game, last night, with a 3-2 win in overtime. Now they look to sweep the Penguins for the second season in a row.

No morning skate for either team, which means we will have to wait on the starting goalies for tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury was solid in the net and made some amazing saves in last night’s game. He made 27 saves on the night. He has started the last two games, since returning from the injury list (concussion).

Up front, our Captain, Sidney Crosby is riding a four-game goal scoring streak, which hasn’t happened since December 20-28, 2010. In his last eight games, Crosby has 12 points (six goals and six assists). Also, he is third in the Eastern Conference in points-per-game leaders since December 26th with a 1.50. Comparing both team’s captains, the numbers stack up like this:
Crosby – 12 goals, 19 assists, and 31 points
Jonathan Toews – 14 goals, 12 assists, and 26 points

In addition, Crosby sits in fourth place in the league for having a 1.00 points-per-game for the 2015-16 season. Evgeni Malkin is just below him in fifth place with a .99 points-per-game for the year. Crosby is finally getting fired up and racking up the points. Looks like Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS) is having a positive impact on him and the team.

On defense, Kris Letang is on fire. He has three straight multi-pint games that rack up to three goals, five assists, and eight points. He leads the Eastern Conference with a 2.00 points-per-game average, since December 26th. Letang has also put up big numbers in his last 19 games with 20 points (three goals and 17 assists).

The Penguins are looking to get their first win against the Blackhawks in Chicago, since February 27, 2009, where Malkin scored the game-winning-goal. Last night, the Penguins outshot the Blackhawks 36-30 and also finished with a 68-54 edge in total shot attempts. Tonight, the Penguins have to get more traffic in front and frustrate the Blackhawks' goalie. They looked excellent and were able to control the puck throughout the game. However, luck was not always on their side and some turnovers cost them. If they continue to play with the same fire, passion, and play smart, they can get the win tonight. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz - Crosby - Perron
Cullen - Malkin - Kessel
Wilson - Bonino - Hornqvist
Porter - Fehr - Plotnikov

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Cole - Daley

Fleury in net!

Play by Play
Pens 1 Blackhawks 3

3rd Period
0:00 - The Pens fall 3-1 to the Blackhawks. They were a totally different team from last night. Now they can get some rest and regroup to face the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday. Would of like to see more, especially with the way Fleury played.

0:34 - Toews gets mad at Letang for a hit and goes after him. Scrum ensues after.

0:50 - Empty net once again for the Pens.

1:06 - Teravainen Scores. Lovejoy falls down and losses the puck. Teravainen picks it up and puts it into the empty net. 3-1 Blackhawks

1:20 - Empty net for the Pens

2:00 - Malkin with a dive that Darling saves with the blocker.

4:56 - The Pens don't look the same as last night. The Blackhawks are taking it to them.

7:38 - The Blackhawks survive another Pens power play chance and hold them to one shot.

9:38 - Crosby draws a holding penalty and the Pens get a much needed power play.

11:04 - Panarin Scores. Blackhawks win the offensive zone faceoff and Panarin fires a laser, which beats Fleury. 2-1 Blackhawks

13:10 - The Pens power play comes to an end. Fleury did most the work as the Blackhawks kept the Pens out of the offensive zone for most of it.

15:10 - Power play opportunity for the Pens as Hossa sits for hooking.

18:00 - Hornqvist battles at the blue line to get the puck in and Kessel picks it up. He passes up to Malkin and Darling steers the puck wide.

20:00 - The third period is underway! The Pens need to pick up their game some more and pepper the net with pucks! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - Second period horn sounds and things are tied up at one a piece!

1:18 - Another success penalty kill for the Pens.

3:18 - Perron is cross-checking by Keith, who ends up breaking his stick. Perron gets him back and ends up with a penalty. Blackhawks power play time.

4:12 - Letang fires from the point with Kuntiz in front. Darling is able to track and gobble up the puck.

5:32 - Fleury makes a huge save on Kane, then another on Van Riemsdyk. He has been a force to be reckon with in net tonight.

7:31 - The Pens are successful and Bonino is set free.

9:31 - Bonino is off to the sin bin for hooking. The Pens have to stay sharp and kill off this Blackhawks' power play.

12:27 - MALKIN SCORES ON THE POWER PLAY! Malkin fires a rocket shot from the point! Hornqvist screens Darling! Malkin's shot rings off the crossbar and goes in! 1-1 tie game

13:20 - Power play time for the Pens. They have 1:27 on the man advantage.

13:52 - Toews now heads to the box for high sticking. 4 on 4 hockey for 33 seconds.

14:22 - Porter and Bonino get a 2 on 1 chance, but someone can't finish the play. They both had a wide open net, but somehow it stays out.

15:20 - Fehr sits for interference and the Blackhawks get the first power play of the game.

17:58 - The Pens are still struggling to get extended offensive zone time.

20:00 - We are back for the second period! Lets hope that the Pens come out with a different approach! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - First period ends with the Blackhawks having the 1-0 lead over the Pens.

2:57 - The Pens are struggled this entire first period. Fleury is the only reason they are only down by one. At this point, they need to make it to the end of the period down by one. Then get a talking to in the locker room, come out a different team.

4:02 - Panarin Scores. The Blackhawks keep the Pens from touching the puck and keep them pinned in the offensive zone. Panarin finally puts one past Fleury. 1-0 Blackhawks

4:15 - The Blackhawks get unreal time in the offensive zone time. They look like they are on a power play a nd the Pens are getting tired.

7:03 - Shots are 10-3 Blackhawks. The Pens need to get things going up ice and pressure Darling.

9:51 - Shaw gets behind the Pens defense, but Fleury stands strong to make the save!

10:17 - Finally the Pens get a shot on net. The Pens are doing a better job of stopping the Blackhawks in the neutral zone.

11:47 - The Pens have not had a shot on net yet.

14:42 - The Blackhawks have controlled the puck for the majority of the period. Fleury has had to be sharp to start this one. The Pens need to get going.

18:59 - Fleury right pad save and right after he makes a diving save to deny Gustafsson.

20:00 - This game is on at the United Center! Time for the Pens get to a win in Chicago! Lets Go Pens! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hawks fly into Pittsburgh

By: MF,

Tonight begins the first of a home-and-home, back-to-back affair as the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at Consol Energy Center.

The Penguins started off 2016 with a dominant 5-2 win over the New York Islanders. They seem to be clicking and meshing well under Head Coach Mike Sullivan (HCMS). The Chicago Blackhawks are a dangerous team that is never down for the count. The Penguins will have to always keep defense in mind, even for the forwards. A key role for the forwards will be to pick up the trailing Hawk players off the rush. The entire team has to work together and play smart hockey. Also, the Penguins will have to shut down Patrick Kane. If they can limit his chances and shots, that will be a huge blow to the Blackhawks.

Up front, Sidney Crosby, and Evgeni Malkin have been lighting the lamp. They are leading the Metropolitan Division since December 1st. Malkin sits in first with 15 points (seven goals and eight assists), and Crosby is right behind him with 14 points (six goals and eight assists). Crosby leads the NHL in goals since December 26th with five. He has been on fire, and it is great to see him getting some points. In addition, Matt Cullen has earned four points (one goal and three assists) in his last six games. 

As for the defense, Kris Letang was named the National Hockey League (NHL) 3rd Star of the Week. He has two goals, four assists, and six points over the last two games. He ranks sixth among NHL defensemen with .76 points per game. He plays a critical role, and it shows in the team performance. With Letang in the lineup, the Penguins are 18-8-3 and 1-7-1 without him.

The team has been on it as they have compiled a record of 4-1-1 in their last six games. When it comes to the Blackhawks, the Penguins are 7-0-4 in their last 11 home games against them.

The Penguins will have to stay focused and play smart tonight to get the win. They cannot let up on the Blackhawks and have to keep hammering their goal. Lets Go Pens!

The Pens lineup is as follows:

Kunitz - Crosby - Perron
Cullen - Malkin - Kessel 
Sheary - Bonino - Hornqvist
Poter - Fehr - Plotnikov

Maatta - Letang
Dumoulin - Lovejoy
Cole - Daley

Fleury in the net!

Play by Play
Pens 2 Blackhawks 3 OT

The Blackhawks get the 3-2 win in overtime. The Pens worked hard to the last minute, but couldn't get the win. It was a good game by the Pens, but in the end the Blackhawks got it. On the bright side, the Pens come out with a point.

1:13 - Panarin Scores. He fires a rocket past Fleury. 3-2 Blackhawks

1:27 - Kessel and Kane battle. The Pens are able to get it away.

2:01 - Battle of the goalies is going on right now!

3:16 - Hossa gets in one-on-one, but Fleury shuts the door in his face!

3:31 - Malkin, Kessel, and Dumoulin crash the net. Crawford with the saves.

4:13 - Fleury makes two amazing saves!

4:27 - Letang is robbed!

5:00 - Overtime has started!

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

2:50 - LETANG SCORES! Crosby wins the faceoff back to Letang! Letang fires from the boards and puts it past Crawford! Things are tied up at two!

3:24 - Crawford robs Malkin!

5:27 - Fleury makes a quick pad save and Cole clears the rebound.

6:03 - Malkin steals the puck and enters the offensive zone. He holds, but for too long as he is unable to get the shot off.

9:56 - Crosby sets up Kunitz who fires a hard shot, but just misses the net!

11:13 - Kessel rings a shot off the goal post!

13:47 - Crosby comes flying into the offensive zone and gets in the same area as his goal. He rips a backhander to the same blocker area, beats Crawford again, but it rings off the goal post!

14:06 - CROSBY SCORES! Letang brings up puck up ice and passes to Perron, who enters the zone! Perron drops the puck back to Crosby! Crosby rifles one past the blocker of Crawford! 2-1 Hawks

17:32 - Maatta fires one down low and Letang jams at the puck, but Crawford is ready.

20:00 - Third period is underway! The Pens need to get a goal early to start and keep hammering Crawford! Come on Pens! Lets Go Pens!

2nd Period
0:00 - The second period horn sounds and the Blackhawks have the 2-0 lead over the Pens.

1:14 - Seabrook Scores. Seabrook fires from the blue line and the puck bounces off either Toews or Dumoulin (maybe both) in front. It trickles over the goal line. 2-0 Blackhawks

2:51 - Letang blast a shot from the point, but it hits someone in front.

3:57 - The Pens are moving the puck well and getting looks at the net, but Crawford is a solid goaltender. It won't be easy for the Pens, but they need to get to the dirty areas and create traffic.

6:08 - Letang is set free. Good kill by the Pens.

6:46 - The Blackhawks now have a power play for 38 seconds.

8:08 - So much for that power play as Letang is called for interference. Some 4 on 4 hockey for 1:22.

8:46 - Now the Pens are going to head onto the power play as Seabrook is called for holding.

11:13 - Panairn Scores. Kane and Panairn get a 2 on 1 chance. Kane enters the zone and freezes everyone. He goes to Panairn who puts one past Fleury. Fleury got most of the puck, but not all. 1-0 Blackhawks

11:44 - The first line of Kunitz-Crosby-Perron is playing hard. They get some great offensive zone time. Kunitz and Perron both get great chances, but can't capitalize!

14:22 - Crosby and Kunitz pressure, resulting in a Hawks turnover in the offensive zone. Crosby pass to Perron, but he can't get a handle on the puck.

15:55 - Fleury makes a solid pad save and kicks the rebound to the corner. The Pens start up ice.

18:58 - Perron gets a one-on-one with Crawford and tries to go over the glove, but misses the net!

20:00 - Time for the second period! The Pens need to keep getting shots on net and traffic in front of Crawford! Lets Go Pens!

1st Period
0:00 - We are scoreless after the first.

2:00 - The puck is turned over in front and the Pens get lucky as the puck stays out of the net.

2:35 - Great kill by the Pens as Letang is set free.

4:35 - Hawks get the first power play as Letang sits for hooking.

4:53 - Fleury makes a huge save on Toews' shot. He has been solid to start.

5:21 - Hornqvist gets a chance up front, but is denied.

9:52 - Crosby drives center, while Kunitz brings the puck up the wing. Kunitz tries to make a pass to Perron, who has a wide open net. However, the Hawks break up the play.

12:06 - Both teams have had some good looks on net. The Pens have look really good, just can't get plays finished or past Crawford.

15:42 - The Pens get some great chances. Crosby picks up the puck and fires. Crawford has been sharp.

18:10 - Good start for the Pens. Nice puck movement.

20:00 - The puck has dropped at Consol! The Pens need to come out with speed and get on the board early against the Blackhawks! Lets Go Pens!