-Last season, after the Penguins lost another wild and wooly loss at home against the Flyers which featured several penalties and post-whistle activity, we asked Sidney Crosby about what role he as captain and the other alternate captains have when it comes to helping the team maintain discipline.
-We don't have the quote immediately available to us, but his remark was something along the line of he can't take someone by the hand and tell that person to not take a penalty. It's on that person to realize he is hurting the team.
-In other words, Crosby isn't going to be Mark Messier or even Shane Doan when it comes to how he captains the team. He's more of a Mario Lemieux or Nicklas Lidstrom. Any hopes of Crosby to offer some rah-rah, "this is how it should be" speech to his beleaguered team would be a complete departure from his personality. If this makes Crosby a "bad leader," then Lemieux and Lidstrom were bad leaders.
-Dan Bylsma confirmed he benched Jussi Jokinen for a few shifts in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Coyotes after Jokinen slashed Coyotes forward Antoine Vermette in the offensive zone. The penalty led to a power play for the Coyotes and the eventual game-winning goal.
-The benching of Jokinen in that circumstance was certainly justified. It hurt his team. A lot of questions have been raised as to why that type of punishment isn't extended to his linemates, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal anytime they take a poor penalty. It's a fair question with ideal circumstances. But these are hardly ideal circumstances.
-If the Penguins were to scratch James Neal tonight, who would fill those important minutes on this roster as it's presently constructed? Who would fill in for Neal on the power play with Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Beau Bennett out of the lineup? Brian Gibbons? Jayson Megna? Discipline is a lot easier to dole out when all hands are accounted for.
-In contrast, the Coyotes scratched Mike Ribeiro and Derek Morris, two of their more established players, for Tuesday's game despite the fact that franchise goaltender Mike Smith was absent due to injury. They maintained their discipline to their system and kept their emotions in check that game and pulled out an impressive road win.
-Puck possession has become everything in the NHL these day. Controlling the puck gives you a better chance of winning. The Penguins have struggled with this area of the game since the Olympics and it's pretty easy to figure out why. Paul Martin and Kris Letang.
-The Penguins are missing their top two puck moving defensemen. Having a player who can move the puck through the neutral zone by either skating it or hitting stretch passes is a huge asset in this area. Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta have been pressed into being those players most of the season and they've done adequate jobs for the most part but you're starting to see signs of strain on each player. The Penguins, Niskanen and Maatta in particular, could use one or each of those players back in the lineup badly.
-Pay attention to the Kings' Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov tonight if you want to see the value of puck-moving defensemen.
-We're not sure what's up with Beau Bennett. He's been recalled from a conditioning assignment with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton but he's not listed on the team's active roster posted on the Web site.
-If you're a fan of the Manchester Monarchs, this is your game. Two alumni of that team's school of goaltending will get the start tonight in Jeff Zatkoff and Martin Jones. Between those two and Jonathan Quick as well as Jonathan Bernier, the Kings have produced a pretty solid crew of goaltenders. NHL goaltending coach Bill Ranford and minor league goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh have done a marvelous job for this franchise.
-An EN reader encountered a rather depressed Ron Tugnutt fan:
-Another reader found a poorly edited Chris Kuntiz Kunitz fan:
-A few pregame sights. Dahntahn:
-Zach Sill preseason:
-Fans entering the barn:
-There are quite a few Kings fans here. Anze Kopitar:
-Jonathan Quick and Jeff Carter:
-This is tremendous. Stephane Fiset:
-A few former Penguins/Kings. Martin Straka:
-Maaaaannn... Connor James:
-EN readers of a certain vintage recalled there was always an obligatory smashing of Connor James seemingly every game he played:
-Jersey of the Night: Marcel Dionne:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Tanner Glass, Chris Kunitz, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik and Jeff Zatkoff.
-Their scratches are Simon Despres, Evgeni Malkin and the great Joe Vitale.
-In warmups, Deryk Engelland skated with Rob Scuderi.
-The Kings' starters are Marian Gaborik, Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Martin Jones.
-Their scratches are Matt Greene and Dwight King.
-Jeff Jimerson blows the roof off this dump:
19:18: A slapper by Voynov from the center point is blocked.
18:39: A wrister by Willie Mitchell is blocked by James Neal.
16:36: Kunitz gets a little space in the right circle and rips a wrister which Jones fights off.
15:53: Stempniak pushes the puck up the left wing, pulls up and taps a backhanded pass to Kunitz who shuffles a forehand shot through the crease and wides of the cage. Play is halted as Muzzin and Crosby mix it up in the crease and knock the net off its moorings.
14:46: Off some strong work down low on the King's end boards. Pyatt snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Jones eats it up.
13:47: Anze Kopitar tries to rush the puck up the left wing and is thumped pretty well into the boards in front of the Penguins' penalty box by Bortuzzo.
13:15: Off a drop pass by Bortuzzo, Stempniak snaps of fa wrister from the right half wall. Jones snags it.
12:24: Off a turnover by the Kings deep in their own zone Neal chucks a backhander from the slot wide to the right of the cage.
11:10: Bortuzzo thumps Kyle Clifford into the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone while racing for a puck.
10:39: Doughty goes in deep on the right wing, fends off Pyatt and slides a shot into the crease where Zatkoff smothers.
7:26: Doughy jumps on a bouncing puck in the Penguins' slot and swats it wide o fhte cage.
7:05: Off a drop pass by Kunitz, Crosby link up the right wing and flings a backhander on net. Jones fights it off but loses track of the rebound. Stempniak jumps on it but punches it wide. A replay showed Stempniak's shot bouncing off Kopitar's stick and going wide.
7:32: Tyler Toffoli races up the right wing and snaps off a shot which Zatkoff smothers.
6:29: The Kings get the first power play of the game as Niskanen is called for interference against Toffoli. The Penguins won a faceoff and Niskanen held him up while battling for the puck. Marcel Goc, Scuderi, Orpik and Craig Adams take the ice.
6:03: Voynov chucks a wrister on net form the left circle. Zatkoff fights it off.
4:37: The Kings strike. Off a feed by Kopitar, Gaborik snaps off a wrister from above the right circle. It sails towards the net and appears to hit something and deflect down under Zatkoff blocker. Officials rule a goal while the Penguins immediately protest. It appears Carter, positioned into front of Zatkoff, may have touched the puck with a high stick. A brief replay review shows Carter's stick being below the cross bar at the time of the contact. It's a good goal. Gaborik and Kopitar get assists. Kings 1-0.
4:19: Trying to settle a puck in the neutral zone, Voynov is bumped to the ice by Crosby.
3:27: The Penguins will get a chance to tie the game as Mitchell is nabbed for holding Goc. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Maatta and Niskanen take the ice. For some reason, the Penguins have Kunitz take the draw which he loses to Jarret Stoll, one of the NHL's best faceoff specialists.
2:21: A partially fanned wrister by Stempiak from the right half wall is blocked wide by Robyn Regehr
1:20: As the Mitchell minor expires, Kunitz collects a loose puck in the slot and whips it over the cage.
0:42: Muzzin bumps Gibbons to the ice in the neutral zone.
0:33: Williamps pumps a slapper on net from the right wing. Zatkoff punches it away.
0:18: Gibbons does what he excels at. He draws a penalty. Gaborik tripped him up in the King's right wing corner. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Jokinen and Maatta take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Kings 1, Penguins 0.
-We can't say that period was all that surprising. The Kings did a better job of possessing the puck and generating some quality scoring chances. They have a lead as a result.
-The Penguins got next to nothing in terms offensive chances from anything but the top line.
-The Penguins have a 10-8 lead in shots on net.
-The Kings lead the game in attempted shots, 16-15.
-Niskanen, Pyatt, Stempniak and Williams each lead the game with two shots.
-Voynov leads the game with 9:24 of ice time.
-Crosby leads the game with 8:40.
-The Penguins have a 13-5 lead in faceoffs (72 percent).
-Sutter is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Kopitar is 2 for 5 (40 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Former King Rob Scuderi graces the cover of Icetime:
20:00: The Penguins will start the period with 1:42 of power-play time on fresh ice. Neal, Crosby, Niskanen, Maatta and Kunitz take the ice.
19:28: A wrister by Crosby from the right circle is eaten up b Jones.
18:38: Neal fires a spinning, blind slapper from the right circle which hits Mitchell in the legs.
18:23: A slapper by Jokinen from the right circle is fought of by Jones.
18:18: The Kopitar minor is killed. The Penguins did not look very organized there.
15:15: Clifford tries to wheel around the Penguins' offensive zone around Orpik on the right wing and behind the net. He tries to turnover a puck on his backhand but loses as Maatta defends.
15:01: Another penalty. Glass is called for slashing Jordan Nolan on the left knee. Nolan took a fairly easy tumble afterwards and Glass protests. Goc, Orpik, Scuderi and Sutter take the ice.
13:40: Stempniak takes a shift on the penalty kill.
13:26: Brown and RIchard each get chances in tight but Zatkoff holds them out. Attendance is announced as 18,650. It is the team's 322nd consecutive sellout.
13:01: Just as the Glass minor expires, the Kings strike. Alec Martinez takes a pass at the center point and tees up a slapper. It sales through a few sticks and bodies and clanks off the left post and into the cage. A replay showed it glancing off a stick en route to the net. Toffoli gets credit for the goal. Martinez and Stoll get assists. Kings 2-0.
12:27: The Penguins get one back. Crosby leaves a drop pass for Kunitz on the left half wall. Kunitz fakes a slapper then deals it back to Crosby down low to the left of the cage. Crosby shuffles the puck to the blue paint. Before Jones can freeze it, Megna crashes in and chops it loose. Kunitz sneaks in and sweeps the rebound by Jone's left skate to get a goal. That was a heady play by Megna. The "Hey Song" is played. Kings 2-1.
11:19: Kopitar sneaks a backhander form the right wing corner. Zatkoff kicks it out.
10:45: Goc swings out from behind the cage, spins and chucks a wrist eorn net from the left circle. Jones kicks it out.
10:35: Voynov chops a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.
9:47: Another Penguins' power play. Stoll tripped up Engelland in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Both players crash into the boards. Stoll appears to be shaken up a bit. Either way, he's off for two minutes. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Maatta and Niskanen take the ice.
9:31: Crosby chucks a wrister from the right point. Kunitz is in front and deflects it over the cage.
9:03: Maatta cranks a slapper from center point. It hits a body and deflects out of play.
8:15: Carter and Richards nearly strike. Cart lugs the puck out of his defenive zone and sor to flulys the Penguins point ment to sleep by veering to the right wing. he then snaps off a pass to
7:22: Martinez cranks a slapper from the right point. It hit s a body in front. Kopitar settles the puck in the slot and lifts a wrister from the right circle which bounces off the cross bar.
7:01: Another penalty drawn by Gibbons. He races up the right wing and is tripped up by Martinez. That's two minutes. Jokinen, Crosby, Neal, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.
6:21: Niskanen swipes a slapper form the right point wide to the far side.
6:17: Niskanen fires a slapper from center point which is blocked by Stoll.
5:45: Niskanen pounds a slapper from the left point. A stick deflects it wide.
5:29: Crosby pounds a one-timer from center point. Jones' shrugs it off with his right shoulder.
5:01: The Martinez minor is killed. The Penguins were aggressive
4:47: Neal whips a wrister from the left circle which Jones denies.
4:17: Finally, a little luck for the Penguins. Taylor Pyatt lugs a puck up the right wing and chucks a pretty innocent wrister at the cage. Jones sort of hops up and stops it with his right shoulder. The puck hops up and bounces behind him into the cage.
3:35: Another power play for the Penguins. Clifford tripped up Megna in the Penguins' zone. We'r enot sure Megna proved a tone of resistance to that hit. Neal, Crosby, Niskanen, Kunitz and Maatta take the ice.
3:26: What a save! Crosby sneaks a pass from deep on the right wing to Niskanen sneaking in on the back door. Niskanen swipes a one-timer which Jones miraculously punches out of play with a blocker. WOW!
1:29: Stempniak whips a wrister from the right circle. Jones kicks it out.
0:51: Fighting for a puck behind the Kings' net, Goc is slammed into the end boards by Muzzin. Goc's left ankle gets caught up on the end boards and bends in a bad way. Ouch. He's helped off the ice by Bortuzzo and athletic trainer Chris Stewart and taken back to the dressing room.
0:21: Voynov chucks a wrister from the right point.
0:10: On a delayed penalty, Voynov pounds a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff eats it up. Adam is called for high sticking after he got a stick into the face off Richards. Glass, Orpik, Sutter and Scuderi take the ice.
0:00: End of period. Kings 2, Penguins 2.
-The Penguins' power play is playing like it needs a by week. It hasn't looked dangerous all night.
-While the Penguins have an advantage in shots, the Kings continue to be a much better team in terms of puck possession. If not for the large amount of power plays the Penguins have had, the Kings would be up in shots.
-Each goaltender has been adequate. The Pyatt goal was inexcusable by Jones but he made up for it against Niskanen.
-The second line has been a non-factor for the Penguins tonight. Jokinen, Neal and Sutter just look lifeless.
-The Penguins have a 24-19 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 41-34 lead in attempted shots.
-Niskanen leads the game with four shots.
-Voynov and Carter each lead the kings with three shots.
-Voynov leads the game with 17:43 of ice time.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 16:20.
-The Penguins have a 21-19 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Sutter is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Stoll is 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Bortuzzo, Neal, Voynov, Martinez, Stoll and Mitchell each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: The Kings will have 1:50 of power-play time on fresh ice. It doesn't look like Goc is back on the bench. Sutter, Gibbons, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.
19:11: Things are evened up as Doughty is called for tripping Stempniak at the Penguins right point. We'll see 1:01 of four on four play.
19:08: Niskanen chops a slapper from above the right circle wide of the cage.
18:24: Bortuzzo rushes up the right wing and lifts a wrister on net. Jones hops up and fights it off.
18:10: Adams' minor expires. The Penguins will 59 seconds of power-play time.
17:35: Off a feed by Maatta, Niskanen fires a one-timer form the right half wall. Jones kicks it out.
17:11: Play returns to five on five. The Penguins did not pose much of a threat with that brief power play.
16:09: Some leaky defense leads to a Kings goal. Niskanen pushes the puck up deep into the Penguins' zone on the right wing. He draws in Scuderi and leaves a drop pass above the right circle. Doughty step up snad cranks a one-timer through a screen by Stoll and on the glove side of Zatkoff. What a shot! The Penguins' defense was spread out on that shot. Brown and Tanner Pearson get assists. Kings 3-2.
14:46: Off a little flurry of activity in tight, Williams chops a one-timer wide of the cage.
13:38: Stoll pitchforks a backhander from the left circle. Zatkoff snags it.
12:39: After Jokinen and Oprik combine on a defensive zone turnover, xx snaps off a wrister from above the right circle wide to the far side.
12:32: Kopitar settles a puck in the slot and and chops it on net. Zatkoff kicks it out.
12:08: Sutter chips and chases a puck in deep on the right wing. After it banks off the end board he chase it down and shuffles it on net. Jones eats it up.
11:50: Another power play for the Penguins. Muzzin high sticked Sutter behind the Kings' net while battling for a puck. That's two minutes, a big two minutes. Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Stempniak and Maatta take the ice. Stempinak will man the point with Maatta.
10:19: Niskanen cranks a slapper from cneter point. it sneaks through traffic and is stopped by Jones at first. Kunitz and Sutter crash in to punt he puck over the goal line right before the net is dislodged. Officials don't make a ruling at first. After breaking up a would-be scrum, they confer with off-ice officials. After a lengthy discussion, officials rule there was goaltender interference. We're not sure we buy that. Doughty pushed Sutter into Jones. Either way, it's not a goal. Fans offer roaring disapproval of the call.
10:11: Neal rips a wrister from the right circle which Jones denies.
9:55: Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right circle. Jones (or someone in white) stops it.
9:51: With an acre of ice to work with Crosby settles a puck in the left circle and cranks a slapper wide to the far side. The Muzzin minor expires.
9:19: Kopitar tries to jam in a backhanded wraparound form the left of the cage. Zatkoff kicks it out.
8:14: After Maatta fumbles a puck at the Kings' right point, Brown steals it off him and pushes it up the right wing. Brown fends off Maatta and sweeps a wrister on net from the right circle. Zatkoff fights its off.
7:28: Nolan whips a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff eats it up. Noland and Engelland mix it up a bit and Nolan hits the deck. No penalties.
6:30: Mitchell chucks a puck in deep from the left wing in the neutral zone. As he releases the puck, Engelland slams him into the boards and dumps him hard. Mitchell doesn't appreciate it and gives Engelland some grief. Officials step in and break them up.
5:41: Pearson trips Stempniak inside the Penguins' blue line. NO call. Officials want to get this game over with.
5:05: Maatta dumps a puck in deep from the red line and is thumped to the ice by Nolan.
4:52: After Bortuzzo turns a puck over deep in his own zone, Lewis snaps off a wrister from above the left circle. Zatkoff eats it up.
3:50: Kunitz sort of runs over Doughty int he Kings' slot but not before Doughty gets the puck out of his zone.
2:52: Pearson rips a wrister from the right circle which gets blocked.
1:26: Maatta settles a puck inside the blue line and lifts a wrister which Jones eats up.
1:14: Zatkoff is pulled. Off a cross-ice pass by Crosby, Neal rips a wrister from the right circle. Jones snags it.
1:07: A shot/pass by Jokinen from the right circle is blocked out of play.
0:58: Maatta chips a wrister from the right half wall which is blocked.
0:40: Kopitar airmails a shot from the neutral zone wide of the empty cage.
0:22: After Kings ice the puck, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather and get organized.
0:02: Crosby has a chance to the right of the cage but can't settle the puck.
0:00: End of game. Kings 3, Penguins 2.
-First things first. Marcel Goc has a "lower-body" injury. No update beyond that was provided.
-Even though they lost by the same exact score as Tuesday's game to the Coyotes, the Penguins played better tonight. Not great but better. They had a more focused effort. They cut down on the penalties. They controlled the puck better (thanks to several power plays granted). They stared a pretty good Kings team in the eye and lost by a single goal.
-No, this was hardly a perfect game. There will never be a banner, or a retrospective video piece offering glowing memories of what the Penguins did. There are a lot of nits to pick out of this game. But in the wake of Tuesday's clunker, this was an improved offering from the home team.
-Clearly, the play of the game was the non-goal by Brandon Sutter. Officials didn't appear to call a goal on the ice then immediately consulted off-ice officials. While it was ruled the puck clearly went over the goal line, officials ruled Jones was interfered with an that nullified the would-be goal.
Here's the NHL's explanation of the call:
"At 9:41 of the the third period in the Los Angeles Kings/Pittsburgh Penguins game, the Situation Room initiated video review after the puck entered the Los Angeles net. The referee informed the Situation Room that after a huddle, the officials' group decision was that Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter pushed Los Angeles goaltender Martin Jones' pad and the puck into the net, impeding Jones' ability to play his position. According to Rule 78.5 (ix) "Apparent goals shall be disallowed by the Referee when a goaltender has been pushed into the net together with the puck after making a save." This is not a reviewable play therefore the referee's call on the ice stands - no penalty and no goal Pittsburgh.
-SB Nation has a GIF of the play:
-We can't say we disagree with that ruling. Drew Doughty clearly bobsledded Sutter into the net and Martin Jones but that didn't impact Sutter's act of shoving Jones' right leg with his stick. The on-ice officials got that one right in our book.
"It was clear interference. He pushed [Jones’] pad right into the net. Yeah, I gave him a few shots from behind but that had nothing to do with his stick and pushing [Jones’] pad into the net. It’s a great call by the refs and the people in Toronto or New York or wherever it is. “
-After the game, Dan Bylsma expressed a desire to make plays like that subject to review. That's certainly a fair idea but until that time comes, the NHL applied its rules correctly in this situation.
-Frankly, the Penguins probably can't complain about the officiating too much. They were given seven power plays while the Kings only got three. The Penguins had ample opportunity to generate more offense.
-The power play looked worn out tonight. Minus a healthy Malkin (he was injured against the Blues), the power play hasn't looked like a threat for the past three games.
-The biggest of it is injuries. Clearly Malkin's absence hurts but the losses of Paul Martin and Kris Letang are starting to show up. The Penguins had trouble getting it out of their zone. Said Kings captain Dustin Brown:
“I thought we did a really good job up the ice. Their power play is pretty effective once they get set up and I think we prevented them from setting up. We did a good job up the ice.”
-Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta looked completely spent tonight, especially Maatta. With Simon Desres out of the lineup the Penguins were forced to used Lee Stempniak and Jussi Jokinen on the points tonight. Heck, Brooks Orpik even got 50 seconds of power-play time.
-Maatta's struggles continued in a big way tonight. He was sloppy with the puck in the offensive zone. The grind of the NHL season (plus six Olympic games) seems to have finally caught up with him. He's up to 78 games this season including the Olympics. The most he ever played in juniors (including the playoffs and the World Junior Championship tournament) was 82. He needs a break. At this point, a break wouldn't just be for his benefit. The team could be aided by him taking a night off.
-The Penguins' first line once again carried the offensive load for the Penguins. With apologies to Taylor Pyatt, it generated the only legitimate goal the Penguins had tonight (with Jayson Menga taking a shift in place of Stempniak). Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Stempniak combined for 16 attempted shots tonight.
-In contrast, the current version of the second line was underwhelming. Jussi Jokinen, James Neal and Sutter just didn't seem to generate much five on five. They helped press matters a little bit in the third period but they needed to offer more.
-The Goc-Pyatt-Brian Gibbons line looked okay, even if you discount the fluky goal Pyatt scored. They got dirty in the high traffic areas.
-Gibbons is a penalty-drawing machine. For a player with limited abilities, he keeps finding ways to get opponents to hooking or interfere with him.
-The limited use of Megna continues to be a head scratcher. He was Johnny on the Spot in helping create Kunitz's goal. He hustles and goes to the net. He seems to possess the traits Dan Bylsma enjoys in a player but never seems to get much ice time.
-Jeff Zatkoff was okay. Not great. If he steals a goal, this is a different game.
-His former teammate Martin Jones did steal a goal. After allowing a poor, leaky goal to Pyatt, Jones responded by robbing Niskanen of a goal on a backdoor play. He earned this win.
-What's been kind of scary about this three-game losing streak is that all three of the losses have come against back up goaltenders.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 37-32.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 64-52.
-Niskanen led the game with seven shots.
-Justin Williams led the Kings with four.
-Crosby led the game with 25:48.
-Voynov led the Kings with 24:50.
-The Kings had a 30-28 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Jarret Stoll was 13 for 18 (68 percent).
-Goc was 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Richards led the game with three blocked shots.
-Neal and Robert Bortuzzo each led the Penguisn with two blocked shots.