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Blues at Penguins - 03-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Earlier this season, the Penguins scratched Olli Maatta for a game in New Jersey on New Year's Eve. Maatta had been involved in a few one-on-one plays where he ended up allowing attacking player to score goals. That move was made with the specific purpose of giving Maatta, a 19-year-old in his first true professional season, a chance to reset mentally and physically.

-Flash forward to mid March and Maatta has played 75 games this season (including the Olympics). The most he ever played in his junior career was 82 with London of the OHL in 2011-12 (including playoffs and the World Junior Championship tournament). Maatta is coming off two games where he hasn't had a ton of success.

-Thursday in Detroit, Maatta was involved in two goals by the Red Wings. On one, he simply fell into Rob Scuderi in the neutral zone and allowed the Red Wings to score on a three-on-one. On another, a puck went off him in a fluke fashion and into the Penguins net. Yesterday, Lightning forward Ondrej Palat ran threw a handful of Penguins players including Maatta and scored a game-tying goal with less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

-Suffice it to say, Maatta hasn't had the best run of luck the past two games. Would the Penguins consider making him a healthy scratch before the end of the regular season to provide him with a mental and physical break like they did earlier this season? Dan Bylsma was asked that question this morning. This was his response:

"Are you trying to get me to answer a question? Would I consider it? I consider a lot of things. If you're asking me if we talk about the lineup every day, we talk about the lineup every day. Olli, the game he had in Detroit, a guy shot one 10 feet wide and it hit off his leg and goes in. We're not going to sit Olli Maatta because of a play that hits off a shin pad that's going 10 feet wide and goes in. [Yesterday], with three and a half minutes left, they obviously score a goal where the guy goes through our four guys that were on the ice. He was the defenseman that the guy went by. Certainly, you can point at No. 3 [Maatta]. There's more people on the play responsible that just Olli Maatta getting beat one one one. But he did get beat one one one in that game. Obviously, it was a big point. But the guy has done an awful lot. Played really well. Been a positive player for us in a lot of hockey games. To say, 'Olli, hey we're going to sit you down because one went off your shin pad," that's not something we're going to say to him."

-We would anticipate a ticked off Blues team today. They were thumped pretty good by the Flyers yesterday. This is a team which is pretty ornery to begin with so they'll have plenty of motivation to play a heavy game against the Penguins today.

-Knowing that, would it be a good idea to play Deryk Engelland today? He has dropped the gloves a handful of times with Ryan Reaves. Dan Bylsma has all but ruled out using him as a forward down the stretch with the additions of Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak so presumably if he was going to play today, it would be as a defenseman.

-Some sights around the barn. The barn:

-The ice:

-Tyler Kennedy Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins St. Patrick's Day:

-Bob Errey:

-Jiri Slegr:

-Paul Coffey:

-We always seem to run into a Craig Adams fan:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There are quite a few Blues fans here. Alex Pietrangelo:

-David Backes:

-T.J. Oshie:

-A few Sabres fans made the drive down I-79 to support Ryan Miller and Steve Ott:

-This Dominik Hasek fan might just be lost:

-A Dane Fox Erie Otters t-shirt jersey:

-Jersey of the Day: An old school Brett Hull jersey:

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Lee Stempniak, Simon Despres, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Taylor Pyatt and the great Joe Vitale.

-If their lines in warm up are to be trusted, consider this a guess at their lines:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Brian Gibbons - Brandon Sutter - Craig Adams
Tanner Glass - Marcel Goc - Deryk Engelland

Brooks Orpik - Robert Bortuzzo
Matt Niskanen - Olli Maatta
Simon Despres - Rob Scuderi

-The Blues' starters are Steve Ott, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Sobotka, Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo and Brian Elliott.

-Their scratches are Ian Cole, Dmitrij Jaskin Jordan Leopold, Derek Roy and Vladimir Tarasenko.

-Our iPhone was on the fritz and we missed Jeff Jimerson. Here's Jimerson doing his thing from yesterday:

FIRST PERIOD

19:49: Off a feed by Orpik, Kunitz swipes a one-timer from above the right circle which Elliott fights off.

18:53: Jaden Schwart snap off wrister from deep on the left wing. Fleury fights it off.

18:47: Working his way out of the right wing corner, Schwartz moves by Niskanen and snaps off a wrister from a bad angle. Fleury smothers it.

18:07: Former Penguin Brenden Morrow pushes the puck up the left wing on a two-on-one with Kevin Shattenkirk against Scuderi. As tries to take away the shot, Morrow saucers a pass to Shattenkirk in the right cirlce. Shattenkirk settles the puck and lifts a wrister which Fleury eats up.

16:43: Roman Polak takes a pass at the right point and fires a slapper which Kunitz blocks.

16:05: Rushing up the right wing, Schwartz wheels around Maatta at the Penguins' right half wall and and releases a wrister which is blocked.

15:33: Brandon Sutter chucks a wrister from the right half wall on net. Ellitott kicks out a rebound. Glass is there but is a step behind the puck. Sutter may have been hoping for a pass-of-pads.

15:14: Taking a pass on the right wing, Patrik Berglund tees up a slapper which Fleury fights off.

14:40: Oshie is in the runway having someone look at what appears to be a skate

13:56: Malkin races the puck up the right wing into the offensive zone and and deals a pass to Neal above the right circle. Neal puts a pedestrian wrister on net which Elliott fights off.

13:20: Malkin has a wrister blocked by Maxim Lapierre.

11:40: A wrister by Oshie is rejected by Fleury.

11:00: A slapper by Crosby is blocked by Barret Jackman.

10:56: Engelland is back on defense with Despres.

9:30: The lines are mish-mashed. Goc is out with Gibbons and Adams.

9:00: As play is halted, David Backes (6-foot-3, 221) shoves Gibbons (5-foot-8, 170 pounds) to the boards. A replay shows Gibbons giving him a slash to the back of the legs prior to that. Backes is the only one penalized as he's sent off for interfernece. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.

7:00: Two minutes later, the Penguin fail to even get  a shot on net with that power play.

6:41: Shattenkirk settles a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone at the right point and booms a one-timer on net which Fleury fights off.

6:19: Berglund rips a wrister from the right win. Scuderi blocks it out of play.

5:09: Jumping on a loose puck at the Blues' right point, Niskanen golfs a one-timer on net. Ellitot fights it off as he tumbles to the ice.

4:49: After Jokinen steals a puck from Reaves in the neutral zone, he feeds a pass to Malkin on the right wing. Malkin sneaks around Jay Bouwmeester in the right circle and attacks the net. His forehand shot is rejected by Elliott.

3:32: Pickup of a drop pass by Crosby at the left point, Stempniak races up the the left wing wall and flings a backhander on net. Elliott holds it out even as Kunitz jabs at his legs.

3:28: Off their patented "quick draw" play in the Blues' right circle, Malkin wins a draw to Neal who rips a wrister which bounces out of play.

3:21: Bortuzzo collects a bouncing puck in the left circle and rips a wrister which Elliott kicks out.

2:26: Off a drop pass by Crosby, Kunitz chops a slapper from above the left circle wide of the cage.

1:31: Sutter helps force a turnove rin the neutral zone and races it back up ice to the Blues' zone. He challenges Carlo Colaiacovo one-on-one down the slot. Coloaiacovo basically checks him to the ice and knocks the puck away. Great play by Colaiacovo.

0:54: Orpik is out with Engelland now.

0:28: Stempniak steals a puck off Oshie in the right circle then forces Oshie to hook him up. That's two minutes for Oshi. Great effort by Stempniak. Crosby, Kunitz, Neal, Malkin and Niskanen take the ice.

0:08: The hole gets deeper for the Blues. Malkin pushes a puck through the neutral zone and is tripped up by Schwartz. The Penguins will have a 1:38 of a five-on-three power play to work with. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and Jokinen take the ice.

0:04: Kunitz steals a puck in the right wing corner and slides it to Crosby above the crease. Crosby can't cleanly handle the puck and falls over. He had a point blank shot there.

0:00: End of period. Blues 0, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a pretty brisk period of hockey. There weren't too many stoppages. Each team had a fair amount of scoring chances and there was a good amount of hitting.

-The one area where there was a clear advantage was special teams. The Penguins did a better job of drawing penalties. We would expect a makeup call or two in favor of the Blues as the game wears on.

-Brian Gibbons has a knack for drawing penalties. He suckered Backes into one.

-The Penguins' bottom two lines and the bottom two defensive pairings have been mixed up thus far with Engelland being used as a defenseman.

-Shots on net are tied, 10-10.

-The Penguins have a 19-18 lead in attempted shots.

-Schwartz and Shattenkirk each lead the game with two shots.

-Bouwmeester leads the game with 7:54 of ice time.

-Kunitz leads the Penguins with 7:38.

-Faceoffs are even, 9-9 (50 percent).

-Malkin is 2 for 4 (50 percent).

-Sobotka is 4 for 5 (80 percent).

-Bouwmeester leads the game with two blocked shots.

-The great (and injured) Joe Vitale is on the cover of Icetime:

SECOND PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will start the period with 1:32 of a five-on-three power play to work with on fresh ice. Crosby, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and Jokinen take the ice.

19:31: Off some perimeter passing, Neal chops a slapper from the right circle. Elliott kicks it out of play.

19:06: Crosby tees up a slapper from the right circle. Elliott eats it up.

18:57: Malkin froces a pass from the righ half all. Backes steals it and clears it down ice.

18:42: Malkin blasts a one-timer form the high slot. Elliott swats it away with his glove hand.

18:27: Another one-timer by Malkin from the high slot is blocked.

18:06: Play returns to five on five. The Penguins wasted a big opportunity there.

18:02: Malkin tries to cut across the high slot and is spun to this ice on a big elbow hit to the body by Backes. Wow!

16:54: Attendance is announced as 18, 662. It is the team's 320th consecutive sellout.

16:12: Presumably due to the players on the power play being a little gassed, the Penguins have a line of Adams, Stempniak and Adams on the ice.

15:27: Bouwmeester pinches in deep on the left wing and is mashed into the corner boards by Bortuzzo.

15:21: Bouwmeester chucks a wrister from the right point wide of the cage.

15:06: The Blues get their first power play as Bortuzzo is nabbed for interference As he sort of dropped Reaves tot he ice near the St. Louis bench as Reaves jumped onto the ice.  Adams, Sutter, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.

14:01: Shattenkirk takes a feed from Alexander Steen and pops a one-timer from center point which is blocked.

13:23: Taking a feed from Shattenkirk. Steen hammers a one-timer from the right point. Fleury eats it up despite a good screen by Morrow.

13:06: The Bortuzzo minor is killed. The Blues had a few decent chances with that power play.

11:49: A slapper by Nisanen fom center point is wide of the cage.

10:32: Off an offensive zone faceoff, Backes chops a slapper from the right circle wide to the far side.

10:08: Backes rips a wrister from the right circle. Fleury boots it out.

9:15: A re-direction attempt by Steen is wide of the cage.

8:58: Schwartz whips a wrister from above the right circle. Fleury fights it off.

7:58: Jokinen chucks a wrister from the right half wall which is blocked.

7:37: Off a turnover by Jokinen, Magnus Paajarvi rips a wrister from the left circle which Maatta blocks out of play. Maatta made a nice play by reacting off that turnover and blocking the shot.

7:07: Reaves races with the Puck up ice and is FLATTENED by Adams at the Penguins' blue line. As play  moves to the St. Louis zone, Lapierre jumps Adams and they drop the gloves. They mostly wrestle around before Lapierre falls on top of Adams. Both players get roughing minors while Lapierre is also gets a charging major. Chris Porter will serve the second minor for Lapiere. The Penguins will get a power play. Kunitz, Malkin, Niskanen, Crosby and Neal take the ice.

6:42: Nisknen wires a one-timer form the right point wide of the cage.

6:10: Off a feed by Niskanen, Crosby blats a one-timer from the right circle. Elliott fight it off. Kunitz has a chance with the rebound low to the right of the cage. Elliott rejects that as well.

5:14: Off a cross-ice feed by Malkin, Niskanen swipes a one-timer from the right point. A stick blocks it out of play.

5:09: As Porter is about to return to the ice, Maatta strikes a one-timer from above the right circle on net. Elliott fights it off.

4:00: Sutter muscles Polak off the puck on the St. Louis end boards and flings a puck to the blue paint. Elliott smothers it.

3:55: Scuderi strokes a one-timer from the right point. Elliott kicks it out.

2:21: Orpik steals a puck above the right circle and chucks it wide of the cage.

2:04: Bortuzzo teees up a one-timer from the right point. Elliot fight sit off. Crosby can't get a clean handle on the rebound.

1:07: Stempniak races his way into the offensive zone by Bouwmeester and pushes a backhander on net. It hops up and hits Elliott's mask. Elliott is able to smother the rebound as a few Penguins crash in.

0:24: Morrow controls a puck low int o the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone, puts one of his patented reverse hits on Maatta and chucks a backhander on net. Fleury smothers it.

0:20: Gibbons is flattened on a car wreck of a hit by Steen behind the Penguins' net.

0:00: As the horn sounds, Colaiacovo smokes  one-timer from the left point which hits a body in front and deflects wide. End of period. Blues 0, Penguins 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Wow. What a boring period. There were a few nice plays a few big hits but for the most part it was Zzzzzzzzzzzz....

-This is typical of Blues hockey. The bog things down quite a bit. They are playing their game to a tee.

-The Blues have done a marvelous job of limiting the clean looks the Penguins have had on the power play, even with the five-on-three the Penguins got to work with early.

-We've liked the look of Stempniak's game today. He's created a few things with his speed.

-The Penguins have a 23-18 lead in shots on net.

-The Penguins have a 41-37 lead in attempted shots.

-Crosby, Malkin and Shattenkirk each lead the game with four shots.

-Pietrangelo leads the game with 16:17 of ice time.

-Malkin leads the Penguins with 15:35.

-The Penguins have a 24-17 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).

-Crosby is 9 for 17 (53 percent).

-Steen is 5 for 10 (50 percent).

-Jackman leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Maatta, Kunitz and Orpik each lead the game with two blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

19:25: Taking a little pass in the right circle and whistles a wrister wide of the cage.

17:55: Ott tries to push a puck up the right wing an is slammed to the boards by Orpik. Neither Ott nor Orpik fell to the ice but Niskanen got caught up in the wash and fell.

17:37: Kunitz smokes a slapper from the right half wall which Elliott fights off.

17:30: Kunitz whips a wrister from the right circle. over the cage.

16:01: Fleury kicks out a re-direct by Steen from in front of he crease with his right skate.

15:20: Ott chucks a wrister from the right point. Fleury eats it up.

14:50: Another save by Fleury. Berglund makes a nifty move around Despres in the Penguins' right circle. He dangles the puck then flips a forehand shot which Fleury fights off.

13:44: Maatta takes cross-ice pass by Crosby at the right point and strikes a slapper on net. Elliott reaches out and snags it with his glove hand. Nice save.

13:13: Polak chucks a wrister from the right point which his blocked by Bortuzzo who has lose his lid.

13:06: A wrister in tight by Malkin is denied by Elliott.

12:58: Backes pushes a puck up the right wing and chips it deep. Engelland tries to stand him up and is flung to the ice by Backes' right arm. What a display of strength.

11:41: Off a drop pass by Goc, Sutter flings a wrister from the right half wall over the cage.

11:17: Gibbons gains the offensive zone pulls up in the high slot and deals a pass to Maatta above the right circle. Maatta chucks a wrister which is blocked.

10:58: Malkin chips a wrister from the right circle which is blocked b Shattenkirk.

10:46: Malkin dekes around a check the right circle and lifts a wrister which is fought off by Elliott.

10:43: The Blues get a power play as Malkin is called for high sticking Backes after his shot. Malkin protests the call. Scuder, Orpik, Goc and Adams take the ice.

9:44: After a stoppage, the Blues call time out to get organized.

9:27: Oshie flings a backhander form the left cirlce trhough the sot and wide to the far side. It looked like hw as hoping for a re-direction by Backes.

8:40: We have a goal. Just as Malkin's minor expires, the Blues strike. Taking a pass at the right point. Steen tees up a slapper. It rises up and is deflected by the glove hand of Fleury. What a shot by Steen. Backes gets credit for the goal. Steen and Pietrangelo get assists. It gives the Blues the first lead of the day. Blues 1-0.

7:29: Malkin races up the right wing and flings a backhander from the right circle. Elliott knocks it dead and covers to freeze play.

6:18: Niskanen whacks a slapper from the right circle which is blocked.

6:11: Sutter whips a wrister from the right circle which his blocked. He recovers the rebound and puts a another wrister on net. Elliott denies.

5:56: Crosby sneaks a pass from the right circle to Stempniak to the left to the cage. Stempniak can't get a clean shot off. Polak may have blocked that a bit. Wow.

5:50: Crosby plays a puck from the right of the cage to the other side of the crease. It hits off Polak's skate and bounces wide.

5:25: HUGE save. Schwartz sneaks a pass from the left circle to Porter to the left of the crease. Porter tries to jam a forehand shot  but Fleury stretches out to deni him wit his left leg. Porter fanned a bit on the shot but it was still a big save by Fleury.

4:44: A big chances here for the Penguins. Malkin is tripped up by Bouwmeester deep on the right wing of the offensive zone. That's two minutes for tripping. Kunitz, Crosby, Neal, Malkin and Nisknen take the ice. A goal here is a must.

4:28: Niskanen tees up a slapper from ther gith point. It rattles around a little bit before Backes clears it down ice.

3:48: Crosby chips a wrister on net from the right circle. Shattenkirk clear sit down ice.

3:16: Chasing down a loose puck at the Penguins blue line, Oshie dekes around a chip by Crosby and flings a wrister on net. Fleury fights it off.

3:05: Steen rips a wrister from the right circle off the side of the cage.

2:44: The Blues smother the Penguins' power play once again and kill off the minor. What an effort.

1:58: Sutter chips a backhander from the right of the cage on net. Elliott fight sit off despite traffic.

1:27: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.

1:16: A wrister by Maatta from the right point is blocked.

0:27: Niskanen chucks a wrister from the right point wide on the near side.

0:16: From the right point, Niskanen slides a pass to Neal low int he right circle. Neal fires a one-timer which Elliott kills and smothers. The Penguins call a timeout to get organized.

0:08: A slapper by Neal from left half wall is blocked.

0:00: End of game. As the horn sounds. Malkin and Pietrangelo exchange punches. A scrum develops. Officials break it up. Blues 1, Penguins 0.

POSTGAME

-We said the opposite of this yesterday in our postgame notes for the win against the Lightning so pardon us if we sound like a broken record being played in reverse. If the power play won the game for the Penguins yesterday, it lost today's game against the Blues today. Despite ample opportunity, including a five-on-three for over a minute and a half at the start of the second period on fresh ice, the Penguins could not do much with their talented power play against an impressive penalty kill by the Blues.

-It's not very complicated what the Blues do on their penalty kill. They pack things in and really clog up the shooting and passing lanes in their zone. What makes their approach a little special is that they have some really skilled players who participate on their penalty kill. T.J. Oshie, David Backes, Alex Steen and Alex Pietrangelo are some of the most complete players in the NHL and they're out there blocking shots and passes.

-Where that skill really came through was on a late power play by Penguins when Oshie and Steen controlled the puck deep in the Penguins' zone and kept it away from the Penguins' players.

-Overall the Blues' defense just smothers everything. It's not terrible entertaining (it's boring actually) but it's fascinating. This team has a deep roster. It has four strong liens and three solid defensive pairings but it rarely allows its players to stray from the structure. This team's discipline is why it was able to eke out a one-goal win today.

-If nothing else, it clearly illustrated the value of an elite penalty kill. The Penguins shredded the Lighting's penalty kill - currently ranked 25th in the NHL at 79.8 percent - for three goals, including the game-winner, yesterday. Today, the Blues' penalty kill - ranked third in the NHL at 85.8 percent - stopped the Penguins dead cold.

-The cliche "measuring stick" gets used a lot with games like this. If that was what this game ended up being the Penguins measured up well, albeit one goal short. They played on of their best defensive games in a long time. They rarely strayed from their defensive structure and didn't really allow the Blues to generate much in terms of sustained offensive pressure. Granted, the Blues are hardly the 1984-85 Oilers in terms of how much they push (or don't push) their offense, but they still have a lot of talent and the Penguins limited them.

-This game was almost reminiscent to the two games in Boston in last season's Eastern Conference final series. The Penguins played a really strong overall game. They just couldn't figure out the opponent's defense.

-It seemed like the Penguins' second line had a little more success creating some quality chances which was a little odd because it seemed like the Penguins did an okay job of getting Sidney Crosby away from the high-end defensive pairing of Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo. Evgeni Malkin's line appeared to get a fair amount of shifts against them and still managed to create some things down low.

-We're usually slow to give too much credit to a goaltender on a Ken Hitchcock team. His brand of defense can make life easier for a goaltender. That said, Brian Elliott played a fine game today. He didn't stand on his head a great deal today but he saw plenty of shots and kicked out some pretty safe rebounds.

-Ditto Marc-Andre Fleury. The only puck which got behind him was a deflection on what was essentially still a power play. He has nothing to be ashamed of.

-The third and fourth lines were a mishmash much of the night with Engelland in the lineup playing on the blue line mostly.

-We realized Engelland was in the lineup to help counter a physical opponent but considering Dan Bylsma has not been a big fan of using seven defensemen in the past, it was a bit surprising to see Engelland used mostly as a defenseman today.

-The Olli Maatta-Matt Niskanen pairing was static most of the day. The other two pairings were a mish-mash with Engelland.

-This game certainly took on a physical tone. There was a TON of hitting. Each team is going to be using more than a few the next day or so.

-All due respect to the Blues and their remarkable discipline and structure, we really aren't eager to watch them in the playoffs. This is not entertaining to watch. They almost remind us of the Devils in the late 199s which had a ton of talent but rarely allowed their players to stray from their structure and be creative. Clearly, this approach had allowed the Blues to be one of the best, if not the best, teams in the NHL this season but.... Zzzzzzzzzzzz....

-From our standpoint, this was the most entertaining part of the day:

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 33-27.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 63-54.

-Malkin led the game with seven shots.

-Kevin Shattenkirk led the Blues with four shots.

-Pietrangelo led the game with 25:52 of ice time.

-Malkin let the Penguins with 24:32.

-Faceoffs were even, 27-27 (50 percent).

-Sobotka was 11 for 14 (79 percent).

-Crosby was 11 for 23 (48 percent).

-Barrett Jackman led the game with four blocked shots.

-Chris Kunitz led the Penguins with three blocked shots.

-The last time the Blues shutout the Penguins was a 1-0 win in St. Louis, Oct. 10, 2011. Jaroslav Halak made 31 saves for St. Louis.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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About the Blues - 03-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Blues.

When and where: 1 p.m. EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: Root Sports (Pittsburgh market), Fox Sports Midwest (St. Louis market), NHL Network (rest of the United States and Canada).

Record: 47-16-7, 101 points. The Blues are in first place in the Central Division.

Leading Scorer: T.J. Oshie (right), 54 points (17 goals, 37 assists).

Last Game: 4-1 road loss to the Flyers, yesterday. Ryan Miller made 15 saves for the Blues.

Last Game against the Penguins: 2-1 home win, Nov. 9, 2013. Jaroslav Halak made 19 saves for the Blues.

Blues Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Oshie. Just because.

Ex-Penguins on the Blues: Ty Conklin, goalie development coach; Jordan Leopold, D; Brenden Morrow, LW.

Ex-Blues on the Penguins: Bill Guerin, player development coach; Jacques Martin, assistant coach; Todd Reirden, assistant coach; Lee Stempniak, RW.

Useless Blues Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Blues defenseman Barrett Jackman has played 713 career games, most among any player selected in the 1999 draft. Current Blues teammate and former Penguin Jordan Leopold is second on the list with 649.

Best Blues Video We Could Find: Current Penguins forward and former Blue Lee Stempniak scoring a one-timer in the 2006-07 season:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (34-15-4, 2.39 GAA, .915 SV%) for the Penguins and Brian Elliott (16-5-2, 2.06 GAA, .922 SV%) for the Blues.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Joe Vitale ("upper body") is out. Right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Blues, defenseman Jordan Leopold (flu) is questionable. Right winger Vladimir Tarasenko (hand) is on injured reserve.

 

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not hold a morning skate today. Their primary lines and defensive pairings during yesterday's game against the Lightning were:

 

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 22 Lee Stempniak
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 57 Marcel Goc - 17 Taylor Pyatt
49 Brian Gibbons - 16 Brandon Sutter - 27 Craig Adams

3 Olli Maatta - 2 Matt Niskanen
47 Simon Despres - 4 Rob Scuderi
44 Brook Orpik - 41 Robert Bortuzzo

-The Blues did not hold a morning skate. Their primary lines and defensive pairings against the Flyers yesterday were:

74 T.J. Oshie - 20 Alexander Steen - 42 David Backes
9 Jaden Schwartz - 17 Vladimir Sobotka - 21 Patrik Berglund
56 Magnus Paajarvi - 12 Derek Roy - 29 Steve Ott
26 Dmitrij Jaskin - 32 Chris Porter - 75 Ryan Reaves

19 Jay Bouwmeester - 27 Alex Pietrangelo
5 Barret Jackman - 22 Kevin Shattenkirk
13 Carlo Colaiacovo - 46 Roman Polak

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Blues, this happened:

 

-Right winger Craig Adams is expected to appear in his 277th consecutive game. He will pass right winger Nick Habaruk's mark for the third longest consecutive games streak in franchise history. Only centers Ron Schock (313) and Jordan Staal (303) have played more games.

-Adams has 99 career assists.

-The Blues are one of three teams Crosby has never scored a goal against. The Blackhawks and the Sharks are the others.

 

-Our live blog begins at approximately noon. Please tune in.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

 

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Empty Netter Assists - 03-23-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Dave Molinari's recap from last night's game. "We put a lot of emphasis on our [power play]. "We want to be the best." - James Neal.

-The Tampa Tribune's recap. “You can’t take six penalties against them, that’s the bottom line, against the best power play in the league. You look at the five guys they roll out there, it’s not just class, it’s world class. If you are going to take six penalties you are going to put yourself in trouble and that’s we did tonight.’’ - Lightning coach Jon Cooper.

-The Tampa Bay Times' recap. "Is it extremely frustrating how that game ended up? Clearly. But we went on the road and got five of six points. That's how I look at it." - Cooper.

-The Associated Press' recap. ''He was flying. He had the puck all night, drew a lot of penalties, generated a lot of chances. You can't stop him when he's going like that.'' - Sidney Crosby on Evgeni Malkin.

-Highlights:

-Malkin being popular:

-Happy times for the Penguins:

-Jeff Zatkoff sprawled out for this save:

-Tampa Bay's Anders Lindback had issues with this puck:

-And the net as well:

-Cooper was amused by something:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Evgeni Malkin speaks:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-"Going into this year, in your head, you want to have that as a realistic goal. Every hockey player wants to score 50 goals in the NHL. It goes out of your grasp when you miss 20 games at the start of the year. That was tough." - Neal.

-What is the status of Tomas Vokoun?

-Peter Mannino made 27 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 home loss to the Utica Comets.

-Highlights:

-Beau Bennett was in the lineup for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins signed forward Josh Archibald to an amateur tryout agreement. Archibald was a sixth round pick by the NHL Penguins in 2011.

-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins defeneman Nolan Baumgartner. Claimed off waivers from the Canucks prior to the start of the 2003-04 season, Baumgartner, appeared in five games for the Penguins that season and was a minus-7. A month into the season, the Canucks re-claimed him off waivers. He is currently an assistant coach with the Utica Comets of the AHL.

-Happy 44th birthday to former Penguins forward Justin Duberman. A free agent signing in November of 1992, Duberman's entire NHL career amounted to four games with the 1993-94 Penguins. During the 1994-95 lockoutout, he joined JYP HT Jyvaskyla in Finland.

-After the Jump: The Bruins keep winning and Robert Morris heads to the NCAA tournament for the first time.

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Campaign Feelers

Written by Rob Rogers on .

Hillary in 2016 ... will she or won't she? 

032314 Campaign Feelers

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Lightning at Penguins - 03-22-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-The last two games, the Penguins have used Brian Gibbons on the penalty kill. Specifically, they have used him in the latter stages of kill. Dan Bylsma and staff have wanted to use him in those situations on the chance the point men on the opposing power play might be a little tired. Ideally, that would allow a fresher Gibbons to use his speed to create some short-handed scoring chances. In practice, it has worked as he has helped set up Brandon Sutter for a short-handed goal against the Stars Tuesday as well as a short-handed scoring chance against the Red Wings Thursday.

Gibbons has been a penalty killer before in his professional career. This morning, Dan Bylsma said:

"He's [penalty killed] a lot of down in Wilkes-Barre.  He's been a good PK down there with Jayson Megna. He's created a lot short-handed down there with his speed. We've seen a little bit of that with what he's done. More importantly, he's done a good job at the main role which on the penalty is shutting down down the other team's power play."

-Talking to Sutter yesterday informally at Southpointe, he was really enthused about teaming with Gibbons on the penalty kill and as well on what is the fourth line. He described Gibbons as "intelligent."

-We interviewed Rob Scuderi yesterday. We're still perplexed as to Rob Scuderi's rough season since his ankle injury. There's a higher level he can reach. It's the same level which made him a valued partner with Drew Doughty and Slava Voynov the last few seasons with the Kings. He needs to find that level in the remaining 13 games of the season for the Penguins to get anywhere near the Stanley Cup Final.

-This has shaped up to be a difficult weekend for the Penguins with games on consecutive days against the Lightning and the Blues. The Lightning are the "easy" team having won five consecutive games. It seemed like after the shock of trading long-time captain wore off and new captain Steven Stamkos and new forward Ryan Callahan worked their ways back into the lineup from a long-term injury as well as being the return for St. Louis, the Lightning have gotten past that "hiccup" and have just clicked. This is a deep team with four solid lines and goaltender Ben Bishop has emerged as a candidate for the Vezina Trophy.

-Valtteri Filppula may have been the best free agent signing of this past offseason. While in Detroit, he was lost in the depth that team had at center behind Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman, who has considerable ties to the Red Wings, identified him and spotted him as the new No. 2 center to replace the departing Vincent Lecavalier. With Stamkos suffering a long-term injury earlier this season, Filppula stepped in as the defacto No. 1 center. As a result, he has produced a team-leading 23 goals and 52 points.

-The Lightning also has done a marvelous job of developing talent. Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson have developed into consistent point producers on the wings. They're the anti-Penguins when it comes to drafting or developing wingers.

-Some pregame sights. The barn:

-The ice:

-A Robbie Brown fan:

-Martin Straka:

 

-Robert Bortuzzo is popular:

 

-Zarley Zalapski:

-We always seem to run into a Craig Adams fan:

-It seems like there should be more Jussi Jokinen jerseys:

-This poor Chuck Kobasew fan:

-Alex Alexei Kovalev:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There aren't many Lightning fans present. Heck, this Radko Gudas jersey is actually a Syracuse Crunch - the AHL affiliate - jersey:

-Here's a slightly odd jersey foul. Dustin Byfugilen Blackhawks:

-This is an awesome jersey foul:

-Jack O'Callahan Team USA:

-Plenty of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins fans here. Micki DuPont St. Patrick's Day:

-Ryan Whitney:

-Two Milan Kraft fans?

-This is obscure. Jonathan Filewich:

-Former Lightning/Penguin Mark Recchi:

 

-Jersey of they Day: Former Lightning/Penguins Stanley Cup champion Ruslan Fedotenko:

 

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Brian Gibbons, Sidney Crosby, Robert Bortuzzo, Brooks Orpik and Jeff Zatkoff.

-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland and the great Joe Vitale.

-In warm ups, their lines and defensive pairings were:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Lee Stempniak
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Tanner Glass - Marcel Goc - Taylor Pyatt
Brian Gibbons - Brandon Sutter - Craig Adams

Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen
Rob Scuderi - Simon Despres
Robert Bortuzzo - Brooks Orpik

-The Lightning's starters are Alex Killorn, Teddy Purcell, Steven Stamkos, Victor Hedman, Sami Salo and Anders Lindback.

-Its scratches are Keith Aulie, Mark Berbeiro, B.J. Crombeen, Nikita Kucherov and Cody Kunyk.

-Jeff Jimerson handles his business:

FIRST PERIOD

19:17: Gudas chops a half slapper from the right point. Zatkoff eats it up.

17:09: Retrieving a puck deep behind his net, Bortuzzo is mashed to the ice by former Penguin Ryan Malone. As an official raises his hand and Zatkoff leaves the net, Glass gives Malone a bump in response. Nothing comes of it as the Penguins control the puck on a delayed penalty.

16:09: Exactly one minute later, play is halted. Malone is sent off for boarding. We're not sure that was the right call. Crosby Kunitz, Neal, Malkin and Niskanen  take the ice.

16:00: Crosby whips a pass from the right circle to Kunitz down low to the left of the net. Kunitz re-directs the puck on net. Lindback kicks it out.

14:44: Off a cross-ice feed by Maatta, Jokinen whacks a one-timer from the right circle. Lindback rejects it.

14:38: Despres has a wrister from the right point blocked.

14:29: Maatta hammers a one-timer from the right point which is deflected wide.

14:09: The Malone minor is killed. The Penguins controlled the puck well and put a few shots at net but relatively few of them were of high quality.

13:10: Matt Carle creates a little space in the slot and whips a wrister which bounces off the cross bar.

12:53: Michael Kostka chucks a wrister from deep on the right wing. It gets blocked.

11:53: J.T. Brown thumps Maatta behind the Penguins' net.

11:23: Nate Thompson releases a heavy wrister from the slot. Zatkoff kicks it out.

10:29: Sutter is skating with Goc and Gibbons.

9:43: Bortuzzo tries to control a puck deep near his left wing corner and is flattened on a nice hit by Callahan.

8:58: Glass whacks a one-timer from the left circle. Lindback kicks it out.

7:43: Carle pumps a slapper from the left point. Zatkoff kicks it out. Stamkos chops the rebound above the net. Stampniak ties to clear it but it ends up int he blue pain. Zatkoff is able to hold it out despite a few Lightning player jabbing at the puck.

7:25: Taking a pass at the center point, Sami Salo pumps a big slapper which Zatkoff boots away.

6:55: Bortuzzo's eventful first period continues as he is called for tripping against Filppula. The penalty is legit as he stuck his leg out at the Penguins' left point but Filppula sold it hard with a swan dive. Sutter, Adams, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.

6:05: Hedman pumps a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff fight sit off. Callahan has a chance at the rebound to the left of the cage but cant get a clen handle on the puck.

5:51: Hedman is in deep on the righ twin and puts a wrister on net. Zatkoff eats it up.

5:02: Kostka cranks a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff fights it off. Adams is able to recover the rebound in the right wing corner and chucks it down ice to kill off the rest of Bortuzzo's penalty.

3:26: Niskanen rushes into the offensive zone down the slot and chips a little wrister on net. Lindback steers it away.

2:16: Adams pushes the puck up ice and is leveled by Gudas in front of the Penguins' penalty box.

2:07: After Adams fumbles a puck above his own left circle, Johnson rips a wrister from the left circle which Zatkoff fights off.

0:00: End of period. Lightning 0, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a pretty uneventful period all around. That said, it seemed like the Lightning had an edge in terms of puck possession in the Penguins zone and even in terms of shot quality.

-The third and fourth lines continues to be a work in progress. They were mixed up that period.

-Zatkoff has been pretty strong thus far. He seems to be identifying the puck pretty well.

-The Lightning has an 8-6 lead in shots on net.

-Attempted shots are even, 13-13.

-Hedman leads the game with two shots.

-Orpik leads the game with 8:37 of ice time.

-Hedman leads the Lightning with 7:35 of ice time.

-The Penguins have a 7-6 edge in faceoff.

-Sutter is 3 for 4 (75 percent).

-Filppula is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

SECOND PERIOD

19:45: Stealing a puck off Salo in the Lightning's left circle, Sutter wheels to the slot and whips a wrister on net. Lindback fights it off.

19:34: Taking a pass at the right point, Bortuzzo chucks a wrister on net. Lindback eats it up.

19:22: Taking a pass at the left point, Maatta smokes a one-timer on net. Lindback snags it.

18:56: Off some hard work by Crosby on the left wall, Kunitz whacks a quick one-timer from above the left circle wide to the far side.

17:59: Stealing a puck in the high slot, Neal chucks a wobbly wrister which sails wide of the cage.

17:21: Kostka chucks a wrister from the right point which is blocked by Bortuzzo.

16:53: Gudas trips up Glass in front of the Lightning bench. Play is halted. Glass gives Gudas the business. They exchange a few shoves. Nothing comes of it. No penalties.

16:08: Off a cross-ice feed by Crosby, Kunitz snaps off a wrister from the left circle over the cage.

15:28: Despres tries to control a puck behind his cage and is held up by Johnson. That's two minutes for holding. Niskanen, Crosby, Neal, Kunitz and Malkin take the ice.

14:59: As Thompson works without a stick, Neal rips a heavy wrister from the right circle. Lindback knocks it dead and smothers to freeze play.

14:31: When all-else fails, just have the two superstar centers do all the work. Malkin makes a mad rush into the offensive zone up the left wing and wheels by Carle. From deep on the left wing, He slides a cross ice pass through traffic to Crosby at the top of the right circle. Crosby has a one-timer teed up and rockets a shot by the glove hand of Lindback on the near side. What a display of skill. Malkin and Zatkoff (!) get assists. It's Zatkoff's first career point. The "Hey Song" always has skill. Penguins 1-0.

12:56: Brown picks up a loose puck and chucks it on net from the right half wall. Johnson is in front of the cage and redirects it on net. Zatkoff kicks it out.

12:38: Bortuzzo pumps a one-timer from the right point. Lindback kicks it out.

12:24: Malkin tries to wheel around the back of the net an dis held up by Stamkos. Stamkos actually had a hand on the back of his shirttail. Kunitz. Malkin, Niskanen, Crosby and Neal take the ice.

11:49: Malkin takes a cross ice pass from Niskanen and booms a one-timer from the right circle over the cage.

10:50: off a feed by Crosby Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right point. Lindback denies it.

9:53: Eric Brewer chucks a wrister from the right point. Zatkoff fights it off but allows a rebound. he tries to smother it but can't get a clean handle on it. Officials still blow play dead.

8:53: Gudas steps up and tries to hit Adams on the left wing wall of the Penguins' zone. Adams braces for the hit and drops him with a loud "thud."

7:55: Niskanen chops a slapper from the right poitn which Tom Pyatt blocks.

6:36: Despre chucks a wrister from the right point which is blocked in tight.

6:07: After Stempniak steals a puck from hedman in the right circle, he feeds a pass to Crosby above the blue paint. Hedman is able to recover on the play and hooks up Crosby preventing him from getting a shot off. Hedman is nabbed for hooking. Hedman protests but to no availe.

5:53: Malkin settles a puck on the right half wall and dishes to Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz re-directs it on net where Lindback holds it out. Tough save.

5:41: Play is halted as Neal is tripped up behind the Penguins' net by Salo. Salo tries to recover the puck in the left wing corner and tumbles over Neal's left skate. Officials give each player a tripping minor. Play will remain five on four. Jokinen takes Neal's place on the top power play unit which still have 1:34 to work with.

5:15: Off a cross-ice feed by Crosby, Malkin whips a wrister from a bad angle in the right circle wide of the cage.

4:34: Play is evened up as Marcel Goc pretty much threw a downfield block on Kostka at the Tampa Blue line as Despres tries to gain the offensive zone. That's two minutes of interference. Play will remain four on four for 27 seconds.

4:22: Attendance is announced as 18,668. It is the team's 319th consecutive sellout.

3:24: Hedman feeds a pass from the right point to Stamkos who is set up in his office in the left circle. A one-timer by Stamkos is rejected by Zatkoff.

3:16: Tie game. Stamkos takes a pass in the left circle and feeds a slap pass to Filppula in the right circle. Filppula leans sown and chops a one-timer by Zatkoff left skate on the near side. What a display of puck movement. Stamkos and Hedman get assists. Lightning 1, Penguins 1.

2:16: Off a stretch pass by Niskanen, Malkin rushes up the left wing with little resistance and slides a feed to Neal above the blue pain. The timing is off and fit they fail to connect.

1:47: Off a feed by Tom Pyatt, Thompson tries to jame in a puck in tight. No dice.

0:24: Off a rush by the Lightning, Alex Killorn chops a quick one-timer from the left circle. Zatkoff slides to his right and fights it off.

0:00: End of game. Lightning 1, Penguins 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-That was a much better period for the Penguins. They had the bulk of puck possession, particularly early on, and the better of the scoring chances. Regardless, the game remains tied.

-The Penguins' power play has had a pretty aggressive approach thus far.

-Malkin and Neal are skating like they want to do some damage.

-Lindback has been pretty sharp thus far. He doesn't exactly have a great history against the Penguins.

-The Penguins have a 19-16 lead in shots on net.

-They lead the game in attempted shots, 35-24.

-Malkin, Thompson and Johnson each lead the game with three shots.

-Niskanen leads the game with 15:25 of ice time.

-Hedman leads the Lightning with 13:56.

-The Penguins have a 26-13 lead in faceoffs (67 percent).

-Crosby is 13 for 18 (72 percent).

-Thompson is 4 for 6 (67 percent).

-Gudas leads the game with two blocked shots.

-We neglected to include this earlier. This gentleman is wearing a pink dress at today's game:

-Why?

-His name is Chuck Hull and more information about his efforts can be found here.

-Sidney Crosby is on the cover of Icetime:

THIRD PERIOD

19:34: Off a set faceoff play, Stamkos rips a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff fights it off.

19:01: Off a feed by Filppula, Callahan chucks a wrister from the left wing which Zatkoff denies.

18:47: Taking ap ass in the left circle from Malkin, Stempniak swipes a slapper. Lindback fights it off.

16:53: A wrister by Kostka from the right half wall hits a body in front.

16:47: Brewer pumps a slapper from the right point. It gets blocked.

16:40: Settling a puck at the left point, Brewer chips it on net. Zatkoff fields it like a ground ball and freezes play.

16:20: Sutter pushes the puck up the slot and challenges Hedman one-on-one. Hedman holds his ground and knocks the puck away with a poke check.

15:35: A wrister by Crosby from the slot is blocked by Gudas' stick.

15:32: Crosby chases after the rebound in the left wing corner. Gudas tries to play the body and is slammed to the ice by Crosby. What a collision.

14:45: Neal force a backhander from the right circle on net. Lindback eats it up.

13:54: Goc, back on a line with Glass and Taylor Pyatt, pushes the puck up the left wing and chucks it on net. Lindback gloves it.

13:12: Malkin intercepts a pass at the Penguins' left point and tries to chip and chase it by Hedman back up ice. Hedman in one motion spins and backhands the puck from Malkin to the left wing corner. What a nifty play by Hedman.

11:43: The Lightning get an ugly goal. Gudas controls the puck at the right point and chucks it on net. Zatkoff kicks it out. Stamkos and Killorn each get a stick on the rebound. Stamkos tucks it through Zatkoff's five hole. Stamkos gets credit for the goal. Killorn and Gudas get assists. Orpik was kind of caught in no-man's land there as he sort of vacated the front of net to defend Gudas shot. That left Bortuzzo back at the crease and he was a little late on the rebound. Lightning 2-1.

11:26: Off an ugly turnover by Hedman from behind his own net, Glass smacks a slapper from the slot which Lindback fights off.

11:10: Carle rips a wrister from the slot which is blocked by Goc.

9:27: The Penguins get a power play as Killorn is called for slashing the stick out of Malkin's hands in the right wing corner of the Tampa Bay zone. This is a big two minutes. Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.

8:52: Evgeni Malkin to the rescue. Crosby taps a pass from below the goal line to Niskanen at the left point. niskane fakes a slapper, pulls down his shot then chucks a wrister on net. Lindback steers it to the right of hte cage right to Malkin who cleans up the garbage and tucks it by Lindback's left skate. Niskanen and Crosby each get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Lightning 2, Penguins 2.

6:59: Stempniak chips a little feed off the right wing wall in the neutral zone up ice for Crosby. Crosby races into the attacking zone blows by a check from Richard Panik and flings a backhander on net from in tight. Lindback eats it up.

5:30: Brewer settles a puck at the right point and whacks a slapper which is blocked in front.

5:02: Taking a pass at the left point, Brewer golfs another slapper. Glass slides down and blocks it.

4:10: Scuderi chops a one-timer from the right point which sails over the net.

3:17: Evgeni Malkin to the rescue again. makes a poor pass from his own zone which is intercepted by Jokinen at the right point. Jokinen deal sit down low to Malkin above the crease. Malkin is able to fling a backhander by Lindback's glove on the near side to give the Penguins a lead. This place erupts as Malkin celebrates. Jokinen gets the only assist. Johnson could make a case for one. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-2.

1:22: Ondrej Palat to the rescue. As Bishoip is pulled, Palat takes a pass at his own blue line, gains the offensive zone at the right point, blows right by Maatta with a dazzling backhanded move and attacks the net. He flips a forehand shot over a pokecheck attempt by Zatkoff and ties the game. Wow! Gudas and Carle get assists. Lightning 3, Penguins 3.

0:04: Scuderi chops a slapper from the right point wide of the cage.

0:00: End of game. Lightning 3, Penguins 3.

THIRD INTERMISSION

-The Penguins have a 28-24 lead in shots.

OVERTIME

3:49: The Penguins get  big break as the Lightning is nabbed for too many  men on the ice. Kostka will serve the minor. Neal, Crosby, Malkin and Kunitz take the ice.

3:33: James Neal to recuse. Taking a pass at the high slot, Malkin calmly slides a feed to Neal in the right circle. Neal uncorks a wicked one-timer to the far side which blows by Lindback's blocker and hits twine. What a shot! Malkin and Crosby get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. End of game. Penguins 4, Lightning 3.

POSTGAME

-This was hardly a perfect win. Anytime you give up two different leads including one with less than two minutes, that's never part of a perfect equation. And this victory was procured with backup goaltenders in net for each team. But it was a win against a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

-The most important development in this game was the redemption of the Penguins' power play after it failed the team in Detroit Thursday. If the Penguins lost that game because of the power play, it clearly won today's game due to the power play.

-Dan Bylsma declined to specify any changes or adjustments the team made with the power play from Thursday but cited his team's mentality today. According to Byslma, the players used on the power realized they had to score.

-Bylsma wasn't hesitate about using Brandon Sutter against Steven Stamkos. Stamkos did get free for a go-ahead goal int the third period but Sutter did a fair job against one of the league' best goal scorers. He took the bulk of faceoffs against Stamkos most of the afternoon.

-We're not sure what to make out of how Sutter and Goc are being used right now. We're not sure either is a true -third- or fourth line center at the moment. It almost seems like they're the 3A- and 3B-centers.

-The latest set of defensive pairings had mixed results. There appeared to be some sort of miscommunication between Brooks Orpik and Robert Bortuzzo on Stamkos' goal. Matt Niskanen and particularly Olli Maatta did not look good on the game-tying goal by Ondrej Palat late. The Rob Scuderi-Simon Despres pairing was probably the best unit for the Penguins today.

-Maatta has had a rough go of things the past two games. It might be beneficial to him to sit a game just for a mental or physical reset.

-Don't lose sight of the fact that the Penguins certainly benefited from having five power plays while the Lightning only got two.

-Jeff Zatkoff was fine. It would have been nice to see him make a better play on the initial shot by Radko Gudas which led to Stamkos goal. And he could have stolen a goal by Palat late to prevent overtime. But he was adequate today.

-Evgeni Malkin looks like he's heating up. Four goals and six points in two games. He's really carried the offense the past two contests.

-With Stamkos contained (somewhat) the Lighting found a way to get some contributes from secondary players. Valtteri Filppula and Palat each scored key goals today. Even someone like Ryan Callahan managed to create a few scoring chances.

-Radko Gudas an interesting game with two assists, four blocked shots and being involved with a few collisions. He drew the ire of a few Penguins from time to time.

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 29-24.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 52-38.

-Malkin led the game with five shots.

-Stamkos, Nate Thompson and Tyler Johnson each led the Lightning with three shots.

-Niskanen led the game with 24:44 of ice time.

-Matt Carle led the Lightning with 22:25.

-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 36-20 (60 percent).

-Sidney Crosby was 18 for 27 (67 percent).

-Thompson was 6 for 10 (60 percent).

-Gudas led the game with four blocked shots.

-Tanner Glass led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-James Neal tied a single-season franchise record for overtime goals with three. He shares the mark with Colby Armstrong (2006-07), Sidney Crosby (2005-06), Ryan Malone (2003-04) Aleksey Morozov (2003-04) and Jaomir Jagr (1998-99).

-The Penguins' magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now seven points. Their magic number to clinch the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division is 11 points.

-Zatkoff recorded his first career point and became the 28th goaltender in franchise history to record a point. He still trails Tom Barrasso (31 points) for the franchise lead by a considerable amount.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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