Greetings from gloomy and rainy Pittsburgh. It was too wet out for us to make a walk up to the arean. We wussed out and parked at the Marriott. Here are a few standard shots. Consol Energy Center:
-And yes, we have seen the video of Evgeni Malkin cooking pierogies in a very flirty - even sultry - fashion with Alyonka Larionov, the daughter of Soviet legend, Igor Larionov. Community Server doesn't allow us to embed the NHL's videos but here is a direct link to it.
-Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo has it broken down in a pretty comphrehensive fasion.
Some jerseys we have seen. Jarome Iginla:
-A Phaneuf jersey foul:
-Kunitz is growing in popularity:
-Sidney Crosby jersey foul deja vu:
-An Alaska Aces jersey:
(On account of Chris Minard having once played for the Aces, we'll let this jersey foul slide.)
-Sweetest. Hat. Ever:
-Paul Coffey is displeased:
-Kjell Samuelsson and Mark Recchi:
-We're in no way anything near being handy with tools or hardware, but we have to imagine if you showed up on a job site with this, you'd be ridiculed quite a bit.
-When ordinary white chalk won't do, used bright red chalk to mark the aisles:
-The Penguins' scratches are Philippe Boucher and Craig Adams.
-Calgary will scratch Adam Pardy.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Miikka Kiprusoff are the starting goaltenders.
-It just got dark in here:
-No Jeff Jimerson = No photo of the anthems.
-EN reader Eric Singer sends in this stunner:
-Ron Francis Whalers? Dear lord this night is complete for us.
19:27: Brooks Orpik lays from free candy into... Marc-Andre Fleury??? Orpik just kind of loses track of where he is on the ice and skates backwards into Fleury taking out the Penguins' net minder. That would be two minutes if they weren't teammates.
19:11: It's 2005-06 season night here as Sergei Gonchar is nabbed for hooking. Hal Gill, Rob Scuderi, Jordan Staal and Matt COoke are on for the penalty kill.
18:06: Dion Phaneuf zips a wrister from the left point wide of the cage.
17:37: Phaneuf pounds a slapper from the right point that Fleury makes a save on despite traffic.
17:27: Max Talbot circles with the puck from behind the net shorthanded and dishes a backhanded pass to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis seemingly has an easy one-timer but Adrian Aucoin is there and makes a marvelous poke check to break up the pass.
17:11: Gonchar's penalty is killed. Not a lot going on for the Flames there.
16:57: Tyler Kennedy sneaks a wrister in on net from the right wing. Kiprusoff leans down and scoops it up.
16:27: Warren Peters appears to get away with a trip on Kennedy in the neutral zone.
16:09: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
15:17: Kunitz whips a backhander through the slot.
15:11: Kiprusoff kicks out a wrister from the ever dangerous Rob Scuderi that gets deflected on net from the right point.
14:18: Dupuis works his way down the left wing and makes a dazzling pass to... Who are we kidding? He wound up and took a slapper. Kiprusoff makes the save.
13:42: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
13:13: After Cory Sarich and Evgeni Malkin make two nifty steals on each other, Sarich is sent off for hooking. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Gonchar and Kris Letang are on for the power play. Shamelss self-promotion: We'll be on with Bob Grove on the Penguins' radio broadcast during the first intermission. You can listen live through WXDX's Web site:
12:39: Crosby has a seemingly easy goal after a nice little poke pass by Malkin in the slot, but Crosby can't get a handle on the puck. He had Kiprusoff dead to rights too.
12:17: Kunitz get hauled down in the corner. No call and the faceoff goes down to the Penguins' zone. Huh?
11:40: Malkin snaps a wrister on net from the right wing. Kiprusoff makes the save. Crosby collects the rebound, kicks the puck to his blade and slides a pass under Kiprusoff. Letang is standing at the back door to slam in the easy goal. Nice dirty power play goal. Crosby and Kunitz get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
10:30: Talbot tags Jordan Leopold in the corner with a solid check.
10:19: Fleury covers a loose puck. Talbot is sent off for interference. Staal, Dupuis, Orpik and Mark Eaton are on for the kill.
8:13: As Talbot's penalty is killed, Fleury kicks out a one-timer by Phaneuf from the right point.
7:25: Kiprusoff covers up a puck Guerin nudged into the crease.
7:11: Ruslan Fedotenko is called for high sticking. Staal, Cooke, Scuderi,and Gill are on for the kill. We can make out the semblence of a "Go Flames Go!" chant.
6:59: The Flames tee up a one-timer from the top of the slot. Fleury makes the initial save but gives up a rebound. David Moss is there and has Fleury dead to rights. He flicks a rising wrister for a seemingly automatic goal. Fleury is able to get a piece of the puck with his glove and deflect it out of play. Wow. Amazing save. A member of the Flames' front office in the box next to us slams something in frustration.
5:11: Fedotenko's penalty is killed.
5:03: Fedotenko gets a pass and is off the races on a breakaway. He moves in on net and shoots five hole. Kiprusoff kicks it out. Big time save.
3:52: Aucoin whips a wrister well wide of the net.
2:18: MIke Cammalleri rips a wrister from the right wing. Fleury kicks it out. Orpik drops Cammalleri after the shot. They tangle a bit before officisl seperates
1:52: Kunitz runs over Craig Conroy with a huge shoulder check in the neutral zone.
1:49: Fleury glove a nice shot from the left wing.
1:18: James Vandermeer blasts a one-timer from the point. Fleury kicks it out with a "thud."
0:28: Fedotenko takes out an official accidently in the corner.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Flames 0.
-Pretty even period all around. Lots of up and down skating. Physical play. Some nice goaltending.
-Fleury was really sharp that period.
-Kunitz has been pretty active so far.
-The Flames have a 12-9 lead in shots.
-Moss leads the game with four.
-Kennedy leads the Penguins with two.
-The Penguins have an 11-10 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Crosby is 5-for-7 (71 percent).
-Cammalleri is 3-for-4 (75 percent).
-Phaneuf leads the game with 9:06 of ice time.
-Gonchar leads the Penguins with 8:24.
-Orpik leads the game with three blocked shots.
-No one with the Flames has more than one.
-Anyone listen to us on the radio? How did we do?
19:34: Olli Jokinen whips a puck through the crease on a wraparound attempt.
19:22: FSN Pittsburgh show Staal smarting a bit after blocking a shot off a faceoff.
18:27: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
18:19: Malkin gets slammed by Phaneuf along the boards. Moss and Gill mix it up a bit. No penalties.
17:07: Former Penguins goaltender Ken Wregget is given happy birthday wishes on the video board. Sweet.
16:39: Fedotenko dishes a nifty pass into the slot for a charging Staal. Staal has an easy shot on goal but Jokinen make a nice backcheck and takes the puck off Staal. Big play there.
16:19: Fleury kicks out a slapper by Iginla from the left wing. Iginla's been quiet to this point so far.
15:30: Fleury makes arguably the save of the season for the Penguins. Moss dieshe a pass to Curtis Glencross zipping in from the left wing. Glencross re-directs the puck on net. Fleury is able to slide over and get just enough of the puck that it trickles just wide of the net. Even if a little a luck was involved, that was a dazzling save. There's some more slamming of stuff in the Flames' box next to us.
14:37: Attendance is announced as 17,083. It is the team's 104th consecutive sellout.
14:33: Off a faceoff, Kiprusoff kicks out a shot from Letang at the left point.
13:33: Kennedy coasts up the left wing, considers a pass, then whips a low wrister. Kiprusoff kicks it out.
13:12: During an interview with a kid on the video board, Bill Guerin reveals he has picked Memphis to win his NCAA pool. Fans respond with more than a few boos.
12:30: Looks like Matt Cooke and Ruslan Fedotenko have switched lines. Cooke's been playing regularly with Malkin and Petr Sykora while Fedotenko is getting regular time with Staal and Kennedy.
11:08: Orpik fires a slapper from the right point. Kiprusoff kicks it out with a "thud."
10:54: Orpik takes out Dustin Boyd along the boards with a nice check.
10:20: Fleury's playing really well. He kicks out a wrister to the far side by Cammalleri from the right wing.
9:28: Cooke comes up on a two-on-one with Talbot. Cooke forces a backhanded pass that gets broken up. Shoot!
8:56: Eric Nystrom rips a wrister from the slot. Fleury makes the save. There's scramble for the rebound. Play is stopped. Like 122 players drop their gloves but no one fights. Really weird. Iginla and Gonchar each get roughing minors.
8:39: Malkin jumps on a loose puck in the Calgary zone and rips a wrister that Kiprusoff deflects out of play.
8:21: Phaneuf fires a slapper from the right wing that misses the mark.
8:15: Malkin just runs over a Calgary player at the left point.
6:56: Gonchar and Iginla return to the ice.
6:14: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
4:40: Cammalleri dishes a feed to Jokinen in the slot for a one-timer but the puck hops up on Jokinen and he can't get a clean shot off.
4:03: Cammalleri snaps a wrister from the slot wide of the cage.
3:16: Malkin moves up the right wing with the puck and makes a dazzling move by Rhett Warrener. As he pulls his stick over Warrener to get by him, he clips the Flames defender in the face with his stick. Warrener loses his lid and falls over. Malkin progresses to move in on net and gets a shot off in tight. Kiprusoff makes the save. Fans chant "M-V-P!" The officials take a look at Warrener who is apparently bleeding. That's four minutes for Malkin. Fans boo but it's pretty hard to argue with Warrener's blood. Talbot, Gonchar, Dupuis and Orpik are on for the kill.
3:06: Dupuis moves in on hte left wing and puts a little wrister on net. Kiprusoff says no.
1:50: Aucoin clunks a half slapper from the right point off the post.
1:23: Jokinen dishes a nifty backhanded pass into the slot for Moss. Moss moves in and pushes the puck in net. Fleury is able to move over and eat up the puck. Fleury is playing out of his mind right now.
0:40: Fleury kicks out a shot from the left wing.
0:31: Iginla whiffs on a shot in tight. Fleury covers the puck. "FLERRR-EEEE! FLERRRRR-EEEEE!"
0:17: Cooke dishes a pass from the left wing into the slot for Staal. Staal gets a piece of it but misfires a little wide.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Flames 0.
-Fleury is the reason the Penguins still have a lead here. The Flames generated by far the best scoring chances that period and Fleury stole a few goals from them that period. He's been by far the best player in this game.
-Kiprusoff has been sharp too, but he has not nearly been tested as much as Fleury.
-Moss leads the game with five shots.
-Kennedy leads the Penguins with three.
-The Penguins have a 21-16 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Crosby is 9-for-11 (82 percent).
-Cammalleri is 4-for-4 (50 percent).
-Phaneuf leads the game with 17:44.
-Scuderi tops the Penguins with 15:44.
-Orpik still leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Nystrom and Leopold lead the Flames with two each.
-Eric, who sent us the Francis picture above, caught a puck 20 seconds into the game:
-We failed to mention this, but we a pretty sad situation earlier. A young kid, maybe no older than 10, was running around the concourse in a Pokey Reese t-shirt jersey. The then proceeded to put on an Andre Roy Penguins practice jersey.
-We don't have a photo because A.) We always feel creepy running around trying to take pictures of kids. B.) We try not to make fun about kids on jersey fouls. If you're under 18, jersey fouls are not a problem with us.
-Malkin's penalty will have 43 seconds left when the period begins.
19:28: Cooke slides down and blocks a shot by Aucoin.
19:17: Malkin's second penalty is killed. Big-time effort by the Penguins there.
18:35: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
18:24: Kiprusoff kicks out a backhander on the right wing by Kunitz.
18:12: Fleury kicks out a wrister by Leopold on the left wing.
17:10: Gonchar cranks a slapper from the left faceoff circle. Kiprusoff gloves it without a problem.
16:52: Fedotenko blasts a one-timer from the slot. Kiprusoff steers it away.
16:05: Cooke drops Aucoin in the corner with a check. What tells us the Flames are more than familiar with Cooke from his days as a Canuck?
15:27: Maklin dishes a pass from behind the net to the side of it for Sykora. Sykora tries to punch on in but Kiprusoff holds his ground.
14:31: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
14:08: From the left wing, Staal wrips a wrister that misses the net and rattles off the boards.
13:33: The ever dangers
13:23: Dear Dan Focht!??! Hal Gill scored? After Scuderi makes a nice poke check off a fake slapper by Cammalleri, Gill dishes the puck up to Malkin. Malkin moves towards the net, and leaves a drop pass for Gill. Gill takes it and rips a beauty of a wrister by Kiprusoff on the far side over his blocker shoulder. What a shot. Malkin deserves the Hart Trophy just for getting Hal Gill a goal. Let's see Alex Ovechkin do that. During the celebration, Jokinen has issues with Guerin. An official needs to drag Jokinen away. He gets two minutes for rouging. Malkin, Crosby, Gonchar, Kunitz and Letang are on for the power play. "Hey Song." Malkin and Scuderi get assists. Penguins 2-0.
12:22: Malkin rips a wrister low. Kiprusoff kicks it out.
11:31: Eaton snaps a wrister from the left point that gets deflected wide.
12:03: Sykora chops a loose puck wide.
11:23: Jokinen's penalty is killed.
9:48: Fleury covers a loose puck in the slot despite having Jamie Lundmark crash into him. Fleury gives Lundmark a jab to the head with his blocker. Lundmark doesn't appreciate it and is dragged away by an official. "Cotton-Eyed" Joe is busted out:
9:39: Fleury makes another big-time save in tight on Glencross. He's just been on his game so far tonight.
8:18: Staal blocks a shot by Phaneuf from the right point.
7:46: Daymond Langkow cranks a slapper from the neutral zone. Fleury gloves it and dishes it to a teammate.
7:29: Craig Conroy tosses a wrister from the right wing. Fleury kicks it out.
6:29: Gonchar sticks Iginla into the boards with a nice check.
6:05: From the slot, Jokinen chops a loose puck wide. Missed opportunity there.
5:38: Cooke knocks over Kiprusoff in the crease. No call.
4:33: Kennedy gets a pass from the left wing and tries to cut into the crease. He moves to his backhand but can't get a shot off.
4:25: Sarich and Malkin mix it up in the corner.
3:17: Despite getting checked to the ice behind the net by Robyn Regehr, Crosby is able to get a pass to Guerin who strikes a one-timer on net from the right wing. Kiprusoff hangs on for the save. We believe the Wave has been used by Mellon Arena fans for the first time.
2:30: Mike Keenan calls a time out to organize a time everyone can come back to the hotel and watch "Night Court:"
1:42: Kiprusoff is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:38: Cammalleri moves in and fires a one-timer on net from the the left faceoff circle. Fleury makes the save and manages to cover the rebound despite a rush from the Flames.
1:08: Somehow, Cooke and Malkin each manager to hit the post of an empty net.
0:23: Cooke misses the net again.
0:17: Malkin clunks a shot off the side of the cage. What in the world is going on?
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2, Flames 0.
-Assuming the Penguins make the playoffs, they're going to have play quality teams like the Flames. There won't be any free passes like the Senators were last season in the first round. And in order to beat those good teams, Marc-Andre Fleury will have to be their best player. No Sidney Crosby. Not Evgeni Malkin. Fleury. And that's what he was tonight. The Flames put tons of quality shots on net and probably should've had at least two goals but Fleury just refused to allow a goal. If Fleury plays like that in the playoffs, the Penguins can beat any team.
-His goal aside, Gill played a tremendous game. The Flames are a physical team that likes to go to the net. Gill was in his element and really played aggressive. This was his best game since he missed 10 games in December and January due to a shoulder injury.
-When was the last time the Penguins won a game with more than one goal and all of their offense came from defensemen?
-Hard to tell if the power play was any better. It only had two opportunities tonight.
-We really liked what Matt Cooke brought tonight. He got some time with Malkin and Sykora and responded by seemingly hitting anything in red and white. Maybe he was feeling up from the promotion or the fact he was playing an old rival in the Flames from his days with the Canucks, but Cooke really had some jump.
-What in the world happened with the last minute or so when the Penguins missed the open net four or five times?
-Did anyone see Jarome Iginla? He was really quiet.
-Kiprusoff played a pretty nice game as well in our book. He could not have done much more in order to win that game.
-The Flames ended up with a 31-28 edge in shots.
-Moss led the game with six.
-Kunitz led the Penguins with four.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 29-21 (58 percent).
-Talbot was 6-for-7 (86 percent).
-Iginla was 3-for-6 (50 percent).
-Phaneuf led the game with 28:09.
-Gonchar was tops for the Penguins with 24:37.
-Can anyone tell us why Kris Letang got the least ice time among the Penguins defensemen at 14:55?
-Orpik blocked seven shots. Geez.
-Leopold had three blocks for the Flames.
-Sidney Crosby's scoring streak increased to 14 games.
-Malkin has a four-game scoring streak. He stinks.
-The Penguins are now 3-0-0 when Hal Gill scores for them dating back to last season. They clearly need him to be more invovled with the offense.
-Kunitz got back on the scoresheet after a two-game absence. He has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in 13 games with the Penguins.
-Fleury's last shutout was exactly a month ago here at Mellon Arena. He made 21 saves in a 1-0 win against the Islanders Feb. 25.
-Tonight's game was Fleury's 15th career shutout.
-The Penguins finished 10-6-2 this season against Western Conference teams getting 22 out of 36 possible points (.611 point percentage).