-First things first, no Sidney Crosby today. He'll miss his third consecutive game due to a groin injury. We're fine with that. He needs to get that right and trying to fight through it won't let it heal.
-Tobias Stephan gets the start in net for Dallas today. Marty Turco will have his streak of 32 consecutive starts snapped. Stephan is 1-2-0 with a 3.34 goals against average and .887 save percentage this season. He hasn't played since relieving Turco in a 6-1 loss at Detroit, Jan. 8. His last start was a 3-0 loss at Nashville, Dec. 13.
-If the Penguins' can beat a team so many of its top players hurt and against a goaltender who hasn't played since the Bush Administration, they might as well put the "FOR SALE" sign up in front of Mellon Arena.
-This has nothing to do with today's game, but we were watching the Wild-Oilers game last night on CBC and this commercial came on. We just can't stop laughing at it:
-Canadian commercials are just another reason that country rules.
-KDKA, which has been on the money with reporting on Crosby's health the past two games, has today's lines. They're essentially the same as the last game:
-According to Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, there are quite a few Penguins fans in the house in Big D.
-Bill Thomas and Crosby are the Penguins' scratches.
-Dallas' scratches are Steve Ott who is suspended, Fabian Brunnstrom and Andrew Hutchinson.
-Marc-Andre Fleury will start opposite of Stephan.
-Stephan doesn't even have a painted helmet:
-The Penguins have to beat this schmo.
19:45: Mike Modano snaps a wrister from the left wing. Fleury fights it off.
19:18: Tyler Kennedy winds up and fires a slapper from the right poing. Stephan punches it out.
18:28: Stephan grabs a wrister from Letang from the right point. FSN Pittsburgh offers us the defensive pairings:
16:14: Despite having Letang fall into him, Fleury is able to hang on to a point shot by Matt Niskanen. Mike Modano gets tangled up with Jordan Staal along the board. He appears to have injured his ribs or stomach and leaves the ice heading to the locker room. This is the last thing the Stars need.
15:52: Staal carries th puck up the left wing and sihes a pass to Evgeni Malkin on the right wing. Malkin pushes a shot wide on Stephan. Stephan makes the save allows a juicy rebound. Staal goes to the net and gets the easy goal. Errey makes a wonderful point and mentions Staal scored his career-high 29 goals his rookie year on Malkin's line. Malkin and Ruslan Fedotenko get assists. Penguins 1-0.
13:44: Malkin sneaks a wrister on net from the left faceoff circle. Stephan is able to keep it out.
13:22: Fedotenko blocks a slapper by Stephane Robidas at the right point.
12:50: Fedotenko dishes a pass to Malkin the slot and Malkin pushes a shot wide.
12:15: From the corner, Staal dishes a nice feed to Chris Minard Kunitz in the slot. Stephan isn't exactly sure where the puck is but makes the save.
12:01: Fleury fights off a hard wrister by James Neal from the right wing.
11:40: Letang rips a wrister wide from the slot.
10:34: Fleury tips a shot by Connor from the right wing away.
9:21: Malkin works the puck along the boards and draws a penalty. Trevor Daley is nabbed for hooking. Malkin, Petr Sykora, Minard Kunitz, Segei Gonchar and Letang are on for the power play.
9:09: Letang cranks a shot from the left point. Steve Begin blocks it.
8:34: Darryl Sydor comes up from the right point and blasts a one-timer. Fleury fights it off.
7:30: Gonchar fires a slapper from the right point. It goes wide.
???: Did FSN Pittsburgh go out again for anyone?
Update: Until FSN Pittsburgh can get a signal up, we're down folks. You might be able to get a feed in Slovakian through this link.
-Kris Letang has scored on assists from Malkin and Minard Kunitz. Penguins 2-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Stars 0.
-Well FSN Pittsburgh isn't really blowing anyone away today. This is pretty embarrassing.
-The Penguins have a 9-5 lead in shots.
-Malkin and Fedotenko each lead the game with two shots.
-Dallas has a 12-8 lead in faceoffs.
-Modano and Maxime Talbot are each 5-for-6 (83 percent).
-Gonchar leads the game with 8:44 of ice time.
-Daley leads Dallas with 8:00.
-Fedotenko and Nicklas Grossman each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Hal Gill took a holding penalty during the first.
-The broadcast is back in the middle of the first intermission.
-At least Paul Steigerwald acknowledged the technical issues and apologized for them.
-A replay of Letang's goal is offered. He took a pass from Malkin on the right wing, moved in on net, went to the backhand and roofed one over Stefan on the stick side.
-Is it us or does Stars coach Dave Tippett sort of look like actor Alan Ruck?
18:55: Mike Modano has become desperate having started huffing spray paint:
17:34: Letang swats a loose puck on net from the right point. Stephan juuust gets a piece of it.
17:15: Mike Ribeiro fires a slapper from the right wing. Fleury nudges it away.
15:53: Mark Parrish flicks the puck out of play. That's two minutes for delay of game.
14:19: Fedotenko gets a pass in the slot before he can do anything with it, Stephan pokes it away.
13:50: As Parrish's penalty expires, Begin lays out and blocks a one-timer by Eaton. Begin's stick broke from stopping the blast.
13:33: Gonchar ropes a wrister from the left point wide.
12:42: James Neal zips a nice cross-ice pass to RIbeiro in the left faceoff circle. RIbeiro kneels down to clap one-timer on net. Fleury is able to slide over and kick it out with a big save.
11:42: Oh geez. Did the Penguins' trade Ryan Whitney to the Stars? Grossman tosses a pass in his end to Daley. Daley tries to give it back to him but the puck just jumps off his stick wrong. Miroslav Satan is there to steal the puck. He moves in on net, fakes a shot to the glove side on Stefan and gets the goaltender to commit. Satan then pulls it in, drags the puck behind Stefan and plunks it behind the helpless goaltender. That was a total gift. The goal is unassisted but Daley should get one. Penguins 3-0.
11:02: Stefan fights off a blast by Staal.
10:29: Minard Kunitz blocks a shot by Sydor.
9:53: Malkin goes after Sydor in the corner with the puck. He drops Sydor with what looks like a forearm to the face. How is that not a penalty? That was pretty blatant from what we saw. Sydor is slow to get up but eventually recovers to his feet.
8:54: Eaton gets a one-timer on net. Stefan makes a save despite some traffic. Does it seem like Eaton's been getting involved with the offense a little more as of late?
8:24: Krys Barch and Kris Letang wrestle for a puck in the Penguins' zone in a battle of non-traditional spellings of Chris. Barch hold Letang. Letang slashes Barch. Barch is the only one who gets a penalty. The Penguins are getting a break from the officials. Coming back from commercial, Dan Potash shows us some camo jerseys the AHL Penguins wore Friday night:
7:22: You know things are bad when the Penguins are scoring power-play goals in the middle of the second period. A Stars player just kind of tried to play the puck around the board. It takes a really crazy carrom and comes right to Malkin in the left faceoff circle. He collects it and rips it by Stefan on the stick side. Stefan had no chance on that one either. Everything is going right for the Penguins. Sykora gets the only assist. Penguins 4-0.
6:02: Fleury fights off a shot by Modano. Fleury's having a real easy day for the first time in a long time.
4:31: Robidas strikes a slapper from the right point. Fleury says no.
4:27: Brooks Orpik just hammers Brian Sutherby behind the Penguins' net.
4:20: Joel Lundqvist is denied in tight by Fleury.
4:14: Fedotenko is called for hooking Sutherby.
3:46: Neal strikes a slapper from the left wing. Fleury knocks it down with his glove. GIll is there to golf the rebound down ice.
2:55: Neal tries to make a nifty behind-the-back centering pass but Pascal Dupuis is there to whip it down ice.
2:30: Daley moves in and cranks a slapper from the left wing. Fleury kicks it out.
2:11: As Fedotenko's penalty expires, Connor is denied by Fleury from the left faceoff circle. Fleury was really sharp that penalty kill.
1:23: Satan trips up Modano at the red line. Satan put his hands up in a "What I do?" kind of way. He couldn't have been more obvious about that trip if he sent the officials a press release about doing it.
1:16: Sydor sneaks a puck on net from the left point. Fleury fights it off.
0:22: Gonchar chips a loose puck in the slot down ice.
0:04: Fleury denies a backhander by Modano.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Stars 0.
-This is just a plain and simple butt-kicking. Dallas is playing on no rest and is pretty battered. They have an iffy backup goaltender in and they're not getting any sort of lucky bounce. This is just the Penguins' day.
-Amazingly, the Stars are actually outshooting the Penguins 15-13.
-Malkin and Modano lead the game with three shots each.
-Dallas has a 20-15 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Modano is 9-for-11 (82 percent).
-Talbot is 7-for-9 (78 percent).
-Gonchar leads the game with 18:03 of ice time.
-Robidas leads Dallas with 16:37.
-Grossman lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Cooke, Fedotenko and Letang lead the Penguins with two each.
-Dallas will have 37 seconds of power play time on fresh ice.
19:42: Ribeiro has a chance on Fleury's door stop but can't get his stick on a nice feed from the corner.
19:23: Fedotenko's penalty is killed.
18:27: Stefan denies a Gonchar wrister.
17:42: Dupuis gets denied in tight by Stefan. Stephan's actually played well considering how many times he's been left out to dry by his teammates.
16:53: Loui Eriksson snaps a wrister from the left faceoff circle. Fleury fights it off.
15:23: Ribeiro tosses a wrister on net from the right wing. Fleury knocks it down and covers.
15:07: Stefan holds out a wraparound attempt by Dupuis.
14:28: Hal GIll is called for interference against Eriksson.
13:58: The Stars get one finally. Connor controls the puck behind the Penguins' net and dishes it to Eriksson in the slot. Erikson is unaccounted for and has time to pick his shot. He rips one over Fleury on the stick side. Fantastic shot. Fleury was helpless there. Connor and Modano get assists. "Hey Song." Penguins 4-1.
13:33: They're really pushing that Axe Men show huh?
13:12: Fleury covers a puck dishes into the crease.
11:09: The Penguins aren't really pressing the issue on offense at this point. They just getting the puck deep, sending a fore checker in and keeping four others back on defense.
10:22: Fleury fights off a wrister by Grossman.
9:55: Fleury gloves a wrister by Begin.
7:50: Sutherby centers a pass to the slot for Barch who is all alone in on the Penguins net. Thankfull for the Penguins, it's Krys Barch and he can't even get a shot on net.
6:53: Kennedy dishes a nice feed into the slot. Staal is there and to bang it in but Stefan robs him. Kunitz jumps on the rebound and whips it into Love Field.
5:30: Malkin lugs the puck up the left wing and leaves drop pass. Fedotenko steps up and fires a slapper wide.
5:14: Sykora is called for tripping.
4:22: Any small hope the Stars had is gone as Modano is nabbed for tripping Hal Gill. Four-on-four for 1:09.
4:00: Minard Kunitz is tackled behind the Stars' net. No call.
3:51: Daley whips a wrister on net from the slot. Fleury knocks it away.
3:14: Sykora's penalty ends. The Penguins will have a power play for 51 seconds.
2:47: Mark Fistric knocks down Malkin in the corner away from the puck. That's two minutes for interference. The Penguins will have a two-man advantage for 26 seconds.
2:21: Modano's penalty is killed.
2:13: Sydor chips the puck out of play. Ugh. Just one of those days for Dallas. That's two minutes. Dallas will be down by two men for 1:27.
1:49: Malkin takes a pass from Gonchar, winds up and blasts a slapper. Stefan eats it up.
1:44: Gonchar fires a slapper from the top of the slot. Stefan gets a piece of it.
1:28: Stefan kicks out a one-timer by Malkin.
0:50: Gonchar fires another one-timer. That hits a Stars defender and deflects out of play.
0:47: Fistric's penalty is killed.
0:29: Gonchar gets another slapper on net. Stefan makes the save. Fedotenko pushes the rebound back on net. Stefan holds it out. A small scrum develops.
0:18: Stefan kicks out a wrister by Malkin. He's played well today despite not a lot of help.
0:18: Staal is called for hauling down Robidas. Four-on-four for six seconds.
0:13: Sydor's penalty expires.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Stars 1.
-This was a must win for the Penguins. Dallas had a whole laundry list of problems coming into this game and the Penguins had every reason to win this. These are two teams headed in different directions and that showed today.
-The Penguins smelled some blood in the water and attacked. They saw a down team and jumped on them. How refreshing is that to see? They played down to teams like Toronto earlier this season.
-Kudos to Rob King for giving a very thorough and complete explanation for today's technical snafus with FSN Pittsburgh's broadcast today. Snowfall in the south apparently had something to do with it.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was strong and earned his 100th career win. The Stars had some chances on the power play and had a few quality chances. Fleury kept them at bay for most of the afternoon.
-The Stars franchise has lost five consecutive games for the first time since 1978. Geez.
-The Penguins had a 23-21 edge in shots.
-Malkin led the game with six shots.
-Somehow Gonchar was only credited with three.
-Modano, Neal and Ribeiro led Dallas with three each.
-The Penguins had a 30-27 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Talbot was 12-for-16 (75 percent).
-Modano was 10-for-16 (63 percent).
-Gonchar led the game with 26:03 of ice time.
-Robidas led Dallas with 24:19.
-Grossman led the game with three blocked shots.
-Cooke, Fedotenko and Letang were tops for the Penguins with two each.
-Gonchar had a six-game scoring streak snapped.
-Staal moved past Craig Simpson for 71st place. Staal now has 105 points. Simpson does as well but he only has 50 goals to Staal's 57.
-Kunitz has scored points in four consecutive games.