Note: Empty Netter Assists are on the way. Hopefully around noon.
Greetings from a brisk, ugly day from Pittsburgh. It's in the mid 30s. Cloudy as all heck. If there's any consolation, at least the snow is melting. Some sights from today. Consol Energy Center prior to this morning's skate:
-The Sabres arriving for the morning skate:
-See this little brown blob?
-That's Ray Shero texting away your fantasy hockey dreams on his BlackBerry. Using new EN survelliance equipment, we took a closer look at what he was messaging:
-Brooks Orpik being popular:
-Sidney Crosby singing autographs and being a big un-American jerk:
-Walking up from dowtown this evening. The Oliver Building:
-See, if you win the gold medal in Canada, you get on the cover of Sports Ilustrated:
-If you carry around Roberto Luongo's bags, you get a pedestrian map in downtown Pittsburgh:
-One brave Derek Roy fan:
-A Paul Coffey fan:
-Tonight's giveaway are hockey cards:
-A Marc-Andre Fleury Team Canada t-shirt jersey:
-Plenty of these:
-Plenty of these:
-And only one of these:
(We need to clean our lense.)
-This is a sharp fan wearing a Tyler Myers jersey:
-A mid-2000s Ryan Miller fan:
-Here's one of the best finds of the season. Denis Herron:
-One of our all-time favorite players. Pat LaFontaine:
-The Penguins' scratches are Eric Godard, the less than great Martin Skoula and Jay McKee.
-The Sabres' scratches are Steve Montador, Matt Ellis and Nathan Paetsch.
-Brent Johnson and Patrick Lalime are your starting goaltenders.
-In case you're wondering, there are no visiting scouts here at all tonight. Kind of odd.
-During the ceremony to honor Olympians, some fans actually boo Sabres coach Lindy Ruff. Way to be classy.
-The ovation for Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller was stunning. It was honestly, playoff loud for Ryan Miller. The visiting goaltender. We understand it. We agree with it. We just didn't expect it.
-The spotlight was actually placed on the wrong tunnel when Miller was honored initially.
-Many fans actually booed Sidney Crosby when he was acknowledged. Wow. Way to be xenophobic Pittsburgh.
-A man who never hears booing, Jeff Jimerson:
18:41: Jordan Leopold take the ice for the first time as a Penguin alongside Alex Goligoski.
18:26: Dupuis takes a pass off the left wing, sneaks in and chips a puck into Lalime who hangs on for the save.
18:17: Lalime boots out a tough wrister by Malkin from the slot.
16:22: Kris Letang whips a loose puck from the right circle wide to the far side.
15:15: Johnson kicks out a heavy wrister by Paul Gaustad from the slot.
13:54: Letang chops a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
12:30: The Penguins have Crosby on a line with Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin.
10:48: Patrick Kaleta runs over Craig Adams in the corner on the left wing in Buffalo's zone.
9:39: Crosby dishes a pass to Chris Kunitz on the left wing. Kunitz gains the blue line and releases a slapper which is a bit off the mark on the near side.
9:25: Lalime covers a puck. Both teams go to their benches in a seemingy peaceful manner then BLAM! All you see is Kunitz and Craig Rivet swinging away like mad men. Nothing really comes of it as an official steps in. Crosby and Rivet ends up with minor penalties. Crosby for slashing. Rivet for roughing. Four-on-four.
8:57: Malkin drives the puck up the right wing and dishes a backhanded pass to Letang in the slot. Letang cranks a one-timer which totally misses the net.
8:50: Makin picks the puck and whips a backhander on net from the right circle. Lalime eats it up.
7:25: The penaties to Crosby and Rivet expire.
6:39: Talbot is on his knees in the corner. Tim Kennedy just goes right ahead and checks him from behind into the boards face-first. What a stupid play. Kennedy gets two minutes for boarding. Talbot is a little slow to recover but eventually returns to the bench. Crosby, Malkin, Bill Guerin, Alex Goligoski and Sergei Gonchar get assists.
6:25: Crosby strikes a one-timer from the left point that clunks off some iron.
6:01: Malkin chops a bouncing puck to the right of the cage on net. Lalime keeps it out somehouw.
5:02: Goligoski controsl the puck on the right half wall, He dishes to Gonchar at the top of the slot. Gonchar windes up and zips a slapper which gets through traffic and beats Lalime by the glove hand. Crosby was in front and took a stab at the puck but it appeared to go in without a deflection. Lalime appeared to lose that in traffic as he was terribly out of place. The goal is the 200th of Gonchar's career. And we totally forgot to mention that after doing so for roughly a month in our game previews. Argh. Goligoski and Crosby get assists. The "Hey Song" is never forgettable. Penguins 1-0.
3:37: Letang chops a slapper on net from the right point. Lalime makes the save with his shoulder but has trouble with the rebound. Mike Rupp and Adams storm the crease but the puck is cleared out of danger.
1:25: Mark Eaton snaps off a wrister from the left point. Lalime makes the save but gives up another rebound. Talbot and other scrum for possession but can't get a handle on it.
1:07: Jason Pominville moves up the left wing and whips a wrister at the cage. Johnson eats it up with ease.
0:54: Tough time to take a penalty. Letang is nabbed for holding. It looked like he tripped up Drew Stafford. Either way, it's worth two minutes. Jordan Staa, Matt COoke, Brook Orpiks and Gonchar take the ice.
0:08: Off some nifty tic-tac-toe passing, Thomas Vanek booms a one-timer from the slot. Johnson fights it off. Tough save.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Sabres 0.
-Nice first period for the Penguins. They were aggressive, the attacked the zone and pressured Lalime.
-So far so good for the Jordan Leopold era. He looks very comfortable with the puck in all three zone and he is a very good skater. He has a burst you don't see in every defenseman.
-He had 5:48 of ice time on seven shots, one takeaway and one blocked shot.
-In case you're wondering, his predecessors with No. 4:
-Makin seems to have a little bit more jump tonight. Perhaps he's motivated by the rough outing in the Olympics.
-Letang has been pretty aggressive with his shot. But he's missed more than a few.
-Lalime looks shaky. He's giving up some bad rebound and he was in a bad position for the Gonchar goal.
-Speaking of Gonchar, his abiity to get a crisph, hard and accurate shot through traffic never ceases to amaze us.
-The Penguins have a 14-9 lead in shots.
-Malkin leads the game with three shots.
-Toni Lydman leads Buffalo with two.
-Gonchar leads the game with 8:59 of ice time.
-Myers leads Buffalo with 8:17.
-Buffalo has a 7-6 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Roy is 4 for 4 (100 percent).
-Malkin is 2 for 3 (67 percent).
-Gonchar, Andrej Sekera and Chris Butler each lead the game with three blocked shots.
20:00: The Sabres will start the period with 1:08 of power play time on fresh ice. Eaton, Oprik, Adams and Talbot wil star the period.
18:52: The Letang penatly is killed. The Sabres only generated on solid scoring chance during htat two minutes.
17:52: Malkin circles around the net and deals a backhanded pass to Orpik in the slot. Orpik chops shot on net. Lalime boots it out.
16:47: Oh wow was that pretty. Who says Malkin needs new scoring wingers. Dupuis plays the puck around the boards from the left wing. Fedotneko takes it in the opposite corner, turns and immediately dishes it back to the slot. Dupuis jumps on it and one-touches it by Lalime by his right foot. That was some slick passing there. That said, Lydman needs to to a better job of sticking with Dupuis. Fedotenko and Makin get assists. The "Hey Song" is always slick. Penguins 2-0.
13:16: And Lydman makes amends. Kaleta gains the blue line on the left wing. He leaves a drop pass for Lydman who steps up and blasts a one-timer through traffic and by Johnson's glove hand. Johnson had no idea where that puck was. He was screened by Eaton and two Sabres. Kaleta and Rivet get assists. Penguins 2-1.
12:23: Off a faceoff wing, Goligoski strikes a one-timer from the left point. Lalime reaches up and gloves it in front of his face.
12:05: Malkin gets dropped with a nice shoulder check from Lydman down low to the left of the cage. Makin is a little slow to recover. Play continues.
10:24: Mike Rupp picks up a puck in the neutral zone, gains the blue line and goes towards the net with speed. He tries an outside move but Sekera is able to flop down and knock it away with a nice poke check.
9:11: Crosby spins and chops a shot through traffic on net from the left point. Lalime hops up and makes the the save.
8:34: Attendance is announced as 17,132, a complete standing room only sell-out. It is the team's 150th consecutive sellout.
7:54: Letang blocks a wrister from the slot out of play.
6:57: Makin takes a jab at a Sabre along the boards and knocks him over.
3:37: Rupp just cobbed Tim Kennedy behind the Sabres net with a cross check. No call.
2:43: Orpik is nabbed for hooking Vanek. Eaton, Cooke, Staal and Gonchar take the ice.
2:06: Pominville has a slapper from the top of the slot blocked out of play by Adams.
2:03: Off a faceoff win, Leopold chips the puck down ice for a clear.
1:02: Talbot drives the puck up into the Sabres zone and circles around the board to eat clock. That ends when Adams mashes him into the boards.
0:43: Orpik's penalty is killed. The Sabres generated very few chances there.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Sabres 1.
-First off, nothing is finalized on any potential deals the Penguins are working on. Hold off on buying any new jerseys.
-With that out of the way, things kind of slowed down that period. Neither team really challenged each other all that much. It was more of a tight-checking period. That said, two goals were scored.
-Makin is playing with some purpose tonight. He looks pretty motivated.
-Lalime has setted down a bit.
-We're digging the new fourth line of Rupp, Adams and Talbot. They've worked really well down low.
-Leopold continues to look as advertised. He's a smooth skater with some burst and he just knows what to do with the puck.
-Leopold has 12:28 of ice time on 14 shifts, one takeaway and one blocked shot.
-The Penguins have a 21-15 lead in shots.
-Pominville leads the game with four shots.
-Dupuis, Orpik and Malkin each lead the Penguins with three.
-Gonchar leads the game with 15:52 of ice time.
-Sekera leads the Sabres with 15:05.
-The Penguins have a 16-13 lead in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Derek Roy is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Malkin is 4 for 6 (67 perecent).
-Sekera leads the game with four bocked shots.
-Gonchar and Letang each lead the game with four blocked shots.
19:15: Chris Butler chops a slapper from the left wing. Johnson punches it away with his blocker.
18:48: Kunitz steals a puck off Rivet at the Sabres blue line, gets hooked by Vanek but still gets a shot off. Lalime makes the save. Vanek is sent off for hooking. Malkin, Crosby, Guerin, Gonchar and Goligoski take the ice.
16:48: And the penatly is killed with little threat by the Penguins. Argh.
16:42: Some Iggy Pop:
16:06: Patrick Kaleta knocks down Fedotenko in the corner with an elbow to the back. No call. Fedotenko gets up and hits Kaleta with a high stick. Call. Fedotenko gets two minutes. That's what Kaleta does. He's their Matt Cooke. Talbot, Staal, Orpik and Eaton take the ice.
14:50: Cooke forces Myers into a turnover off a fantastic forecheck and gets a nice chance in the slot. Lalime denies him. Myers owes Lalime a beer.
14:06: The Fedotenko penalty is killed.
13:52: Johnson covers up a puck in a seemingly harmless situation. Play is blown dead. Then BLAM! Rupp and Paul Gaustad decided to fight. This was about as one-sided of a fight we've seen this season with the Penguins. Rupp just pounds Gaustad in the top of the head a bunche before Mair falls down.
13:33: Talbot slams Kaleta behind the Sabres net with a solid check.
12:47: Myers chips a puck into the slot for Tim Connolly. Connolly has a clean shot on net but he's hooked up by Gonchar. The puck goes into the corner. Connolly goes afte rit byt Gonchar shoves him into the boards feet first. That was scary. Connolly is a little slow to recover but he appears to be fine thankfully. Gonchar is sent off for interference. Probably shoud be hooking but that doesn't matter. It's a minor either way. Staal, Orpik, Cooke and Letang take the ice.
11:02: Staal chips a puck by Myers along the boards and down ice to kill time. What a nice play.
10:34: Gonchar comes out of the box and creates a two-on-one with Dupuis against Rivet. From the right wing he dishes to Dupuis across the slot but the pass is a litte too fast and Dupuis fails to get a stick on the puck.
10:25: Malkin snaps off wrister from the right circle which is wide on the near side.
10:19: Kunitz and Kaleta have a train wreck right in front of the Penguins' bench. No one won in that collision.
9:46: Lalime fights off a wrister by Crosby in the slot. Tough save.
9:22: Leopold and Drew Stafford go crashing into the boards in the corner. Stafford is slow to recover.
8:57: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, the Penguins strike. xxx wins the faceoff, The Penguins move it around with some slick passing. It ends up going to Fedotenko in the left circe who strikes a one-timer which burns Lalime. Perhaps Fedotenko is worried about tomorrow's deadine. He's having his best game in at least a month. Tyer Kennedy gets the only assist. Someone should get a secondary helper on that. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-1.
6:13: Myers strikes a wild slapper from the left point which hits Goligoski in front. Goligoski is stunned a bit.
5:37: The Sabres go to the net and make it a one-goal game once again. Roy chips a puck into the slot . Kaleta is battling in front and chips with a backhander between his legs into the slot. It comes loose. Roy jumps on it and from the slot he chips it into the net. It hits the back of the net and immediatey bounces out. A small scrum ensues. Johnson covers the puck. Offiicals immediately review the play. They rule a goal had been scored. Kaleta and Buter get assists. Penguins 3-2.
4:34: Kunitz whips a wrister on net from the left circle. Lalime boots it out.
2:34: Letang chips a little wrister from the right circle. Lalime steers it into the opposite corner.
1:34: Henrik Tallinder loses his footing and loses the puck in his own zone. Crosby picks it up, zips up the right wing and plays a puck into the slot. Lalime pokes it away. Tallinder owes Crosby a beer.
1:18: Lalime is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:09: Roy blasts a one-timer form the slot. Johnson makes the save. The puck hops up on to the top of the net. Clark MacArthur jabs it off the top of the net. MacArthur tries to jame it by Johnson's left foot but is denied. Orpik then blows out MacArthur away from the net with a big hit. What a sequence!
0:22:The Sabres accidently play the puck out the zone themselves and give the Penguins a break.
0:16: The Sabres ice the puck. Lindy Ruff calls a time out. Lalime returns to the net.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3, Sabres 2.
-After last night's trade, we just never got a chance to put together a postgame post. This is a barebones version of one.
-Shots were tied, 28-28.
-Derek Roy led the game with five shots.
-Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Oprik, Kris Letang and Evgeni Makin led the Penguins with three each.
-Tyler Myers led the game with 25:01 of ice time.
-Sergei Gonchar led the Penguins with 23:32.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 26-22 (54 percent).
-Roy was 9 for 14 (64 percent).
-Evgeni Malkin was 6 for 9 (57 percent).
-Jordan Leopold, Chris Butler and Andrej Sekera each led the game with four blocked shots. Promote Ray Shero.
-Sergei Gonchar's goal was the 200th of his career.
-Pascal Dupuis moved ahead of Gary McAdam, Markus Naslund and Dennis Owchar for 103rd place on the team's all-time scoring list. All four have 67 points, but Dupuis (xx) has mroe goals than the other three.
-Alex Goligoski recorded his 50th career point.