Aloha from icy Pittsburgh. This was the view right outside the Post-Gazette's office last night:
-it might actually be worse tonight. It pretty much snowed all day yesterday then rained over night. That rain hit the snow and formed a layer of ice on top of it. It's sort of like a cake with frosting on top of it. Just ugly.
-There probably hasn't been a more appropiate time to give out these sweet hats:
-The ice (inside):
-Rangers forward Ryan Callahan is out of the lineup tonight due to the flu and will be replaced on the team's top line by Petr Prucha.
-The over/under on the Staals being brothers is set at 6. Marc doesn't seem to generate brotherhood quite as much as Eric.
-Rangers forward Dan Fritsche has cleared waivers.
-Something's wrong with our BlackBerry. These were the only two photos it will send:
-An Eric Godard jersey:
-And a Super Bowl XL jacket:
-We think the Super Bowl jacket broke our BlackBerry.
-The Penguins' scratches are Alex Goligoski, Matt Cooke and Brooks Orpik. We're not saying Goligoski is without flaws to his game, but he's definitely better than Philippe Boucher.
-The Rangers' scratches are Callahan and Fritsche.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Henrik Lundqvist are the starting goaltenders.
-A few more photos have trickled in:
(The lettering looks a little suspect though.)
-Mario Lemieux Canada Cup:
-Paul Bissonnette Wheeling Nailers:
-Chris Drury Rangers:
-Jimerson dominates as usual. We'll have a photo of his domination up as soon as our phone quits being difficult.
19:57: Well that didn't take long for things to get interesting. Right off the drop of the puck, Godard and Colton Orr settle an old score from their game last Sunday when they were taking runs at each other but never dropped the gloves. As an official drops the puck, neither fighter is even looking at center ice and instead are just gearing up to fight. Almost immediately they are locked up and swinging wild punches. A few land. Godard then works an arm free and lands a blow to Orr's face which causes the Ranger's legs to buckle and he falls to his knees. Mellon Arena erupts in noise. Heck of a way to start this game.
18:27: Marc Staal throws a wrister on net from the left point. Fleury kicks it away.
19:30: Lauri Korpikoski chops a slapper from the right wing but his stick breaks. The puck flutters in and Fleury easily pushes it away.
17:36: Brandon Dubinsky carries the puck up ice and dishes a pass to Nikolai Zherdev on his right wing. Zherdev takes the puck, drags it inside Rob Scuderi and rips a nice wrister by Fleury. Nice shot by Zherdev, but the Penguins' allowed the Rangers to move into the offensive zone with far too much speed. Dubinsky and Aaron Voros get assists. Rangers 1-0.
16:53: Petr Sykora grabs a loose puck and rips a wriste on net. Lundqvist knocks it away.
16:11: Petr Prucha pops Pascal Dupuis with a nice shoulder check.
15:09: Aaron Voros gets away with holding Scuderi's stick.
13:25: Chris Minard whips a loose puck in the left faceoff circle on net. Lundqvist makes the save but the rebound pops up over the cage and into the crease.Lundqvist loses track of it. Sykora is there banging away at it and pokes a shot by Lundqvist. Sykora celebrates like he won a a playoff game. He might be the Penguins' most exciting player for goal celebrations. Minard and Jordan Staal get assists. It's a garbage goal but the Penguins will take it. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
12:48: Kris Letang punches a loose puck at the side of the cage on net. Lundqvist eats it up.
11:52: Crosby feeds a pass to Malkin on the left wing. Malkin gets behind the defense and moves the puck onto his backhand trying to sneak it in Lundqvist's five hole. No dice. Nice save by Lundqvist.
9:39: Scott Gomez coasts down the right wing and throws a shot towards the net that sails through the slot.
9:04: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
8:11: Miroslav Satan grabs a puck behind the Rangers' net and tries a wraparound. The puck hits off Maxime Talbot's skates and is then stoppedy by Lundqvist. Not sure if that would've counted if it had gone in account of Talbot's skate making contact, but it's nice to see the Penguins' going to the net early so far. During a commecial break, Malkin's "assist" on Alex Ovechkin's shootout competion goal is shown. Fans boo still. Can't we all just be friends?
7:58: Crosby goes towards the net with the puck. Lundqvist appears to poke it away. Malkin is right there and punches the rebound wide. Dupuis is sent off for high sticking. Bill Thomas, Letang, Mark Eaton and Jordan Staal are on for the penalty kill.
7:05: A shot by Michal Rozsival at the left point is blocked by Thomas.
6:33: Paul Mara hammers a one-timer from the right point. Despite traffic, Fleury is able to fight it off.
5:58: Dupuis' penalty is killed.
5:48: Scuderi clears the puck with a backhander.
5:20: Malkin comes up on a three-on-one with Dupuis and Boucher. He passes it to Boucher who comes in offside. Our natural reaction is to blame Boucher, but something tells us Malkin was off on that play. So what? We'll blame Boucher anyway. During a stoppage, a tribute video to the Steelers set to "Renegade" by Styx is played.
5:05: Orr wasn't deterred by his beating from Godard. He drops Crosby along the boards near in the Penguins' zone.
5:01: Dupuis tries to lift a backhander by a prone Lundqvist but can't quite get it high enough.
2:49: Crosby chops a puck into the slot for Dupuis but Lundqvist bats it away with his stick.
2:17: Crosby takes a drop pass on the right wing and lobs a wrister on net. Sykora may have been there to tip it a bit. Lundqvist kicks it out either way.
0:50: Satan snaps a wrister from the right faceoff circle Mara is there to block it.
0:05: Crosby collects a loose puck behind the Rangers' net and almost immediately snaps a backhanded pass to Malkin in the slot. Malkin wasn't exactly prepared for it but still sort of gets a shot on net which Lundqvist deflects away.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
-That was a solid but hardly perfect period for the Penguins. We liked how they seemed to go the net which is something they really haven't done in great abundance. But they allowed the Rangers to attack the offensive zone with far too much speed.
-Lundqvist has been pretty sharp so far. He probably could've made a better effort on Sykora's goal but he's played well so far.
-Fleury hasn't really been tested a great deal.
-The Penguins have a 9-8 lead in shots.
-Sykora, Letang, Malkin, Zherdev and Mara all lead the game with two shots.
-The Rangers have a 9-7 edge in faceoffs.
-Blair Betts, Chris Drury and Maxime Talbot are each 2-for-3 (67 percent).
-Malkin leads the game with 8:46 of ice time.
-Rozsival leads the Rangers with 7:45.
-Scuderi leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Mara leads New York with two.
-The Godard-Orr bout is already on YouTube:
-Our long-lost photos:
-Sidney Crosby Team Canada:
-Ryan Whitney. You don't really see too many of those:
-Kevin Stevens (with a jersey foul):
19:38: Dupuis enters the offensive zone and uncorks a heavy slapper. Lundqvist kicks it out.
18:48: Markus Naslund snaps a wrister on net from the left faceoff circle. Fleury is there to deny it.
17:20: Satan trips up a bit and lands into the boards in front of his own bench head first. He's slow to get up but is able to recover and go to his bench.
15:48: Hal Gill tosses a wrister towards the net from the left point. It hits a body in front.
15:00: Crosby attacks the net with the puck, gets ttripped up a bit and chops a shot high over the cage.
14:51: Attendance is announced as 16,965. That's the team's 91st consecutive sell out.
14:43: Lundqvist covers a puck in the crease.
13:25: Dubinsky corrals a puck at the blue line and whips a long-distance wrister. Fleury is able to eat it up.
13:23: Off a faceoff win, Mara hammers a slapper on net. Fleury is there to fight it off.
13:03: Betts tosses a puck on net from the corner. A teammate charges the and knocks it off its moorings. Despite that, Fleury is able to hold the puck out.
13:00: Off another faceoff win, Rozsival steps up and rifles a slapper. Fleury eats it up.
12:20: Tyler Kennedy tosses a wrister towards the net. Lundqvist comes out of his cage to make the save. Talbot is skating towards the net for a rebound. Nigel Dawes gives him a nudge in the back and sends Talbot into Lundqvist a small scrum ensues. Talbot is given two minutes for... charging? Huh? We would understand goaltending interference even with Dawes' nudge, but charging? Either way, it's a bad call. Dawes sent Talbot into Lundqvist. Jordan Staal, Thomas, Eaton and Letang are on for the kill.
11:38: Letang clears the puck. Dupuis, Malkin, Scuderi and Whitney come on for the kill.
10:20: Talbot's penalty is killed.
9:30: Talbot chips a puck by accident into the crowd. That's two minutes for delay of game. Talbot slams his stick on the ice in frustration. Thomas, Jordan Staal, Letang and Eaton are on for the penalty.
9:03: Letang comes up with another big clear. Dupuis, Scuderi, Crosby join Eaton on the ice.
8:43: Mara fires a slapper form the right poing. Fleury stretches out and kicks it away with his right foot.
7:58: Naslund snaps a wrister which is a body in front and deflects into the corner.
7:33: Dan Girardi fires a slapper from the right point which hits another body in front.
7:30: Talbot's second penalty is killed. The Penguins' defensive special teams have been sharp so far.
6:08: Satan gets a feed in the slot and fires a wrister. Lundqvist is in perfect position and knocks it away.
4:48: Crosby jumps on a loose puck on the left wing and throws a wrister on net. Lundqvist steers it away.
4:33: Thomas gets a puck on net from the corner. Things are little too hot for Lundqvist and he just covers the puck freezing play.
4:10: Naslund fires another wrister from the right wing. Scuderi is there to block it with his left shin
3:49: Rozsival fires one-timer from the top of the slot. Fleury punches it away despite some traffic.
3:10: Zherdev and Voros come up on a two-on-one against Boucher. Zherdev deals it to Voros. Voros punches it on net and is denied by Fleury on a fantastic leg save. The rebound pops up behind the net. Voros pursues it. He tries to collect it but is knocked to the ice by a shoulder check by Crosby
2:59: Crosby comes up ice in transition deking in and out of two Rangers defenders like they were road cones. He tries to shoot a backhander but it is deflected high. What a rush up ice.
2:49: Dupuis is denied in tight.
2:11: Kennedy fires a wrister from the right wing. No dice
1:55: Dawes rips a wrister from the right wing over the net.
0:59: After making save on a re-directed shot, Fleury covers a rebound.
0:07: Zherdev fires a heavy wrist shot low. Fleury knocks it down and covers it.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
-Fleury really stole that period for the Penguins. He makes a few big saves and just really denied the Rangers on some quality chances.
-The Penguins are getting outshot, 26-17.
-Rozsival and Zherdev lead the game with five shots each.
-Dupuis and Letang lead the Penguins with three each.
-New York has a 15-14 edge in faceoffs.
-Thomas is 4-for-5 (80 percent). Maybe that's why he was brought up instead of Dustin Jeffrey.
-Betts is 3-for-4 (75 percent).
-Rozsival leads the game with 17:28. He might be one of the more underrated failures of Craig Patrick's administration. Sure the deals that sent Alex Kovalev, Jaromir Jagr and even Markus Naslund away for little in return got a lot of attention, but Rozsival has really blossomed into a solid defenseman since he left the Penguins.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with 16:19.
-Scuderi leads the game with four blocked shots. Eaton is second with three.
-Mara leads the Rangers with two.
-Why does this have "3-1 Rangers win" written all over it?
19:41: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
18:49: What's that? When did Minard-Staal-Sykora become the Michel Ouellet Memorial Line? Jordan Staal controls the puck in the corner and just kind of flicks a backhander without any particular purpose near the net. It hits off Lundqvist's leg and goes in. That's not even a garbage goal. It counts though. "Hey Song." Ryan Whitney gets the only assists. Penguins 2-1.
18:35: Things have really gone downhill for the Ranger quickly this period. Marc Staal is sent off for holding. Crosby, Malkin, Whitney, Letang and Sykora are on for the power play.
17:57: Letang chops a shot from the top of the slot. It gets re-directed wide.
17:29: Letang gets tripped by Korpikoski. No call.
17:23: Sykora fires a slapper from the the slot. It hits Jordan Staal in front and deflects away. Well at least he's there getting a chance in front.
16:35: Marc Staal's penalty expires. The Penguins didn't really have a lot going on there.
15:08: Naslund swoops behind the net with the puck and fires a wrister from the other side. It hits a cluster of bodies in front. He's been shooting from just about everywhere tonight.
13:42: Hey look at that, a right-handed defenseman shooting the puck. Crosby controls the puck fighting off a check. He feeds a backhander to Letang coming in from the right point. Letang has time to shoot and burns Lundqvist on the glove side with a perfect shot. Wow. He needs to do that a whole lot more. "Hey Song." Crosby and Eaton get assists. That thing we wrote earlier about this ending up being a 3-1 Rangers win... Uh.... nevermind. Penguins 3-1.
12:32: Fleury eats up a shot from the right wing.
11:45: Crosby steals the puck off Gomez and center ice and zips it up to Malkin who is off on a bit of breakaway. Wade Redden decides to make his first appearance of the night and hooks Malkin down. Redden gets two minutes. Malkin, Crosby, Sykora, Whitney and Letang are on for the power play.
11:20: The Crosby tries to hook Letang up on a reversed version of the "Whitney Play." Letang shoots but the puck is deflected out of play.
10:38: Dmitri Kalinin decides to join the game too finally and underhand swats a puck out of midair into the netting. That's two minutes. Kalinin protests over what we're not sure. THe Penguins will get a two-man advantage for 53 seconds. A goal here would all but end the game. Crosby, Satan, Malkin, Sykor and Whitney are on for the power play. Therrien calls a time-out to organize a night everyone can come over to watch "Coneheads." We think.
-Lord knows why we referenced that movie. It was on this morning and for some stupid reason we watched it.
10:24: Crosby feeds a backhanded pass to Satan in the slot. Satan clinks a shot off the post.
10:15: Whitney slides a pass to Malkon at the right point. Malkin hammers slapper that hits the backboards.
9:59: Whoa!!! Whoa!!!! A goal with a two-man advantage?!? Are you allow to score those? Whitney controls the puck at the left point and zips it down low to Crosby to the right of the cage. Crosby then dishes it to Sykora in the slot and he fires it on net through Lundqvist's equipment. When was the last time the Penguins scored a goal with a five-on-three? Crosby and WHitney get assists. Bocher, Letang, Malkin, Sykora and Minard are on for the next power play. Kalinin's penalty still has 1:14 left. "Hey Song." That was a huge goal in so many ways for the Penguins. Penguins 4-1.
8:36: As Kalinin's penalty expires, Malkin tries to split the defense and is knocked off the puck by Rozival with a solid check.
7:22: Staal shoots a puck on net. Lundqvist eats it up. Bissonnette is on the doorstep looking for a rebound. Dubinsky runs him over in the crease. Kennedy jumps Dubinsky and all heck breaks loose. A scrum develops. Bissonnette challenges Voros to a fight and Voros just stares at him like a dope. Zherdev gets two for roughing and Bissonnette gets two for slashing. Four-on-four.
6:50: "Lunnnnnnn-kisssssssstttt.... Luuunnnnnn..... Kissssssttttt....."
6:34: "GO-HOME RANG-ERS!!!!! (clap, clap... clap, clap clap) GO-HOME RANG-ERS!!!!! (clap, clap... clap, clap, clap)"
6:05: Not so fast folks. Gomez takes a drop pass from Naslund and feeds a pass to Marc Staal on the right wing. Staal rips a wrister by Fleury. Nice passing by the Rangers. Naslund and Gomez get assists. Penguins 4-2.
4:43: Boucher hammers a slapper on net from the right point. Lundqvist stops it dead.
4:04: Crosby picks up a loose puck in the right faceoff circle and whips a wrist shot on net. Lundqvist stops it.
3:39: The roof has just caved in here for the Rangers and Lundqvist. Letang comes rushing up ice against Mara and simply whips a wrister by Lundqvist. That was like a 1980s Paul Coffey goal. Lundqvist did little to challenge that. Malkin gets the only assist. " Penguins 5-2.
3:21: Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out:
2:37: Markus Naslund accomplishes the near-impossible and is dropped by a Ryan Whitney check.
2:29: After Fleury gloves a shot, Naslund goes after Whitney and Roman-Greco wrestles him to the ice. Whitney and Naslund are each sent off. Naslund for high sticking and Whitney for roughing. Unless hitting Markus Naslund is a specific penalty now, Whitney's penalty is bogus. Four-on-four.
2:01: Zherdev coasts up ice and throws a wrister on net. Fleury snags it.
1:40: Wow, when was the last time the Penguins just poured it on like this? Malkin fights off two Rangers along the boards and dishes a feed to Carosby in the slot. Crosby spins and whips a dazzling backhanded shot to the far side on Lundqvist. Lundqvist looks like he needs a hug. Maybe he still thinks this is the All-Star Lame Game. Malkin gets the only assist. "Hey Song." We wonder what Sergei Kostitsyn thinks of that goal. Penguins 6-2.
0:45: Fleury gloves a shot. Voros deems it necessary to spray him with snow. Hal Gill takes exception and pushes him into the boards. Voros gets two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct. Prucha will serve the minor penalty. Voros actually began skating towards the Penguins' ramp before officials steered him into the right direction. Sykora, Malkin, Crosby, Letang and Whitney are on for the power play.
0:31: Marc Staal dumps Letang along the boards with a rough check.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Rangers 2.
-Remember the good old days at the start of the season when the Penguins would coast through the first two periods of the game then kick it into gear late? That's what happened tonight. They looked less than ordinary for the first 40 minutes or so of the game. Then Jordan Staal's garbage goal almost just flipped the switch for them.
-The Penguins could not have come out of the all-star break any better. They needed a win not only for the sake of their place in the standings but just for momentum and confidence.
-Fleury was solid. He's strung together four solid games here as of late.
-What in the world happened to Henrik Lundqvist. He usually just stiffles the Penguins. He just fell apart in the third period.
-How about Kris Letang? Perhaps he's a little bit more confident with his shot now. Maybe that will lead to more shooting by him?
-Crosby had his fourth four-point game of the season.
-Letang's last goal was in a 4-3 home loss to Buffalo, Dec. 8. That was the first time in his career he scored two goals in a game and it was the fourth two-point game in his career.
-It was nice to see the Penguins' power play finally get something, even if it was on a five-on-three.
-There were a few scoring changes to Pengins' last two goals. Dupuis and Crosby got assists on Letang's second goal while Malkin and Boucher got assists on Crosby's.
-After getting outshot pretty badly through the second period, the Penguins almost pulled even with the Rangers in shots. New York ended up with a 34-33 edge. In the third period, the Penguins had a 16-8 advantage in shots.
-Zherdev led the game with eight shots.
-Letang and Crosby led the Penguins with five each.
-The Penguins had a 26-25 edge in faceoffs.
-Thomas led the game going 5-for-6 (83 percent).
-Dubinsky led New York going 5-for-9 (56 percent).
-Rozsival led the game with 25:56 of ice time.
-Whitney led the Penguins with 25:01.
-Whitney led the game with five blocked shots. Scuderi and Eaton were second with four each.
-Mara led New York with three.
-Jordan Staal moved ahead of Armstrong and Titov as well on the list. He has 98 points also but has more goals than either of those players.
-You know what is kind of scary or sad even? Kip Miller is in the top 100 scorers in franchise history. He's in 95th place with 72 points.