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Greetings from Pittsburgh. Another wonderful day. Another wonderful opportunity to walk up to Mellon Arena before the weather gets nasty:
-Looking down the Boulevard of the Allies:
-Mellon's evil corporate lair:
-Looking down Grant Street:
-The statue of the late Mayor Richard S. Caliguiri in front of the City-County Building:
-Insane. The line starts at Gate 9 on Mario Lemieux Place and wraps around the block to the corner of Bigelow Boulevard and Washington Place. We feel bad for those kids in the South Fayette letterman jackets. There's no way they're going to get tickets.
-The Penguins had some players such as Pascal Dupuis (above) come out and deliver pizza to these kids. A shameless gimicky public relations move? Perhaps. But it's a quality move regardless.
(Photo: Dupuis-Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press)
-This girl in the Eric Staal t-shirt jersey made the unfortunate decision to walk by the line. She was heckled quite a bit:
-We spotted this Ville Nieminen jersey in the Student Rush line:
-A Glen Wesley jersey:
-We spotted this Josef Melichar Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins jersey and pretty much vomitted right in the middle of the concourse:
-Possible jersey foul here. It's a Phil Bourque jersey but its one of those putrid Reebok Edge-Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-You Uniform System jerseys.
-This isn't a great photo, but this girl is wearing a Miroslav Satan t-shirt jersey and she's also dressed up as uh... Satan...
-The Penguins have scratched Matt Cooke, Bill Thomas and Hal Gill.
-Carolina's scratches are Tuomo Ruutu and Frantisek Kaberle.
-No Jeff Jimerson. No photos.
-Someone actually yells, "JEFF!"
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Michael Leighton will start in net.
-We are asking those of you at home to keep score of the "Staals are brothers" mentions.
19:49: Evgeni Malkin pushes the puck up ice and dishes a feed into the slot. Sidney Crosby tries to get a stick on it but gets taken down. Crosby crashes into the net and dislodges it.
19:30: Pascal Dupuis chases a loose puck into the Carolina zone and snaps a quick shot off. Leighton eats it up.
19:03: Dennis Seidenberg enters the offensive zone and throws a wrister on net. Fleury grabs it and freezes play.
17:52: Paul Bissonnette must not like former Penguins. After fighting Washington's Matt Bradley last week, he drops the gloves with Dan LaCouture tonight. After some hesitation, they lock up, Bissonnette peppers him with a couple of punches, forces LaCouture to his knees and peppers him some more before officials step in.
17:07: Sergei Samsonov centers a pass into the slot to Eric Staal in the slot. Staal pushes it just wide.
16:57: Ruslan Fedotenkto comes down the left side, gets by a defender and tries to push the puck through Leighton's five hole. Leighton says no.
14:44: The Penguins have some issues getting the puck out of their own zone. Joni Pitkanen picks it up and fires a slapper from the left point. Fleury closes the gates.
12:53: Rod Brind'Amour fires a slapper from the left wing. Fleury calmly absorbs it. Someone in the North E balcony has a sign that says, "IT'S HALLOWEEN TIME TO DISH OUT SOME FREE CANDY!"
11:09: With the game slowing down a bit, a mild "LET'S GO PENS!" chant starts.
10:38: Joni Pitkanen air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Fleury kicks it out of play with his left toe.
9:10: Tyler Kennedy gets absolutely smashed to the ice by Seidenberg.
8:17: The ever-dangerous Rob Scuderi fires a loose puck on net from the blue line. Leighton makes the save.
8:09: From in close, the occasionally-dangerous Samsonov rips a wrister low on net. Fleury kicks it out with his right foot. If this is a contract year, Samsonov puts that in.
7:52: As play is halted, Crosby and Eric Staal get tangled up behind the Penguins' net. Staal get called for slashing. Crosby gets an interference call. We're sure there's an obligatory "Staals are brothers" comment in there somewhere. Four-on-four.
6:53: Forget free candy. How about free scoring opportunities? Orpik tries to move the puck from his own zone but whiffs on it. Brandon Sutter takes the gift, moves in on net and whips a backhander by Fleury. It's Sutter's first career goal. Orpik breaks his stick over the net in frustraion. That was ugly. The "Brass Bonaza" is played in our hearts. Whalers 1-0.
6:33: Samsonov is getting some chances. He chops a loose puck on net from the slot. Fleury covers it up.
4:29: Leave it to Eric Godard to generate perhaps the Penguins' best scoring opportunity so far. He comes down the right wing and tosses a puck into the slot. It hits a body and nearly caroms into the net. Someone in the crowd can be heard yelling, "MELICHAR! YOU XXXX!"
3:11: Fedotenko chops a shot at the net. It hits a stick and bounces out of play.
2:57: Dupuis feeds a pass to Crosby in the slot. Crosby rips a wrister that Leighton shuffles away with his blocker. Dupuis follows up on the rebound. Leighton covers his shot.
1:06: After the Penguins work the puck around the corners, Scuderi ends up with it. He fires a slapper that Leighton kicks out.
0:55: Chad Larose blasts a slapper from the right wing that Fleury makes a save on.
0:36: Jordan Staal works the puck up ice and dishes a pass to Fedotenko on the left wing. He fires a slapper that Leighton gloves.
0:00: End of period. Whalers 1, Penguins 0.
-That was a pretty listless period by the Penguins. But the Hurricanes didn't really outwork them, they just got a nice scoring opprotunity gift-wrapped by Brooks Orpik and took advantage of it.
-The Penguins have a 10-9 edge in shots.
-Scuderi, Crosby, Fedotenko and Dupuis each have two.
-Faceoffs are even, 10-10.
-Jordan Staal is 5-for-7 in the faceoff circle.
-Melichar and Kris Letang lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Letang leads the game with 7:59 of ice time.
-Niclas Wallin leads the Hurricanes with 7:33.
-The underrated "Pump It Up" by Mudhoney is played during the intermission:
-This song was played about 342 times in the equally underrated "PCU."
19:40: We get our first power play of the night as Samsonov dumps Orpik in the corner. Two minutes for tripping. Alex Goligoski and Evgeni Malkin are on the points. Crosby is up front with Miroslav Satan and Petr Sykora.
19:12: After a mad scramble in the crease, Leighton covers a loose puck.
18:33: After the Penguins control the puck for roughly 45 seconds, the Hurricanes clear.
17:54: Jordan Staal nudges a shot off from in close. Leighton covers it.
17:40: Samsonov's penalty is killed. The Penguins controlled the puck a bunch and moved it around well, but did little to generate any shots.
16:25: The great Mike Zigomanis works the puck up the left wing and rips a quick rising wrister on net. Leighton holds it against his chest and freezes play.
15:17: Darryl Sydor pops Seidenberg with a nice shoulder check that sticks the Hurricanes player on his butt.
14:42: The great Mike Zigomanis appears to get away with a trip behind the Penguins' net.
14:01: Jordan Staal dishes a puck into the slot. It bounces a round a little bit before Leighton clears it.
13:30: A video acknowledging the recent statistical milestones by some of the Penguins is played. (Satan's 350th assist, Malkin's 200th career point, Crosby's 300th career point, etc.)
12:24: Satan and Crosby almost connect on a pretty goal. Satan works it up the right side and dishes a backhander into the slot for Crosby. Crosby slides to one knee and pushes the puck on net. Leighton makes a really nice save to prevent to goal.
11:45: Goligoski fires a slapper from the point that ricochets over the net.
10:40: Wade Brookbank decides to go with Eric Godard. They grapple, and Brookbank for the most part controls the fight landing a few punches. Godard tries to hold him off during most of the fracas. After Brookbank lands a few more punches, Godard just wrestles him to the ice.
9:51: The Hurricanes fire a one-timer from the right point. Despite traffic, Fleury eats it up.
9:09: Crosby shoulders Pitkanen off the puck in the corner and whips a backhanded pass into the crease that no one gets a stick on. That was kind of a lazy play by Pitkanen.
8:24: Leighton whiffs on a puck behind his net. Jordan Staal picks it up and tries to throw it in the crease hoping for a good bounce. It hits off the post and out of danger.
7:27: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
6:53: Eric Staal and Samsonov come up on a nice give-and-go play. Samsonov dishes it back to Staal who has a wide open net to shoot at but Letang dives and appears to interfere with Staal enough that he can't get his stick on the puck. Carolina probably should've score there.
5:56: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
5:32: Ryan Bayda fires a wrister from the right side that clangs off the post.
5:22: As Fleury covers a loose puck. Orpik and a Hurricanes player exchange words about former Danish prime minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. We think.
5:14: Right off the faceoff, Samsonov scoops up a rebound off a shot, goes behind the net and tries to poke in a backhander off the wraparound. Fleury is able to recover and hold it out with his glove.
4:50: Jordan Staal fires a wrister from in tight that appears to go a little wide. Regardless, Leighton pushes it away with his shoulder.
3:54: Goligoski blasts a slapper from the right point that bangs off the back boards.
3:18: Goligoski fires another slapper from the right point. Leighton has to kick this one out.
2:45: Malkin fires a wrister from the left wing. Leighton fights it off with his blocker.
1:59: On a rush up ice, Larose fires a wrister from the slot, Fleury makes the save and covers the rebound.
1:33: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
0:26: Ray Whitney appears to get away with a trip in the corner on Malkin.
0:00: End of period. Whalers 1, Penguins 0.
-The Penguins played a lot better that period, but obviously failed to take advantage of any of the opportunites they had.
-The Hurricanes weathered a nice little storm (sorry for that terrible pun) late in the period.
-The Penguins have a 23-15 edge in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with four shots.
-The Penguins have a 20-19 lead in faceoffs.
-Rod Brind'Amour is 9-for-14.
-Tim Gleason leads the game with 16:11 of ice time.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with 15:17.
-Pitkanen leads the game with four blocked shots. Melichar is second with three.
-We spoke ill of him earlier, but Samsonov is having a nice game. He's been involved quite a bit on offense for the Hurricanes.
-Jordan Staal is playing a little better tonight. He's generated a few scoring opportunites.
-Not to get ahead of ourselves, but Kevin Weekes was the last Hurricanes goaltender to record a shutout against the Penguins. He did it in a 4-0 win in Pitsburgh March 6, 2003. Steve McKenna and Ville Nieminen combined to rack up 56 minutes in penalties in the game. The only Penguins on the roster in that night's game who are still in the NHL as active players are Shean Donovan and Wayne Primeau. The great Mike Zigomanis played a huge 6:10 for the Hurricanes in that game.
19:38: Matt Cullen tries to jam a loose puck in on a wraparound. No dice.
19:18: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
18:49: Eric Staal dishes a nice feed to Patrick Eaves in the slot. Eaves rips a shot on net. Fleury makes the save.
18:20: Malkin comes up ice and dishes a pass to Crosby in the slot. Crosby tries to feed Dupuis going towards the net. Dupuis can't quite get his stick on the puck.
16:02: Malkin works the puck through the Carolina defense. It bounces a round a bit. Fedotenkto dishes a feed into the slot but no one can get a stick on it.
15:35: Fedotenko fires a one-timer from the slot. Leighton stands tall.
15:09: The Hurricanes will get their first power play. as Malkin is called for hooking. Scuderi, Orpik, Maxime Talbot and Dupuis are on for the penalty kill.
14:26: Eric Staal tries chopping at a puck in the slot. No dice.
13:16: The great Mike Zigomanis dishes a feed to Crosby in the offensive zone. Crosby takes it, spins, goes behind the net, goes down the ice towards his team's zone and essentially kills the rest of the penalty.
13:01: Malkin pushes a wrister from the right boards just wide.
12:38: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"
12:08: Crosby puts a quicks shot on net. Leighton knocks it down and covers. Wallin is called for hooking. Big chance here for the Penguins. Goligoski, Malkin, Satan, Crosby and Sykora on for the man advantage.
11:45: The riddle that is Michael Leighton is finally solved by Malkin. Or is it Crosby? Either way we have a tie game. After Seidenberg fails to clear the puck, Malkin scoops it hin at the right point and fires a slapper. It appears to hit a stick or two, including Crosby's, and bounces off Leighton's glove. Malkin gets credit for the goal. The "Hey Song is played. Penguins 1, Whalers 1.
11:13: When did the Penguins sign Ruslan Fedotenko? Jordan Staal comes up ice and on a two-on-one and slides a pass to Fedotenko who is trailing slightly. Fedotenko fires the puck in past an out-of-place Leighton. The "Hey Song" is played Penguins 2-1.
10:11: Goligoski rips a wrister from the top of the slot. Leighton gloves it. The Hurricanes call a time to break up the Penguins' momentum.
9:34: Eric Staal fries a slapper from the left wing. Orpik blocks it.
8:53: This Staal-Fedotenko connection is working tonight. Jordan Staal works the puck out of the corner and dishes a quick feed to Fedotenko who snaps a shot on net. Leighton eats it up.
8:33: Cullen fires a shot from inside the Penguins' blue line
8:09: Well this certainly has fallen apart for the Hurricanes. Kennedy gives the puck to Talbot in the neutral zone. Talbot takes it, puts it through Seidenberg's leg and then slides a backhander through Leighton's five hole. Seidenberg looked awful on that play. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 3-1.
7:47: Pitkanen tosses a shot on net. Fleury knocks it down with his left leg and covers the reobund. Orpik and Staal discuss the best way to keep their gutters clear. We think.
7:29: Gleason tries to line up Malkin behind the net with a hip check but Malkin dodges most of it.
7:04: Crosby takes a pass from Dupuis and tries to put it by Leighton from the side of the cage. No dice.
5:37: The Penguins put the puck into the slot. It bounces out to Letang who has an open net to shoot at. Leighton makes an absolutely brilliant save to deny him.
4:01: Malkin tries to go one-on-one with Wallin who makes a nice play to poke the puck away.
3:11: Eaves tries firing slapper from the right point. Fedotenko shows some guts, leans down and blocks it. After icing the puck, Michel Therrien calls time out to rest his team. Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out:
2:27: Eric Staal uses Letang as a screen and fires a qblackhander on net. Fleury fights it off with his blocker.
2:15: Pitkanen fires a slapper from the point. Fleury eats it up despite traffic. Crosby is officially given credit for the Penguins' first goal. Malkin gets the assist.
1:48: Talbot generates another breakaway and goes with another backhander low on Leighton. Leighton keeps it out with his left leg. A scrum ensues in the crease.
1:19: Carolina has Leighton pulled. Crosby controls the puck along the boards and tosses it at the empty cage. The puck "doinks" off the post.
0:58: Fleury corrals the puck behind his net and whips it down ice hoping for a goal. About midway down the ice it looks like it has a chance but then it slides wide of the cage. The Hurricanes touch up for the icing call. Fans applaud Fleury for the effort and chant "FLEER-EEE! FLEERRR-EEEE!" Crosby taps Fleury on the pads for the "shot."
0:50: Malkin gets his goal. Crosby dishes a feed to him from the Penguins' blue line to the Hurricanes. Malkin takes it and tosses it into the cage for one of us. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 4-1.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 4, Whalers 1.
-That was almost like three different games played with in one for the Penguins. The first period, they were pretty lifeless. The second period, they gave an honest effort but had little to show for it. In the third, they dominated. If nothing else, this team is inconsistent of the course of 60 minutes.
-Ruslan Fedotenko and Jordan Staal played their best games of the season. They had something going and generated more than a few scoring chances.
-Fleury was solid but not spectacular. If not for a bad giveaway, he probably would've had a shutout.
-The Hurricanes looked pretty dead for the most part. They should send Brooks Orpik a gift card to Lowes or something for that giveaway. If it wasn't for that, the score would look a lot worse.
-Sydor looked fine for someone who hadn't played in almost two weeks. Hey played 15:03. Something tells us you could put Darryl Sydor in some sort of hibernation tank in an Army experiment, have him sleep for 13 years, have humanity and/or civilization end, wake him and still have him still play a solid 18 minutes and be a plus-1 with two blocked shots.
-It had to be encouraging that the Penguins' power play got the ball rolling for them offensively given the struggles it has experienced this season. Just when the Penguins need a goal, they got it with a man-advantage.
-A shoutout goes to the first person who can name the movie that link is from.
-The Penguins finished with a 35-25 lead in shots.
-Fedotenko and Crosby led the game with six each.
-Samsonov led Carolina with five.
-The Penguins had a 30-26 edge in faceoffs.
-Jordan Staal was 12-for-18 in faceoffs.
-The talents of the great Mike Zigomanis were only called on a few times in the faceoff circle. Regardless, he went 4-for-6.
-Orpik led the game with five blocked shots.
-Josef Melichar had only 7:39 of ice time in his not-so-triumphant return to Mellon Arena. He did have three blocked shots however.
-Pitkanen led the game with 24:15 of icetime.
-Malkin led the Penguins with 22:45.
-Malkin moved into 32nd place all-time on the Penguins' scoring list. He now has 204 points with the Penguins. Paul Gardner is now 33rd with 203.
-Eric Godard has fought in four of his eight games this season.