-Greetings from cold and blustery Pittsburgh. It's in the lower 20s and it's been snowing on and off all day. A few sights from today. Consol Energy Center before the morning skate:
-That's Mario Lemieux in the gray shirt meeting with a veteran from Afghanistan:
-You can read about that gentleman's day here.
-Lots of snow downtown:
-This little building is tucked in behind our alma mater, Point Park College University. We always wanted to get a place there:
-The City-County Building:
-The Grant Building:
-An interesting criss-cross of buildings:
-Looking up Fifth Avenue:
-Apparently someone's had too many cheep drinks:
-This is a nice little piece of real estate available right on Fifth Avenue:
-And about 50 yards up the street is this little dive:
-We have such high hopes for what can happen to the Fifth Avenue corridor when Consol Energy Center is up and running.
-Just up the street is the current facility:
-Considering the damage he did to the Senators the last time they came to Mellon Arena, Evgeni Malkin's a swell choice for the cover of IceTime:
-A few sights around the arena. Daniel Alfredsson has at least one fan here:
-Much like the network, this is just a life foul:
-This one baffles us. An eagle in a Mario Lemieux jersey:
-Evgeni Malkin from the 2006 Olympics:
-Brooks Orpik Team USA:
-You just don't see that many Alex Goligoski jerseys:
(Slight jersey foul.)
-Jersey of the night right here. A Shattuck St. Mary's Sidney Crosby:
-Just to be jerks, we'll have to check to see if Crosby wore that style.
-And just after we spot that fan, we find this yahoo:
-A little "Thunderstruck" entertains the fans before the lights go out:
-The Penguins' scratches are Alex Goligoski, Eric Godard and Tyler Kennedy.
-The Senators' scratches are Shean Donovan and Alexandre Picard.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Brian Elliott are your starting goaltenders.
-Jeff JImerson braved the snow and is on hand to sing both national anthems:
20:00: Lots of empty seats here as the game starts. We wonder if the snow and the fact that this is an early game is contributing to that.
19:47: The Senators chip a puck down into the corner on the right wing in the Penguins' zone. It ricochets out to the faceoff circle. Daniel Alfredsson chases it down and smacks a one-timer on net. Fleury crouches down in the butterfly and boots it out.
18:57: Nick Johnson sneaks up the righ wing and snaps off a wrister with Elliott boots out.
18:26: And the Penguins' strike early. Ruslan Fedotenko chips a puck up the wall on the right wing to Johnson. Johnson controls it, draws Anton Volchenkov in and dishes it to Evgeni Malkin in the faceoff circle. Volchenkov's committment to Johnson creates acres of space for Malkin who moves in and picks the top shelf over Elliott's glove-hand shoulder clean for a goal. That was so unfair to Elliott. Johnson and Fedotenko get the assists. It's Fedotenko's 300th career point. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
16:16: Chris Phillips controls the puck at the left point and snaps off wrister. Alfredsson is in front and makes a nice re-direction on net. Fleury is able to knock it dead and cover. Nice effort by Alfredsson.
15:58: Brooks Oprik takes a pass from Gonchar at the left point, winds up and strikes a slapper on net. Elliott boots it out of play.
15:14: Kris Letang smacks Mike Fisher with a solid body check along the boards behind the Penguins' net.
14:34: Ryan Shannon collects a puck along the wall on the right wing, spins and whips a wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
13:45: Chris Kelly gains the blue line against Orpik on the left wing and leaves a drop pass. Chris Neil follows up and snaps off a wrister through a screen. Fleury is able to knock it dead and cover to freeze play. Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!!
12:09: Jason Spezza rushes up the left wing, gets behind the defense and tries to jam a puck by Fleury on the near post. It squirts through Fleury's gear and slides juuuust across the goal line. Ugh.
11:32: Fedotenko rips a wrister from the right circle to the far side. Elliott boots it out with his right foot.
10:52: Phillpis picks up a clearing attempt in the Penguins' zone and snaps off a wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury hang on to make the save.
10:44: Phillips is getting involved here on offense. Off a faceoff win, he moves in and puts a wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury makes that save as well.
9:54: Thatw was only a matter of time. The Senators were dominating play for about five minutes there. Mike Fisher moves in off the left wing and snaps off a wrister which Fleury fights off. The rebound ends up with Matt Carkner at the top of hte slot. He blasts a slapper at the cage. It hits a body in front. Nick Foligno collects the puck and makes a nifty backhanded pass to Fisher in the right circle. Fisher is able to clunk a shot off the left foot of Jay McKee and just inside the left post. What a pass by Foligno to create that goal. Foligno and Carkner get assists. Penguins 1, Senators 1.
9:37: Off a faceoff win, Mark Eaton drives a slapper from the left point wide.
9:22: Chris Campoli fires a slapper from the left point. Fleury boots it out with his left foot. Play is halted as Matt Cooke is sent off for holding Carkner. Craig Adams, Maxime Talbot, Orpik and Gonchar take the ice.
8:28: Alfredsson drives a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
8:20: From the top of the slot, Alfredsson moves a pass to Spezza at the left half wall. Spezza fires a one-timer. Fleury fights it off.
8:07: Alfredsson rips a one-timer off the left half wall. Fleury hangs on for the save.
7:55: Erik Karlsson smacks a one-timer from the slot wide.
7:22: Cooke's penalty is killed. Solid efforty by the Penguins but the Senators did generate a few nice chances there.
6:21: Jarkko Ruutu collects a puck at the left circle, winds up, hesitates and drives a slapper on net. Fleury makes the save but the rebound squeezes through and comes to a rest in the crease. Kelly is right there being defended by Malkin but is able to punch puck in for an easy goal. Put that one on Fleury. He can't give up that rebound. And he's knows it as he's visibly angry. Ruutu and Neil get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Senators 2-1.
5:45: Gonchar drives a loose puck on net with a slapper from the right point. Elliott fights it off.
4:49: On a delayed penalty, a wrister by Cooke from the right half wall is deflected out of play. Volchenkov is sent off for tripping Chris Conner. Conner drew that penalty with his speed and hustle. Gonchar, Malkin, Crosby, Letang and Bill Guerin take the ice.
3:17: Jordan Staal drives a one-timer from the right half wall. Fedotenko is in front and appears to re-direct it a bit. Eliott is able to fight it off.
3:10: Eaton senaks in to the left circle and snaps off a wrister. Elliott fights it off. A Senators teammate flicks it down ice to kill time.
2:36: Eaton rushes after a loose puck in the left circle and swats it wide to the far side.
1:35: Mike Rupp is called for hooking Karlsson. Staal, Adams, Eaton and McKee take the ice.
1:27: And Alex Kovalev nullifies the penaly aslmost immedialy as he hooks Letang to the ice off the faceoff. Four-on-four for 1:52.
1:21: Crosby whips a loose puck on net from the left circle. Elliott is falling backwards and is still able to fight it off.
0:00: End of period. Senators 2, Penguins 1.
-That was a great start but a terrible period for the Penguins. The took the lead and controlled play early but after that, it was all Senators.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was bad that period. He needs to get his act together if the Penguins want to win. If not for a lucky bounce, this is 3-1 Senators.
-The Malkin-Johnson-Fedotenko line was sharp.
-Crosby-Guerin-Dupuis was... ehh...
-Chris Conner has lots of speed.
-Alfredsson and Phillips look like they're going to score hat tricks tonight. They're just putting all kinds of pucks on net.
-Kovalev never looks good when he plays the Penguins.
-Elliott was pretty sharp the first period. He only got beat on a perfect shot against an MVP candidate.
-The Senators have a 13-11 edge in shots.
-Alfredsson leads the game with three shots.
-Malkin and Eaton lead the Penguins with two each.
-Gonchar leads the game with 9:05 of ice time.
-Phillips leads the Senators with 7:47.
-The Penguins lead in faceoffs, 13-7 (65 percent).
-Staal is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Fisher is 3 for 5 (60 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
20:00: We'll have four-on-four on fresh ice for 24 seconds.
19:40: Alfredsson and Spezza create a chance in tight. Fleury lunges out to cover.
19:35: Rupp's penalty is killed. The Penguins will have eight seconds of power-play time.
19:26: Kovalev's penalty is killed.
19:16: Kovalev's rough night continues as he interferes with Letang at the Penguins' blue line. Letang, Guerin, Crosby, Malkin and Gonchar take the ice.
19:10: Letang dekes through a few defenders and drives a slapper from the slot right into Elliott's torso. The Senators' goaltender stops it with a "thud."
18:20: Malkin puts a wrister on net from the left circle. Elliott fights it off.
18:06: Crosby out works a defender for a puck behind the net and dishes to Letang in the slot. Letang lifts a wrister which Elliott fights off.
18:01: A Senators player is escorted off the ice immediately by an official. We couldn't really see who it was.
17:16: Kovalev's penalty is killed.
16:41: Rupp rushes up the right wing and chips a backhander wide on the near side.
15:20: The Penguins have Malkin on a line with Crosby and Guerin.
15:00: Crosby is sent to the box for slashing Milan Michalek. Staal, McKee, Adams and Eaton take the ice.
14:40: McKee snaps the puck down ice to kill time and get a change.
14:06: A bad pass by Jason Spezza in the Penguins' zone to Staal prompts a few mentions of the Son of God by a member of the Senators' management's box.
13:41: From the right wing, Dupuis pushes the puck to Cook on the left wing creating a two-on-one against Campoli. Cooke tees up and blasts a slapper right into Elliott who eats it up. Attendance is announced as 17,084, a standing-room only sellout. It is the team's 144th consecutive sellout.
12:54: Just as the penalty to Crosby is killed, Fleury fights off a wrister by Fisher. Play is halted as Michalek pushed McKee into the net dislodging it.
11:45: Play is halted as Neil is on the ice in a heap. Gonchar was controlling the puck along the boards in his own zone. He feels pressure coming on from Neil and just ducks down. Neil crashes into the boards face first and is shaken up. He's slow to recover. Neil's a tough guy too so it takes a lot to keep him down. He eventually recovers and gets to the bench with some help. On the bench, he appears to be clutching his left leg.
10:36: Staal and Cooke create a chance in tight but can't get a clean shot off.
10:23: Spezza ruses up the righ wing, undresses the great Martin Skoula and flicks a backhander wide on the near side. Wonderful move by Spezza to set that up.
10:05: Spezza dishes a pass to Milan Michalek to the left of the cage. Michalek punches a quick shot into Fleury who fights it off.
9:36: Spezza flicks a wrister on net. Fleury covers to freeze play. Spezz and Cooke exchange their throughts on former French Prime Minister René Viviani. We think.
8:02: Ruutu rushes in from the left wing and punches a shot on net. McKee flops down to block it with right side.
7:34: Fedotenko chases down a loose puck on the right wing, moves in and from the right circle, rips a wrister that clunks off the far post.
5:49: Spezza gets another chance as he digs out a puck from behind the cage and chops a puck on net. Fleury punches it out.
4:42: Orpik gains the blue line on the left wing and tosses a wrister on net. Elliott comes out of the crease a bit and gloves it.
4:08: Neil has returned to the ice.
3:25: Jonathan Cheechoo decides to make an appearance and rips a wrister from near the left point. Fleury eats it up.
2:35: Michalek challenges Gonchar one-on-one and twists the Penguins defender around a bit. Michalek creates a little space and clunks a wrister off the mask of Fleury.
2:20: "Search and Destroy" by Iggy Pop the the Stooges:
0:38: Crosby controls the puck in the left circle, gets challenged and flicks a backhanded pass to Letang streaking into the right circle. Letang grips and rips a wrister right into Elliott who hangs on to make the save.
0:26: Eaton chops a slapper from the right point. Elliott makes the save. The Penguins chase after the rebound only to kick it into Elliott who freezes play.
0:00: End of period. Just as the horn blows, Letang shoots the puck into the net. Officials immediately signal no goal. Letang shot that kind of late and as a result, a few Senators take exception. A small scrum develops in the Senators' zone. Nothing comes of it. Senators 2, Penguins 1.
-That pretty much sums up that 20 minutes of hockey. It was pretty brutal to watch. Neither team really generated much or really even pressed the issue on offense a great deal. Just a really boring period.
-Elliott is playing really well. We have to give him his due. The Penguins have created a few decent chances and he always looks in position for them.
-Crosby has been mostly invisible tonight.
-Spezza was easily the best player that period. He created so many chances.
-Beyond that, it's tough to say anyone really stood out in a positive or negative sense.
-The Senators have a 24-22 edge in shots.
-Spezza leads the game with four shots.
-Eaton, Cooke, Fedotenko, Letang and Malkin each lead the Penguins with three.
-Gonchar leads the game with 18:20 of ice time.
-Filip Kuba leads the Senators with 16:19.
-The Penguins have a 25-21 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Staal is 8 for 13 (62 percent).
-Fisher is 9 for 13 (69 percent).
-Staal, Gonchar and Michalek each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:15: Johnson forces Elliott into a turnover behind his own net. Malkin picks up the puck along the right wing and rips a wrister right on net. Elliott makes the save. Johnson is there for the rebound but can't get a handle on it.
18:25: The Penguins have Crosby on a line with Guerin and Conner. So essentially, normal Pascal Dupuis has been replaced by short Pascal Dupuis.
18:02: Phillips whips a wrister on net from the left point that clunks off the cross bar.
16:41: Eaton absolutely gets run over behind the Penguins' net by (Who else?) Neil behind the net while trying to recover a dump in. Eaton is a a little dazed as he gets up. Play is halted as a few Penguins go after Neil. Nothin comes of it. Rupp challenges Neil to a fight in the ensuing face but Neil doesn't bite. He's playing this one smart.
16:19: Maxime Talbot tries to jam one in from the side of hte cage.
16:03: Neil takes a pass in the right circle and rips a wrister on net. Fleury hangs on for the save. A few Penguins give Neil the business but nothing comes of it.
15:33: And that might've iced this game. Spezza just kind of circles off the boards and rips a wrister from the left circle that beats Fleury five hole. It's a cruddy goal for Fleury to give up. He has not been sharp tonight. Alfredsson and Michalek get the assists. Senators 3-1.
14:43: Eaton flicks a wrister on net from the top of the slot. Elliott punches it out.
13:38: A slapper by Kelly from the left wing deflects out of play.
13:08: Ruutu and Kelly have chances in tight denied by Fleury and McKee respectively.
12:05: Volchenkov chops a slapper wide of the cage form the left point
11:02: Staal snaps off a loose puck from the left circle to the far side. Elliott boot it out with his left leg.
10:26: Dupuis tees off a slapper from the right circle. Campoli blocks it.
9:25: Johnson chips a puck into the slot. Malkin is there and pokes it on net. Elliott holds it out.
9:17: Orpik slams Peter Regin into the boards back-first.
8:30: Crosby swats a backhander on net from in tight. Elliott fights it off. Conner is there for the rebound but can't get a handle on it.
7:40: Letang takes a pass in the neutral zone, gains the blue line and from the right wing rips a wrister. Elliott fights it off, pulls in the rebound with his stick and covers to freeze play.
6:05: Karlsson works the puck up ice while fighting off pressure from Malkin and dumps it in from the neutral zone. The Senators don't chase it and simply change lines.
5:28: Conner takes a pass on the left wing from Letang. Conner snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Volchenkov is able to reach over and deflect it out of play with his stick.
5:20: Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Crosby gains the blue line and leaves a drop pass. Guerin is trailing and picks up the puck. He snaps off a wrister which gets deflected out of play.
4:37: Nick Foligno rips a wrister from the right circle that's off the mark and goes wide to the far side.
3:32: Letang touches up a puck in the Penguins' zone for icing. The Penguins get a faceoff in the Ottawa zone.
3:06: Staal gets tripped up in the neutral zone. No call.
3:02: Crosby winds up and blasts a slapper from the left circle. Elliott eats it up.
2:40: Talbot runs over Volchenkov in the offensive zone.
1:51: The Senators ice the puck once again. With the faceoff in the Ottawa zone, the Penguins pull Fleury for an extra attacker.
1:43: Gonchar strikes a one-timer from the left point that's off the mark.
1:28: Foligno pushes the puck up from his own zone and from near the red line, he rips it down ice into the cage for one of us:
Karlsson gets the only assist. Senators 4-1.
0:00: End of game. Senators 4, Penguins 1.
-It's pretty clear what happened tonight. One team played perfectly. The other played poorly. (Expert analysis huh?)
-The Senators came into this game on a roll and executed a specific game plan perfectly against the Penguins. They clogged up the neutral zone and really limted the speed and space the Penguins could work with.
-And when you have a goaltender who is playing the way Elliott did tonight, it makes things so much easier. He was rare out of position. He rare gave up iffy rebounds and he just shut the Penguins down. If not for some poor defense by Anton Volchenkov in the first period, Elliott probably gets a shutout.
-One thing that didn't help the Penguins was the shoddy goaltending they got tonight. This might've been Marc-Andre Fleury's worst game on an individual level. He was just off tonight. Hey, it happens.
-Out side of a nice first period by the Malkin-Fedotenko-Johnson line, the Penguins first two lines, in all their various combinations, were really quiet tonight.
-We know Dan Bylsma will never blame injuries, but you could tell the mixing and matching of some line combinations, as forced by injuries, threw his team off a bit tonight.
-There wasn't a great deal of physical play for either team, but there were "selective" hits. Neither team really played with reckless abandon, but they were picky when they threw checks.
-It might be time for the great Martin Skoula experiment to come to a close. He has seemingly had one notable gaffe in each of his games for the past month or so. Surely Ben Lovejoy or Deryk Engelland can fill his role.
-We thought Letang had a pretty strong game once again. It almost as if he has stepped things up in the absence of Alex Goligoski.
-Matt Carkner ended up being the Senators defender who left the ice early in the second period. He took a skate to his right forearm and had it repaired. He eventually returned in the third period. He appeared to be fine after the game.
-The Penguins ended up with a 31-28 lead in shots.
-Spezza, Malkin and Eaton (Huh?) each led the game with five.
-Gonchar led the game with 25:56 of ice time.
-Phillips led the Senators with 24:12.
-The Penguins had a 34-32 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Adams was 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Fisher was 14 for 21 (67 percent).
-Here's a shocker. Anton Volchenkov led the game with five blocked shots.
-Gonchar and McKee each led the Penguins with three.
-Jordan Staal appeared in his 300th career regular season game.
-Fleury recorded his 100th career regulation loss. Congrats!
-Johnson recorded his first career NHL assists.
-Fedotenko moved ahead of Mike Corrigan and Barry Wilkins for 116th place on the team's all-time scoring. All three players have 61 points but Fedotenko (24) has more goals than Corrigan (22) or Wilkins (5).