-Hey guess where we are:
-No not quite:
-Greetings from our editor's cubicle. Winter has pretty much arrived in Pittsburgh. It's been cloudy all day and in the mid 30's. It one of those days you wish you were in San Diego.
-The Penguins hope to get a win in a place they haven't gotten a victory since March 1, 2007.
-The Penguins' scratches are Alex Goligoski and Matt Cooke.
-The Rangers' scratches are Enver Linsin and Wade Redden.
-Artem Anisimov, was was knocked silly by Cooke Saturday is in the lineup.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Henrik Lundqvist are in net.
-We'll go with an over/under of.... 5 1/2 for these:
-FSN Pittsburgh provides the line and defensive combinations:
-Don't expect the Rangers to goon this up tonight more than usual. They need two points. They don't need revenge.
18:56: Marc Staal sneaks in from the right point and snaps off a wrister from the faceoff circle. Fleury denies it with his left leg.
18:20: Sean Avery runs over Fleury with help from a shove by Brooks Orpik. No call.
18:10: Crosby moves in from the right wing and snaps off a wrister that is high and wide to the far side.
17:29: Chris Drury uncorks a heavy wrister from the left wing. Fleury knocks it down and covers to freeze play.
16:43: Crosby takes a shift with Eric Godard and Chris Bourque.
15:43: Matt Gilroy moves up the ring wing and rips a wrister that beats Fleury but rings off the cross bar. The Rangers have been aggressive so far.
14:58: Ryan Callahan gets a pass on the right wing, hesitates then lifts a wrister on the cage. Fleury is able to slide to his left and fight it off with his shoulder.
14:32: The Rangers have a 5-0 lead in shots so far. Fleury has been tough.
12:49: Tyler Kennedy moves up the ice, gains the blue line while challenging Gilroy, cuts a bit to the left wing and rips a wrister on net. Lundqvist is able eat it up. That is the Penguins' first shot on net.
11:58: Kris Letang drives a wrister from the right wing. It gets re-directed on net. Lundqvist is able to fight it off.
11:40: Malkin flicks a backhander on net from the slot. It goes wide and appears to hit off the left post.
10:47: Avery snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Fleury punches it away.
10:32: Vaclav Prospal takes a pass on the left wing and uncorks a wrister. Fleury fights that off.
9:42: Gilroy whips a wrister on net from a bad angle on the left wing. Fleury fights it off. The Rangers are taking every and any shot available.
9:16: Christopher Higgins drives a heavy shot on net. Fleury gloves it. The Rangers are playing so much better tonight. They've dominated play so far. Fleury's the only reason this is still a 0-0 game. Coming back from commercial, we see that Wayne and Janet Gretzky are on hand to take in the game:
-They're taking the over on "The Staals are brothers" references. We think.
-Bob Errey mentions the game where she was knocked out by a pane of glass in the 1990s. By Ulf Samuelsson no less:
9:05: Fedotenko get tripped up at the Rangers' blue line by Dan Girardi. That's two minutes. Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, Crosby, Malkin and Bill Guerin take the ice.
8:18: Malkin tries to sneak in a little shot from the left faceoff circle. Lundqvist makes the save. The rebound kicks to the opposite wing. Crosby jumps on it and throws it on the cage with Lundqvist sprawling. It hits off the stick of former Penguins defenseman Michal Rozsival and deflects off the cross bar. Ugh. What luck.
6:44: Mark Eaton gets run over by Brian Boyle along the boards. Boyle's (6-foot-7, 252 pounds) no small man and he plastered Eaton.
6:41: As the teams lineup for a faceoff, some of the serious poundage takes the ice. Mike Rupp (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) and Godard (6-foot-4, 214 pounds) are on for the Penguins. Boyle and Donald Brashear (6-foot 3, 237 pounds) are on for the Blueshirts. Rupp appears to challenge Boyle for his hit to Eaton.
2:36: After roughly four minutes of nothing, Christopher Higgins collects a puck on the left wing and whips it on net. Fleury kicks it away with his left leg.
2:04: Gilroy is in deep on the right wing and gets mashed into the boards by Brooks Orpik.
0:52: Malkin takes a pass on the right wing, moves towards the net and chips a puck into the slot. Jordan Staal charges at the net and backhand chips it on net. He doesn't really get a clean shot off and it bounces in on net where Lundqvist eats it up. A small skirmish between the Staals, Malkin and Rozsival takes place next to the net. Brashear decides throwing Tyler Kennedy around is a good idea. The officials decide it's not and send Brashear to the box for roughing. Malkin, Crosby, Gonchar, Guerin and Letang take the ice.
0:06: And the Penguins' power play ends a Guerin interferences with Druary near the Penguins' net. Four-on-four for 1:15.
0:00: Just as the period expires, Rozisval saucers a pass to Gaborik in the slot. The pass is too high and sails into the corner. If that hits Gaborik's stick, that's a goal. End of period. Penguins 0, Rangers 0.
-The Rangers dominated the first half of that period and eventually the flow of play evened out. It even got a little stagnant late. Overall, that was a pretty decent 20 minutes of hockey even without a score.
-Fleury was sharp that period. He had to be. The Rangers put a lot of quality shots on net, especially early on.
-Lundqvist stopped what he had to but it would be a stretch to suggest he was challenged all that much.
-Sean Avery was pretty active. He was going to the net, getting shots off and just founds ways to "disturb" the Penguins. If that makes sense.
-The Penguins have an 11-9 edge in shots.
-Malkin, who has never scored a goal at Madison Square Garden, has four shots on net.
-Drury and Brashear lead the Rangers with two each.
-Kris Letang leads the game with 9:10 of ice time.
-Marc Staal leads the Rangers with 8:01.
-The Rangers have a 7-6 edge in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Anisimov is 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Rupp and Malkin are each 1 for 1 (100 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Check out the shiner on Mark Eaton:
19:04: Gaborik gets a chanc on the
18:51: The Brashear penalty is killed. The Rangers have 45 of power play time.
18:41: Del Zotto tries to sneak a pass from the left wing to Rozival on a version of the "Whitney Play." Rozsival can't handle the puck cleanly and chips it wide.
18:06: The Guerin penalty is killed. Back to five on five.
17:21: Bobby Sanguinetti sneaks a wrister on net from the right point through traffic. Fleury is able to kick it out.
16:48: Marc Staal cranks a big slapper on net from the left point. Fleury makes the save and gives up a big rebound to his right. The great Martin Skoula can't collect the puck. Vaclav Prospal does and centers it to Gaborik in the slot. Gaborik snaps off a shot immediately. Fleury makes the save. Letang makes a pretty poor attempt at checking Gaborik and kind of "whiffs" on it. Gaborik is able to lift a shot over the stick side of Fleury for a goal. What an individual effort by Gaborik to handle that puck in traffic. Letang and Skoula didn't look good there. They left Fleury out to dry. Prospal and Marc Staal get assists. That dumb "Let's Go Ran-GERS!" song is played. (We always get an e-mail about that song. It's dumb. Sorry.) Rangers 1-0.
16:37: How about that for a response? The Penguins catch the Rangers napping and tie the game. Crosby wins the faceoff. It comes to Gonchar. He gets the puck up to Guerin on the right wing. He dishes it to Crosby on who rushes up the wing and lifts a sick backhander over the glove shoulder of Lundqvist on the near side. What a shot! Guerin and Gonchar get assists. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
15:30: Anisimov rushes up the right wing and lifts a backhander on net. Fleury knocks it dead and covers to freeze play.
12:31: A shot by Jordan Staal is deflected out of play.
12:27: Off a faceoff, the Penguins strike. Staal beats Anisimov on the faceoff and just pushes the puck towards the crease. Rupp sneaks in from the slot and pushes the puck on net with a backhander. Lundqvist denies him initially but Rupp is able to recover the rebound and bank it off the near post and into the cage. What an effort by Staal to create that. We can't remember him creating too many scoring opportunites for teammates like that. Staal gets the only assist. Penguins 2-1.
11:59: Staal works up the left wing and centers a pass to Kennedy in the slot. Kennedy is there but Lundqvist is able to poke check the puck away.
10:36: Gabork rings a shot on off the near post from the right wing.
10:25: Fleury covers another chance in tight by Gaborik.
10:01: Del Zotto blasts a slapper from the left point. It hits a body in front.
9:35: Rozsival hammers a slapper from the right point. Fleury kicks it out despite traffic with a "thud."
9:28: Avery falls on Fleury again. No call.
9:05: Prospal is nabbed for tripping up Malkin. FSN Pittsburgh shows a few replays of Fleury jabbing Avery int he face with his stick. That's a part of Fleury's game that is underrated. How "possessive" he is of his crease. He'll give any offending parties the business end of his stick if they tresspass. He's not Ron Hextall by any means, but he can get a little nasty. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Gonchar and Letang the ice.
8:03: The "Whitney Play" is set up for Letang sneaking in from the left wing. He smacks the puck on net. Lundqvist is able to cover to freez play.
7:50: Chris Bourque hammers a slapper from the right wing. Lundqvist gloves it.
7:14: Malkin has a shot from the left faceoff circle deflected out of play.
7:09: Letang hammers a slapper from the to of the slot. It hits a body in front. Kennedy jumps on the rebound and his shot is deflected wide. Dan Girard appeared to be injured on that shot by Letang.
7:05: Prospal's penalty is killed. The Penguins had a pretty good effort there. They got some qua
6:15: Jordan Staal flies up the ice from the neutral zone zipping around defenders like pylons. He moves by Sanguinetti and whips a shot on net that's high. Sanguinetti is nabbed for hooking. That's a bad call. Sanguinetti tapped him on the wrist with his stick. Errey says the Rangers look like "crap." OOoookay. Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, Letang and Guerin take the ice.
4:52: Higgins, a good shorthanded player, cranks a slapper on net. Fleury fights it off. That was the second quality shorthanded chance the Rangers have had this power play.
4:34: The great Martin Skoula slide a pass to Eaton at the left point. Eaton hammers a one-timer. Lundqvist kicks it away.
4:15: Sanguinetti's penalty is killed. The Penguins were a little sloppy that two minutes.
4:05: Skoula puts a wrister on net. Kennedy is there with a re-direction. Lundqvist is able to knock it down and covers to freeze play. That was a tough save.
3:03: Paul Steigerwald declares the 1993 trade that sent Bob Errey to Buffalo for Mike Ramsey to be a bad one. Good thing that was cleared up.
2:51: Roszival gets a shot on net from the right point. Fleury fights it off. Higgins is there for the rebound and chops it wide.
2:10: Gonchar is sent off for holding the stick of Gaborik. That was a little ticky tack, but the Penguins got a break with the hooking call on Sanguinetti.
2:03: Jordan Staal gets loose on a break away shorthanded. he moves in on net from the right wing and shoots to the far side. Lundqvist is able to kick it out with his right foot. Big-time save.
1:53: Gaborik comes back up ice and snaps off a wrister from the right wing through traffic. It looked as if it was deflected and goes wide.
1:18: Marian Flipping Gaborik. This man just scores when he's healthy. Drury drives a one-timer at the cage from the left point. It hits off a body in front and deflects right to Gaborik to the left of the cage. It's a lucky bounce but Gaborik is able to punch it by an out of place Fleury on the glove side. He just knows how to get points. Drury and Del Zotto get assists. Penguins 2, Rangers 2.
0:55: Kennedy cracks a slapper from the right wing. Lundqvist kicks it out.
0:37: Kennedy hammers another slapper from the right wing. Lundqvist eats this one up.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Rangers 2.
-What a period. What a game. Thank goodness this game isn't on Versus.
-Lots of up and down play. Lots of pucks on net. Lots of big saves This has been one of the most entertaining Penguins games this season.
-Lundqvist bailed his team out that period with a few big saves. He put his teammates in a position to keep this a tie game.
-Gaborik is so talented. If he can stay healthy, he might have a chance at the Hart Trophy.
-Jordan Staal really stepped up that period. He created several quality scoring chances.
-The Rupp-Staal-Kennedy line was the best line for either team that period.
-The Penguins have a 25-20 lead in shots.
-Gaborik leads the game with six shots.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with five.
-Letang leads the game with 17:35 of ice time.
-Crosby is second with 17:31.
-Marc Staal leads the Rangers with 16:59.
-The Penguins have a 21-16 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Jordan Staal is 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-Prospal is 4 for 4 (50 percent).
-Welcome back Jay McKee. He leads the game with three blocked shots along with Gonchar and Girardi.
-Did you see that goal Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk scored against the Panthers in the intermission highlights? Then the reaction of Florida's Keith Ballard? He was frustrated and swung his stick at the net. But he eneded up hitting his goaltender, Tomas Vokoun in the head. Ouch!
-Did you see Alex Ovechkin get injured on an attempted check on Carolina's Tim Gleason. Ovechkin ended up hitting him knee on knee and ended up getting the worst of the hit. We never want to see any player get hurt, especially one as entertaining as Ovechkin, but we can't say we have a ton of sympathy for him.
-Here are the clips of the Ovechkin hit and the Ballard snafu:
-What tells us that Ovechkin wouldn't be suspended for his hit if Gleason was the one who went off injured? He should be suspended regardless of his health for leading with the knee. But it won't happen. Especially if he's the one injured.
-As far as Ballard goes, former Penguins forward and Team Slovakia member Tomas Surovy not impressed:
-Eric Roberts as Salvatore Maroni from "The Dark Knight" Tony Granato speaks:
18:43: Avery grabs a loose puck in the slot and swats it on net with a backhander. Fleury kicks it out with his right leg.
15:40: HIggins has a wrister from the left wing blocked.
14:34: Kennedy tees up a slapper from the right wing. Lundqvist gloves it.
14:12: Rupp takes a puck along the boards in front of his own bench. Girardi shoves him from behind and slams him into the boards face first. Rupp goes down and appears to have a leg injury. Trainer Chris Stewart attends to Rupp is able to get to his feet but is limping. Girard gets a boarding minor. Crosby, Malkin, Guerin, Gonchar and Letang take the ice. The Penguins have to make the Rangers pay here.
13:47: Gonchar hammers a slapper from the top of the slot. Lundqvist eats it up.
13:00: After a marvelous individual effort by Anisimov to maintain control of the puck on a delayed penalty, Higgins lifts a wrister from the slot. Fleury is able to trap it against his chest. Gaborik is in front giving Fleury some business. Crosby doesn't appreciate it and gets in Gaborik's face. Malkin is sent off for hooking Marc Staal. What an effort by Anisimov to eat up the clock during the delayed penalty. That'll give his team more time when its power play comes. The Penguins really wasted that chance. Four-on-four for 49 seconds.
12:15: The Rangers get a little sloppy with the puck and allow Jordan Staal to steal it at the New York blue line. He drives a big slapper on net. Lundquist is able to make a fine glove save preventing the goal.
12:12: Girardi's penalty is killed. The Rangers will have a power play for 1:11.
11:43: McKee appears to get away with a tripping call in the corner on Callahan.
11:24: Del Zotto gains the offensive zone on the right wing and centers a pas to Gaborik. Gaborik has one-timer teed up but whiffs on the shot.
11:00: Orpik gets to a loose puck in the corner first and swats it down ice to kill off the rest of Malkin's penalty. He gives Gaborik some business afterwards.
10:36: Higgins races up the left wing against Eaton and snaps off a wrister juuust wide on the near side. Higgins has been dangerous this game.
10:03: Annnnd FINALLY:
9:27: Dan Girardi gets a chance but is denied by Fleury who eats up his shot.
8:46: Mike Rupp is back from the dead! Or the training table at least. He coast up the left wing with very little pressure, surveys the situation and rips a wrister to the far side that burns Lundqvist over his glove shoulder. What a shot! It's Rupp's seventh goal of the season. That's a new career high. It's unassisted. Penguins 3-2.
8:27: Avery gets smashed behind the Penguins' net by Orpik.
7:01: Dupuis sneaks a wrister on net from the right wing. Lundqvist kicks it out.
6:07: Del Zotto gets a pass comring in from the left point. He rips a wrister that hits off Letang's stick and is re-directed on net. Fleury is able to trap it between his legs. A small scrum develops with Rupp and Avery in the middle of things.
5:03: Down by a goal, the Rangers have Donald Brashear on the ice for some inexplicable reason. He actually ends up setting up Chris Drury on a decent chance in the slot. Fleury fights off his shot despite a screen by Callahan.
4:20: Girardi gets a puck in deep in his own zone and attempts to hit Higgins in the neutral zone with a torpedo pass at the red line. Higgins had some speed and probably could've split the defense for a breakaway but the puck is a little a head of him and he can't get a stick on it.
4:10: Mark Eaton strikes for the second game in a row! Forget Gonchar. The Penguins have Mark Eaton! He takes a pass at the top of the slot and smacks a wounded duck of a shot at the cage. Crosby's actually is in the slot and deflects the puck downwards. it flutters off Lundqvist's arm and goes into the net. What an ugly goal. But it counts. Crosby gets credit for the goal. Eaton and the great Markin Skoula get assists. Penguins 4-2.
3:00: Why do the Rangers have Donald Brashear on the ice with three minutes left?
2:00ish: At some point, Lundqvist was pulled for an extra attacker.
1:42: Crosby recovers the puck behind his net and distributes it to Rupp in the slot. Rupp circles and chips it down ice as P.A. Parenteau drops Rupp with a check. The puck trickles down ice and into the empty cage for:
Rupp is a little dazed after taking the hit but he recovers to his feet and is mobbed by his teammates to celebrate his first career hat trick. Ironically enough, its his son's birthday. Crosby gets the only assist. Heads up play by him to get it to Rupp realizing he could get the hat trick. Penguins 5, Rangers 2.
0:02: The Rangers put a shot in tight off the crossbar.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Rangers 2.
-What a win by the Penguins. You'd figure the Rangers would be re-focused after the drubbing they took Saturday. You'd think they would play a crisper, cleaner game. And they did. They gave a much better team effort tonight. And they had Henrik Lundqvist in tonight. And the Penguins were playing at a place they haven't won in during the regular season since March of 2007. ANNND... Matt Cooke and Alex Goligoski were out of the lineup. Everything coming into the game suggested the Penguins would lose this game. But they were able to skate with the Rangers, wait until a few chances developed and took this game.
-Mike Rupp? What can you say? Plenty of people scratched their heads and wondered what Ray Shero was doing by signing this guy. We did too. But Rupp has proven to be a viable contributor to this team. The Penguins identified a scoring element to his game that his previous employer, the Devils just didn't see or chose to exploit. As a result, he's a threat to hit the 20-goal mark this season.
-Someone tell us when Sidney Crosby is a selfish whiny brat as so many of his critics claim. Because we're still waiting for confirmation of that claim. He was on the ice late with the possibility of a hat trick as well. He could've had a hat trick in back-to-back games, a pretty rare feat. But he was aware of Rupp's situation and got the puck to his teammate and set him up to get his first career hat trick. So many question why Crosby has a "C" on his chest. Displays like his pass to Rupp are one of the many reasons he is this team's captain.
-Jay McKee looked like he hadn't missed a beat in his return. He was blocking shots, playing generally solid positional defense and even jumped into the offensive zone on occasion. The Penguins limited him with 11:59 of ice time on 17 shifts. He had three blocked shots and was a plus-1.
-Another solid game by Fleury. He didn't totally shut down the Rangers but he did enough to let his team to win. It's not always about racking up a high save percentage. Most times, you just need to make the right saves at the right times and put your team in positions that allow it to claim victory.
-Marian Gaborik is an amazing talent. If he can get his team into position for a playoff spot, he has to merit consideration for the Hart Trophy.
-Sean Avery helped generate a few positives for his team, but he mostly looked like a fish flopping around anytime someone in a white jersey made contact with him. Mike Rupp even called him out after the game for not taking up any challenges.
-The Penguins ended up with a 33-31 edge in shots.
-Gaborik led the game with seven shots.
-Ales Kotalik and Sanguinetti were the only New York skatesr who failed to record a shot on net.
-Rupp, Kennedy and Malkin each led the Penguins with five shots.
-Marc Staal led the game with 25:58 of ice time.
-Crosby led the Penguins with 24:10.
-The Penguins had a 29-26 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Jordan Staal was 10 for 14 (71 percent).
-Drury was 10 for 20 (50 percent).
-Gonchar led the game with four blocked shots.
-Girardi led the Rangers with three.
-The last time the Penguins had hat tricks in back to back games occurred in the 2001-02 season. Alex Kovalev had hat tricks in a 5-1 road win at New Jersey, Nov. 13, 2001 and in a 3-3 home tie against the Islanders Nov. 14, 2001.
-Rupp now has a career high in goals with eight and has 10 points on the season. His career high in points is 11.
-Fleury's win was the 15th of his career against the Rangers. The Flyers (16) are the only other team he's beatne more in regular season play.
-Brooks Orpik appeared in his 400th career game. He is the 22nd player to appear in 400 games or more in franchise history.
-After the game, FSN Pittsburgh played clips from the parade at Three Rivers Stadium for the second Stanley Cup title in 1992:
(Nice Slippery Rock sweater.)
-Harry Potter was apparently the Penguins' captain back then:
-And he had a mullet.