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Penguins 3, Panthers 2 - 11-23-09

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Greetings from our editor's cubicle. It's in the high 40s and rainy. We assume it's much nicer here than in South Florida.

-EN contributor GhostWalker40 is the BankAtlantic Center and sent a few photos:

-The ice:

-Warm ups:

-Kind of interesting to see that the Panthers are wearing their usual home jerseys for the warm ups even thought they're supposed to be debuting their new third jerseys.

-George Richards of the Miami Herald has a peek of the new duds:

-The 1977-78 through 1978-79 Penguins not impressed:

-The Penguins' only scratch is Alex Goligoski.

-The Panthers' only scratch is Gregory Campbell, the son of NHL discipline czar and former Penguin Colin Campbell.

-Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun are your starting goaltenders.

-FSN Pittsburgh drops the obligatory sunny sand and surf teaser:

-It's behind the Baierl logo. Honest.

-To say the least, Vokoun's red equipment does not mesh well with the Panthers new copy-cat (pardon the pun) blues:

FIRST PERIOD

18:15: FSN Pittsburgh shows the line combinations:

-We weren't fast enough to get the defensive pairings. Sorry. The pairings are:

Gonchar-Orpik

Eaton-Engelland

Skoula-Lovejoy

18:13: Bob Errey reveals the great Martin Skoula has been playing with a "gimpy foot." And our "the great" curse continues. Mike Zigomanis' shoulder injury started a bad trend.

17:29: Ville Koistinen gets a feed in the right faceoff circle and smacks the puck on net. Fleury fights it off.

17:14: Vokoun eats up a long distance shot by Derek Engelland.

17:00: Crosby is nabbed for interference against Vokoun.  He tried to just push a puck by Vokoun and then ran him over. Jordan Staal, Matt Cooke, Sergei Gonchar and Brooks Orpik take the ice.

15:02: Nathan Horton rushes up the ice, goes to the outside on Lovejoy and tries to jam a shot by Fleury on the five hole. No dice. Nice move by Horton to create that chance. Fleury was forced to make a tough save there

15:00: Crosby's penalty was killed. The Penguins didn't allow a thing until Horton's chance.

14:40: Malkin chips a puck from behind the net off Bryan Allen's skate and into Vokoun's gear. Vokoun covers the puck. Malkin takes a stab at it but gets dropped by Bryan Allen for his trouble. A few Penguins go after Allen. A scrum develops but is broken up fairly quickly. No penalties.

14:39: Mike Rupp drops the with Allen for attacking Malkin. Rupp has the advantage of the fight for hte most part before they are separated. Nice to see Rupp standing up for one of his team's stars. That's why Rupp is so valuable. He's a fighter but he can play regular minutes and contribute as well.

13:30: Fleury covers a loose puck with a few Panthers hoving around his cage.

13:10: Stephen Weiss enters the zone with speed and rips a wrister low on Fleury from the right faceoff circle. Fleury eats it up.

12:13: Brooks Orpik smacks a slapper from the left point and totally misses the mark.

12:03: Staal gets a chance in the slot in traffic and rips a wrister far and wide of the cage.

11:08: Lovejoy snaps off a wrister from the right point. It hits a body in front and deflects away.

10:51: Crosby gets behind the defense and is off on a breakaway. Crosby moves in and shoots stick side but misses the cage. He has to bury that.

9:40: Kamil Kreps cracks a slapper from the left wing. Fleury punches it away with his blocker.

8:48: Ballard jabs Crosby in the back with a cross check. Crosby smacks Ballard in the nose with a high stick. Ballard tries blowing out some blood with his schnoz hoping to get the "four-minuter." No blood. Crosby only gets two minutes. Gonchar, Oprik, Craig Adams and Staal take the ice.

6:48: Crosby's penalty is killed. The Panthers' two power plays have looked just as inept as any of the Penguins' poor efforts this season.

5:43: Chris Bourque trips up Allen behind the Florida net. We know the Panthers aren't all that dangerous offensively, but you can't give any team three power plays in a period. Cooke, Gonchar, Staal, and Orpik are on for the kill once again.

5:28: Bryan McCabe cracks a slapper from the left point. Staal blocks it partially. The puck trickles into the crease where Gonchar whips it down ice. It takes some guts to block a slapper by McCabe. We remember a game several years ago where McCabe, then of the Maple Leafs, took a slapper that hit former Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi in the forearm and broke the skin. Scuderi's arm was bleeding pretty good but he was fine for the most part.

4:39: Gonchar puts the puck off the boards and down the ice for a clear.

3:43: As Bourque's penalty is killed, Dennis Seidenberg puts a low percentage shot on net form the left wing. Fleury fights it off.

2:43: GhostWalker40 sends in a photo of Rupp's fight:

2:27: The Penguins get sloppy in their own zone and pay the price. Weiss enters the zone from the left wing, crosses across the slot and spins in the opposite faceoff circle. He draws three defenders to him and creates acres of space for Horton to the right of Fleury's doorstep. He sneaks a pass to Horton who has a hour to pick his shot and roopfs a wrister over a stretched out Fluery on the blocker side. Fleury had no chances there. That was some terrible defense. Three players on one? Weiss and Michael Frolik get assists. Panthers 1-0.

1:19: Maxime Talbot snaps off a little wrister low from the right wing. Vokoun makes the save.

0:09: Off a faceoff wing, Fedotenko smacks a one-timer from a tough angle on the left wing. Vokoun knocks it down and covers.

0:00: End of period. Panthers 1, Penguins 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a pretty lousy period of hockey for the Penguins. They didn't attack much and just seemed flat in stretches. They need a better effort.

-The big killer was the six minutes of penaltys. They were really effective in shutting down Florida's power play, but that's still a good chunk of time where they're generally not attacking the net. They need to be more disciplined.

-The Panthers, especially Weiss and Horton, too a few chances offensively and attacked the net. We liked what those two were doing that period.

-Is it any surprise to see Vokoun looking solid as ever against the Penguins? He just always plays well against the Penguins.

-Shots are tied, 11-11.

-Talbot, Crosby, Seidenberg, Weiss and Horton each lead the game with two blocked shots.

-Gonchar leads the game with 9:05 of ice time.

-Keith Ballard leads the Panthers with 8:14.

-The Panthers have a 15-9 lead in faceoffs (63 percent).

-Former Penguin Dominic Moore is 3 for 3 (100 percent).

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Crosby is 3 for 4 (75 percent).

-No one has more than one blocked shot.

-More teaser beach shots from FSN Pittsburgh:

-We've had a reader bring this up before, but Sergei Gonchar looks like David Hyde Pierce:

SECOND PERIOD

19:44: Guerin rushes up the left wing and dishes a pass to Engelland trailing on the right point. He takes the puck and rips a wrister which is blocked in front.

19:43: Crosby is interfered with by Frolik. That's two minutes. Crosby, Guerin, Eaton, Gonchar and Malkin take the ice.

19:02: Malkin fires a slapper from the left wing. Vokoun fights it off.

18:54: Gonchar cranks a slapper wide of the cage.

18:08: The great Martin Skoula hammers a one-timer from the half-board on the left wing. Vokoun knocks it down and covers.

17:46: How did Lovejoy not score there? Chris Bourque smacks a slapper from the left point. It gets blocked in front and deflects behind the cage. It comes around to Lovejoy on the doorstep to the right of the cage. He grabs his stick by the "neck" and "bunts" it on net. Vokoun doesn't know where the puck is but still makes the save.

16:40: Rostislav Olesz outworks a Penguin defender behind the Pittsburgh cage and dishes a pass to Dvorak to the left of the net. Dvorak has an open net but Fleury is able to slide over and get enough of the shot.

16:17: Adams lifts a wrister from the left wing. Vokoun punches it away.

14:58: Crosby backhand chips a puck on net from the right wing. Vokoun nabs it and freezes play.

13:24: Gonchar sneaks a little wrister on net from the left wing. Vokoun kicks it away.

12:36: A wrister by Ballard from the netural zone is knocked away by Fleury's glove.

10:55: Bob Errey comments on how Lovejoy toppled Moore in the corner like a "paperweight."  We're not sure how Errey handles his paperwork, but paperweight generally aren't things you would topple.

10:38: Cooke smacks a quick shots on net from the left wing. Vokoun steers it away.

10:15: Vokoun gobbles up a wrister by Rupp deep in the corner on the left wing.

9:39: Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Horton works the puck into the offensive zone. He dishes to Frolik who moves the puck deep on the left wing, he turns and dishes a pass to Ballard moving in from the point. Ballard takes the puck and rips a clean wrister by Fleury. Frolik and Horton get assists. Penguins 2-0.

9:04: Dvorak has the makings of a breakaway but Orpik is able to hustle back and knocks the puck off his stick.

8:39: Kenndal  McCardle works his way up the left wing. As he's hooked by Lovejoy, he puts a wrister into Fleury's midsection. Fleury makes the save. Lovejoy is sent off for hooking. Eaton, Gonchar, Adams and Staal take the ice.

7:39: McCabe runs into Fleury. That's two mintues for goaltender interfernce. We'll have 1:01 of four-on four.

7:12: Allen rockets a slapper from the left point and it totally misses the net.

6:38: Lovejoy's penalty is killed. The Penguins will have a power play for 59 seconds.

6:08: Croby tries to split Leopold and Ballard but the two Florida defenders sandwich him and drop him to the ice.

6:00: Horton works his way up the left wing, beats two defenders and moves in on net with a breakaway. Before he can do anything, Fleury comes out and poke checks the puck off Horton's stick. Great effort by Horton there. Gutsy play by Fleury.

5:12: Coming back from commercial, our favorite Crosby goal is replayed:

-He did that in the 2006-07 season.

3:45: Errey jinxes Vokoun and mentions he's looking for his fourth shutout of the season?

???: FSN Pittsburgh goes dark:

-Thank goodness Liberty Sports Group got rid of "Savran on Sportsbeat." All those savings from that move really show off well in the multiple blackouts they've had over the course of the past two seasons.

-What a joke.

0:00: The period ends and according to the play by play sheet on the NHL's Web site, nothing in the way of penalties or goals occured. End of period. Panthers 2, Penguins 0. FSN Pittsburgh 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-After a few commercials the return of the "Technical Difficulties" screen a feed of some dancers on the ice returns.

-Based on what we could see, the Penguins played a little better that period and sustained the attack in the offensive zone. They also maintain control of the puck in the offensive zone a little better as well.

-They're still giving a lot of chances to the Panthers. The Panthers have some talented players like Horton and Weiss, but this isn't the Capitals.

-Cue up the apology from Rob Kings in 3... 2... 1...

-According to King, there was a power failure at the arena in Florida that led to their problems.

-Vokoun is still playing solid.

-The Penguins have a 23-18 lead in shots.

-Crosby leads the game with five.

-Ballard, Seidenberg, Weiss, Dvorak, Horton, Kreps and Frolik each lead the Panthers with two.

-Ballard leads the game with 17:41 of ice time.

-Gonchar leads the Penguins with 17:20.

-The Panthers have a 23-14 lead in faceoffs (62 percent).

-Moore is 4 for 4 (100 percent).

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Crosby is 5 for 8 (63 percent).

-The great Martin Skoula leads the game with two blocked shots.

-According to EN commentors FireBettman08 and FDeuce, FSN Florida is having the same issues as well. So we apologize to FSN Pittsburgh for our off the cuff, rage-filled rant. We're still mad they got rid of Savran though.

THIRD PERIOD

19:24: Bill Guerin chips a puck on net from the right wing. Vokoun makes the easy glove save.

19:13: Dupuis steals a puck and cranks a slapper from just inside the faceoff circle. Vokoun makes another glove save.

18:24: Lovejoy takes a pass on the right point and puts a soft slapper at the cage. It hits someone and deflects wide. We're not so sure Lovejoy wasn't hoping to get a deflection or something there.

18:10: Matthias holds up Staal while chasing after the puck in the corner. That's two minutes. Crosby, Guerin, Gonchar, Eaton and Malkin take the ice.

17:16: Dvorak smacks the puck down ice to kill some time.

16:30: Leopold tosses the puck down ice to kill some more time.

16:10: The Panthers kill off Matthias' penalty. That was a waste of two minutes for the Penguins. But give the Panthers credit. They didn't allow the Penguins much space to operate with.

15:11: The Penguins just get a shot on net and with a little bit of luck, they get on the board. From the left point, Orpik smacks a loose puck at the cage. Vokoun makes the save low with one of his legs. Dupuis chops at the rebound. It hops up and bounces off his left shoulder. Just as Allen crashes in and pushes the cage off its moorings, the puck bounces in to the net. The official immediately points at the net and signals goal. A lengthy review confirms the call. The Panthers don't protest. Lots of cheering for the Penguins. Dupuis gets credit for the goal. Orpik and Engelland get the assists. Panthers 2-1.

14:02: Horton appears to get tripped up by the great Martin Skoula. No call.

13:25: After Malkin outworks Allen for the puck behind the cage, he dishes the puck to Dupuis who immediately puts a low wrister on net form the slot. Vokoun kicks it out.

12:31: Orpik mashes Kreps into the boards from behind. Kreps is lucky he didn't get hurt there. Just as Orpik came to engage him, Kreps turned himself into the boards.

12:25: Malkin moves up the right wing, pulls up and tosses a wrister non net. Vokoun gloves it.

11:46: Staal coasts up the left wing and centers a pass to Lovejoy in the slot. Lovejoy hesitates and rips a wrister to the far side. Vokoun kicks it out with his right foot.

10:57: Horton has a chance on a two-on-one against Gonchar. He elects to shoot from the right wing and rips a wrister that gets a piece of the outside of the post and hits the glass.

9:20: Malkin (6 foot 3, 195 pounds) is taking a shift with Staal (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and Rupp (6-foot-5, 230 pounds). That's a pretty big line.

8:04: Guerin gets away with interference on Phil Oreskovich in the Panthers' slot.

7:59: Moore puts a backhander off the outside of the post from the left wing.

7:39: Staal blocks a wrister by Oreskovich from the left wing.

7:05: Eaton gets away with a trip on Dvorak on the left wing.

6:02: Frolik cranks a slapper from the left wing. It hits a Penguins defender's stick and deflects out of play.

5:36: Crosby charges the net from the corner with the puck. He runs into a crowd and can't beat Vokoun. A scrum develops but nothing develops from it.

3:41: Malkin snaps a backhanded pass into the slot. Rupp is there but can't get his stick on the puck.

3:12: Lovejoy gets the puck at the top of the slot and fans on his one-timer attempt Skoula gets it back to Lovejoy who tosses a wrister on net. McCardle is in the slot and blocks it into the corner.

2:43: McArdle blocks a big slapper by Skoula at the left point. He's sacrificing his body here.

2:32: The Penguins control the puck in the offensive zone for over a minute at the least and just outlast the Panthers to tie game. Malkin fights off Seidenberger behind th enet and is able to backhand poke it into the crease for Rupp who is planted in the slot. Rupp is able to jabs the puck through Vokoun's five hole. What an effort to control the play there. The Panthers were dragging at the end of that long shift. Malkin and Adams get assists. Panthers 2, Penguins 2.

0:51: Guerin steals the puck behind the net and comes around the left wide. He spins and whips a backhander on net. Vokoun fights it off

0:45: Guerin gets the puck back and lifts a wrister on net. Vokoun eats it up despite having Malkin and a Panthers defender fall into him.

0:20: Panthers coach Pete DeBoer calls a time to to rest his tired team and get organized.

0:00: End of period. Panthers 2, Penguins 2.

THIRD INTERMISSION

-The Penguins have an overwhelming 39-21 lead in shots.

OVERTIME

4:33: Crosby coasts up the left wing and lifts a wrister. Vokoun makes the save but can't control the rebound. Crosby gets to the puck but isn't in a good position and can't get a shot off.

3:53: Errey mentions Orpik is in rough shape after taking a high stick from Horton. Orpik knocked over Horton. As Horton fell over his stick came up and clipped Orpik.

3:36: Ruslan Fedotenko sneaks a pass from the left wing to Malkin the right. Malkin moves in and puts a wrister to the far side. Vokoun makes a big glove save. During the stoppage, officials send Horton to the box. Wow. They gave him a double minor well after the play had moved on? As Errey and Paul Steigerwald mention, you never see that. Big break for the Penguins as they'll have the power play for the rest of the period. Malkin, Gonchar, Crosby and Guerin take the ice.

3:22: Gonchar cranks a huge slapper from the slot. Vokoun is in perfect position and eats it up.

3:04: Malkin cracks a big slapper from teh slot. It hits Kreps high. Kreps tosses the rebound down ice.

3:10: Malkin lifts a wrister from the left wing and misses the cage.

2:50: Guerin gets denied from the left wing by Vokoun.

2:18: And the power play comes through right when they need it. Malkin takes a pass from Crosby on the right wing, moves to the top of the left faceoff circle and hammers a slapper. Vokoun makes the save but can't control the rebound. Crosby sneaks in and puts the puck by Vokoun on the stick side. Malkin and Guerin get assists. End of game. Penguins 3, Panthers 2.

POSTGAME

(The celebration following Crosby goal coutesy EN contributor GhostWalker40.)

-There are time when the Penguins play an incomplete game where you just want to pull your hair out. The game is usually 60 minutes. Not 20 minutes. But when they turn it on in that last 20 minutes, you feel like throwing a party and dancing. Tonight's last 20 minutes was one of those times.

-Not sure what to make of that call on Horton in overtime. If the officials didn't call the penalty immediately on  Horton, why did they wait until a stoppage to make it? Really bizarre. But the Penguins will take it.

-The Penguins are slowly but surely finding ways to get their power play together. They looked really bad with the man advantage in regulation but then jumped all over the Panthers when they had them on the ropes in overtime. Granted, it was a four on three situation, but they put pucks on net at will in overtime and won the game with an ugly garbage goal.

-According to EN commenter, JimBibbySweat, the Penguins controlled the play for 88 seconds on the play that set up Rupp's game-tying goal. Geez.

-Not only did the Penguins as a team come to life in the third, so did Evgeni Malkin. He was almost invisible for the first fourty minutes then he decided to show up. His play really sparked the Penguins more than anything.

-You have to feel for Vokoun. He made 42 saves and still lost. And in his past five games against the Penguins, he has made 40 or more saves in each of those games. And despite that, all he has to show for it is a 1-1-3 record.

-Orpik was really throwing his body around by the looks of things. He looks like he's recovered from his injury that sidelined him for two weeks.

-Another solid game by Fleury. He did what he had to in order to get the win.

-Pascal Dupuis is a guy who gets a lot of grief because he just doesn't have a lot of natural scoring ability and his price tag ($1.4 million) is a bit high in the eyes of some. But he's finds a way to contribute in all aspects of the game, including offense. Despite not having much of a shot, he's one of the few players on this roster whose first immediate instict is to get the puck on net. And he has six goals, tied for second most on the team after tonight.

-Rupp showed his variety of skills. He took Bryan Allen to task for behind rough with Malkin and converted a nice scoring chance set up by Malkin. He's probably nothing more than a third-liner, but Rupp has found a way to contribute in a variety of ways this season.

-Did the Panthers just go into a defensive shell in the third period? It was tough for us to tell watching it on television, but they were not nearly as aggressive as they were in the first twenty minutes. That said, that could just be a byproduct of the Penguins' attack.

-The Penguins are 2-0-0 in their past two games against teams in powder blue. They should sell their third jersey to the Canadiens for Wednesday.

-The Penguins dominated shots, 45-21.

-Crosby led the game with eight.

-Malkin was second with six.

-Seidenberg, Kreps and Frolik led the Panthers with three.

-Ballard led the game with 27:59 of ice time.

-Gonchar led the Penguins with 27:48.

-The Panthers had a 32-29 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).

-Moore was 5 for 6 (83 percent).

-Crosby was 12 for 19 (63 percent).

-Lovejoy, Staal, the great Martin Skoula, Seidenberg, McCabe and McArdle each lead the game with two blocked shots.

-Crosby already has his third game-winning goal of the season. His career high of five was set in 2005-06, his rookie season.

-Dupuis' goal was his 20th as a Penguin.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights.

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