-Hey, guess where we are:
-Hmmm... not quite:
-We assume, a dusty, chilly cubicle in the Post-Gazette's building is just as nice as sunny, warm Southern California.
-One person who is there is EN reader Eric Naughton who has been sending us a ton of pregame photos. A Paul Coffey jersey:
-A Russian Evgeni Malkin t-shirt jersey:
-Mario Lemieux yellow:
-Mario Lemieux Wales Conference All-Star:
-Jersey foul with the hood. And that begs the question, is it really that cold in Anaheim? The answer? No:
-These Penguins fans came prepared to keep their beers cold:
-What in the world are the Ducks wearing:
-That's George Parros, a native of Washington, Pa., wearing some sort of black and white camouflage uniform. Yeesh.
-We dug up the answer to that question. The Ducks are wearing those jersey for warm ups for an event called Operation Homefront which benefits veterans. Good stuff by the Ducks.
-The Penguins' scratches are Chris Conner and Evgeni Malkin.
-The Ducks' scratches are Erik Christensen and James Wisniewski.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonas Hiller are your starting goaltenders.
-In honor of all the countless "so and so used to play for the Penguins/Ducks" references we're bound to hear tonight, we'll simply use pictures. For Chris Kunitz, we found this really awesome photo of him with the CIncinnati Mighty Ducks, Anaheim's old AHL affiliate. Check out his emo bangs:
-For Ryan Whitney, a really cool (pardon the pun) Winter Classic shot:
-For Dan Bylsma:
-For Randy Carlyle:
-By our count, we've already had:
17:10: The Penguins have Chris Bourque, Mike Rupp and Eric Godard manning the fourth line.
16:03: Another early deficit for the Penguins. Scott Niedermayer keeps a Penguins clearing attempt in the zone at the left point. He whips it at the net. It hits a body in front. Perry spins, falls and is able to whip the loose puck by Fleury on the glove side. Heck of an effort by the Ducks to generate that chance. Niedermayer gets the only assist. "Bro Hymn" by Pennywise is played. Ducks 1-0.
15:12: Ruslan Fedotenko lifts a heavy wrister from the slot. Hiller fights it off with his blocker.
15:06: Todd Marchant chucks a shot on net from the left wing. Fleury eats it up.
12:38: Petteri Nokelainen races up the right wing, collects a loose puck and rips a wrister far and wide to the net.
12:25: Hiller steers away a chance by Cooke.
11:00: Ryan Carter is called for interference on Jay McKee. SIdney Crosby, Bill Guerin, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang and Alex Golgoski are on for the power play. And:
10:08: Letang takes a pass from Crosby in the right faceoff circle. He hammers a one-timer that appears to hit a player high. The Ducks clear it down ice.
9:35: Letang leads the rush up ice and dishes a pass to... the skates of a Ducks player. Anaheim clears it down ice.
9:00: The Ducks do a marvelous job and kill off Carter's penalty. The Penguins really looked bad there. Anaheim cleared the puck about five times there.
8:50: Hiller traps a wrister by Skoula against his chest. Coming back from commercial:
8:45: Brenden Mikkelson is nabbed for delay of game as he cleared the puck out of play. Crosby, Guerin, Kunitz, Goligos
8:33: Crosby fires a slapper from the right point. It's blocked wide.
8:23: Guerin can't jam one in by Hiller down low.
8:08: After a shot by Goligoski and pass by Crosby are blocked, the Ducks clear the puck.
7:26: Guerin rips a wrister from the slot. The Ducks have about 432 people in the crease. One of hte blocks the shot.
6:44: Mickkelson's penalty is cleared. The Penguins looked a little better there but couldn't get much on net.
6:08: Ryan Getzlaf blocks a slapper by Skoula from the left point.
5:49: Getzlaf chucks a puck towars the crease from the right wing. Fleury has to lunge out a bit to kick it out with his right leg. As he does that, Bobby Ryan runs him over. That's two minutes for goaltender interference. As Paul Steigerwald points out, the Penguins need to score eventually or the Ducks will keep on taking liberties. Crosby, Guerin, Kunitz, Letang and Goligoski take the ice
5:24: Guerin loses the puck on the left wing. Nokelainen steals and pushes it up ice to kill time.
4:34: Goligoski controls the puck at the left point, skates towards the slot a bit and tosses it at the cage. Guerin appears to deflect it a bit. Hiller is able to hug the puck against his body and freeze play. Crosby remains on the ice with Guerin, Jordan Staal, Skoula and Mark Eaton.
4:06: The Ducks clear the puck down ice agains the pseudo jay-vee power play.
3:48: As Ryan's penalty is killed, Mike Brown clears the puck. Ugh. The Penguins are 0 for 3.
2:57: Another power play for the Penguins. Can they decline? Old nemesis Saku Koivu is nabbed for hitting Eaton into the boards from behind. That's two minutes. Crosby, Kunitz, Guerin, Letang and Goligoski are on to waste two minutes for the power play.
2:55: The Penguins don't even let the Ducks clear the puck. They clear it themselves! Crosby wins the faceoff and Letang isn't ready for it and the puck slides all the way down ice.
2:20: Goligoski hammers a slapper wide of the cage. A Duck clears the rebound down ice.
1:42: Crosby can't ckeep the puck in in the offensive zone as his stick is lumberjacked in half. No call.
1:14: THe first shot on the power play takes place. Unfortunately for the Penguins, it's Ryan Carter who gets it on net. Fleury fights it off.
0:57: The Ducks kill another penalty. Yeesh.
0:00: End of period. Ducks 1, Penguins 0 .
-Well, if it's not for the wasted eight minutes of power play time, that's actually a decent period for the Penguins.
-This power play is baffling. We understand they don't have Sergei Gonchar or Evgeni Malkin, but the remaining pieces aren't too bad. You have a proven 100-point scorer in Crosby. Two 20-goal guys in Kunitz and Guerin. And two gifted, offensive defensemen in Goligoski and Letang who are capable of skating with the puck and getting it on net. Yet the five of them look like they're trying to disarm a nuclear warhead with a spoon and a box of matches.
-Someone just needs to shoot the dang puck. They seem like they're just waiting and waiting for the perfect shooting opportunity. Get it on net. Kunitz and Guerin thrive around the net and can do some damage with garbage goals.
-Don't discount the Duck's efforts short-handed. They've been outstanding. And having to kill eight minutes of power play time within one period is a lot to ask of any one unit.
-The Penguins have a 9-7 edge in faceoffs.
-Guerin leads the game with three shots.
-No one has more than one.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 9:22.
-Steve Eminger leads the Ducks with 8:40.
-Faceoffs are 9-9 (50 percent).
-Koivu is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Crosby is 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Getzlaf and Orpik each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:40: HIller eats up a quick wrister by Crosby.
19:28: Teemu Selanne lugs it up the left wing, pulls up and chucks a shot on net. Fleury fights it off despite a bit of a screen. We still think of Selanne as a Winnipeg Jet:
17:45: Fleury fights off a swrister by Sheldon Brookbank, the brother of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins enforcer Wade Brookbank.
17:30: Kennedy comes up ice on a two-on-one with Cooke. Cooke drives to the net. Kennedy cuts to the crease and snaps off a wrister which Hiller gets a piece of.
17:26: The puck squirts loose. Goligoski jumps on it and has an empty cage to shoot at. He rips a wrister wide of the cage. Uuggghh... He was squeezing his stick a little too much there.
17:21: What a sequence. The rebound from Goligoski's missed shot kick out to the left point. McKee moves up and plays it down to Kennedy on the goal line. Kennedy then dishes it to Rupp in the right faceoff circle. Rupp gets off a quick shot. It kicks off Hiller and trickles into the net. Hiller needs to make that save. Nice effort by the Penguins to maintain possesion of the puck there. Kennedy and McKee get the assists. A skirmish breaks out following the goal. Cooke and Brookbank each get roughing minors. McKee gets an unsportsmanlike minor. The Ducks have a power play. Staal, Pascal Dupuis, Eaton and Orpk are on for the power play. Ducks 1, Penguins 1.
16:19: Letang intercepts a pass by Getzlaf into the slot.
16:12: Adams races up the right wing and whips a low wrister on net. Hiller fights it off.
15:50: Perry has a chance down low
15:20: The Ducks power play is killed. The Penguins didn't really allow much there.
15:09: Ryan has a chance down low but Staal is there to break up his clean shot at an empty cage.
14:34: Oh! We get a surprising:
14:13: A shot by Fedotenko is deflected by Parros out of play
13:40: Letang sneaks down the right wing and puts a shots down low. Hiller makes the save despite having 923 bodies in crease. Evgeny Artyukin runs Letang into the boards and gets him in the face with a stick. No call. Letang needs a little bit of care from trainer Chris Stewart after the stoppage.
12:44: Off a steal in Anaheim's zone, Crosby lifts a wrister from the left wing. Hiller gloves it.
12:22: Dupuis tees up a shot from the right wing. Hiller kicks it out.
11:04: Cooke blocks a point shot by Mikkelson.
10:58: Kennedy comes off the bench, flies up the right wing and smacks a low slapper. Hiller closes the five hole and covers for to freeze play.
9:59: There's the secret to the power play. Just score on the delayed penalty! As the Ducks are called for an apparenty hooking penalty, the Penguins maintain possesion. Letang controls the puck at the left point, slides towards the slot and rips a wrister high. It gets through a cluster of bodies and beats Hiller on the stick side. Orpik gets the only assist. Penguins 2, Ducks 1.
9:38: Skoula lifts a wrister from the right point. HIller punches it out with his right shoulder.
8:51: On a delayed penalty, Selanne comes up on a two-on-one. He elects to shoot. FLeury makes the save. From his stomach Eaton is able to hack the rebound away.
8:43: Kunitz is called for hooking Joffrey Lupul. Staal, Orpik, Mckee and Cooke are on for the kill.
8:40: Off a faceoff, Orpik clears the puck down ice.
7:55: Eaton blocks a shot by Perry coming in from the left wing.
6:43: Kunitz's penalty is killed. Another solid effort by the Penguins.
4:17: McKee blocks a soft snap shot by Niedermayer from the right point.
3:59: Goligoski can't control Perry in front of the net and the Ducks tie the game.Ryan emerges from the corner and dishes a pass to Getzlaf. Getzlaf snaps off a wrister from the right faceoff circle. Fleury makes the intial save. Perry has set up shop right in the crease. Goligoski can't fight him off and Perry is able to clean up the garbage banging the puck behind Fleury. Ryan and Getzlaf get assists. "Bro Hymn" is played. Ducks 2, Penguins 2.
1:11: Crosby hustles up the right wing and leaves a drop pass for Dupuis.Dupuis mishandles the puck in spectacular fashion as he falls over and looses the puck.
0:43: Perry snaps off a tricky wrister from the slot. Fleury makes the save. The Ducks bombard the crease with bodies. Fleury does a snow angel hoping the puck is underneath him. Orpik and others are able to hold off the Ducks as officials blow play dead.
0:00: End of period. Ducks 2, Penguins 2.
-The Penguins rebounded nicely that period. The controlled a lot of play and found a way to get pucks on net. And that's why they have two goals now.
-Its a little distressing that Penguins haven't gotten much offensively from their first two lines the past two games, including tonight. We'd like to see a few more goals from those units.
-Nothing wrong with the Penguins' penalty kill. That special team's unit is doing very well.
-Does Corey Perry deserve some consideration for Canada's Olympic roster?
-Cooke was awarded an assist on Letang's goal.
-Shots are tied, 19-19.
-Perry leads the game with four shots.
-Guerin leads the Penguins with three.
-Ryan Whitney leads the game with 19:19 of ice time.
-Fire Ray Shero!
-Since we haven't been able to use this:
-Goligoski leads the Penguins with 16:12.
-The Penguins have an 18-13 lead faceoffs (58 percent).
-Staal is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Koivu is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Eaton leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Getzlaf, Brookbank and Niedermayer each have two for Anaheim.
-FSN Pittsburgh's Rob King previews Thursday's game against the Kings with:
-We better get this ready for Thursday as well:
-And before the start of the period:
19:00: Selanne races down the right wing and centers a pass to Koivu in the slot. Koivu attempts to re-direct the puck and it hops over the net.
18:26: With Kennedy, Staal and Cooke re-united, Eaton drives a puck on net from the point. Hiller eats it up.
17:24: A solid backcheck by Bourque separates Selanne from the puck just inside the Penguins' zone.
16:46: Orpik chops a loose puck on net from the left point. The puck hops in on net. Crosby is in the slot and attempts a re-direct but can't get a blade on the puck.
15:00ish: Steigerwald and Bob Errey poke a little fun at George Parros' moustache. If you ask us, with that stache/soul patch combo, he kind of looks like Everett Hitch, Viggo Mortensen's character in "Appaloosa:"
14:43: Hiller makes a save on Rupp in tight.
12:33: From the left wing, Cooke snaps off a wrister to the far side. Hiller kicks it away with his left leg.
12:05: Another goal from the defense gives the Penguins the lead. Staal loses the puck on the right wing. It slides towards the slot. Kennedy drops to his knees and pokes it it back to the point. Goligoski steps up and hammers a slapper by Hiller high on the stick side. Kennedy and Staal get assists. Staal's assist is a pretty good arguement against the idea of the secondary assist. Penguins 3-2.
11:46: The Ducks get it right back. Koivu knocks over Orpik behind the net, steals the puck and jams the puck in on Fleury. Fleury's left leg keeps it out initially but Koivu takes a second stab and sneaks it in. Heck of an effort by Koivu. Fleury needs to make that save. He knows it too as he jabs the wall in frustration. "Bro Hymn" is played. Selanne gets teh only assist. Ducks 3, Penguins 3.
10:47: This is insane. THree goals in less than a minute and half. Oprik slides a pass to Dupuis at the right point, Dupuis hesitates, surveys the situation and cranks a slapper through traffic that beats Hiller on the glove side. What a shot. Where did that come from? Dupuis's usually good for about 1 goal every 843 slap shots. That was probably No. 843. Orpik gets the only assist. Penguins 4-3.
9:43: Koivu is nabbed for interference on Orpik. Crosby, Guerin, Letang, Goligoski and Kunitz take the ice. A goal here would be huge obviously.
9:44: Nick Boynton clears the puck.
9:05: Carter clears the puck.
8:20: The Ducks clear the puck and essentially kill Koivu's penalty. Another weak effort by the Penguins.
5:40: Eminger cranks a slapper at the cage from the right point. It misses the net. Selanne goes behind the cage to collect the rebound and dishes it to Koivu in the slot. Koivu immediately gets off a shot and is simply robbed by Fleury. Yeesh what a save. Koivu grabs his head stunned he didn't score. FSN Pittsburgh showed Koivu getting away with a trip on Eaton to create that chance. Officials review the shot to confirm the non-goal. It remains a non-goal.
4:59: Kennedy puts a shot on net from in tight. Hiller is able to trap the puck against the left post and freeze play.
3:47: Orpik blocks a shot by Boynton from the right point with his his ankles.
3:06: What a save by Crosby! Perry snaps off a shot from the right wing. Fleury makes the save. The rebound kicks out just beyond his reach outside the slot. Fleury lunges out to cover the puck but can't get his glove on it. Niedermayer is in deep, collects the puck and shoots low at the empty cage. Crosby flops ot his left side and stops the puck with his left thigh. Wow! Niedermayer needed to lift that shot.
2:45: Ryan shows patience with the puck moving by a sprawled out Kunitz at the right point. He slide to the wing and snaps off a wrister which Fleury fights off.
2:13: Perry has a chance in tight but cant' take a feed into the slot. He can't get a his stick on the puck.
1:50: Crosby clears the puck of the boards and out of danger. No icing.
1:25: Cooke gets a chance on the right wing and swats a shot wide.
1:00ish:At some point the Ducks pulled HIller. FSN Pittsburgh can't be bothered to show the "empty net" graphic.
0:28: Koivu feeds a puck thourhg the slot to on one.
0:15: Emeger fires a spinning crazy shot wide. Cooke plays the deflected shot up of the boards and out of the zone.
0:08: The Ducks come in offsides. Someone calls a time out.
0:00.6: Orpik plays a puck dumped into the corner and gets hit from behidn by Perry. Perry is sent off for boarding. No surprise Perry is involved in something like that. He's a pretty dirty player.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Ducks 3.
-Whew. That was instense late. The Penguins and Ducks swapped goals in the third. The Penguins emerged with a lead. The Ducks stormed the net late. Fleury and others made some key saves the Penguins pull out a thrilling road win.
-Seems like we saw what value Tyler Kennedy provides to this team. He brings energy and creates scoring chances through that energy. He helped create the Rupp goal by attacking the net and being able to dish a solid pass to Rupp. And he set up Goligoski's goal by being heads up on Staal's turnover.
-Fleury didn't have his best game but he got some help from his teammates and made a fe clutch saves late.
-Amazing what happens when you just start shooting the puck. Especially from the point. The Penguins took some low percentage shots but those created some quality second-chance opportunities, something Dan Bylsma talks about quite a bit, and the Penguins were able to cash them in.
-And when you get some quality shots in from the point, as Letang, Goligoski and Dupuis did, that always helps.
-We often joke that Dupuis doesn't have a shot, but that doesn't prevent him from using it. You might cringe anytime he takes a shot becasue you know there's a 97 percent chance of it being saved, but he's one of the few players on this team that doesn't hesitate to shoot. And as we said, chances are, you can get a second-chance opportunity off of it. We don't mind Dupuis' shot whatsoever. And occasionally, he'll sneak one by a goaltender.
-The power play. As wee can say is:
-Beyond getting Malkin and Gonchar healthy, we don't know of any quick fixes for it.
-Seeing the Ducks score allof their goals with dirty work around the net was a little concerning. The Penguins needed to clear the crease a little better.
-The lack of production from the Crosby-Kunitz-Guerin line for the second consecutive game is a little troubling. Perhaps with Malkin sidelined, teams are concentrating their defensive efforts on that line.
-We had to slam it since it keyed the comeback in Columbus, but has anyone seen some semblence of a second line the past two games?
-Jonas Hiller was not sharp whatsoever.
-The Ducks ended up with a 29-27 lead in shots.
-Lupul led the game with five.
-Guerin, Kennedy, Rupp and Letang each led the Penguins with three.
...led the game with 28:37 of ice time.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Letang led the Penguins with 23:46 of ice time.
-Faceoffs were even 25-25 (50 percent).
-Koivu was 11 for 15 (73 percent).
-Staal was 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Eaton, Orpik, Letang and Niedermayer each led the game with three shots.
-So... Crosby falls into the crease blocking a potential, clutch game-winning shots and he a whiny imature brat. Mike Richards falls into the crease trying to run over Marc-Andre Fleury with the game pretty much decided and he's Abraham Lincoln.
-Bill Guerin appeared in his 1,200th career game.
-Jordan Staal scored his 125 career point.
-Kennedy is actually only four points away from breaking into the team's top 100 career scorers.
-Letang scored his first regular season goal since a season-ending 3-1 win in Montreal, April 11.
-This was only the Penguins' second win in California this decade. Yeesh.
-The Penguins' 7-0 start on the road this season ties the NHL record set by the 1940-41 Maple Leafs, 1985-86 Flyers, 2005-06 Red Wings and the current New Jersey Devils.