Hey, guess where we are:
(Kudos to EN reader Mike Brinton and Marc for these warm, sunny shots which look totally nicer than the brutal, drizzly, day in the mid-30 we had here.)
-No, not quite:
-We're setting an over/under of "Zbynek Michalek used to be a Coyote" at 6 1/2:
-"Mike Comrie used to be a Coyote" at 2 1/2:
-That's the best we could find on a Google image search with "Mike Comrie" "Coyotes." Sorry.
-No luck with Brent Johnson or Mike Rupp and looking for visual proof of their days in Phoenix. They were Coyotes for a combined 49 minutes we believe.
-"Dave Tippett used to be a Penguin" at 2 1/2:
-And of course:
x 4 1/2
There are even Capitals fans there:
(Presumably, that's a ticket-selling technique reserved for two games a season.)
-The Penguins' starters are Matt Cooke, Arron Asham, Evgeni Malkin, Alex Goligoski, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Ben Lovejoy and Eric Godard.
-The Coyotes starters are Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata, David Schlemko, Adrian Aucoin and Ilya Bryzgalov.
-Their scratches are some big ones. Shane Doan, Ed Jovanovski and Petr Prucha.
-Doan is dealing with an "upper-body" injury while Jovanovski is dealing with the flu.
-You know former Penguin Paul "BizNasty" Bissonnette is going to throw down with someone tonight:
-Even before the game starts:
-Instead of a normal mini blimp which drops coupons to fans, the Coyotes have a floating taco:
-FSN Pittsburgh supplies your lines and defensive pairings:
19:49: We're pretty sure we just heard a solid "Let's Go Pens!" chant.
18:42: Crosby sneaks up the left wing and is denied in tight by Bryzgalov.
17:49: Kyle Turris snaps off a wrister from the left wing to the far side. Fleury gloves it.
17:24: The Penguins' defense breaks down again and the Coyotes cash in. Wojtek Wolsky moves up the right wing, gains the offensive zone and zips a pass across the slot to Eric Belanger. Belanger gets behind Engelland and moves in on net. He moves towards the net and undressed Fleury with a backhanded shot. Another brutal display all around. Wolski and Oliver Ekman-Larsson get assists. Coyotes 1-0.
16:50: Bissonnette used to be a Penguin:
14:49: Michalek is booed as he touches the puck for the first time.
13:04: Radim Vrbata dekes by Engelland, crashes in on net from the left wing and collides with Fleury. The puck goes into the cage as it's dislodged. Officials review the play. This is a tough one. During the delay:
After a lenghty review, the officials rule the puck went into the net. Uh...whoa. A really bizare situation. Penguin killer Ray Whitney gets an assist along with Kyle Turris. Coyotes 2-0.
Fleury is pulled for Brent Johnson. This is just a mess at this point.
11:12: Vrbata re-directs a shot on net wide of the cage.
10:04: Craig Adams rushes up the left wing and whips a backhander wide on the near side.
8:52: Crosby snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Bryzgalov fights it off. The rebound bounces around in front of the crease. Letang, Dupuis and Kunitz crash in for the rebound. Letang drops a Coyotes defender on top of Bryzgalov. Crosby circles around the net and pokes it into the open cage as he falls on his butt. Officials immediately rule play dead. Dupuis was called for interference on Aucoin. No goal. We're not buying the call on Dupuis. Letang might've have been the guilty party as he was the one who shoved Aucoin. The Penguins just can't get a break right now. Officials review the play and delay play once again. They confirm the non-goal call.
8:25: After a wrister by Whitney from the left half wall is knocked down in front, Matt Cooke is able to clear.
6:52: Dupuis' "penalty" is killed. The Penguins had a solid effort there.
6:44: A wrister by Keith Yandle is gloved by Johnson.
5:59: Crosby challenges a defender one-on-one and snaps off a wrister from the slot. Bryzgalov fends it off.
4:33: Tyler Kennedy hustles up the left wing and snaps off a wrister wide on the near side.
4:07: Off a turnover, Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Bryzgalov knocks it dead.
3:38: Comrie is knocked down in the left wing corner with a cross check by Schlemko. The Penguins finally get a break as Schlemko goes to the bench. They need a goal here badly. Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Goligoski and Kunitz take the ice. Replays show the potential Crosby goal not actually going into the net.
3:21: A slapper by Goligoski from the top of the slot is wide.
2:53: A wrister by Goligoski from the top of the slot is eaten up by Bryzgalov despite traffic. Kunitz, battling in front for position, actually ends up slapping Bryzgalov on the butt by accident. Bryzgalov kind of grabs him then starts laughing. They were teammates in Anaheim when the Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007.
1:46: Crosby makes a sloppy drop pass just inside the Coyotes blue line. The Coyotes clear.
1:38: As the penalty expires, Fleury can be sitting on the bench. He has kept his mask on the entire time.
0:00: End of period. Coyotes 2, Penguins 0.
-That was pretty brutal. It's inexcusable for this team to start this game like they have. The Coyotes are dealing with some tough injuries to two of their best players in Jovanovski and Doan. Yet they jumped all over the Penguins early.
-What happened to this re-tooled defense? The Penguins look even worse than the Swiss-cheese unit we saw at times last year.
-Why does it take a goaltening change to wake this crew up?
-Shots are tied, 9-9.
-Crosby leads the game with three.
-Pyatt and Turris each lead the game with two shots.
-Derek Morris leads the game with 9:48 of ice time.
-Paul Martin leads the Penguins with 9:17.
-The Penguins have a 10-7 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).
-Belanger is 3 for 3 (100 percent).
-Crosby is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Aucoin, Schlemko and Michalek each lead the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: Before the start of the period:
18:59: Taylor Pyatt snaps off a heavy wrister from the right circle. Johnson boots it out.
18:44: The Coyotes make a mistake of their own and the Penguins cash in. Morris fumbles a puck in the left circle while attempting a pass. Crosby is right there. He picks it up, moves in on net and snaps it by the glove hand of an unprepared Bryzgalov. The goal is unassisted. Morris could make a case for one. Coyotes 2-1.
18:01: More "Let's Go Pens!" chants.
17:17: Adams whips a fluttering wrister from the right circle. Bryzgalov fends it off.
15:42: Welcome back Evgeni Malkin. Asham leave a drop pass at the right point. Malkin picks it up, rushes in on net and whips a wrister low on net. Bryzgalov kicks out a rebound. Malkin beats Sami Lepisto to the puck and punches it in. It's his first goal since... well... forever. It came on a dirty play too. Asham and Martin get assists. Coyotes 2, Penguins 2.
used to be a:
14:38: Keith Yandle releases a wrister from the left circle to the far side. It clunks off the cross bar and deflects out of play. Yeesh. Nice shot.
13:42: Talbot grips and rips a wrister from the right circle. Bryzgalov boots it away.
12:50: As Johnson fends off perimeter shot from the right wing, Michalek is nabbed for hooking. Crosby, Cooke, Orpik and Martin take the ice. take the ice.
12:38: Johnson robs Wolski on a ridiculous save on the back door.
11:26: Stempniak had a fairly clean shot from the slot and rips it well wide of the cage. He has to get that on net.
10:54: Morris moves a pass to Schlemko at the right point. Schlemko puts a one-timer on net. Johnson is square to the net and eats it up.
10:50: The Coyotes' power play is killed.
9:52: Coming back from commercial, we find out Kunitz is playing in his 400th career game.
9:50: Off a faceoff, Bissonnette and Engelland, friends from their days in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, square off. They lock up. Bisonnette holds in him off with his left arm and tags Engelland in the back of helmet with a few right rabbit punches. Engelland fends him off a bit and lands a few shots. Bissonnette lands a few more, including one nice right to the jaw. They wrestle a bit before officials step in. Not a great fight, but give the decision to Bissonnette.
8:35: Hanzal strike a loose puck on net with a slapper. Johnson knocks it down and covers.
8:00: Big save by Johnson. Pyatt gets in loose in the slot and lifts a wrister. Johnson boots it out.
7:05: Malkin swats a big slapper on net from the left circle. Bryzgalov knocks it down despite a screen by Asham. Asham and Malkin crash in hoping for a rebound but can't find one.
6:33: Asham is nabbed for tripping. Talbot, Adams, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
4:35: Just before the Asham minor expires, Belanger guns a one-timer from the slot. Johnson boots it out.
4:24: Goligoski fumps the puck i his own zone. Wolski forces the turnover. After some scrumming for the puck, Wolski emerges with it. He snaps off a wrister from the right circle. It hits off the skate of Martin and deflects over the glove hand of Johnson. Brutal play by Goligoski. Fluky goal by Wolski. Belanger and Stempniak get assists. Coyotes 3-2.
2:45: Malkin has a chance in tight but a wonderful poke check by Bryzgalov knocks the puck away.
2:43: Lespitso is nabbed for hooking Malkin. That was a pretty weak call. Either way, the Penguins will take it. Michalek, Martin, Letestu, Comrie and Rupp take the ice. We're assuming some elements of the Penguins' primary power play unit were on the ice for a little while prior to the penalty.
1:53: Hanzal is called for elbowing Cromie. Five on three for 1:10. A goal is a must here. Malkin, Goligoski, Letestu, Kunitz and Crosby take the ice.
1:43: Malkin just guns a simple slapper from the top of the slot.
1:29: Malkin controls the puck at the left point. He looks a round a bit. You're half expecting him to force some terrible pass through traffic to Crosby. Instead, he just winds up and guns a slapper on net. Bryzgalov eats it up. It's nice to see them keeping this simple. It's creating other chances.
1:21: Malkin blast ANOTHER slapper form the left point wide of the cage on the far side.
1:09: Letestu feeds a pass to Crosby to the right of the cage. Crosby snaps off a shot which Bryzgalov simply robs him on. Unreal.
0:43: The Lepisto minor expires.
0:33: They were going to get this eventually. Letestu controls the puck behind the net and feeds to Kunitz near the left circle. Kunitz kneel down and lifts a wrister by a helpless Bryzgalov. Two power play goals in as many games. Letestu and Crosby get assists. Coyotes 3, Penguins 3.
0:00: End of period. Coyotes 3, Penguins 3.
-Much better. But again, why did it take such a trainwreck of a start for this team to finally show up?
-Nice to see Evgeni Malkin playing with more motivation.
-He has some chemistry with Asham.
-Nice to see the power play keeping things simple.
-The Penguins have a 22-18 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with five shots.
-Turris and Pyatt each lead the Coyotes with three.
-Martin leads the game with 18:51 of ice time.
-Yandle leads the Coytoes with 16:32.
-The Penguins have a 23-22 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Letestu is 5 for 8 (53 percent).
-Hanzal is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Michalek, Martin, Schlemko, Ekman-Larsson, Aucoin and Morris each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:45: Dupuis guns a slapper from the right wing. Bryzgalov boots it out.
18:32: Play is halted as Cooke drops Lepisto into the boards behind the Coyotes' net. Cooke is sent off for boarding as Lepisto is slow to recover to his feet. Kind of a questionable call. But he did leave his feet a bit. Talbot, Orpik, Michalek and Adams take the ice.
17:12: Morris chops a slapper from the right half wall. It gets deflected out of play by Stempniak.
16:32: Cooke's penalty is killed. The Coyotes did next to nothing with that chance.
16:07: Rupp chops a slapper on net from the left wing. Bryzgalov boots it to the slot. Kennedy crashes in an forces a puck on net. Brzygalov is on his back but is still able to absorb the puck.
15:20: Crosby is taking a shift with Rupp and Kennedy.
12:36: Kunitz drops Scottie Upshall with a stiff check on the right wing boards in Phoenix's zone.
11:53: Dupuis snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Bryzgalov eats it up.
11:50: Coming back from commercial, Dan Bylsma used to be a Phoenix Roadrunner:
9:47: The Penguins have a prime chance to take the lead as Whitney is nabbed for hooking Dupuis. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Goligoski and Letang take the ice.
9:39: A shot by Letang from the left point is deflected in on net. Bryzgalov fights it off.
8:31: Vernon Fiddler chips the puck down ice. The Penguins can barely maintain possession of the puck.
7:39: With the penalty expired, Comrie backhands a pedestrian shot on net from the right circle. Bryzgalov fends it off. Rupp chops the rebound on net. Bryzgalov denies that as wel.
6:33: Vrbata puts a cannon of a one-timer on net from the right point. Johnson boots it out.
5:12: Michalek chops a bouncing puck on net from the right circle. Bryzgalov knocks it down and covers as Crosby fishes around for a potential rebound.
4:28: Off a feed from Asham, Letestu has a chance in tight but can't put the puck by Bryzgalov.
3:23: Belanger snaps of a tricky wrister from the right circle. Johnson boots it out. Johnson was jammed up a bit by that shot.
1:48: Malkin sneaks around the net and attempts a wraparound on his forehand from the left side. Bryzgalov boots it out.
0:11: Stempniak makes a move by Michalek on the left wing. He moves in on net but can't get a shot off as he's either hauled down or trips.
0:00: End of period. Coyotes 3, Penguins 3.
-The Penguins have a 36-24 lead in shots.
4:02: Vrbata moves in off the left wing, cuts to the slot and rips a big wrister on net. Johnson boots out a rebound. Hanzal has a chance on the rebound but Orpik poke checks it away. Big play.
3:08: Wolski has a chance with a one-timer from the right circle but his stick breaks before he can get the shot off.
2:42: Fiddler apparently takes a stick in the face. No call.
2:09: Morris chips a backhander on net from deep on the left wing. Johnson gloves it and freezes play. The Coyotes have controlled this period.
1:25: Dupuis gets away with a trip on Lepisto in the right wing corner.
1:22: Off some serious mucking and grinding along the boards, Kennedy is held up by Ekman-Larsson near the net. The Penguins got a big break there after the non-penalty to Dupuis. As the Penguins call a time-out to get organized for the four-on-three power play:
-Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin and Goligoski take the ice. HUGE chance here.
1:17: Off a false start to the faceoff, Crosby wins the faceoff and deals to Malkin in the slot. As the whislte blow, Malkin puts the puck into the net. No goal.
0:44: Malkin snaps off a wrister
0:37: Malkin guns a one-timer from above the right circle. It's wide on the near side.
0:06: Malkin guns a slapper from the right point. It hits something in front. A small scrum for the puck takes place before Hanzal is able to whip it down ice. That essentially kills off the game.
0:00: End of period. Coyotes 3, Penguins 3.
-The Penguins have a 36-28 lead in shots.
-Vrbata is first up. He moves in, dekes lazily to the backhand and loses the puck as Johnson snaps out with a poke check.
-Crosby gets the call for the Penguins. He moves in slowly, dekes a few tiems and goes with abackhander. Bryzgalov holds his ground and boots out the puck with his left leg.
-Wolski comes in with some speed, goes to the forehand and is denied by the right leg of a stretched out Johnson.
-Letang moves in, fakes a wrister, goes to his right and whips a wrister. Bryzgalov's left leg makes another save.
-Lauri Korpikoski, who scored his first career playoff goal against the pneguins is up. He flies in, goes sligly to the right and snaps off a wrister wide to the left of the cage.
-Letestu? Hmm... okay. Its his first career shootout attempt in the NHL. He goes directly at Bryzgalov and snaps off a wrister which burns Bryzgalov in the five hole. End of shootout. Penguins 1, Coyotes 0. End of game. Penguins 4, Coyotes 3.
-Well... that was interesting. After about as poor of a start as a team can have, the Penguins changed netminders and then woke up. They then put in an honest effort and played with a purpose.-Hey, great job on getting the win, but why do they have to keep putting themselve in holes? Why did it take a 2-0 deficit for them to wake up again?
-Where has this Evgeni Malkin been for the past two weeks or so? Why did he all of a sudden show up tonight?
-The defense still has some issues. The Coyotes played without their captain and their top scorer (before tonight) in Ed Jovanovski, yet they were still able to seemingly dominate play for long stretches of time, including the bulk of overtime.
-We don't know what to make of the goaltending. Was Fleury sharp? No. But you can't deny the team's defense got better and was more alert once he was pulled for Johnson.
-The power play looked like a weapon for once tonight. They put shots on net. They made Bryzgalov work to make saves.
-Engelland didn't have his best game tonight.
-Belanger is a heck of a player. Far too underrated.
-The Penguins ended up with a 36-28 lead in shots.
-Crosby led the game with six shots.
-Vrbata led the Coyotes with four.
-Martin led the game with 29:44 of ice time.
-Morris led the Coyotes with 27:21.
-The Coyotes ended up with a 35-31 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Letestu was 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-Hanzal was 9 for 12 (75 percent).
-Martin and Morris led the game with three blocked shots each.
-Some photos from readers Jeremy Yerse, Marc Ware and Ralene:
-Third party rivalry rule in play here. Mike Richards Flyers:
-Two Eric Godard jerseys. If anyone can identify the team on the right, be our guest. It looks like an AHL jersey:
-A Mario Lemieux jersey and a Coyotes hat? Big time foul:
-Mario Lemieux "Dan Frawly Era" jersey:
-Does a Steve Yzerman Red Wings jersey count with the third-party rivalry rule?
-We're told this is a Shane Doan Winnipeg Jets jersey:
-We'd be kidn of glum too if our team was in Phoenix.
-Bissonnette and Engelland fighting:
-They apparently have gian Taco Bell sauce packets as mascots there in Glendale: