-Not much to offer from our pregame walk. It's too dark really on account of daylight savings time. Stupid farmers. The moon rising in the twilight over what appears to be Duquesne University's physical plant:
-Time to bash the Bruins:
-Consol Energy Center:
-A Johan Hedberg fan:
-This is pretty sharp. Mark Letestu:
-According to the Boston Globe, these are the projected lines and defensive pairings for the Bruins:
Mark Recchi - Blake Wheeler -Jordan Caron
Brad Marchand - Greg Campbell - Shawn Thornton
Danny Paille - Tyler Seguin - Michael Ryder
Zdeno Chara - Adam McQuaid
Mark Stuart - Dennis Seidenberg
Matt Hunwick - Andrew Ference
-Guess who we just saw:
-Cam Neely. The legendary Bruins power forward is now an executive with the team.
-EN cohort Pat Daugherty spotted this peculiar Evgeni Malkin jersey:
-We have no idea what team this is for. We thought it might be some sort of Mettalurg Magnitogorsk or Team Russia third jersey but we can't find any evidence of that. If you can help, feel free to drop us a line.
-You'll have to keep track of the "Andrew Ference/Mark Recchi used to be Penguins" count at home. Sorry.
-Some more jerseys. Using our best Andy Brickley typed impression, Mahrc Sahvahrd:
-Mark Ea_ _n:
-Neely probably isn't crazy about this. There are quite a few Ulf Samuelsson fans here:
-Bobby Orr and Milan Lucic:
-This is the first time we've seen an actual fan wearing the new Winter Classic jersey:
-Yea or nea?
-Mark Recchi still has at least one fan here:
-Rick Kehoe and Mario Lemieux All-Star Wales Conference:
(The Rick Kehoe fan made sure his son's hood was up when we asked to take their picture too.)
-The Penguins' starters are Maxime Talbot, Sidney Crosby, Eric Godard, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Brent Johnson.
-Their scratches are Mike Comrie, Chris Conner and Deryk Engelland.
-The Bruins' starters are Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and Tim Thomas.
-Their scratches are David Krejci, Johnny Boychuk and Jamie Arniel.
-There are some volatile elements in those starting lineups.
-Never volatile but always smooth is Jeff Jimerson:
19:15: We're liking the combination of Malkin and Arron Asham. Asham moves a puck from the left wing corner to Makin in the left circle. Malkin whips a wrister wide on the near side. Not a great scoring chance, but a scoring chance nonetheless. These two have already shown a little chemistry in their brief time together.
18:55: And we like it even better now. Malkin moves the puck with a backhand to Paul Martin at the top of the slot. Martin chuck a slapper on net through traffic. Thomas boots it out. Asham is there for the rebound and punches it by Thomas' right leg. A nice dirty goal. Very typical of Asham. It's his first as a Penguin. And it gives the Penguins a rare early lead. Martin and Malkin get assists. The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 1-0.
17:38: Kennedy comes rushing into the offensive zone and pumps a slapper on net from the right circle. The shot goes to the far side and is booted out by Thomas's right leg.
15:19: Lucic appears to hook up Letang in the right circle. No call. Letang did appear to fall down a little easily there though.
14:52: Johnson turns away a wrister by Blake Wheeler. It's Boston's first shot of the game.
13:27: Godard and Thornton square off. They lock up near the Boston blue line. Thornton lands a few rights before Godard fends him off. Then Godard connects on a few left jabs. They wrestle some more. Godard's lid falls off. Officials step in and break it up. Call it a draw. It was a pretty average fight.
13:25: After a commercial stoppage, Talbot and Campbell, the son of former Penguins defenseman and current NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell, square off near Boston's blue line again. They put one a more entertaining show than Godard and Thornton. They lock up. They each throw a bunch and land a few. Campbell throws one big right and appears to miss. As he slips to the ice, Talbot lands a big right of his own on the side of Campbell's noggin. Officials step in and break it up. FSN Pittsburgh astuley points out this isn't the first time they have fought:
13:05: Dupuis gains the offensive zone on the left wing and pumps a slapper on net from the point. Thomas eats it up.
12:58: Off a faceoff, Chris Kunitz forces Chara to turn over the puck in the left wing corner. Crosby picks it up and immediately zips a pass to Dupuis in the slot. Dupuis gets off a quick wrister which Thomas is able to eat up. Chara owes Thomas a beer.
12:37: Off a pass from Nathan Horton Lucic lifts a wrister from the left circle. Johnson fights it off.
12:35: Letang is sent off for hooking against Patrice Bergeron. Craig Adams, Zbynek Michalek, Brooks Orpik and Matt Cooke take the ice.
11:29: A brutal turnover by Goligoski leads to a goal for Boston. Goligoski corrals a puck behind his net only to have rookie Tyler Seguin to swoop in and take it off him. Seguin then moves the puck to Recchi in the right circle. Recchi snaps off an immediate shot. Johnson is able to slide to his left and makes an tremendous save with his right leg. Recchi sticks with the rebound and snaps it over the glove hand of a helpless Johnson. Ouch. Fire Ray Shero. Seguin gets the only assist. Goligoski could make a case for one. Bruins 1, Penguins 1.
8:43: Seguin snaps off a rising wrister from the left circle. Johnson fends it off.
7:37: Some tenacious work by Kennedy on the right wing boards leads to a turnover by Boston. He moves into the corner and centers a pass to the crease. Rupp is in there and battles for the puck. Thomas is able to freeze it.
7:29: Off a faceoff win, Michalek releases a slapper from the top of the slot. Thomas eats it up.
6:48: Off a turnover by Chara at his own blue line, Dupuis sneaks up the right wing on a two-on-one with Crosby against Ference. Dupuis whips a low wrister on net. Thomas boots it out. Crosby can't quite handle the rebound and fails to get a clean shot off as Ference blocks it.
5:53: During a television stoppage, Kunitz retreats to the locker room.
5:45: Asham does a kind of leg whip take down on Hornton on the left wing boards in Horton in the offensive zone. That's two minutes. Asham, Orpik, Talbot and Michalek take the ice.
5:30: Horton snaps off a wrister from the right point. Johnson is able to hang on to the puck despite having Horton in his grill.
3:45: The Asham penalty is killed.
3:36: Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Marchand comes blazing in on the left wing and gains the blue line. He rips a ridicuouls wrister to the far side over Johnson's glove hand and into the net. Yikes! The Penguins were completely flat-footed there. The goal is unassisted. Bruins 2-1.
3:04: Malkin to Opik? Oooo... kay. Why not? Malkin move sin on the right wing and appears to want move behidn the net. Juuuust before he does that, he snaps off a backhanded pass through the crease to the left half wall. Bobby Orrpik is there and tosses a wrister toward the net. Thomas scrambles to get into position but has no hope. What a play by Malkin to create that. Malkin and Crosby get assists. The "Woo Hoo! Song is played. Bruins 2, Penguins 2.
2:31: Kennedy pumps a slapper on net from the right circle. Thomas boots it out.
0:52: Malkin blocks a slapper by Chara from the top of the slot.
0:40: Chara gets a slapper through traffic from the left point. Johnson fights it off.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 2, Penguins 2.
-That was certainly a grab bag of everything that period. Fights, big saves, some hits, goals, bad defense.
-The Penguins certainly seem more aggressive on offensive tonight. They have not hesitated to simply put shots on net. And it's created a few second chances for them.
-Defensively, they were pretty shaky. The two goals were the results of sloppy play in their own zone.
-Kennedy continues to play like his job is on the line. He has clearly secured his spot in the lineup, but he's still not letting up.
-Johnson was okay. All we know is if Fleury had let in those two goals, this building would be on fire.
-Kunitz is apparently healthy as it was his turnover which led to Marchand's goal.
-Horton is looking pretty good tonight. He's gotten several scoring chances.
-The Penguins have an 18-14 lead in shots.
-Kennedy and Malkin each lead the game with four shots.
-Recchi leads the Bruins with three. Fire Ray Shero.
-Chara leads the game with 9:58 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 7:53.
-The Penguins have a 16-13 lead in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Bergeron was 8 for 14 (57 percent).
-Crosby was 6 for 11 (55 percent).
-Malkin, Ference and Hunwick each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Fire Craig Patrick.
19:18: After a wrister by Lucic from the left circle is fended off by Johnson, Bergeron retrieves the rebound and snaps if off the left post.
17:50: From the left wing, Letestu chips a puck down low to the side of the cage. Kennedy hustles down and retrieves it. He tries to jam it by Thomas. No dice.
16:28: After some ridiculous stick-handling by Malkin, he snaps off a wrister which is blocked into the corner.
16:08: Malkin is hunches over in the right circle in the Boston zone. He recovers to his skates and lumbers to the bench. He remains there as a trainer attends to him. Replays show him simply skating, pulling up and going down. There wasn't even any contact. Very weird.
15:29: Some "Search and Destroy" by Iggy Pop and the Stooges is played:
14:14: A "goal" by the Bruins is waved off after the officials had blown play dead for offsides.
14:05: Johnson denied Adam McQuaid in tight.
13:39: Asham drops the gloves for the first time as a Penguin with McQuad. They hesitate at first but lock up near the right point in Boston's zone. McQuiad as the early advantage landing a few rights. After some wrestling and the loss of Asham's hemlet, they really get going as they each throw big rights. An upper cup/right cross combo by Asham staggers McQuaid a bit but he manages to recover. They seem to tire out and officials step in. Three fights and we're not even half way down with the game.
12:27: Malkin guns a wrister from the slot. Thomas shuffles it away with his blocker.
11:11: Lovejoy floats a wrister from the right point. Thomas loses track of it but still manages to fight it off.
10:29: Bergeron snaps off a wrister from the top of the slot. It floats up and over Johnson's glove. It rings off the cross bar and deflects out of play. The iron has been kind to Johnson this period.
9:27: Adams has a chance with a loose puck deep on the right wing. But the puck is bouncing and Adams can't quite get a handle on it.
9:07: Adams guns a wrister from the right circle. Thomas boots it away.
9:02: EN commentor daathens just caught a foul-up we made. This is not the Winter Classic jersey:
-Our apologies. +1 to daathens.
8:06: A slapper by Goligoski from the right point is blocked in front.
7:09: Orpik is nabbed for interference against Michael Ryder. Talbot, Martin Michalek and Cooke take the ice.
5:59: Shorthanded, Dupuis flies up into the Boston's zone, challenges Horton one-on-one and whips a backhander from the right circle. Thomas fends it off. Great individual effort by Dupuis.
5:09: Orpik's penalty is killed. Solid effort by the Penguins.
4:19: Kunitz has the puck on the left wing and forces a pass to Dupuis across the right wing. It gets deflected away.
4:16: Just as you want to start screaming vulgarities at Kunitz for not shooting the puck, he makes amends. The rebound off his bad pass comes to Letang at the right point. Letang puts the puck on net. It hits a body or two. Kunitz is right there to clean up the rebound and punches it by Thomas who is lost. Maybe forcing bad passes can lead to goals? Letang and Crosby get assists. The "Woo Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3-2.
3:39: Thomas fends off a slapper by Goligoski.
3:34: Lucic gets bumped into the Penguins' bench by Asham. Malkin and Dupuis help him out. As Lucic tries to return to the ice, he actually falls down again. This place goes nuts. That was probably the loudest cheer of the night. Asham is quickly endearing himself to his new fans tonight.
3:21: Letang chucks a shot on net from the left circle. Thomas fends it off.
1:29: Jordan Caron is nabbed for holding. Kunitz, Crosby, Letang, Malkin and Martin take the ice.
0:37: Daniel Paille challenges Letang one-on-one shorthanded and releases a wrister from the right circle. Johnson punches it away.
0:22: Crosby sneaks up the left wing and chips a little pass into the slot. It hits off the backhand of Mark Stuart's stick and "beats" Thomas five hole. Ugh. What an unlucky play. The Penguins will take it. Especially on the power play. The goal was unassisted. We would argue Crosby should get the assist. The "Woo Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 4-2.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Bruins 2.
-Who would thing two broken up passes would lead to goals? They Penguns are getting some fantastic bounces tonight.
-Once again, they're playing very aggressive and attacking the offensive zone with speed.
-Arron Asham is starting to fullfill the potential he seemed to have when the Penguins quietly signed him this offseason. Not that he was expected to be a 30-goal threat on the top-two lines, but he was a guy who had the skills to play there on occasion. And when you add in his toughness, he bring a very intriguing mix to play with Malkin.
-The Penguins' defense was a little better that period. But the Bruins still had a lot of quality chances that period.
-We don't know if it's due to his recently born daughter, but Dupuis is playing with some extra hop in his step.
-The Penguins have a 34-20 lead in shots.
-Kennedy, Dupuis and Malkin each lead the game with five shots.
-Recchi leads the Bruins with four.
-Seidenberg leads the game with 18:54 of ice time.
-Letang leads the game with 15:06.
-The Penguins have a 26-24 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Crosby is 10 for 18 (56 percent).
-Bergeron is 11 for 19 (58 percent).
-Ference leads the game with three.
-Adams, Orpik and Malkin each lead the Penguins with two.
18:39: Kunitz guns a slapper to the far side from the right wing. Thomas fights it off.
16:11: Nathan Horton's good night continues. He circles from around the back of the net to the left circle. He then rips a wrister to the far side through traffic. It juuuust catches the inside of Johnson's glove side elbow. We have no idea how Johnson could have seen that shot until the last second. Seidenberg and Matt Hunwick get assists. Penguins 4, Bruins 3.
15:56: Ugh... This just got ugly fast. Two goals in 15 seconds. We can hear Jack Edwards to our left screaming. Off a rush up ice, Caron on the right wing, chips a little pass to the slot. Chara just barges in and chops a slapper on net which beats Johnson on the blocker side. A bad, bad goal to give up. Caron and Wheeler get assists. Bruins 4, Penguins 4.
13:32: Malkin is laying down on che ice in a dace face down in the right faceoff circle in the Penguins' zone. Chris Stewart runs out. Replays show Thornton just tagging him with a shoulder check to the chest. That was pretty close to being interference as neither player had the puck. Malkin eventually recovers to his feet and skates to the bench. We're willing to bet he simply had the wind knocked out of him. Thornton got away with one there.
12:45: Dupuis guns a big slapper from the top of the slot. Thomas fights it off.
12:31: Lucic has a the puck on a two-on-one with Bergeron against Martin. Martin slop
12:11: Crosby controls the puck in the right circle, fakes a slapper then zips a cross ice pass to Cooke. Cooke snaps off a wrister which is deflected out of play.
11:11: Thomas fends off a low hard shot by Asham from the right wing.
10:24: Ference (5-foot-11, 189 pounds) displays some considerable strength as he's challenges one-on-one by Rupp off the right wing. He simply pushes Rupp (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) to the ice with one hand to the chest.
10:09: Either Letestu hooked Seguin in the neutral zone or Seguin took a dive. Either way, the officials failed to call something. This has not been the best display of officiating tonight.
9:18: Johnson eats up a wrister by Chara from the left wing. Attendance is announced as 18,113. It a standing room-only sellout, the team's 172nd in a row.
8:56: Kennedy sneaks up the right wing with Cooke on a two-on-one with Seidenberg. Kennedy slows his approach on net and rips a wrister glove side. Thomas knocks it down and covers. Kennedy might not have a ton of natural scoring ability, but he's not shy about putting the puck on net.
7:20: Another defensive breakdown. Goligoski is the culprit again this time. As he pinches in at the right point in Boston's zone to keep a puck inside the blue line, Thornton is able to chip it up ice. Thornton races up and recovers it creating a two-on-one with Campbell against Lovejoy. Lovejoy pretty much just covers Campbell and allows Thornton the shot. Thornton rips probably the best wrister of his life by the glove hand of Johnson. Ugh. A bad night for Goligoski continues. Campbell and McQuaid get assists. Bruins 5-4.
6:10: The Penguins get a break Campbell is called for slashing Malkin. Crosby, Martin, Malkin, Letang and Kunitz take the ice.
4:53: The Penguins call a time out to get organized.4:28: Kunitz rips a nice wrister off a pass fromt he left wing corner on net. Thomas stands his ground and boots it out.
4:10: The Campbell penalty is killed. A wasted opportunity for the Penguins.
3:47: What has happened to the Penguins' defense? Michalek, the team's big free agent signing this summer, is beaten by a 42-year-old Recchi to a puck behind net Penguins net. Recch slams him into the boards then backhands the puck to the slot. Letang, in the first year of a new contract, fails to account for Wheeler moving into the slot. As he loses his footing, Wheeler is able to jab the puck by Johnson. Ouch. Just brutal. Recchi and Ryder get assists. This place empties out very quickly. Bruins 6-4.
2:19: Begeron rips a wrister from the top of the right circle. Johnson fends it off.
1:42: Lovejoy gains the offensive zone and pumps a slapper on net from the right point. Thomas is square to the shot and eats it up.
1:15ish: Johnson is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:40: Bergeron challenges Martin one-on-one. Martin is able to poke the puck away.
0:25: Bergeron passes the puck to Lucic in the slot. As Lucic turns to shoot, Letang flops down to block it. Lucic is able to snaps it off into the cage for one of us:
-Bergeron and Horton get assists. Bruins 7-4.
0:00: End of play. Bruins 7, Penguins 4.
-The team's biggest area of need this offseason was obviously defense. It gradually got worse late in 2009-10. Defensemen like Sergei Gonchar, Mark Eaton and Jordan Leopold were going to leave. The team never truly got over the losses of Rob Scuderi or Hal Gill the previous offseason. So Ray Shero spent most on what salary cap space he had left on Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin. Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang were going to take on much bigger roles. Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland were finally going to get a fair chances to crack this roster. Significant changes were made
-So far, the Penguins have not reaped the many benefits from those changes. Martin has been inconsistent at times. Michalek, who has missed nine games, has been a non-factor for the most part. Goligoski and Letang have grown in many ways, but still are prone to mental mistakes. Lovejoy, Engelland and Brooks Orpik have arguably been the most consistent preformers on the blue line.
-Can a lot of these defensive breakdowns this season be blames on Jordan Staal's absence? Or would that be an excuse?
-Amazing how any goaltender - Brent Johnson or Marc-Andre Fleury - looks lost when the defense in front of him is a mess.
-How bad was the Penguins' defense? Bruins coach Claude Julied admitted after the game his team won despite only playing on period.
"I think that's what you got to take the most out of tonight's game is the fact that we came out in the third with a lot more determination than we showed in the first two periods. It's not too often you win a hockey game playing one period."
-We were really excited over Michalek when he signed and we still are. But he simply has not live up to the hype thus far. He was supposed to be the answer for Scuderi's absence. He was supposed to be what Jay McKee wasn't. We understand he was injured for nine games, but he has been a disappointment so far.
-We had to keep thrusting all of this on the blue line. The entire team is supposed to play defense. It showed what it could do when everyone bought in two weeks ago in Carolina. Forwards were flying back on the back check like there were bonuses on the line for time in the defensive zone. Why can't that committment be present on a regular basis?
-Yeah it got a goal in the second period, but the Penguins' power play let it down at a critical time in third. Shortly after Thornton scored the go-ahead goal, the Penguins had a chance to tie the game but looked completely inept. They only had one quality scoring chance during that two-minute span. And that came after a time out was called to organize something.
-Can we all agree that this team's issues are much bigger than Marc-Andre Fleury's confidence?
-The scary thing about how bad the Penguins defense played tonight is that they faced a Bruins team without some of their most dangerous offensive weapons. Imagine if David Krejci, Marc Savard or Marco Sturm had played.
-On the plus side, the Penguins were aggressive. They did attack the Boston net. They made Tim Thomas work.
-Tyler Kennedy played out of his mind once again. He led the game with eight shots. Yeesh!
-Almost as crazy: Dupuis was second with seven.
-Meanwhile, 42-year-old Mark Recchi looked amazing. His ability to find a way to get open for his first goal was tremendous. And the fact that he was composed enough to recover his own rebound and find a hole on Johnson to shoot was even better. And he simply embarrassed Michalek behind the net to set up Wheeler for a goal.
-We know he was garbage when he left here in 2007, but does anyone doubt Recchi would be on the top two lines here in Pittsburgh right now?
-The Penguins ended up with a 46-33 lead in shots.
-Recchi and Chara each led the Bruins with four.
-Chara led the game with 26:19 of ice time.
-Crosby led the Penguins with 24:53.
-The Bruins had a 37-34 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Bergeron was 18 for 27 (67 percent).
-Mark Letestu was 8 for 10 (80 percent).
-Michalek did lead the game with four blocked shots. So we guess it wasn't all bad.
-Ference led the Bruins with three.
-Fire Craig Patrick.
-Orpik's last game came in a 7-3 win against the Islanders, April 8, the final regular season game at Mellon Arena.
-Some perspective: Hey, at least the Penguins aren't the Devils: