-Greetings from cool, clear and somewhat pleasant Pittsburgh. It's in high 40s and after a pretty windy night, things have calmed down considerably. We have a pretty nice mid-Fall day here.
-The spirit of Bob Prince is being invoked:
-Consol Energy Center with the Moon:
The Student Rush line:
-A few Canucks fans are here. One is supporting real American Empty Netter hero Ryan Kesler:
-And Roberto Luongo:
-Luongo had an interesting quote this morning regarding Marc-Andre Fleury and confidence:
"I would say every (goaltender) goes through it once a year."
-Paul Martin will be on the first power play instead of Alex Goligoski (PG+).
-Marc-Andre Fleury can't tell his Sedins apart.
-EN contributor Ron Michalak spotted a jersey foul:
-Mikael Samuelsson not impressed.
-Lots of 1970s Penguins represented tonight. Dave Schultz:
(One of the best finds ever.)
-Syl Apps, Jr.:
-Trevor Linden Canucks:
-We're told this is the Russian version of "Crosby:"
-We're told this is Chris Kunitz' jersey from his rookie year with the Mighty Ducks:
-Sidney Crosby Team Canada throwback from the 2004 World Junior Championships:
-Phil Bourque not impressed with this jersey foul:
(Maybe we're partial to black and gold since we're from Pittsburgh, but why did the Canucks ever leave this jersey?)
-Jordan Staal Peterborough Petes:
-The Penguins' starters are Mark Letestu, Matt Cooke, Tyler Kennedy, Zbynek Michalek, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Ben Lovejoy, Mike Comrie and Eric Godard.
-The Canucks' starters are Raffi Torres, Manny Malhotra, Jannik Hansen, Alexander Edler, Kevin Bieksa and Robert Luongo.
-Their scratches are Peter Schaefer, Ryan Parent and Aaron Rome.
-We're predicting a fight between Rick Rypien and Deryk Engelland.
-Sarah Marince handles your national anthems. No Jimerson = No pic.
19:21: Sidney Crosby and Henrik Sedin, two former Hart Trophy winners, take a faceoff in the Penguins' zone. Crosby wins.
18:27: Andrew Alberts chops a one-timer from the left point. He gloves it.
17:46: Adams goes sliding into Luongo and takes him out. Bieksa kind of stares at Adams and asks him to go in the right wing corner in the Canucks' zone. Adams takes him up. They drop the loves lock up. A few punches are exchanged before Bieksa lands a solid right which buckles Adams knees and drops him. Bieksa falls on top of him and even appears concerned for Adams' welfare Adams appears fine for the most part as he immediately regains his feet and goes to the penalty box.
17:18: Crosby puts on a puck handling display weaving back and forth behind the Canucks net fending off would-be teammate Dan Hamhuis. Finally he dishes a pass to the slot. Dupuis is there but doesn't appear to get a clean handle on the puck. Luongo covers to freeze play.
15:13: With Adams in the box, Crosby is slumming it up on the fourth line with Mike Rupp and Maxime Talbot. Rupp deals a nice pass from the right win corner to the slot. Crosby jumps on it and punches it just wide wile fending off a defender. Nice play by Rupp. That bum Crosby just couldn't finish.
12:59: Chris Conner forces a turnover on the left wing boards in Vancouver's zone. That creates two scorin chances, one for Conner and another for Dupuis. Neither can convert.
11:41: There's your argument for no-touch icing right there. Kris Letang and Tanner Glass go racing after an errant dump in by the Canucks behind the Penguins' net. Letang leans down to touch it. He gets the icing call but both he and Glass tripp and goe sliding face first like a two-man luge team into the boards. Both are stunned a bit but eventually recover. That could've been a lot worse.
9:55: Former Penguins Mikael Samuelsson chops a slapper from above the right circle on net. The man he was essentially traded for, Fleury, deflects it out of play with his blocker side shoulder.
9:13: Ryan Kesler grips and rips a wrister from the right circle. Despite having Hansen crash in, Fleury eats it up.
7:38: Rupp is kind of tackled in the left circle in Vancouver's zone by Rick Rypien. No call.
6:54: Evgeni Malkin is flying around the Vancouver zone. He taps a pass to Matt Cooke in the slot. Cooke re-directs it wide with a backhander.
6:39: Michalek snaps off a wrister from the left point. Luongo gloves it despite some traffic.
5:24: Crosby gains the offensive zone with speed and challenges Christian Ehrhoff one-on-one. Ehrhoff holds his ground and calmly knocks the puck away. Crosby then grabs Ehrhoff's stick and yanks him to the ice. That's two minutes. Talbot, Cooke, Michalek and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
5:17: Off a faceoff win, xx snaps off a wrister from the left point. Fleury holds it out with his left pad. Kesler is right on the door step but can't clean up the rebound.
3:24: Crosby's penalty is killed. Nice effort by the Penguins against one of the best power plays in the league.
3:17: Crosby leaves the box. Talbot moves a pass up to him along the right wing boards. Crosby takes it, gains the zone and approaches the net down the slot. He bears down on Luongo and rips a lethal wrister under Luongo's blocker. Wow. That was pretty much a showdown of the best right there and Crosby came out on top. Pretty sloppy play by the Canucks' defense there. They need to be aware when a player like that is taking the ice in that situation. Talbot gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 1-0.
2:40: Engelland tosses a wrister on net from the left point. It sneaks through traffic. Despite the screen, Luongo is somehow able to get his right foot on it.
0:37: Orpik slams Alex Burrows behind the Penguins' net along the boards.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canucks 0.
-A pretty solid period for the Penguins. They had by far the better of the play. They played solid defense against a pretty good offensive team in the Canucks. They put some pressure on Luongo and came away with a lead.
-We know there are still 40 minutes in this game and the Penguins have built up a pretty bad streak of incomplete games this season, but the Sedin-Sedin-Burrows line was almost invisible that period.
-Crosby? He's kind of good at hockey.
-All in all, we thought it was a fairly boring period. We expected a few more fireworks offensively from these two teams.
-The Penguins have an 11-6 lead in shots.
-Michalek leads the game with two.
-Ehrhoff leads the game with 8:31 of ice time.
-Martin leads the Penguins with 7:39.
-The Canucks are controlling faceoffs, 15-7 (68 percent).
-Kesler is 7 for 9 (78 percent).
-Crosby is 5 for 10 (50 percent).
-Edler and Letang each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-A few more jersey sightings: This is obscure. A Frank Caprice "V" Canucks jersey:
-Another Mike Rupp:
-One of those fake Winter Classic jerseys:
-Kudos to Ron Michalek, Pat Dougherty and @e_man41.
-Orpik was credited with an assist on Crosby's goal.
17:56: Crosby takes a one-touch by Dupuis off the right wing. Crosby charges up the slot, splits Alberts and Keith Ballard for a moment and has a scoring chance. But he loses the puck before he can pull the trigger.
17:17: No. 17 takes a penalty at 17:17. He's nabbed for holding Edler. Kind of a ticky tack call from what we saw. Edler just kind of fell over in the left wing corner in the Penguins' zone. Regardless, Michalek, Orpik, Cooke and Talbot take the ice.
16:34: Daniel Sedin attempts to center a pass to Kesler in the slot. Michalek slides down and makes a nice block.
15:33: Raymond snaps off a wrister from above the right circle. Martin blocks it.
15:06: Rupp leaves the box and battles Hamhuis in front of the Penuins' bench for the puck. He ends up hitting Hamhuis from behind into the boards. Not a smart play. Another two minutes for the Canucks' dangerous power play. They're going to score eventually. Talbot, Cooke, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
14:42: After a brutal turnover by the Penguins, Henrik Sedin snaps off an immediate shot on net from the right point. Fleury boots it out with his right foot. Daniel Sedin recovers the rebound, fumbles it a bit then moves to his backhand only to put the shot wide. The Penguins dodged a big one there.
14:16: Talbot motors up the left wing and rips a wrister towards the net. It gets blocked and batted around a bit in the slot. Talbot recovers the rebound, moves behind the net and sneaks the puck by Luongo's left skate on the wraparound. A big shorthanded goal. Cooke gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2-0.
13:04: As Rupp's penalty expires. Bieksa chops a one-timer on net from the left point. Fleury boots it out. A wonder effort by the Penguins' penalty killers so far tonight.
11:58: Attendance is announced as 18,252. It is the team's 176th consecutive sellout.
10:56: Ehrhoff fumbles a dump-in and allows Rupp to take it right off him. Rupp moves it to Asham on the right wing. Ahsam chops a shot on net with Luongo out of place. Ehrhoff and Luongo each get a stick on the puck preventing the inital shot. Malkin and Mason Raymon each barge in hoping to make a play on the puck. Raymond appears to accidently knock the puck into his own net. Asham gets credit for the goal. Malkin and Rupp get assists. Malkin kind of "punches" Asham in the back for "taking" his goal in jest. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3-0.
10:22: The Canucks get one back finally. And it's the would-be Penguin, Hamhuis, who gets it.
Brusso gains the offensive zone with speed on the right wing. He centers a puck. It gets deflected to Daniel Sedin who moves it to Henrik Sedin on the right wing. Fleury overplays the play. Letang is standing around like a dope not doing a thing as Henrik Sedin moves the puck to Hamhuis right on the door step and punches it in to the wide open net. Not a great display of defense there by the Penguins. Daniel Sedin and Burrows get assists. Fire Ray Shero. Penguins 3-1.
7:53: Crosby gets behind the defense and whips a backhander juuust wide to the far side from the left of the cage. Ballard is nabbed for hooking Crosby. The re-tooled Penguins power play of Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Martin takes the ice.
7:09: Malkin lifts a wrister from the right circle. Luongo knocks it down and covers.
6:36: Luongo gets trapped behind his own net and takes a tumble while playing the puck. Tyler Kennedy takes the puck and moves to Malkin who immediate swipes a shot on the open net from just below the left circle. Hamhuis makes a marvelous play and slides down to block the shot. That allows Luongo to get back into position. Kennedy recovers the rebound and snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Luongo fends it off. Luongo owes Hamhuis a beer. Fire Ray Shero.
5:53: Ballard's penalty expires. Nothing to braga bout there for the Penguins.
4:16: Orpik has the puck stolen off him by Kesler in the right wing corner in the Penguins' zone. Kesler moves it to Burrows moving up in the slot. Burrows snaps a shot on net. Despite traffic, Fleury eats it up. Orpik owes Fleury a beer.
3:52: Dupuis is nabbed for "tripping" Ehrhoff in the neutral zone. If anything, Dupuis sort of hooked him up and Burrows took an exaggerated fall to the ice. Adams, Cooke, Orpik and Michalek take the ice.
3:37: Shorthanded, Cooke races up the right wing with the puck on his backhand against Hamhuis. As Hamhuis closes in, Cooke whips a backhander from the right circle. Luongo denies it.
2:43: Fleury knocks down a point shot by Ballard and covers.
2:11: Bieksa launches a rising slapper from the right point. Despite having Raymond in front on a screen, Fleury traps it against his chest.
1:52: The Dupuis penalty is killed. Another nice effort by the Penguins. Especially with one of their best penalty killers, Dupuis, in the box.
0:07: Hamhuis corrals a bouncing clearing attempt at the left point and chips a wild wrister at the cage. Fleury almost makes the save by accident as he didn't appear to see the puck. Kesler is there for the rebound but can't control the puck.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Canucks 1.
-Things opened up quite a bit there huh? The Canucks made some mistakes and the Penguins made them pay. And vice versa. One mistake by the Penguins led to a Canucks goal. This has been a pretty opportunistic game.
-Letang can be so frustrating. He is probably the most naturally skilled player on the Penguins' defense and he can be a legit all-star if he ever puts everything together. But to often, he appears to lose concentration. Elite defensemen who play as many minutes in all sorts of situations don't do that. Until Letan eliminates those lapses, he won't be a true all-star.
-Fleury is looking strong. He had to bail out his teammates a few times.
-Crosby looks like he's trying to prove something.
-Hamhuis has been the Canucks' best player tonight. Fire Ray Shero.
-The Penguins' penalty killers have been fantastic.
-The Penguins have a 20-18 edge in shots.
-Samuelsson and Crosby each lead the game with three shots.
-Fire Craig Patrick.
-Hamhuis leads the game with 17:32 of ice time.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-Michalek leads the game with 16:08 of ice time.
-Re-hire Ray Shero.
-The Canucks are leading in faceoffs, 25-17 (60 percent).
-Kesler is 12 for 18 (67 percent).
-Crosby is 12 for 20 (60 percent).
-Letang leads the game with four blocked shots.
-Edler leads the Canucks with two.
-Scoring change on the third Penguins goals. It Asham from Rupp and Martin. No assist for Malkin.
18:11: Ballard controls a clearing attempt at the left point in the Penguins' zone. He snaps off a wrister which Fleury fends off.
16:54: Adams grips and rips a wrister from the top of the slot. Luongo gloves it with ease.
16:04: Letestu snaps off a cross-ice pass from the neutral zone to Conner on the right wing. Conner gains the zone, moves in and from the circle rips a wrister right into Luongo. Luongo hangs on and falls backwards to prevent a rebound. More chemistry from that new third line.
15:38: Letang puts a slapper from the right point off the near post.
14:27: Malkin controls the puck in the right circle and whips a wicked backhander on net. Luongo appears to juuuuust get a piece of it.
12:48: From the right wing, Kunitz centers a pass. In the right circle, Crosby re-directs it on net. Luongo eats it up.
10:32: Manny Malhotra, who has been quiet most of the night, jabs a quick shot from the left circle.
10:22: Malkin moves the puck up the right wing in the Canucks zone is taken off his feet on an awkward-looking hip check by Ballard.
9:51: Henrik Sedin puts a wrister on net from the left wing. Fleury boots it away.
9:40: Bieksa booms a slapper on net from the right point. The Penguins' defenders clear out and open up a lane for Fleury who boot it away with his left foot.
9:08: Orpik blocks a slapper by Burrows from the right wing. That has to be the 10th block of a shot or pass by the Penguins this period. Their defense has been sharp so far this period. Also, it appears Kennedy went to the locker room.
7:50: Kennedy returns.
6:54: Kesler rips a vicious one-timer from the right half wall. It catches Fleury up high, possibly near the mask, and stuns him a bit. The puck deflects away without issue. Fleury takes a moment to regain his composure. Fans offer "FLERR-EEEE! FLERRR-EEE!" chants.
5:07: "Cotton-Eyed Joe" is busted out:
5:03: Bad time to take a penalty. Big chance here for the Canucks as Crosby is nabbed for delay of game after he flipped the puck out of play from the defensive zone. Adams, Orpik, Michalek and Cooke take the ice.
4:50: Ehrhoff booms a one-timer from the right point. Fleury eats it up despite a screen.
4:36: Ehroff cranks aonther slapper from the right point. Despite another screen, Fleury punches it away.
4:18: And the Canucks see their opporunity slip away as Henrik Sedin holds up Cooke along the left wing boards in the Penguins' zone. Four on four for 1:15.
4:03: Burrows motors up the right wing, gains the offensvie zone and pumps a slapper on net. Fleury deflects it out of play.
3:03: The Crosby minor expires. The Penguins will have 45 seconds of power play time.
2:23: Crosby saucers a pass from the left wing across the slot to Kennedy sneaking in the back door. Kennedy has a clean look at the net but loses the puck.
1:56: Luongo is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:27: Kesler snaps off a high wrister from the right wing. Fleury snags it with his glove. He's been very sharp tonight. The Canucks call a time out to get organized.
0:51: Ehrhoff chops a one-timer from the top of the slot. It's wide to the left of the cage.
0:44: Malhotra has a chacne in the left circle but Orpik kneels down and blocks it.
0:20: Crosby gets loose in the neutral zone and lifts a backhander towards the open cage which deflects wide.
0:11: Edler slides down and blocks a backhander by Crosby in the crease.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3, Canucks 1.
-Well how about that. One of the best offenses - and one of the best power plays - comes to town. And the Penguins somewhat leaky defense pretty much shuts everything down. What a welcome surprise.
-Not to be a killjoy, but why can't the Penguins do this on a more consistent basis. Will they be able to bring this same intesity and team-wide committment to defense Friday in a ho-hum game against the Hurricanes?
-Back to not being a kill joy. The commitment the Penguins did get on defense was fantastic. In the third period alone, they blocked at least 15 shots or passes from a pretty efficient offense. And they made Fleury's life a lot easier by keeping the shooting lanes clear most of the night and preventing the likes of Kesler or Burrows to set up shop in front of the net.
-Fleury took what his defense game him and ran with hit. This was by far his best game of the season.
-Outside of Letang's brain cramp in the second, the Sedins were nearly invisible.
-What about the Penguins' penalty kill? It pretty much won the game by not only shutting down Vancouver's power play, which was ranked No. 2 in the NHL prior to tonight, but also producing a shorthanded game-winning goal by Talbot.
-Michalek responded in a big way after his mistake Monday. He was a huge part of this win tonight.
-Daniel Sedin had a pretty interesting comment after the game tonight:
"I think we need to play better than we did tonight. This is a team I think we should beat. They give up a lot of chances and we didn't capitalize. We need to be better. That's the bottom line."
-That was the same Daniel Sedin who biffed a pretty good scoring chance on a turnover by the Penguins midway through the second period.
-We talked to three Canucks in the locker room after the game and all three - Daniel Sedin, Kesler and Ballard - all pretty much put the blame on their team for the loss.
-When asked about the Penguins' defense, Kesler didn't acknowledge it and simply responded:
"We just beat ourselves up. We weren't good tonight. That's the bottom line."
-Ballard did offer some praise for Fleury:
"Part of it's him. Part of it was us. You got to give him credit for making all the saves that he did but at the same time, I don't think we made it hard enough on him. He's one of the best in the game. We have to get pucks on net and you have to get in front of him. A few screen shots and second and third opportuniites. I think kicked his rebounds out and the (defense) did a good job of letting him see it."
-Max Talbot continues to look more and more like the Max Talbot who is vital to this team, even if he's mostly "slumming" it up on the fourth line.
-The Canucks ended up with a 30-29 edge in shots.
-Michalek, Malkin and Crosby each led the game with four shots.
-Bieksa, Kesler, Samuelsson, Hendrik Sedin and Hansen each led the Canucks with three.
-Michalek led the game with 25:38 of ice time.
-Promote Ray Shero.
-Hamhuis led the Canucks with 25:13.
-Fire Ray Shero.
-The Canucks controlled faceoffs, 39-26 (60 percent).
-Malhotra was 11 for 17 (65 percent).
-Crosby was 16 for 29 (55 percent).
-Letang and Orpik each led the game with five blocked shots.
-Edler led the Canucks with four.
-Talbot (94 points) moved past Paul Baxter (94), Wally Boyer (94), Ulf Samuelsson (94) and Bob Woytowich (93) for 82nd place on the team's all-time scoring list.
-Orpik (84) moved past Milan Kraft (83) for 95th place.
-Cooke broke into the top 100 career scorers for the Penguins with 72 points. He has must as many as Darryl Edestrand, Kip Miller, Mark Taylor and Bryan Trottier, but his 32 goals put him ahead of all four.
-A late jersey submission. A Green St. Patrick's Day Blackhawks Marian Hossa jersey: