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Thrashers at Penguins - 12-02-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME


Greetings from a cold, cloudy overcast day in Pittsburgh. It's hovering right around freezing and we've had a few flurries on and off throughout the day. The T station at First Avenue:

-That's pretty darn hot:

-Matthew Barnaby still has a fan here:

-Consol Energy Center:

-The student rush line:

-The ice:

-EN contributor Pat Dougherty spotted a Simon Despres Saint John Seadogs jersey:

The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" is playing as fans enter the building:

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-Some jersey sightings. There's at least one Thrashers fan here:

-Jersey foul with Mario Lemieux, a hood and a new Winter Classic jersey:

-Jaromir Jagr:

-Two Petr Sykora jerseys (albeit one with a hood foul):

(As a result, we're predicting Mike Rupp, another former Devil who wear's No. 17, will score tonight.)

-Fans walking in off Centre Avenue:

-Tonight's giveaway is a scarf:

-Jersey foul here with the Patrick Kane Blackhawks:

-Brad Thiessen Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:

-Dear lord. Ramzi Flipping Abid:

-Pierre Larouche:

-Jacket foul:

-Mike Bullard:

-Two Zbynek Michalek jerseys:

-We're predicting a Michalek assist tonight.

-Even Janet Jackson wouldn't be impressed with this wardrobe malfunction. A Super Bowl XXXVIII jacket:

-Here's an all-timer. Rob Ramage Colorado Rockies:

-Based on the Rockies no longer existing (as an NHL franchise at least), this is not a jersey foul based on the defunct team asylum rule.

-Warm ups:

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Mike Comrie, Eric Godard and Ben Lovejoy.

-The Thrashers' starters are Niclas Bergfors, Andrew Ladd, Rich Peverly, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom and Ondrej Pavelec.

-Their scratches are Evander Kane, Fredrik Modin and Tim Stapleton. Kane is scratched due to a wonky knee. As a result, Freddy Meyer is in as a seventh defenseman.

-Jeff Jimerson blows the roof off this dump:

FIRST PERIOD

18:11: Ben Eager lifts a wrister from the right circle. Fleury is square to the shot and eats it up.

18:09: Off a faceoff, Arron Asham and Chris Thorburn lock up. They size each other for a fe moments then lock up in the right circle. They mostly wrestle but each player lands a few sizable shots on each other. Asham actually slips to one knee for a moment but recovers. A few more shots are fired before officials step in. A pretty solid bout between two pretty tough dudes. That was the third time those two have fought over their careers:

16:10: Dustin Byfuglien pounds a big slapper from the right point. Despite some traffic, Fleury is able to stop it with a "thud."

15:46: Conner zip up the right wing, makes a nice move to sneak by a check along the boards by Zach Bogosian and moves towards the

15:31: Ladd deals a pass from the right wing to the slot. Rich Peverly is there and taps the puck on net. Fleury is able to slide to his left and comes away with a really nice save.

15:19: Conner gets sprung on a bit of a breakaway. With pressure from the rear, he tries to sneak a forehand shot through Pavelec's five hole. Pavelec closes the gates and eats it up.

15:06: Malkin is nabbed for smacking Bogosian in the face with a pretty careless high stick. Brooks Orpik, Michalek, Matt Coke and Maxime Talbot take the ice.

13:45: Bogosian fires a slapper from the right point. Cooke kneels down and blocks it.

13:39: Johnny Oduya strikes a one-timer from above the right circle. It hits Anthony Stewart's stick then Fleury and bounces loose in the slot. Bryan Little has a little space and punches it into the cage. The Penguins gives up their first power play in 30 chances. Or since Caroline and the City was still on. One or the other. Stewart and Oduya get assists. Thrashers 1-0.

12:28: And the Penguins get it right back. Kunitz maneuvers his way through a few defenders on the right wing and from the right circle, he deals a cross ice pass to Crosby just to the left of the cage. Crosby fumbles the pass a bit but as Pavelec dives to his left, Crosby is able to get juuuust enough of the puck on a shot which flutters over Pavelec's stick. One streak is still alive. Crosby now has points in 14 consecutive games. Kunitz and Goligoski get assists. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1.

11:30: Talbot chases down a dump in down in Atlanta's zone and swats the puck on net. Pavelec boots it out.

9:14: After Mark Letestu recovers a loose puck down low, he deals it back to Letang at the right point. Letang strikes a half slapper wide on the near side.

6:54: As Letang circle away from his own blue line with the puck, Ladd trips him up with his stick. that's two minutes. Malkin, Kunitz, Crosby, Letang and Martin take the ice.

5:31: After the Penguins put on a needless passing display, Letang strikes a one-timer from above the left circle which hits a body in front.

4:54: Just as the Ladd minor expires, Michalek drives a slapper from the right point. Pavelec gets a piece of it despite a body in front.

3:05: Michalek flings a wrister from the right point. Pavelec gloves it. A small scrum develops. No penalites.

1:33: Goligoski pumps a slapper from the left point. Pavelec appears to get a piece of it.

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

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a pretty even 20 minutes. Neither team really dominated play for any significant stretch of time.

-Both goaltenders have been sharp.

-The third line of Conner, Letestu and Kennedy was a terror down low below Atlanta's goal.

-The Penguins have a 10-8 lead in shots.

-Letang leads the game with 7:58 of ice time.

-Enstrom leads the Thrashers with 7:38.

-The Penguins control faceoffs, 11-6 (65 percent).

-Crosby is 6 for 8 (75 percent).

-Jim Slater is 2 for 2 (100 percent).

-Brent Sopel leads the game with two blocked shots.

-Scoring change on the Crosby goal. Deryk Engelland got the second assist instead of Goligoski.

SECOND PERIOD

19:01: Letang steps up and hammers a one-timer from the right point. Pavelec makes the save. The rebound hops up to the left wing corner.

17:33: Enstrom steps up and blasts a loose puck on the right wing wall to the far side. Fleury snags it with a nice glove save.

15:36: That wasn't even fair. Asham blocks a shot in the Penguinz' zone. He moves it up to the neutral zone where Crosby is off on a breakaway. Crosby pretty much has 42 acres of ice to move in on Pavelec. He approaches the net and coolly slides a backhander under Pavelec. Asham and Kunitz get assists. How did Kunitz get an assist there? The "Woo Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2-1.

11:25: After a stagnant four minutes, Martin makes a nifty play at the blue line to keep a dump in attempt onsides and chips a wrister on net. Pavelec punches it away with his blocker.

10:27: Attendances is announced as 18,223. It is the team's 180th consecutive sellout.

9:42: What a play by Brooks Orpik. He controls a puck at the right point. he winds up to take a shot but hesitates. He surveys the situation and drives a slapper juuuust wide on the near side. Crosby is there and re-directs it over Pavelec's blocker with the backhand of his stick blade. Wow! We're only halfway through the game and he already has a hat trick? Yeesh. Orpik make that play. After some hesitation, fans litter the ice with hats:

-Orpik and Letang get assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3-1.

8:18: Letang rips a wrister from the right circle on the near side.

7:01: Michalek booms a slapper on net from the right point. Pavelec eats it up.

4:42: The Thrashers get a chances to get back into the game as Letang hauls down Alexander Burmistrov along the left wing boards in the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes for holding. Orpik, Michalek, Adams and Dupuis take the ice.

3:44: Things get evened up as Enstrom hooks up Talbot in the right wing corner in the Atlanta zone. We'll have 1:02 of four-on-four.

3:04: Tyler Kennedy guns a shot off the right wing. Pavelec fends it off.

2:42: The Letang minor expires. The Penguins will have 58 seconds of power play time.

1:26: And The Thrashers aren't going away. After Malkin makes a pretty brutal turnover behind his own net, Nik Antropov and Niclas Bergfors have a nifty little give and go play down low which results in Antropov ripping a wrister from the slot by the blocker of Fleury. Terrible play by Malkin. Bergfors, a true Penguin-killer, gets the only assist. Malkin could claim one. Penguins 3-2.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Thrashers 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION


-More of the same that period. Pretty even play for each team. A few mistakes led to goals.

-Sidney Crosby is tuned in right now.

-Don't disregard this Thrashers team. They have the offense to reclaim the lead.

-Both goaltenders have been solid.

-The Penguins have a 20-17 lead in shots.

-Kennedy and Crosby each lead the game with four shots.

-Byfuglien leads the Thrashers with three.

-Enstrom leads the game with 16:22 of ice time.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 15:08.

-The Penguins control faceoffs, 24-14 (63 percent).

-Crosby is 9 for 13 (69 percent).

-Slater is 4 for 7 (57 percent).

-Martin leads the game with three blocked shots.

-No one for the Thrashers has more than two.

-An anonymous EN reard spotted a few jersey fouls:

(Wrong sport and with a hood. Yeesh.)

-And Andy Bathgate wouldn't like this:

-Scoring change. Kunitz's mystery assist on Crosby's second goal has disappeared on the scoring sheet.

-Also, Crosby's hat trick is the first natural hat trick of his career.

THIRD PERIOD

17:57: Conner blocks a slapper by Brent Sopel at the right point.

16:49: Asham guns a slapper on net from the right wing. Pavelec boots it away.

16:22: Fleury fends off a slapper by Bergfors.

14:44: After Malkin's best shift of the season, he forces a turnover deep in Atlanta's zone and feeds a pass to Talbot in the slot. Talbot blasts a one-timer on net. Pavelec fends it off.

13:10: Slater risp a wrister from the right circle wide on the near side.

12:29: Eric Boulton gains the offensive zone on the right wing, pulls up at the half wall and puts a slapper on net. Fleury kicks out his right foot and boots it out.

7:33: After another stagnant five minutes, Michalek snaps off a weak wrister from the right point. It hits a body in front.

6:55: Byfuglien glides around the back of the net, emerges on the left wing and deals a pass back to Enstrom at the right point. Enstrom tees off on a one-timer. Fleury is in perfect position and eats it up.

5:11: Bogosian is a little lazy on a dump in attempt by the Penguins and doesn't happen to notice Crosby flying in off the right wing. Crosby gets to the puck first and quick smacks the puck off the side of the cage.

3:50: After some solid cylcing down low by the third line, Letestu guns a one-timer from the right circle high.

3:13: Goligoski rips a wrister from the right point. Pavelec fights it off despite traffic.

1:32: Ladd gets behind Letang with some speed on the left wing and from a tough angle, he rips a low wrister on net. Fleury boots it out.

1:21: In transition, Letang puts a wrister on net from above the left circle. Pavelec gloves it. The Thrashers call a time out to get organized.

1:10: Just as Pavelec leaves the net, Peverly gains the offensive zone and rips a heavy wrister from the slot. It handcuffs Fleury a bit. He knocks it downa nd okes it away with his stick.

0:28: Byfuglien puts a wrister on net from the right wing. Fleury covers to freeze play.

0:11: Peverly has a wrister from the right wing blocked.

0:03: Peverly wins the faceoffs.  Enstrom gets it at the right point and moves it to Byfuglien on the left point. Byfuglien has his stick cocked for a one-timer. Talbot chases after it but stumbles. He essentially falls face first torwars the blast by Byfuglien and blocks a piece of it. That took some serious guts.

0:00: End of game. Penguin 3, Thrashers 2.

POSTGAME


-What a weird game. You would have five or six minutes of kind of bland, stagnant play then BOOM! Sidney Crosby would get  hat trick. For a game featuring two hot teams with solid offenses, play really got bogged down at times.

-Sidney Crosby will get all the attention for this game, but we think the defense deserved a ton of credit. Granted, Evander Kane, one of Atlanta's best forwards was out, but the Penguins really did a wonderful job defensively of limited the Thrashers scoring chances, especially down low. Most of Atlanta's shots came from the perimeter. The Thrashers barely had a sniff down low.

-Ever since the game against the Hurricanes at Consol Energy Center nearly two weeks ago when they allowed Jussi Jokinen to score late and send the game to overtime, the Penguins' defense has secured the last six consecutive wins, five of which, were one-goal games.

-Back to Crosby. He is pretty dang good. He's not just on a hot streak. He's simply the best player in the world right now.

-Each goaltender was tough tonight in our book. Fleury wasn't challenged too often, but he didn't make too many mistkes.  Pavelec kept his team in the game just when things appeared to get out of hand off Crosby's third goal.

-The most bizarre aspect of this winning streak the Penguins are on is the play of Evgeni Malkin. He's creating chances. He just can't finish.

-Malkin only registered 16:26 of ice time. Dan Bylsma mentioned he was playing though some sort of ailment tonight.

-The third line of Conner, Letestu and Kennedy continued to make things happen. They don't have a ton of scoring ability, but they can create quite a bit with their speed.

-The Penguins led in shots, 28-22.

-Crosby and Letang each led the game with five shots.

-Byfuglien led the Thrashers with three.

-Enstrom led the game with 25:56 of ice time.

-Michalek led the Penguins with 23:15.

-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 28-24 (54 percent).

-Talbot was 5 for 7 (71 percent).

-Slater was 4 for 7 (57 percent).

-Martin led the game with three blocked shots.

-Enstrom led the Thrashers with two.

-After never recording a hat trick against the Thrashers in the first 10 years of that franchise's history, the Penguins have now gotten two in the span of a month. Malkin had three goals in the previous meeting between these two teams, Nov. 13.

-Crosby's hat trick was the seventh of his career. Only Mario Lemieux (40), Kevin Stevens, (10), Jaromir Jagr (9) and Alex Kovalev (8) have more in franchise history.

-Also lost in all of this is the fact that Crosby recorded his 550th career point.

-Bergfors now has 10 points in eight career games against the Penguins.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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