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Penguins at Sabres - 12-12-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

-NOTE: There is a live free video stream of tonight's game available on Yahoo.

PREGAME

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-Hey, guess where we are:

-No, not quite.

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland, Eric Godard and Evgeni Malkin.

-We understand they idea of getting Ben Lovejoy. He hasn't played for a while and you want to keep him somewhat fresh. And the Sabres have a ton of speed up front so Lovejoy's skating can help out there.

-We just don't like it. Don't mess with what's working. Keep Engelland in we say.

-The Sabres starters are Nathan Gerbe, Derek Roy, Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers, Andrej Sekera and Ryan Miller.

-Their scratches are Craig Rivet, Drew Stafford and Shaone Morrisonn.

-FSN Pittsburgh provides your lines and defensive pairings:

FIRST PERIOD

19:49: The Penguins get an early power play as Andrej Sekera trips up Pascal Dupuis in the neutral zone. Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Mark Letestu, Paul Martin and Kris Letang take the ice.

19:19: Jordan Leopold used to be a Penguin:

x1.

17:49: The Sekera minor is killed. Not much going on there for the Penguins.

???:  FSN Pittsburgh's game clock goes dark. Steve Montador jabs a quick wrister from the right point. Despite a screen by Patrick Kaleta, Fleury nabs it.

17:10ish: Mike Weber is from Mars, Pa. :

x1

16:18: Montador snaps off a wrister from deep on the right wing. Fleury fends it off despite a screen by Vanek.

15:27: With the Sabres scrambling around the Penguins' net, Fleury robs Mike Grier on a re-direct from the slot with his left foot. What a save. The Sabres are controlling play early.

15:18: Jochen Hecht is denied in tight by Fleury. Another tough save.

15:06: Off a three-on-two rush, Conner deals a pass from the left wing to the slot. Tyler Kennedy takes the pass and rips a wrister from the slot. It rings off the cross bar.

13:19: Welcome back to the NHL Dustin Jeffrey. Lovejoyis in deep on the right wing, As Montador skates out to defend him, Lovejoy flicks a feed to the slot. Jeffrey just goes to the crease and re-directs the puck by the blocker of Miller on the far side. Officials review the play. Replays appear to show Jeffrey flicking his foot but not really kicking it. The officials confirm the call on the ice. Lovejoy and Craig Adams get assists. Like we said, Lovejoy had to be in the lineup. Penguins 1-0.

11:32: Alex Goligoski cracks a slapper from the left point into a cluster of bodies. Letestu is there for the rebound and appears to hit the side of the cage.

11:07: Weber is from Mars/Pittsburgh:

x2

10:29: And the Penguins are off and running. Roy makes a poor turnover in his own zone along the right wing boards. Maxime Talbot says "merci" and deals to Arron Asham on the right half wall. Asham cranks a one-timer to the far side by Miller's blocker which clunks off the far post and deflects into the cage. What a shot. Talbot gets the only assist. Roy could make a case for one. Penguins 2-0.

9:07: Lovejoy is nabbed for hooking Cody McCormick. That Lovejoy bum shouldn't be playing. Adams, Matt Cooke, Zbynek Michalek and Brooks Orpik take the ice.

8:22: Cooke blocks a slapper by Tyler Myers from the right point.

7:07: Lovejoy's minor is killed. Nothing going on there for the Sabres.

6:53: With speed, Kunitz snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Miller fends it off.

5:29: Jeffrey snaps off a wrister from above the right circle. Miller makes the easy save.

5:15: Adams takes out Vanek along the left wing boards with a low hit. It looked like he stuck his left knee in to the back of Vanek's right knee. That's dangerous. Montador takes exception and jumps Adams. Officials step in and send Adams to the penalty box for tripping. Michalek, Orpik, Talbot and Cooke take the ice.

4:50: Roy swats a one-timer from the right point. Fleury knocks it down and covers.

4:37: Tough spot here for the Penguins. Jason Pominville has a chance in the right circle but loses the puck after Dupuis hooks up. That's two minutes. The Penguisn will have 1: 22 of a two-man advantage to kill. Yeesh. Talbot, Cooke and Orpik take the ice.

4:11: And the Sabres cash in. Ennis walks in from the right cirlce and pushes the puck under his pads. Fleury loses control of it. Ennis regains it and lifts it by Fleury's glove hand. As the goal horn goes off. Paul Gaustad and Orpik exchange blows. A major scrum breaks out. Pominville appears to have Cooke in position for a DDT. Cooke struggles out of his and drops the gloves. Both players mostly wrestle around. Cooke and Pominville each retreat to their locker rooms after taking fighting majors. Gaustad and Orpik get roughing minors. The Sabres still have 1:46 of power play time. Talbot, Adams, Michalek and Martin take the ice. Penguins 2-1.

2:37: The Dupuis minor is killed. Back to five on five.

1:32: Kunitz rips a wrister from the right circle which appears to get deflected wide on the far side.

0:58: Bob Errey wonders aloud if Mario Lemieux has ever consumed coconut water:

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Sabres 1.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a pretty good period all things considered for the Penguins. Though discipline was an issue. If they eliminate a penalty or two, they still have a shutout.

-So far so good for Jeffrey. He has kept things simple. He got his goal by simply going to the net. And he had another scoring chance when he simply shot the puck. Unlike some of his teammates, Jeffrey doesn't force passes. He shoots.

-Lovejoy has been solid in his return as well.

-Nice to see the second line finally get something on the board.

-No points for Crosby yet? He's terrible.

-The Sabres have a 14-8 lead in shots.

-Grier leads the game with four.

-Asham, Kunitz and Jeffrey each lead the Penguins with two.

-Michalek leads the game with 8:18 of ice time.

-Roy is right behind him with 8:10.

-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 16-7 (70 percent).

-Talbot was 6 for 8 (75 percent).

-McCormick and Pominville are each 1 for 2 (50 percent).

-Michalek leads the game with two blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

19:38: Crosby pushes a backhander on net from the slot. Despite traffic, Miller boots it out.

18:44: Vanek and Roy have something of a two-on-one set up. Michalek appears to stretch out and interferes with Roy's pass just enough that Vanek can't get a clean shot off.

17:55: Fleury slides to his left and denies a sweeping wrister by Ennis from point-blank range.

16:30: Kennedy is on with Adams and Jeffrey.

16:09: Kennedy rips a wrister from the right circle to the far side. Miller kicks out his right leg and fends off the puck.

15:08: Gaustad tees up a slapper from the right circle. Fleury steers it to the near corner.

14:05: Letestu snaps off a shot from the right circle. It hits a Sabres defender and hops in the slot. Chris Conner jumps on it and chops the puck over the cage.

13:46: Fleury knocks over Roy in the crease.  Roy is on the ice as Letang pops him in the head a few times. Roy gets out of Dodge as an official blows a whistle. Butler wrestles away from Orpik and takes a shot at Letang. Letang punches back. After all that, Fleury is nabbed for cross checking. Kennedy will serve the minor. Michalek, Orpik, Talbot and Cooke take the ice.

13:04: Ennis deals a pass off the left wing to Luke Adam sitting all alone in the right circle. Adams winds up and biffs on the shot badly blowing it waaayyy high of the cage. Even Scott Norwood thought that was ugly.

11:46: The Fleury minior expires. Not much going on there for Buffalo.

10:39: Off a three-on-two rush, Montador rips a wrister into the backside of Michalek.

10:31: At the end of a shift, Crosby breaks loose on a breakaway. He moves in on net and lifts a backhander waaaaayyyy high of the cage. Scott Norwood  gets his revenge:

10:26: Montador is nabbed for slashing Crosby. Goligoski, Letestu, Conner, Kennedy and Jeffrey take the ice.

9:43: Crosby tosses a wrister from the right point. Letestu is there in the slot and appears to deflect it a bit. The puck clanks off the near post.

9:30: Jeffrey steps up and hammers a loose puck with a slapper form the slot. It's wide to the right of the cage.

8:47: Crosby sneaks in off the right wing and snaps off a low wrister from the circle. Miller knocks it dead and covers.

8:26: The Montador minor is killed. That was probably the Penguins' best effort with the power play all night.

8:13: Crosby and Weber get mixed up on the left wing boards in the Sabres' zone. Kunitz comes in and puts a Legion of Doom-esque Doomsday Device on Weber. Weber gets a double minor for roughing. Crosby gets a single minor for roughing. The Penguins get another power play. Martin, Letang, Letestu, Dupuis and Kunitz take the ice. How about that for a first power play unit? And Weber is from Pittsburgh/Mars:

x3

6:51: Montador blocks a one-timer by Kennedy from the left wing.

6:13: The Penguins' power play expires. That power play needed Dr. Cyril Wecht to examine it:

4:45: Orpik rattles Gerbe behind the Penguins' net.

4:31: We're in full Therrien Bingo Ball Line changer mode as Crosby skates with Adams and Cooke:

2:46: Marc Mancari snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Fleury knocks it away with his stick blade.

1:40: Crosby is back with Dupuis and Kunitz.

0:58: Sekera tries to gain the offensive zone on the left wing. Brooks Orpik smashes and dumps him along the boards for his troubles. Oof.

0:00: End of period. As the teams retreat to their locker room, several of the Penguins' players give Weber grief. Penguins 2, Sabres 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-That second period was pretty bland. The first five minutes was pretty good. Lots of up and down skating. Then Fleury took that penalty and things really boooggggeeddddd down.

-The physical tone of this game is kind of surprising The Sabres aren't exactly renown for the rough stuff. And with Godard and Engelland out of the lineup, the Penguins toned down their toughness quotient seemingly.

-According to Errey and Steigerwald, the Penguins paid quite a bit of attention to Weber after his run in with Crosby. Are we the only ones who thing they should focus more on defending or increasing the lead instead of worrying about a No. 5 defenseman?

-The power play has been pretty bad all night.

-Both goaltenders have had their moments.

-The Sabres are dominating shots, 26-13.

-Grier leads the game with five.

-Kunitz, Jeffrey, Asham, Kennedy and Crosby each lead the Penguins with two.

-The Penguins control faceoffs, 24-10 (69 percent).

-Talbot is 9 for 11 (82 percent).

-Hecht is 4 for 9 (44 percent).

-Michalek and Montador each lead the game with three blocked shots.

-And...

x4

-We're pretty sure we heard a "Brooks Orpik is from Amherst, N.Y." as well:

x1

THIRD PERIOD

19:41: Myers has Crosby lined up in the neutral zone but Crosby is able to adjust at the last minute and juuuuust misses the "meat" of the hit. That could've been ugly.

19:36: Orpik loses his cool and smacks McCormick from behind in front of the scorers' booth. That's two minutes. Talbot, Coooke, Michalek and Martin take the ice.

18:29: Adams and Dupuis have a chance on a two-on-one. As a defender catches up to the play, Adams pushes a little wrister on net. Miller turns it away.

17:58: Talbot controls the puck on the left wing boards in the Sabres zone. As Talbot slips down, Pominville strikes his right leg into Talbot's left shoulder and Talbot crashes head-first into the boards. Talbot is on the ice in a daze. Play is halted as Talbot eventually recovers to his feet and returns to the bench. That was scary for a moment. No penalties. Not sure about that non-call.

17:36: The Orpik minor is killed. Not much of a threat from the Sabres on that.

17:08: Dupuis knocks Kaleta into the Penguins' net and dislodges it.

16:31: Myers lifts a half-slapper from above the right circle. Fleury eats it up with ease.

16:16: Pominville tries to sneak a cross-crease pass to Roy but Michalek slides down and breaks it up. Big play.

15:59: Miller denies a slapper by conner from the right circle then turns away Kennedy on the rebound.

14:39: As Mancari is denied in tight by Fleury, Rupp tries to get Weber to drop the gloves. Weber turns him down as a few players and officials drag Rupp away.

13:25: Kennedy strikes a slapper from the right circle well high on the near side.

13:11: The Penguins get a chance to add an insurance goal as Vanek is sent off for high sticking Michalek. Martin, Letestu, Kunitz, Crosby and Letang take the ice.

11:11: The Vanek minor is expired. That was a really weak effort by the Penguins. They could barely maintain possession of the puck in the offensive zone.

10:55: A wrister by Lovejoy from the right point is wide on the near side.

8:58: Letang loses his discpline and slashes Gerbe away from the puck in the left circle in the Penguins' zone. The official immediately puts his hand up. That was stupid. Things like that are what separates Letang from a true Norris Trophy winner like Nicklas Lidstrom. Both palyers end up getting slashing minors. Four-on-four.

8:02: Leopold chips a clunky wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury

7:51: Goligoski sneaks in deep on the left wing and snaps off a wrister from the right circle. It hits the stick of Myers then appears to deflect off Dupuis or Leopold. The goal is awarded to Goligoski for the moment. Crosby and Dupuis get assists. Crosby's scoring streak moves to 18 games. The Penguins have a cushion. Penguins 3-1.

7:00: Well there went that cushion. Pominville gains the offensive zone on the left wing. Michalek scrunches down for a block and ends up screening Fleury as Pominville golfs a slapper on net. Fleury makes the inital save but loses track of the rebound. The puck trickles loose int eh slot. Pominville gets by Michalek, recovers the rebound and hops it over the stick of a stretched out Fleury. That was kind of ugly for anyone wearing a white jersey there. Great effort by Pominville. Myers and Sekera get assists. Penguins 3-2.

5:42: A shot from the right wing by Lovejoy is deflected on net. Miller covers.

4:51: Roy tips the puck up the left wing. He tries to pursue it but Michalek holds him up and even sticks a glove in his face as Roy falls down. No call. That probably should have been interference.

3:17: And Mike Rupp may have just sealed this win. Jeffrey controls the puck down low in the left wing in the corner. Rupp is standing in the crease mostly unaccounted for. He taps his stick for a pass. Jeffrey whips it towards the slot. Rupp pushes it on net. Miller denies him at first but can't stop Rupp's second chance on the rebound.  Myers and Montador are 42 minutes late on the play. Jeffrey gets the only assist. Its his first career two-point game. Penguins 4-2.

1:26: Roy has a chance in tight but Fleury holds it out. The Sabres call a time out to get organized. Miller is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:51: Vanek, the Sabres' most expensive player, fans on a prime scoring chance in the left circle on a one-timer. He has to bury that.

0:42: Cooke air mails a puck from the left wing wall in neutral zone towards teh empty cage for one of us:

Adams gets the only assist. Penguins 5-2.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 5, Sabres 2.

POSTGAME


This may have been the most impressive game of the Penguins' 12-game winning streak. Crosby was held in check for the most part. And the the game took on a slightly bizarre physical tone which bogged things down. Yet, the Penguins found a way to get contributions from all over the lineup tonight in order to get No. 12.

-Dustin Jeffrey gets called up and is stuck way down on the fourth line. So of course he records his first career two-point game.

-Marc-Andre Fleury faced one of the heaviest workloads he's faced in weeks and he responds with a solid effort.

-The second line has failed to produce with Malkin out of the lineup for three games but it cashes in with two goals tonight.

-Lovejoy plays for on the third time in the span of a month but comes through with a solid effort as well.

-This isn't just Sidney Crosby. This is a team effort. And that what propelled the Penguins to another win tonight.

-Goligoski recorded his fourth-game winner of the season. He has tied the team record for game-winning goals by a defensemen in a season. He now shares it with Larry Murphy (1993-94), Brad Werenka (1998-99) and Michal Rozsival (2001-02).

-We could see Murphy and Rozsival given the skill-set they possessed, but Werenka? That's a head scratcher.

-Dustin Jeffrey showed he belongs at this level for one night at least. He slummed it up on the fourth line and found a way to get two important points. His goal gave the Penguins an early lead and his assist to Rupp all but secured the win.

-Up until that poor play on Pominville's goal, we thought Michalek played a heck of a game. He was blocking shots by accident almost and even broke up a nice scoring chance between Pominville and Roy late.

-The physical play by both teams was kind of strange. The Sabres aren't all that physical to begin with and the Penguins benched Engelland and Godard. Yet things still got nasty.

-The score doesn't make this game look very competitive. But the Sabres actually played pretty well. They generated more than a few chances. They just couldnt' finishe.

-The Sabres dominated shots, 36-24.

-Grier and Ennis each led the game with five shots.

-Asham, Kennedy and Crosby each led the Penguins with three.

-Myers led the games with 25:10 of ice time.

-Letang led the Penguins with 24:10.

-The Penguins dominated faceoffs, 36-19 (65 percent).

-Talbot was 11 for 14 (79 percent).

-Crosby was 11 for 18 (61 percent).

-Hecht was 5 for 11 (45 percent).

-Michalek led the game with four blocked shots.

-Montador led the Sabres with three.

-Cooke moved past Greg Hotham for 99th place on the team's career scoring list. Each player has 74 points but Cooke (33) has more goals than Hotham (11).

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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