-Greetings from chilly and slightly snowy Pittsburgh. It's in the mid 20s and we have a few flurries. No pregame walk up from downtown on account of us being late. The Civic Arena:
-The current barn:
-The elevators in the Penguins' lobby are ready for the Winter Classic:
-The Beatles' "Get Back" greets fans walking into the building:
-Some jersey sightings. Gary Roberts:
-Maxime Talbot Gatineau Olympiques:
-A few Coyotes fans. Shane Doan and Wojtek Wolski:
-This stings. Markus Naslund with a hood foul:
-This gentleman did not in fact, have an Alek Stojanov jersey.
-The Czech Republic is well represented here tonight. Two Jaromir Jagr fans:
-As a result of all this Czech support, we're predicting a Zbynek Michalek assist to night.
-Disappointing Slovakian wingers are represented well here as well. Zigmund Palffy:
-And Miroslav Satan:
-You don't see nearly enough Marc-Andre Fleury Team Canada jerseys:
-Mike Rupp (we assume):
-Coyotes coach Ulf Samuelsson still has at least one fan here:
-Ugh... Chris Wells:
-The third line of Chris Conner, Mark Letestu and Tyler Kennedy has support:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Eric Godard and Ben Lovejoy.
-The Coyotes' starters are Martin Hanzal, Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney, Derek Morris, Keith Yandle and Jason LaBarbera.
-Their scratches ar Paul Bissonnette, Sami Lepisto and David Schlemko.
-Jeff Jimerson isn't messing around:
19:43: A wrister by Crosby is denied by LaBarbera.
17:38: Whitney coasts up the right wing on a two-on-one with Vrbata against Michalek. As Michalek flops down to take away the shot, Whitney flicks a wrister off the side of the cage.
17:02: Rupp barges in off the right wing and flicks a backhander on net from in tight. LaBarbera fends it off.
15:26: Taylor Pyatt moves the puck up the right wing, cuts across the neutral and gains offensive zone on the left wing, dekes Kris Letang out of his jock strap and releases a wrister wide to the far side.
14:28: A wrister by Kennedy from the right wing is kicked out by LaBarbera.
14:06: Off a faceoff in the Coyote's zone, Nolan Yonkman is nabbed for tripping xxx. Crosby, Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Martin and Letang take the ice.
13:15: Martin chops a slapper from the right point. It hits Pyatt's stick and deflects in on net. LaBarbera knocks it dead and covers to freeze play.
13:04: And the power play is clicking early. Letang controls the puck at the right point. He backpedals and rotates to the slot. He windes up, pulls down then unleashes a slapper which clips the stick of Hanzal and juuuust sneaks by the glove hand arm of LaBarbera. Kennedy had a wonderful screen set up on LaBarbera. Kennedy and Malkin get assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 1-0.
12:15: Fleury fumbles a puck just inside the "no-play" zone. He's nabbed for delay of game. Malkin will serve the minor. Maxime Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Brooks Orpik and Michalek will serve the minor.
11:59: Fleury denies Hanzal and Whitney each in tight on a scramble.
11:07: From the left point, Ed Jovnanovski deals a pass to Yandle at the right point. Yandle unleashes a one-timer which Fleury gets a piece of despite traffic.
10:40: Oliver Ekman-Larsson cracks a slapper on net from above the left circle. Fleury boots it away with his left foot.
10:13: As Fleury's minor expires, he denies Vernon Fiddler in tight. The Coyotes generated a couple of quality chances there.
9:45: The Penguins go right back on the penalty kills as Kunitz is nabbed for high sticking Scottie Upshall. Craig Adams, Orpik, Michalek and Dupuis take the ice.
9:31: Yandle uncorks another one-timer from the right point. Hanzal is in front on a screen and deflects it wide.
8:19: Dupuis gains the offensive zone from the right wing and whips a pedestrian wrister on net. LaBarbera fends it off easily.
7:45: The Kunitz minor expires. The Coyotes looked less impressive.
7:07: The Michel Therrien Memorial Bingo Ball Roller/Line Changer is in full effect as Malkin is on with Rupp and Crosby. Crosby is denied on a wrister from the right wing by LaBarbera.
6:40: Crosby blasts a slapper from the right wing. LaBarbera punches it away with his blocker.
5:14: Eckman-Larsson sneaks in from the left point and releases a wrister from the faceoff circle. It sails wide on the far side.
4:28: Letang flicks the puck from below his goal line up into the netting. Kind of a sloppy play. That's two minute for delay of game. Martin, Michalek, Talbot and Matt Cooke take the ice.
2:50: Dupuis battles Jovanovski for the puck along the left wing wall in the Penguins' zone and backhand chops it down ice to kill time.
2:06: Jovanovski controls the puck at the left point. He shows shot but then deal a cross ice pass across the slot to Fiddler streaking in off the right wing. Fleury gets a piece of it with his right leg.
1:55: Crosby zips up the left wing on-on-one with Upshall. He gets behind Upshall and seemingly has a clean shot but Upshall is able to recover with a really nice poke check which knocks the puck away.
1:20: Another penalty for the Penguins. They need more discipline. Alex Goligoski is nabbed for tripping Doan. Talbot, Cooke, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
0:52: Hanzal re-directs a shot/pass by Doan from the top of the slot. Fleury fends it off with his right leg despite traffic.
0:36: Doan is sent off for interference against Talbot. He kinds of rushes at Talbot after the play but officials hold him at bay. Four-on-four for 1:16.
0:34: Oh wow! Crosby and Fiddler line up for the faceoff in the left circle in Phoenix's zone. Fiddler, a really good faceoff specialist, jumps the gun and is chased out by the official. He's replaced by Stempniak. Crosby just abuses Stempniak. He tips the puck by Stempniak then jumps behind him. Crosby then immediately deals a pass to Malkin in tehs lot. Malkin kneels down and cranks a quick one-timer by LaBabera on the glove side. LaBarbera had no prayer on that one. Fiddler being chased was huge on that play. No way that happens with him taking the draw. Crosby gets the only assist. He now has a 21-game scoring streak. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Coyotes 0.
-What a weird, clunky, but successful start for the Penguins. They go on the penalty kill four times yet have a 2-0 lead.
-Crosby and Malkin are playing like their tuned in. They could do some damage tonight.
-Special teams have been key obviously. The Penguins cashed in on their only power play while turning away all four Phoenix man-advantages.
-Letang has had an up and down game so far. He looked awesome on his goal but had a few mistakes which led to scoring chances for Phoenix. He needs to find a balance.
-The Coyotes have a 16-14 lead in shots.
-Crosby, who didn't have a shot in either of his last two games, leads this game with three.
-Vrbata, Ekman-Larsson, Fiddler and Wolski each lead the Coyotes with two.
-Yandle, who played a heck of a period, leads the game with 10:37 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 8:20.
-The Coyotes have a 12-10 edge in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Fiddler is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Crosby is 7 for 13 (54 percent).
-Jovanovski leads the game with two blocked shots.
20:00: We'll have 40 seconds of four on four.
19:20: The Goligoski minor is killed. The Penguins will have 44 seconds of power play time.
19:09: What a complete foul up. Yandle controls the puck beldow his glaoline. He wind up showing a clearing attempt. For some reason, he pulls up and skates behind his net. As Crosby gives chase, he slips and loses the puck. Crosby takes it off him and deals to Malkin. Malkin immediately releases a wrister from the right circle which burns a helpless LaBarbera to the far side by his blocker. Ick. That was ridiculously bad by Yandle. It's a power play goal. Crosby gets the only assist. Yandle should get three assists for that. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3-0.
18:06: Things just keep getting worse for the Coyotes as Wolski is called for holding Letang. Letang, Martin, Malkin, Crosby and Kunitz tak the ice.
17:47: Malkin uncorks a one-timer fro above the right circle. LaBarbera knocks it down and covers to freeze it.
17:30: Malkin has a shot from down low along the goal line on the right wing denied.
17:10: That was just stick. Malkin controls the puck in the right wing corner. He looks up, spots Crosby and deals to the Penguisn captain approaching in the right circle. Crosty takes the pass and lifts a wrister from the faceoff dot which toasts LaBarbera's glove hand. Yikes. That thing had a vapor trail. Malkin and Letang get assists. When's the last time they had three power play goals? The "Woo-Hoo!" song double shifts. Penguins 4-0.
14:19: Crosby is still hungry. He flies up the right wing and lifts a wrister on LaBarbera who fights it off.
12:59: Letestu gets loose on the right wing and cranks a slapper which LaBarbera fends off.
12:39: And this just keep getting worse. Malkin wins a faceoff in the left faceoff circle in Phoenix's zone. Talbot taps it to Cooke. Cooke immediately jabs a wrist shot which hits Talbot. Cooke gets it back and snaps off a wrister by LaBarbera's glove hand. That sends LaBarbera to the showers in place of Matt Climie. Talbot and Cooke get assists. Malkin has five points. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is logging some serious minutes. Penguins 5-0.
10:57: Attendance is announced as 18,262. It is the team's 184th consecutive sellout.
9:30: EN co-worker Shelly Anderson tells us Malkin has matches a career-high for points in a game.
9:11: Letestu snaps off a wrister from teh slot off a nice breakout pass by Goligoski. Climie makes the save.
8:04: Chris Conner works a serious cycle in the right wing corner and deals a forehand pass to Malkin in the slot. Malkin immediately whips a wrister wide.
7:45: With an icing call, Coyotes coach Dave Tippett calls a timeout to give his befuddled squad a chance to get organized.
7:32: "GEEE-NOOO! GEEEE-NOOOO!" chances start
7:19: Malkin snaps off a wrister from the slow which Yonkman deflects out of play.
7:01: The Penguins are up 5-0. Despite that, Crosby is still flying in on a forecheck and deflects a puck out of play on a pass.
6:35: And the Penguins go to the box again. as Rupp is called for hooking Stempniak. That was kind of ticky tack, but at this point, what does it matter. Michalek, Talbot, Orpik and Cooke take the ice.
6:03: Cooke chips the puck down ice into the right wing corner in Phoenix's zone to kill some time. He races Yandle for possession and ends up sticking his right elbow in to Yandle's left ear. It's two minutes for roughing. How is that not an elbowing minor or even a major? Either way, it's a stupid penalty for Cooke to take. The Coyotes will have 1:28 of a two-man advantage. Orpik, Micihalek and Adams take the ice.
5:22: The Penguins are nabbed again. Orpiks is called for hooking Yandle. Bylsma screams at the official. The Coyotes will still have a five on-three for at least 232 hours. Or something. Adams, Markain and Michalek take the ice.
4:26: Yandle cranks a slapper from the right point. It hits a body and deflects to the left. Whitney has a chance on ther ebound but biffs on the shot.
4:03: Rupp is sprung from the penalty box. The Coyotes still have 1:18 of power play time with a one-man advantage.
2:48: Michalek whips the puck down ice for a big clear.
2:35: What a way to puncuate this game for the Coyotes. The Penguins kill off all the penalties. The Coyote barely had aa sniff at the net despite 242 minutes of a two-man advantage. Give or take. What a failure.
1:26: Engelland snaps off a wrister from the right point. Climie boots it out.
0:48: Kennedy cranks a slapper from the right wing. Climie rejects it with his right leg.
0:00: End of period. Penguins fans offer the team a standing ovation. Penguins 5, Coyotes 0.
-Well... this is pretty one-sided. The Penguins are dominating ever facet of htis game. They are winning the physical battle. The special teams battle. The goaltending battle. Everything.
-Pretty much the only thing for the Penguins to accomplish in the third is to avoid injuries.
-How about the Penguins' penalty kill? After a slightly rough stretch of games, this unit has stepped up in a big way.
-LaBarbera didn't play too badly. His teammates just put him in some brutal situations.
-The Penguins have a 29-21 lead in shots.
-Malkin leads the game with six shots.
-Crosby is right behind him with five.
-Vrbata and Eckman-Larsson each lead the Coyotes with three.
-Yandle leads the game with 18:17 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 16:27.
-The Coyotes actually lead the game in faceoffs 25-17 (60 percent).
-Eric Belanger and Kyle Turris are each 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Crosby is 9 for 17 (53 percent).
-Fiddler, Yonkman, Jovanovski, Goligoski, Michalek and Orpik each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:26: Crosby cuts to th enet off the right wing and is denied in tight by Climie.
18:21: And you knew this would ahppen eventually Fiddler and Cooke get locked up in the neutral zone. Eventually all five skaters get invovled in a scrum. Engelland and Pyatt square off and drops the glove. They each throw a few rights before Engelland lands one big one to Pyatt's left eye which wobbles Pyatt and sends him to the ice. Engelland holds on to Pyatt to prevent him from totally crashing to the ice. Engelland hops up and goes to the penalty box. The official keeps a watch on Pyatt on the ice as a trainer rushes out to attend to him. Pyatt retreats to the locker room with assistance. Fiddler ends up with an double minor for roughing while Cooke gets a single minor. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Goligoski and Michalek take the ice for the power play.
17:30ish: Malkin and Yonkman muck it up a bit in the Coyotes' zone. Nothing comes of it.
16:21: Play returns to five on five.
14:35: Stempniak rips a wrister from the left circle. Fleury traps it against his chest. Upshall decides to make an appearance and kind of pokes his stick into Fleury's torso. That creates a scrum. Nothing much comes of it but Usphall is sent off for a slashing minor and gets a 10-minute misconduct. Wolski will serve the minor. Kudos to the officials for trying to nip this in the bud. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
13:41: Climie eats up a wrister by Crosby from the slot. Another scrum develops. Nothing comes of it.
12:35: The Coyotes kill off the penalty. This power play is awful!!!!
11:53: The comeback starts!!!!! Morris rips a wrister from the left point. It sails wide and hits Wolski in the right knee. The puck then flutters and conks off Fleury's helmet and hops into the net. What a screwey goal. The officials briefly check with the scorers booth to confirm the goal. It counts. Morris and Belanger get assists. No shutout for Fleury. PUT IN BRENT JOHNSON!!! Penguins 5-1.
9:55: Crosby pushes the puck up ice on a rush and pushes a backhander on net from the right circle. Climie holds it out.
9:40: Crosby snaps off a wrister from the slot. Climie denies it with his left leg.
8:19: Dupuis battles for a loose puck in the slot and pushes it on net. Climie boots it out.
6:17: A wrister by Yandle from the left point hits Martin in the left circle.
5:30: The Ric Flair-esque "Wooos!" start:
5:06: During a stoppage, the NHL scoreboard shows the Panthers leading the Flyers, 5-0. That brings some cheers. Also, "Cotton-Eyed Joe" is busted out:
4:09: Kyle Turris decide to make an appearance and snaps off a wrister from the slot. Fleury deflects it away.
3:40: Morris winds up and tees off on a slapper at the right. Fleury whacks it away with his stick.
3:10: Malkin winds his way through the defense and whips a wrister from along the goal line on the left wing. Climie holds it out. Fans offer more "GEEEE-NOOOO! GEEEE-NOOOO!" chants.
1:39: And that pretty much sums up the Coytes' nite. Letestu dishes an outlet pass from his own zone for Conner in deep on the right wing. Conner shusle up the right wingfends off acheck from Morris and snaps off a wrister from the right cirlce which squeezed through Climie's gear and into the net. Letestu gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is worn out. Penguins 6-1.
0:34: Orpik raggles Hanzal in the right wing corner in the Penguins' zon. Handzla lefs sckae comes down on the back of Orpiks right leg. Orpik appears a little gimpy afte the hit but seems fine for the most part.
0:24: Climie freezes a puck. Talbot and Yonkman mix it up. Another scrum breaks out. A bunch of penalies are doled out. The Coyotes get a power play.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played again. Mike Lange informs us of Elvis' whereabouts. Penguins 6, Coyotes 1.
-That was quite a rebound. After two fairly tough losses, especially against the Rangers, Wednesday, the Penguins needed to rebound. They just needed a simple win. They ended up getting a complete rout.
-We guess Evgeni Malkin is back. He lit up tonight in a big way by tying his career-high for points in a game. He was dominant and he looked like the 2007-08 version of Malkin who led this team to a division title for one night at least.
-Kind of odd to think of Crosby taking a back seat for once during this torrid pace he's on. He scored three points and was a complimentary player to Malkin. Yikes.
-Special teams were obviously key. One team dominated. One team was atrocious. Guess which one won.
-Amazing how much good a few days rest can do.
-Officially, Taylor Pyatt was diagnosed with an "upper-body" ailment pending further review.
-Regarding Matt Cooke's hit on Keith Yandle, Yandle pretty much ripped Cooke to shreds. On the hit:
"Yeah, it was just a dirty hit. A dirty player. He's got no respect. Actually the last time I played here last year, he did the same thing to me on a PK. So I kind of expected. He came with is hands high. He better get a suspension for it."
-Again on the hit:
"Yeah, absolutely. I don't know how a blow to the head like that, a blatant blow to the head, when he's the only guy. I mean, he's killing the penalty. His only intent is to try to hurt me with his hands high. (Shane Doan) got three games. He should get five."
NOTE: This hit by Doan on Anaheim's Dan Sexton in October is what Fiddler was referring to:
-On Cooke dodging fights:
They're up 5-0 and he cowers away from all our guys. Every guy on our team tried to fight him. For his sake, they were up 5-0 so it would be stupid for him to fight because it would just give us a little momentum.
-On his turnover at the start of the second period which led to Malkin's second goal, Yandle said:
"I gave the puck right to Crosby. He gives it to Malkin. Those are the two guys you can't give it too all alone."
Thinking Out Loud: It was an elbow to the head by a guy who has a history of suspendible hits. You do the match. Given how the NHL has dropped the hammer on hits involving the head, Cooke's going to get some sport of suplemental discipline.
-The Penguins dominated shots, 38-27.
-Crosby led the game with eight shots.
-Vrbata, Ekman-Larsson and Turris each led the game with three.
-Yandle led the game with 25:08 of ice time.
-Martin led the Penguins with 23:22.
-The Coyotes actually controlled faceoffs, 32-25 (56 percent).
-Belanger was 9 for 13 (69 percent).
-Crosby was 13 for 21 (62 percent).
-Goligoski, Fiddler, Yonkman, Morris and Jovanovski each led the game with three.
-Malkin's other two five-point games came in a 6-2 win against the Thrashers, March 19, 2009.
-Kennedy passed up Pascal Dupuis and Bob Woytowich for 86th place on the team's all-time scoring list. All three players have 93 points, but Kennedy (43) has more goals than Dupuis (39) and Woytowich (22).
-Kennedy also recorded his 50th career assist.
-Cooke scored his 75th career point for the Penguins.