Greetings from a wonderful, early spring day in Pittsburgh. We're running late once again so there's almost no pregame photos. Sorry. Mellon Arena:
-A Matthew Barnaby jersey:
-The Penguins' scratches are Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin and Eric Godard.
-The Lightning's scratches are Matt Walker, Ryan Malone, Teddy Purcell, David Hale, Matt Smaby and Victor Hedman.
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Mike Smith are your starting goaltenders.
-Jimerson is never late:
20:00: Play is delayed a bit as Mike Rupp and Steve Downie mix it up a bit before the faceoff
19:35: Jordan Staal rushes up the ice, gains the blue line and leaves a drop pass for Kris Letang. Letang chops a wrister on net wide to the far side.
19:25: Off a give and go with Steven Stamko, Martin St. Louis rips a wrister from the right circle. Fleury gets a piece of it.
17:40: A pucks gets loose in the corner. Ruslan Fedotenko and Matt Lashoff race for it. Fedotenko gets to it first but Lashoff just sticks him right in the numbers with a shoulder and plants him face-first into the boards. Fedotenko crumples to the ice and isn't moving. A scrum develops. Officials break it up. Lashoff is given a fivem inute major for boarding and a game misconduct. As he's escorted off the ice, Fedotenko eventually recovers to his feet. Fans offer an ovation as he skates to the locker room hunched over with the help from trainer Chris Stewart. We're not immediatley aware if Lashoff has a prior history in regards to discipline, but that's deserving of a look from NHL discipline czar Colin Campbell. Sidney Crosby, Alexei Ponikarovsky, Bill Guerin, Alex Goligoski and Letang take the ice.
16:47: From the right circle, Crosby snaps off a wrister. Smith makes the save. Ponikarovsky is there but can't get a clean handle on the rebound.
15:32: Goligoski swats a loose puck on net from the left circle. It gets behind Smith. Ponikarovsky and Matt Cooke are there but once again can't get a hold of the rebound.
14:40: Letang rips a wrister from the slot. Smith appears to get a piece of it.
14:31: Letang strikes a slapper from the right point. Smith eats that up.
12:40: The Lashoff penalty is killed. The Penguins wasted a chance there. They certainly pressured Smith, but just coudn't get much on net.
12:03: Maxime Talbot is denied on a wrap around attemp from the left of the cage.
10:29: Andrej Meszaros blasts a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
10:00: Off a lucky bounce off the boards, Staal rushes up the the right wing and into the slot. He loses the puck for a moment but then ends up kicking it juuuuuust wide of the cage.
9:45: Vincent Lecavalier appears to be trying to start stuff with his old friend Cooke.
9:27: Kurtis Foster cranks a slapper from the right point. Fleury eats it up. Brooks Orpik and Brandon Bochenski mix it up in front of the cage.
8:57: Kunitz smacks Mike Lundin into the boards behind the Tampa Bay net.
8:15: Off a two-on-one against McKee, Alex Tanguay snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Fleury fights it off. Play is halted as Lecavalier and Ponikarovsky crash into the cage and dislodge it. Ponikarovsky is sent off for interference against Lecavalier. An applause can be heard as Ruslan Fedotenko returns to the ice. As much as Fedotenko has frustrated folks this season, you can never take away his toughness. Craig Adams, Orpik, Talbot and Letang take the ice.
8:12: Off a faceoff win, Adams is able to swat the puck down ice.
7:58: Stamkos cranks a wild slapper from above the right circle wide to the far side. There was a vapor tail on that puck.
7:35: Orpik steals a puck along the boards behind the net, turns and whips it down ice to get a change.
6:53: Staal leads a two-on-two rush with Cooke up ice. Staal is able to tuck a pass by the leg of his defender and into the crease. Cooke is there but can't
6:02: Dupuis pushes the puck up ice, gains the blue line and cranks a slapper from the faceoff circle. Smith is square to the shot and fights it off.
5:20: As play is halted for the Penguins' net being dislodged, Crosby and Stephane Veilleux mix it up. A scrum develops but officials breaks it up. Kunitz and Nate Thompson end up getting unsportsmanlike conduct minors. This has really become a nasty little game so far.
4:26: Orpik snaps off a one-timer from the top of the slot. which is off the mark.
3:59: Matthias Ohlund feeds a puck from the right point into the crease. Martin St. Louis is right there all alone with nothing but net to shoot at. He ends up tapping it wide. That was pretty brutal by St. Louis.
3:27: Jordan Leopold is called for interference against Downie. We'll have four-on-three for seven seconds. Adams, Mark Eaton and Orpik take the ice.
3:18: Just as the penalties to Kunitz and Thompson expire, Lecavalier cranks a slapper from the right wing which is off the mark.
3:00: Stamkos didn't miss on that one. St. Louis controls the puck on the right half wall, moves towards the slot and snap off a pass to Stamkos in the left circle. Stamkos cranks a ridiculous one-timer which burns Fleury to the far side. What a shot. It was like night and day how much better the Lightning's power play looks than the Penguins'. St. Louis and Foster get assists. Lightning 1-0.
1:58: The Lightning is nabbed for too many men on the ice. Todd Fedoruk will serve the penalty.. Letang, Goligoski, Fedotenko, Crosby and Ponikarovsky take the ice.
1:25: Letang blasts a one-timer from the right point which is totally off the mark.
0:28: Crosby takes a pass off the right half wall, moves towards the slot and snaps off a wrister which is blocked in front.
0:03: Jordan Leopold takes a pass at the right point from Goligoski. He winds up and cranks a slapper which clunks off the far post.
0:00: End of period. Lightning 1, Penguins 0.
-Well, it's pretty clear to figure out what went wrong that period. One team had a good power play. The other did not.
-The Penguins got a pretty big break early one when Lashoff hammered Fedotenko. They probably should've gotten one goal at least during that major. Instead, they fumbled and bumbled the puck during that five minutea as well as their power play to end the period.
-That said, they are playing without Malkin and Gonchar. Good luck replacing those guys.
-The chippiness of this period was suprising. We know there's the whole subplot of Downie and Crosby, but there's all sorts of battles all over the ice that period.
-The Penguins have a 9-6 lead in shots.
-Talbot leads the game with two.
-Letang leads the game with 10:31 of ice time.
-Ohlund leads the Lightning with 9:46 of ice time.
-The Lightning has a 6-5 edge in faceoffs (55 percent).
-Stamkos is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Guerin and Talbot are each 1 for 1 (100 percent).
-Foster leads the game with three blocked shots.
-No Penguin has recorded a blocked shot.
-Maxime Talbot is on IceTime tonight:
19:58: Fedoruk returns the ice
19:31: Off a give and go, St. Louis sneaks up the right wing and attempts a drop pass. Letang gets a piece of it but ends up deflects right to the blade of Downie in the faceoff circle. Downie snaps off a sick wrister which pings off the far post and into the net. Fleury was toasted by another absolutely perfect shot to the far side.
18:02: McKee whips a wrister on net from the right point. Smith eats it up. Cooke and Tyler Kenendy scrum in front. Cooke drops a Lightning player. A bigger scrum takes place. It takes the offiicals a little while to break it up. Cooke is nabbed for roughing. Eaton, Talbot, Leopold and Adams take the ice. Some Iggy Pop is played:
17:22: Adams makes a nice steal in the defensive zone by breaking up a pass. The puck deflects to Talbot who gently taps it down ice to get a change.
16:40: Smith comes out of his crease to play a puck before it enters the no-play zone in the right corner. Staal pressures him. Smith takes a tumble. Stamkos tries to body Staal but no luck. With Smith scrambling to get back into position, Staal slides a backhander intot he crease hoping someone in a black jersey is there. No dice.
16:02: Cooke's penalty is killed.
14:00: Fedotenko controls the puck on the right wing and slides it to Letang at the top of the slot. Letang fires a quick slapper which is off the mark.
13:44: Letang takes another shot fromt he right poitn and chops it wide on the far side. Did Letang call up Michel "Miss the Net" Ouellet for shooting advice?
13:30: Mike Rupp rushes up the right wing and whips a wrister on net from the circle. Smith eats it up.
13:14: As a slapper by GOligoski from the right point is blocked away. Mike Rupp is tripped up in front of the Lightnign cage. Smith is nabbed for tripping. Mark Parrish will serve the two minutes. Letang, Goligoski, Crosby, Guerin and Ponikarovsky take the ice.
13:08: Letang chops a careful slapper on net from the right point. It actually gets on net. Hallelujah.
12:03: THe first power play unit leaves the ice to some boos.
11:35: Tanguay swats a puck down ice. More boos.
11:14: The Smith penalty is killed. That was a waste of two minutes.
10:29: Cooke drops Vladimir Mihalik into the boards in the right corner with a hip check.
9:55: Leopold blocks a one-timer by Stamkos in the right cirlce.
9:33: Dupuis snaps off quick wrister from the righ cicle. Smith covers to freeze play
9:06: Lundin strikes a one-timer from the right point which is juuuuust wide on the near side.
7:24: Adams gets away with a trip on Mark Parrish in the corner.
7:09: Play is halted as Guerin begins fighting Zenon Konopka, one of the toughest pound for pound fighters in te NHL. They mostly wrestle around a bunch. A few rabbit punhices are landed by each player. They get pinned against the boards and officials step in to break it up. Guerin held his own there against a very good fighter. We're wondering if he did that to spark his team.
6:49: Attendance is announced as 17,132, a complete standing room only sell out. It is the 156th consecutive sellout for the team.
5:48: Rupp snaps off a wriste rfrom the rifht cielc. Smith hangs on to freeze play. Talbot bumps into Smith. Another scrum ensues.
3:59: Dupuis tosses a wrister on net from the right wing. Smith fends it off.
3:22: Downie recovers a loose puck behind the Pengins net, turns and distributes to St. Louis in the left circle. St. Louis cranks a one-timer. Fleury is able to fight it off.
3:05: Kennedy drives a slapper on net from the right wing. Smith covers it.
2:58: Talbot tires to jam on ein from the righ tof the net. Smith holds it out. Another scrum develops. Talbot and Thompson exchange punches. No call.
1:50: Cooke snaps off a wrister from the right cicle which is totally off the mark.
1:30: Lecavalier puts a wrister on net from the right wing. Fleury gloves it.
1:15: Kunitz get held up by Stamkos at the Lightnign blue line. Another chance to run a passing drill for two minutes. Letang, Ponikarovsky, Crosby, Guerin and Goligoski take th eice.
0:46: After a weak turnover by Guerin, Thompson is able to whip the puck down ice to kill time.
0:00: End of period. As the clock expires, Guerin drives a slapper from the right point into a cluster of bodies. It's blocked away. Crosby shoves Ohlund into Smith. Another scrum develops. Guerin's really having a cranky day as he exchanges shoves with Meszaros. Both Guerin and Meszaros get minors.
-What a weird game. The Lightning is coming off a deflating loss in Columbus last night. They're not playing for anything but this is a really feisty battle they're putting up.
-Again, we know they're playing without Malkin and Gonchar, but the Penguins power play has to cash one in here. They're getting too many chances here.
-Considering they lost Lashoff early on and a few of their guys are AHLers, the Lightning's defense is playing a tough game so far.
-Neither goaltender has been spectacular. Fleury's been beating on some absolutely perfect shots. And the Penguins really haven't had too many high-quality scoring chances.
-The Penguins have an 18-12 lead in shots.
-Lecavalier leads the game with four shots.
-Talbot leads the Penguins with three blocked shots. Good for Talbot but not good for the Penguins.
-Lundin leads the game with 18:15 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguisn with 17:39.
-The Penguins have a 17-12 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).
-Talbot is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Stamkos is 5 for 9 (56 percent).
-Foster, Meszaros and Thompson each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-McKee leads the Penguins with two.
20:00: The Penguins will have 44 seconds of power play time on fresh ice.