Yeah, we're in the office, but we're not complaining. (Other than having to watch "Sports Soup" instead of a real pregame show that is.) With a fairly light workload, we were able to run up to Mellon Arena (on our way to Chipotle in Oakland admittedly) and check out that amazing scene.
-These folks were across Washington Place in a flatbed truck just chilling:
-They gave us a Starburst. Cool folks.
-The northbound lane on Washington Place is shut down for the overflow crowd:
-Jersey foul. A Johan Santana t-shirt jersey. And a chair foul with the Bears chair:
-Unlike Rick Kehoe, someone found some use for a Kris Beech jersey:
-These folks lugged a sofa, an area rug and a coffee table up to the arena:
-Disclaimer: We made the unfortunate decision to wander up to Mellon Arena from the Post-Gazette's office while wearing a Minnesota North Stars jersey. We felt a little out of place but more than a few fans said complimented us.
-Mike Brinton and company are tailgating at RBC Center and representing The Pensblog:
-Marc-Andre Fleury and Cam Ward are your starting goaltenders.
-The Penguins are sticking with seven defenseman. Their scratches are Pascal Dupuis, Alex Goligoski, Chris Minard, Petr Sykora, Jeff Taffe, Eric Godard, Dustin Jeffrey, Ben Lovejoy and John Curry.
-Tuomo Ruutu will make his return to the lineup after missing Game 2 due to an injury. The Hurricanes' scratches are Brandon Sutter, Michael Ryan, Zach Boychuk, Brett Carson, Bryan Rodney, Anton Babchuk, Tim Conboy, Patrick Dwyer, Drayson Bowman, Dwight Helminen and Justin Peters.
19:24: Joni Pitkanen rockets a half slapper from a tough angle wide of the Penguins' cage.
18:43: Sergei Gonchar blocks a wrister by Sergei Samsonov in the slot.
17:15: Joe Beninati finally gets around to telling us Tuomo Ruutu is back in the lineup. How is it we were able to announce this from our editor's office but Versus can't be bothered to discuss it until roughly three minutes into the contest?
17:01: Ward fights off a big slapper by Evgeni Malkin from the left wing.
16:02: Patrick Eaves snaps off a wrister from the right wing that misses the mark.
15:54: Carolina gets on the board first. Eaves tosses a puck into the Fleury from the corner. Fleury makes the save. Eaves gets it back and goes behind the net before dishes a feed to Matt Cullen in the slot. Matt Cooke loses track of Cullen. Cullen is able to snap it over Fleury on the blocker side. Eaves and Scott Walker get assists. Hurricanes 1-0.
14:50: Ward stops Chris Kunitz from the slot.
14:10: Mark Eaton strikes a wild slapper from the right point that misses the mark.
13:42: The Penguins get the first power play as Eaves is nabbed for slashing.
13:33: Somehow, shorthanded, Rod Brind'Amour gets behind Sergei Gonchar and backhand shuffles a puck throught he slot.
13:10: That didn't take long. Tim Gleason has trouble getting a puck out of his zone and backhand chips it into Malkin. Malkin says thank you and goes in on the Carolina net and lifts a shot over a helpless Ward on the blocker side. Bad play by Gleason there. Crosby and Gonchar get assists. Gleason deserves one too. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
11:09: Dennis Seidenberg blasts a one-timer from the right point well off the mark.
10:21: Brook Orpik cracks a slapper from the left point. Ward eats it up.
9:38: Eaton appears to block a slapper by Ruutu.
9:05: Erik Cole socks Chris Kunitz up high with a fist. That's two minutes. Not sure about that penalty. That happens a million times in just about every hockey game.
8:40: Joe Beninati refers to Sergei as exquisite. Ooookay.
8:02: Malkin sneaks towards the net and snaps off a quick wrister. Ward snags it with a solid glove save.
7:05: Cole's penalty is killed. Not a lot going on for the Penguins' there.
6:55: Cullen spin and pushes a puck wide of the net from the slot.
6:25: Philippe Boucher kneels down and blocks a slapper by Ray Whitney.
5:55: The ever dangerous Rob Scuderi winds up and cranks a slapper from the right point. It hits a body in front.
5:19: Fleury stretches out and kicks out a funny wrister by Chad LaRose from the left wing.
4:53: Ward stops a wrister that gets deflected in from the left point. He then covers up the rebound before Jordan Staal can do anything with it.
4:40: Kris Letang comes in tight and backhands a shot at net. Ward eats it up.
4:20: Malkin lets loose with a four-letter French word on the bench.
3:35: Kunitz snaps off a wrister that gets blocked a bit on its way to the net. Ward makes a save.
3:04: Ruslan Fedotenko snaps off a slow-developing wrister from the slot. Ward boots it out with his left leg.
2:50: Brooks Orpik controls the puck in his own end and recieves a lot of booing.
2:06: Whitney has a prime chance to the left of the net but the puck is hopping like a rabbit and he can't get a clean handle on it.
0:42: What a goal. And the whole thing that set it up was a fine steal on a backcheck by Chris Kunitz in his own defensive zone. Kunitz steals a pass intended for Scott Walker in the slot, circles around and dishes a pass to BIll Guerin on the left wing in the neutral zone. Guerin lugs it into the offensive zone and dishes a pass into the slot. Crosby beats Pitkanen, pulls up in the crease and tips the puck up over Ward on the glove side with his backhand. What a pretty play. Guerin and Kunitz get assists. Crosby now has 14 goals. The Penguins single postseason record is 17 by Kevin Stevens in 1991. Penguins 2-1.
0:11: This is getting ugly. Craig Adams backhands a puck up the boards and it hits off an official. Malkin picks up the puck, moves towards the cage and jams it through Ward's equipment. Yeesh. Talk about a lucky bounce off the official's leg. Where was the Hurricanes' defense there? Adams and Gonchar get assists. The official should get one. Penguins 3-1.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1.
-The Hurricanes play an aggressive style of hockey but they simply don't have the horses to run with the Penguins. They need to adjust their game and play a more defensive style in order to limit the Penguins. That's easier said than done against the likes of Crosby and Malkin, but they can't go up and down the ice with the Penguins.
-Cam Ward is a clutch goaltender, but he can't do this alone. The Hurricane's defense needs to show up at some point. Ward played well that first period, but he can only do so much.
-The Penguins have a 16-8 lead in shots.
-Malkin leads the game with four.
-Eric Staal and Cole each have two.
-Carolina has a 12-9 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Brind'Amour and Jokinen are each 3-for-4 (75 percent).
-Crosby is 4-for-8 (50 percent).
-Dennis Seidenberg leads the game with 8:37 of ice time.
-Crosby is right behind him with 8:28.
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
-By the reaction we can hear on television, there are more than a few Penguins fans in attendance.
18:51: It doesn't lead to anything, but Malkin completely abuses Pitkanen and muscles him away from a loose puck in the Carolina zone. His strength is amazing sometimes.
18:39: Maxime Talbot gets denied in tight by Ward.
18:30: With Ward scrambling away from the net, Talbot gets a pass in the slot but can't handle it cleanly. Carolina dodged one there.
17:34: Off a deliberate tic-tac-toe play, Tyler Kennedy whips a big wrister from the slot. Ward eats it up.
15:45: This is the last thing the Hurricanes need. Seidenberg flips a puck out of play. That's two minutes for delay of game.
15:05: Gonchar fires a slapper from the top of the slot. Eric Staal deflects it out of play.
14:50: Malkin hammers a one-timer from the right wing. Pitkanen shows some guts and blocks it.
14:18: Carolina almost got a big break. Niclas Wallin pushes the puck up the right wing shorthanded and snaps off a wrister. Fleury makes the save but it biffs off his glove and trickles just wide of the near post. Ugh... The Penguins dodged one there.
13:45: Carolina gets a much-needed penalty kill.
13:09: Eric Staal backhander is kicked out by Fleury.
12:43: Frantisek Kaberle loses control of a puck at the right point. Talbot outworks him for possession. With Kaberle hounding him all the way up ice, Talbot is able to push a backhander at the net. Ward makes the save. Kaberle might've gotten away with interference or holding or something there.
12:08: LaRose is denied in tight by Fleury.
11:45: LaRose makes a few nice moves around a few Penguins defenders and backhands a pass to a wide open Jokinen on the other side of the crease. Jokinen needs to stop it with his foot and can't get a clean shot off. If that pass is to Jokinen's stick, that's a goal.
10:11: Kunitz snaps off a wrister. Ward knocks it down and covers the rebound. The Hurricanes needs to slow this down. They can't play this wide open with the Penguins.
10:00: Ward kicks out a half slapper Letang sneaks in from the left point.
9:27: Off a turnover by Malkin, Samsonov fires a slapper that gets deflected wide.
8:35: From a tough angle, Scott Walker snaps off a wrister. Fleury traps it against the post. Heineken tastes like you could clean brass fixtures with it, but this commercial is sharp:
5:51: After about three minutes of nothing, Malkin steals a puck off Ruutu, pushes it into the offensive zone and cranks a slapper on net that Ward just gets a piece of.
4:22: Kunitz takes a puck behind the net, emerges to the right of the cage and tosses a wrister. Ward fights it off.
4:04: Cole snaps off a wrister at the net from the left wing. Fleury knocks it down and covers.
3:31: Fedotenko gets a chance on the left wing but whiffs on the feed.
3:20: Ward hangs on to a wrister from the right point.
2:55: Brooks Orpik hammers a slapper from the left point. Ward fights it off.
1:08: Kunitz coasts up the left wing and dishes a cross ice pass to Guerin coming fron the right wing. Guerin rips a wrister which Ward knocks away.
0:35: Ward gloves a slapper by Letang coming in from the right point. Ward tosses it away seemingly in disgust. We'd be disgusted too with that defense.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Hurricanes 1.
-Cam Ward deserves 18 beers because he's the only one of the 19 Carolina players on the ice tonight who has showed up. The rest of his teammates don't seem to realize what's at stake. They don't seem to have any sense of urgency to their game. If it's not for Ward this is a 6-1 game.
-The Penguins' don't really need to make any sort of adjustments. That doesn't mean they can coast though the third period though. This is only a two-goal lead and Carolina has shown an ability to make comebacks this postseason. If the Penguins continue pressing the issue offensively and they should be set.
-Chris Kunitz is flying around with a real purpose and creating scoring chances. Maybe that goal in Game 2 woke him up.
-Chris Simpson is interviewing Joe Corvo and he's just desolate. He stammers through some cliched answer and just has this dazed look on his face:
-The Penguins control the shots, 31-16.
-Kunitz and Malkin each lead the game with five.
-Cole and Eric Staal are pacing Carolina with three each.
-The Penguins have a 17-15 lead in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Crosby is 9-for-14 (64 percent).
-Brind'Amour is 3-for-5 (60 percent).
-Seidenberg leads the game with 16:40 of ice time.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with 15:39.
-Pitkanen leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Eaton, Gonchar and Boucher each have two.
-Versus comes through with the stat of the night. Malkin set a franchise record for consecutive playoff games with multiple points:
-That's fuzzy. Sorry.
-Versus just mentioned Malkin could be the first player in NHL history to record a hat trick in back-to-back playoff games. Yikes.
20:00: The Hurricanes need to figure out how to get a power play in this game and they have to cash it in.
18:08: Eaves snaps a wrister at the cage through traffic from the left wing. Fleury hangs on for the save.
18:02: What a huge goal. Off a faceoffs, Erik Cole snaps off a wrister from the left faceoff circle. Fleury makes the save but gives up a bad rebound. Samsonov is in the crease and tosses a wrister that flutters by Fleury on the glove side. Can't give up a rebound like that. Samsonov made a nice effort to stick with that though. Cole and Pitkanen get assists. Penguins 3-2.
17:15: Samsonov backhand chips a puck juuust wide of the cage. Fleury didn't see that.
16:51: Talbot gets set loose on a breakaway on a long torpedo pass by Malkin. He moves in on net and shoots to Ward's glove side. Ward comes up with a huge clutch kick save. Wow. Ward has been fantastic this game.
16:40: Pitkanen was responsible for allowing Talbot on that breakaway. Color commentator Darryl Reaugh says something to the effect of "I don't know if Joni Pikanen forgot his mind... or what... but that's inexcusable."
16:08: Ward denies Jordan Staal from the slot. Kennedy can't punch in the rebound. Another huge save by Ward.
13:02: Eric Staal whips a shot at the net on a wraparound. Fleury makes the save. LaRose digs for a rebound but nothing doing.
12:22: Gonchar hits Walker from behind. Walker's head goes into the boards. He's not in good shape and is laying facedown on the ice. Gonchar gets two minutes for boarding. He kind of hit Walker from the side, but that's the right call. It's Carolina's first power play of the game. Big two minutes here.
11:42: Fleury fights off a wrister by Eric Staal coming off the right wing.
11:12: Versus just reported Walker went to the Carolina dressing room.
10:52: Fleury hangs on to a wrister by Brind'Amour.
10:46: Fiiinalllleeee... we get a:
10:22: Gonchar's penalty is killed. Big kill there.
9:23: Gleason gets a pass on the left wing and has a clean shot but can't handle the puck cleanly.
9:12: Kunitz sprawls out and blocks a slapper by Wallin on the right point.
8:44: Eric Staal snaps a wirster from a tough angle through the crease.
8:31: Wow. Was that huge. Malkin moves into the offensive zone against Corvo and moves into the slot. He leaves a drop pass. Fedotenko picks it up and rips a wrister over Corvo's stick and the crook of Ward's elbow on his glove side. It hits twine and a quiet roar of Penguins fans can be heard on television. That was a pretty shot. Malkin gets the only assist. Penguins 4-2.
6:41: Corvo chops a slapper from the top of the slot and Kunitz gets a piece of it.
6:03: LaRose swoops behind the net, come around and whips a wrister at the cage. Fleury fights it off.
5:24: Eaves works the puck around the net, comes around and clanks a wrister off the side of the post.
5:06: Kennedy cranks a slapper from the right wing. Ward makes the save. Staal punches the rebound back at Ward who hangs on for a save. As Staal shoots, he gets clobbered in the head by an elbow by Eaves. Staal is slow to recover. How is that not a penalty? That was really blatant. If this were an IIHF sanctioned game, where the rule book is actually enforced, Eaves could've been suspended.
3:41: Malkin completely dumps Cullen in front of the penalty boxes. Malkin is stunned and lumbers over to his bench in a daze. Replays show Malkin getting away with an elbow of his own.
3:26: Satan is called for interference. This is a must for the Hurricanes. They must have a goal here.
3:08: Fleury eats up a slapper by Jokinen from the right wing.
2:50: Whitney gets denied in tight twice by Fleury.
2:40: Corvo trips up Matt Cooke at the left point. Cooke embellished the penalty a bit. Either way, it's four-on-four for 1:13. That might've virtually ended Carolina's season there.
2:30: Paul Maurice is going for broke and pulls Ward.
2:19: With the faceoff in the neutral zone, Ward returns to net.
2:09: Ward is pulled again.
1:59: An attempt for an empty net goal by Kennedy from the neutral zone is blocked at the Carolina blue line.
1:48: That. Was. Brutal. Jussi Jokinen takes a faceoff in the neutral zone just outside the Penguins blue line. He wins it cleanly. But it coasts all the way down ice into his own net. Ugh. The Penguins are on the bench laughing. Craig Adams gets credit for the goal. It's unassisted. That was bad. But is is:
1:08: Geez. This is ugly. Kunitz works the puck into the offensive zone up the right wing and backhands it to Fedotenko. Fedotenko whiffs a bit on the shot. Guerin follows up and backhands the puck off Ward and into the net. Carolina's defense was awful there. Fedotenko and Kunitz get assists. Penguins 6-2.
0:32: Nice to see Ryan Bayda wasn't suspended after Game 2. Lord knows we couldn't go on without his latest contributioin. He gets into a scrum with Boucher. Remember how the league was going to crack down on message sending at the end of games? We don't either. In all fairness, Boucher seemed to be the aggressor in this skirmish. They each get two minutes for roughing.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Hurricanes 2.
-That was just dominating. And when you consider the Hurricanes had to win this game, it's even more impressive. The Penguins gave them a little bit of life, then just dropped the hammer on them in the third with the offensive barrage.
-Are Crosby and Malkin giving each other every other series to be their individual showcases? In the first round, it was Malkin's show. In the second round, Crosby outshined Alex Ovechkin. In the third, Malkin is playing like the best player in the world. He's blowing through Carolina's speed with a combination of speed and brute force. Almost everything he's tossing at a net is a real threat to become a goal. And the Hurricanes are just staring at him. They either are flatfooted when he has the puck or he just muscles through the Hurricane's defenders. He's clearly the MVP of this series.
-Chris Kunitz might've actually played a better game than he did in Game 2 when he had three points. He "only" had two assists tonight but did so much more. He created offensive chances, got shots on net, played some fantastic defense and blocked more than a few shots. He was a very complete player tonight. He did all the things that made him an attractive player to Ray Shero at the trade deadline.
-Cam Ward is just a broken man. He's been left out to dry far too often this series and he simply can't do it any longer for Carolina. He might steal Game 4 just through sheer desperation, but he need some help.
-Were it not for Ward, the Penguins could have hit double digits.
-How can anyone argue with the seven defenseman arrangement for the Penguins right now? Other than Pascal Dupuis' mom maybe.
-The Penguins have not scored 13 goals combined in back-to-back playoff games since they beat the Capitals in the 1995 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, 6-5, May 14 and, 7-1, May 16.
-Fleury was not tested a great deal, but he made some key saves late.
-In terms of series, the Penguins are 9-1 when they have a 3-0 series lead.
-That leads us to the obligatory, "The 1975 Penguins are the last team to lose after holding a 3-0 lead against the Islanders. Blah, blah, blah."
-Are the Penguins this good or are the Hurricanes this bad?
-We haven't seen the broadcasts of the first two games, but have they not been pushing the "Staals are brothers" thing that much? They only did it once by our count tonight.
-The Penguins had a 40-34 lead in shots.
-Kunitz and Eric Staal each led with six shots.
-The Penguins again had a surprsing, 30-28 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Crosby was 12-for-21 (57 percent).
-Brind'Amour was 5-for-7 (71 percent).
-Eric Staal was a brutal 5-for-18 (28 percent). Ick.
-This can't happen for Carolina. Dennis Seidenberg led the game with 25:19. The Hurricanes have better players on defense who deserve playing time ahead of Seidenberg.
-Crosby led the Penguins with 21:31.
-Kunitz, Gonchar and Seidenberg each led the game with four blocked shots.
-The Penguins' power-play went 2-for-4. Since the start of the second round, they have gotten that unit turned around.
-Malkin now shares the playoff lead with Jussi Joknen for game-winning goals with three.
-Malkin now has 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) these playoffs. That gives him a two-point lead over Crosby in the playoff scoring race. Crosby has 14 goals, 12 assists.
-You know what's scary? Crosby and Detroit's Henrik Zetterberg led the entire playoffs with 27 points each last season.
-The last player to hit 28 points was Eric Staal in the 2006 playoffs. He had nine goals and 19 assists for Cup-winning Hurricanes.
-Alex Ovechkin is still the only other player to have broken the 20-point mark. He has 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists).
-Malkin has failed to score in only three playoffs games this year.
-Crosby has failed to score in only two games.
-Kunitz has a career high 12 points these playoffs. He recorded his fifth career multi-point playoff game.
-Guerin how has a career-high in playoff points with 13 (six goals, seven assists).
-Fedotenko now has 10 points (five goals, five assists). It is the second time he has reached double digits in a single postseason. He had 14 with the Lightning during its Stanley Cup title run in 2004.
-Guerin and Kunitz each broke into the Penguins' top 40 on their career playoff scoring list.
-Fedotenko broke into the top 50.
-Adams had the first multi-point playoff game of his career.
-Gonchar recorded the 30th point of his Penguins playoff career.