Greetings from our living room. We are setting the over/under on "Colby Armstrong was a Penguin" at 9 1/2.
"Erik Christensen was a Penguin" at 3.
"Chris Thorburn was a Penguin" at 2.
"Johan Hedberg was a Penguin" at 1 1/2.
"Pascal Dupuis was a Thrasher" at 4.
Marc-Andre Fleury and Ondrej Pavelec are the starting goaltenders.
-The great Mike Zigomanis and Maxime Talbot are the Penguins' scratches.
-Atlanta's scratches are Garnet Exelby, Christensen and Mathieu Schneider.
-Bob Errey can't believe how few people have showed up to the game behind him:
-What a terrible hockey market.
-Colby Armstrong used to be a Penguin.
Errey squeezes out a "Fleury and Pavelec were each Cape Breton Screaming Eagles."
19:43: Paul Steigerwald mentions that the game begins with only on referee. One of them had an equipment problem.
18:58: Ilya Kovalchuk tests Fleury. Fleury knocks down his shot and covers it in the crease.
18:24: Fleury fights off a shot by Marty Reasoner.
16:14: Eric Godard and Ryan Stone discuss the New Zealand Special Air Service with a few Thrashers. We think. In all seriousness, this is exactly the stuff Stone needs to to in order to stick in the NHL. His game is rough and tumble.
15:35: Pavelec gloves a shot by Petr Sykora.
14:51: Colby Armstrong robbed by Fleury. A Thrasher dishes a pass into the slot where Armstrong jumps on it and snaps a wrister on net. Fleury snares it with a big glove save.
14:28: Matt Cooke takes a pass on the left wing, drives to the net and fires a wrister by Pavelec on the stick side. That was a pretty weak goal for Pavelec to give up. A pretty loud cheer is heard for the Penguins. Jordan Staal and Tim Wallace get assists. It's Wallace's first career point in the NHL. Penguins 1-0.
13:03: Thorburn used to be a Penguin.
11:33: Coming back from commercial, Errey talks about Wallace watching a bear eat a moose on a golf course in Alaska. Jonathan Bombulie of the Wilkes-Barre Citizens Voice wrote a pretty good story about this earlier in the fall.
11:21: Wallace puts a shot wide of the net.
10:20: Wow what an odd goal. Sykora gets a puck in the slot and sort of fans on a shot. It bounces to Malkin at the side of the cage. He fights off a check from Todd White and pushes into the cage with a backhander behind an out of place Pavelec. Talk about right place/right time. Another pretty good cheer for the Penguins. Sykora gets the only assist. Penguins 2-0.
9:41: Dupuis used to be a Thrasher after he nails an Jim Slater in the neutral zone.
8:28: Coming back commercial, Dan Potash treats us to some video of Fleury and Dany Sabourin working in some old school brown pads:
-Speaking of old pads, are we the only ones who feel photos of Fleury's toxic yellow pads look like they're 100 years old nowadays?
7:59: Pavelec eats up a shot. Errey reminds us Pavelec and Fleury used to be Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
7:29: Someone in the FSN Pittsburgh truck hits the wrong button and busts out the Fleury/Pavelec Screaming Eagle graphic.
6:56: Fleury fights off a shot by White.
4:50: Fleury covers a loose puck in the crease.
4:38: Ruslan Fedotenko slams Tobias Enstrom into the boards from behind. Thorburn comes over to defend his teammate. What a stupid penalty. That should be a five-minute major. It's only two minutes. Thankfully Enstrom is fine.
3:57: A shot by Ron Hainsey is deflected wide.
3:02: Kovalchuk blasts a one-timer from the point that's off the mark and slams off the back boards.
2:36: Fedotenko's penalty expires without much of a threat from the Thrashers.
1:27: Stone tags Thorburn behind the Atlanta net with a bit of a hip check.
1:02: Miroslav Satan juuuust steps away from a check by Thorburn at the Penguins' blue line.
0:49: Kovalchuk spins and fires a wild slapper towards the net. It hits off Kris Letang's skate or stick then off Orpik's butt and beats Fleury to the stick side. Orpik had Marty Reasoner pancaked in the slot. A Thrasher comes over to get Orpik off his teammate. Orpik slugs him in the face. An all out scrum breaks out that includes Crosby throwing punches. Letang decides to mix it up with big Boris Valabik (6-foot-7, 240 pounds). Crosby, Orpik and Valabik are sent off for roughing. The puck apparently hit off Reasoner as well as he gets credit for the goal. Kovalchuk and Thorburn get assists. Atlanta will have a power play. What a crazy sequence. Penguins 2-1.
0:04: Kovalchuk glides into the offensive zone and rips a wrister which Fleury juuust gets a piece of.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Thrashers 1.
-That was a pretty good period for the Penguins overall. Atlanta came out strong and controlled play for the first five minutes. Fleury held down the fort for them until Atlanta's momentum wore off. After that, the Penguins took advantage of a few chances the Thrashers gave them and took a lead. Were it not for a fluky goal by Reasoner, the Penguins have a two-goal lead.
-Fleury looks like he hasn't missed any time. He was very strong that period.
-The Thrashers have a 9-6 lead in shots.
-Kovalchuk and Reasoner each lead the game with two shots.
-Atlanta has a 9-8 edge in faceoffs.
-Slater leads the game at 4-for-4 (100 percent).
-Staal leads the Penguins at 5-for-7 (71 percent).
-Hainsey leadsw the game with an impressive 10:06 of ice time. Kovalchuk (9:15) and Niclas Havelid (8:14) trail him.
-Orpik leads the Penguins with 7:23.
No one has more than one blocked shot.
-Atlanta will start the period with 1:11 of power-play time on fresh ice.
-FSN Pittsburgh is on the ball with a replay showing what led to the Reasoner-Orpik scrum. Crosby actually shoved Reasoner into Orpik. Reasoner fell into the back of Orpik's knees. Orpik took exception apparently thinking Reasoner took a cheap shot at him and all heck broke loose.
19:08: Fleury eats up a big blast by Kovalchuk with a "thud."
18:49: The Penguins' penalty expires.
18:05: Armstrong rips a wrister wide of the cage.
17:33: Crosby dishes a pass to Sykora at the side of the cage. Sykora chops at it. Pavelec fights it off.
17:22: Nathan Oystrick hits Crosby into the boards from the side. That's almost boarding. Either way, it's not called. It's the "new" NHL afterall.
17:01: Joey Crabb is sent off for holding.
16:30: Crosby slides a pass to Malkin at the right point. Malkin winds up and fires a slapper. It appears to hit a body in front of the cage and deflects by Pavelec. Staal was in front setting up a solid screen. Replays show the puck possibly hitting off his leg. Crosby gets the only assist. Penguins 3-1.
16:01: A shot by Hainsey rings off the post.
15:33: Armstrong clips Malkin in the kisser with a high stick. Two minutes.
15:20: A shot by Malkin is fought off by Pavelec.
14:41: Fleury covers a loose puck in the slot.
14:06: What power-play problems? The junior varsity power play is on. Fedotenko dishes it to Jeff Taffe along the goal line. Taffe almost immediately zips ito to Satan in the slot. Satan takes it on the forehand, moves to the backhand and pushes a shot behind Pavelec. Nice passing on that play. Taffe and Fedotenko get assists. Penguins 4-1.
13:35: Hedberg used to be a Penguin
13:25: Pavelec fights off a shot by Wallace.
12:28: The Thras strike on some niftly passing of their own. Some tic-tac-toe passing results in Bryan Little getting a pass in the slot and he rips a wrister by a Fleury. The Penguins failed to account for Little on that play. White and Slava Kozlov get assists. Penguins 4-2.
11:56: Malkin moves the puck into the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Boucher who blasts a one-timer which tips off Valabik's stick and by Pavelec. A cheer for the Penguins is heard again. It's almost as loud as the cheer and goal horn for Atlanta's last goal. Atlanta coach John Anderson has seen enough and he pulls Pavelec for Hedberg. Malkin and Sykora get assists. Penguins 5-2.
10:55: Hedberg used to be a Penguin.
9:30: Cooke is sent off for high sticking.
9:09: A shot by Hainsey is deflected out of play.
8:04: Malkin tries to go against Hainsey shorthanded one-on-one. Hainsey isn't having none of it and tips the puck away with a nice stick check.
7:34: Malkin tries to go one-on-one with Oystrick this time. Oystrick takes a different approach than Hainsey and simply dumps Malkin.
7:30: Cooke's penalty expires with another weak effort from Atlanta.
7:06: Fleury makes a nice "save" off a puck which deflected off Scuderi's stick. Eric Perrin jumps on the rebound but Fleury denies him again with a spectacular real save. He's sharp. Errey compares it to Fleury's save on Mikael Samuelsson in the Stanley Cup final:
6:32: Slater takes out Malkin with a leg sweep Sensei John Kreese would be proud of. Two minutes.
4:32: Slater's penalty expires without a threat from the Penguins.
3:41: Hedberg tips away a shot by Wallace.
1:29: Fleury kicks out a blast by Oystrick.
1:15: Jason Williams whips a wrister on net. Fleury makes the save despite a screen.
0:54: Malkin throws a wild punch as a Thrashers player that doesn't connect.
0:31: After Malkin and Valabik mix it up some more, Godard invites Valabik to a dance. Valabik doesn't seem too eager to drop the gloves with Godard.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Thrashers 2.
-Fleury has been fantastic this game so far. What injury? Atlanta's first goal was off a fluky deflection and their second was the result of poor defense by the Penguins. Otherwise, Fleury has been near perfect.
-We know we've given grief to Atlanta as a hockey market, but how do you market a weak team like this. How does Don Waddell have a job as the Thrashers general manager? This team has one of the best players in the league with Kovalchuk and he's failed to build around him.
-Hopefully for the Penguins, they don't pull off one of their patented third-period collapses.
-Atlanta has a 19-15 advantage in shots.
-Kovalchuk and Reasoner lead the game with four each.
-Malkin and Sykora led the Penguins with three each.
-Atlanta has a 23-20 edge in faceoffs.
-Slater leads the game going 7-for-8 (88 percent).
-Staal leads the Penguins going 9-for-15 (60 percent).
-Hainsey leads the game with 18:17 of ice time.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with 16:06. Orpik is right behind him with 16:04.
-Mark Eaton leads the game with three blocked shots. Scuderi is second with two.
-Paul "The Butcher" Alexander is in game shape as he mangles Boston's Chuck Kobasew into "Kobisov" and Milan Lucic into "Luchi."
19:38: Fleury knocks away a shot by Slater.
18:52: Thorburn makes a fantastic move by Orpik and drives to the net. Fleury denies him. Orpik lost his jock strap on that play.
18:34: Thorburn used to be a Penguin.
18:09: Fleury says no to Oystrick.
17:09: Armstrong and Godard discuss the 1920 presidental election. Armstrong thought James Cox should've one. Godard is comfortable with Warren G. Harding's win. The official is apparently a socialist and wanted Eugene Debs to win. He gives each player 10-minute misconducts for not being down with Karl Marx. We think.
16:54: Steigerwald mentions Dupuis will not return to the game. Errey reminds us Dupuis used to be a Thrasher.
15:20: A shot by Letang is blocked by Boulton.
14:50: Fleury denies Kovalchuk in tight.
13:56: A shot by Williams in close is denied by Fleury.
13:41: Hedberg robs Staal. "Moooooooooosssseeeee!" chants rain down. We're not sure if those are Atlanta or Pittsburgh fans or even both doing it.
12:54: Stone and Hainsey mix it up a bit in the neutral zone.
11:43: Malkin tags Thorburn in the face or neck with an elbow. That's two minutes.
10:54: Hainsey fires a slapper that's off the mark.
9:41: Crosby and Letang work the puck up ice and kill off the rest of Malkin's penalty.
8:22: Wallace hits Valabik in the corner.
7:05: Satan weaves throught the Atlanta defense and whips a backhander on net which Hedberg fights off.
6:30: Sykora collects a puck on the left wing and rips a wrister on net which Hedberg gloves. During a stoppage, a Consol Energy Center propaganda commercial plays two times in row. Wow, that must've been some deal they got from the Penguins. Coming back from commercial, Potash drops some knowledge on former Penguins forward Jean Pronovost who turns 63 today.
5:31: Stone's shot is eaten up by Hedberg.
5:05: Satan makes one of the worst passes we've ever seen and it results in a Colby Armstrong goal. Satan tries to pass the puck backwards from his own blue line. Armstrong takes it with ease and rips it by Fleury on the stick side. What a terrible play by Satan. He could not have made a worse pass if he was playing with a spatula. Technically the goal is unassisted but Satan deserves at least a secondary assist. It's Armstrong's third goal in his past two games. Penguins 5-3.
3:55: Kovalchuk picks up a loose puck on the boards and drives a slapper on net. Fleury knocks it down and covers it. The Penguins are getting a little sloppy in their own end here late.
3:13: Thorburn fires a slapper which Fleury gloves with ease.
2:43: White chips a shot up on net from the side of the cage. Fleury traps it aginst his body and freezes play.
2:33: Cooke slams Armstrong into the boards. Armstrong tried to buy something there.
1:57: Steigerwald mentions that Armstrong is an unrestricted free agent after season and hints that the Penguins could sign him. According to NHLNumbers.com, which is hardly official, Armstrong is a restricted free agent. It would be tough for Ray Shero to sign Armstrong if he wanted to.
1:50: Pavelec is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:18: A shot by Todd White goes off the post.
0:26: Crosby chips a puck up into the neutral zone, moves up ice and moves the puck to Malkin on left wing. Malkin moves in and slides the puck into the cage for one of us. Crosby and Scuderi get assists. It's not a hat trick as Staal was ultimately awarded the Penguins' third goal. Penguins 6-3.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 6, Thrashers 3.
-What a rebound game by the Penguins and Fleury. After having the Flyers hand their lunch to them Saturday, the Penguins needed some down time and it seemed to help them as they had a much more thorough effort tonight. Granted, the Thrashers are weak team and the Penguins did have a few lapses tonight, they had a pretty complete game.
-Fleury looked very sharp. The three goals he gave up weren't really his fault. The first one came off a fluky deflection. The second was the result of a defensive breakdown and the third was off a terrible pass by Satan. Fleury wasn't tested a great deal, but he played well enough to earn a shutout.
-They were hardly vital pieces to the puzzle tonight, but we liked what we saw in Stone and Wallace. They provided energy and some checking in small doses.
-Staal's goal was the result of him going to the net. When Ray Shero gave a "state of the union" address in the early days of free agency this summer, he pointed out Staal specifically as someone they would depend on to replace Ryan Malone in front of the net. Tonight's goal was a vintage Ryan Malone goal.
-We really liked what we saw out of Thorburn and Hainsey tonight. They were really active for Atlanta and seemed to be involved in quite a bit of the action.
-Atlanta actually ended up with a 31-20 lead in shots.
-Kovalchuk led the game with five shots.
-Sykora led the Penguins with four.
-Atlanta had a 34-27 advantage in faceoffs.
-Slater led the Thrashers going 9-for-10 (90 percent).
-Staal led the Penguins going 13-for-22 (59 percent).
-Hainsey led the game with 25:52.
-Malkin led the Penguins with 24:23.
-Scuderi, Eaton and Orpik each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Unofficially, Christensen was never a Penguin tonight.
-In a shocker, Armstrong was only a Penguin twice.
-Hedberg and Thorburn were Penguins twice as well.
-Scuderi now has nine points this season (one goal, eight assists). His had a career-high of 11 points in the 2006-07 season.
-Somewhat amazingly, this was only Hedberg's second ever appearance against the Penguins. He made a "whopping" 14 saves for the Canucks in a 4-3 overtime win at home against the Penguins, Dec. 9, 2003. Former Penguins forward Markus Naslund scored all of Vancouver's goal. We couldn't seem to find Alek Stojanov on the score sheet. Milan Kraft led the Penguins with two goals while Drake Berehkowsky added a goal and an assist. Fleury, then a rookie, made 33 saves in the loss.
-The Thrashers recalled defenseman Scott Lehman from their AHL affiliate in Chicago prior to the game. He logged 3:03 or ice time.
-Is there any doubt who the three best players in the league are?
(Those totals only include tonight's early games.)