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Blackhawks at Penguins - 09-28-10

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Greetings from a dank and gloomy day in Pittsburgh. It's in the low 60s, humid and cloudy. A pretty ugly day. Looking Downtown:

-You know... depending on the demographic you're targeting, the first sentence in this sign could either help or hurt your business:

-We miss the days when Pennsylvania was abbreviated "Penna" instead of "Pa."

-The Grant Building:

-The City-County Building:

-If you didn't know that in the Grant Building here on June 17, 1936, the Steel Workers Organizing Committee was founded. And that it was renamed in 1942, the USWA became one of the world's largest unions, embracing over a million workers. Or that Phillip Murray was its first president... you do now:

-You know what the funny thing about the Grant Street Tavern is?

-It's really located on Fourth Avenue:

-Talk about being redundant:

-That's like saying you have an ice and frozen water company.

-A Ryan Malone jersey with a jersey foul:

-Consol Energy Center:

-The ice:

-It's a happy day for us as the NHL's record and rule books were issued:

-Most folks have coffee table books on their coffee tables. We have the description on what it takes to a what happens when the puck strikes an official.

-Some jerseys. Jean Pronovost:

-Here's one of the best all-time road jerseys we've seen. Denis Savard:

-Bob Errey:

-Here's an all-timer. Glen Murray:

-EN reader Rob Luther and commentor mjp1542 each come through with a clutch heads-up and remind us that this is really a Troy Murray jersey. Egads:

-Markus Naslund:

-Jonathan To__s:

-This fan took a plunge and invested in a Paul Martin jersey:

-And yes, Marian Hossa still has at least one fan here.

-Ian Moran:

-There's just a lot wrong with this photo. Hossa Blackhawks and Jay Cutler Bears?

-Sidney Crosby Team Canada:

-A Hossa t-shirt jersey:

-Mario Lemieux Wales Conference:

-Patrick Kane:

-Tom Barrasso:

-Aleksey Morozov:

-Matt Cooke:

-Mike Comrie t-shirt jersey:

-Josef Melichar:

-Pierre Larouche:

-Looking out on Downtown:

-Uptown:

-Mellon Arena:

-Warm ups:

-Sarah Marince handles the national anthem. But no Jimerson = No photo.

-Click here for tonight's rosters and scratches.

-The Penguins' starting lineup is Dustin Jeffrey, Mike Rupp, Craig Adams, Alex Goligoski, Ben Lovejoy and Brent Johnson.

-The Blackhawks' starting lineup is Troy Brouwer, Jeremy Morin, Dave Bolland, Brian Campbell, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Alec Richards. Richards is the goaltender.

-The Penguins will have Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and Craig Adams serve as alternate captains.

-Ben Lovejoy and Deryk Engelland need big nights.

FIRST PERIOD

19:21: Kane fires a wrister from the left wing. Brent Johnson fights it off.

19:00: Kane snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Brent Johnson boots it out.

18:02: Mark Letestu works a puck up the right wing and from the faceoff circle, he pulls up and sneaks a little pass to Brett Sterling. Sterling takes the pass in the circle and immediately snaps it off. Richards gloves the low shot.

16:35: The Penguins have their mult-million dollar set of new defensemen -Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek - on the ice together.

16:23: Morin snaps off a wrister from just to the right of the cage. Brent Johnson appears to just get a piece of it.

15:55: Rupp puts a heavy snap shot on net. Richards fights it off.

13:33: Martin leads a rus into the offensive zone and snaps off a low wrister from the left circle. Richards snags it and freezes play. "Blitzkreig Bop" by The Ramones is played during a television stoppage:

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13:10: Dan Bylsma has a pretty feisty line of Maxime Talbot, Tyler Kennedy and Arron Asham on the ice. 

11:44: Brouwer and Rupp have a bit of a collision behind the Chicago net. It looks like Rupp's stick got jammed into the boards and ended up spearing Brouwer. The stick snaps and Brouwer falls to the ice in a bit of a daze. He's a little slow to get to his feet but seems fine for the most part. Play continues.

10:21: Letestu sneaks up the right wing and whips a wrister on net from deep near the corner. Richards makes the save but is sloppy with the rebound. Kunitz follows up on it and sweeps a backhanders on net. Crawford is able to hold that out. That's Kunitz's bread and butter there. 

8:55: Adams drops Viktor Stalberg in the neutral zone.

8:30: The Penguins' defensive pairings have been a big mish-mash tonight so far. Michalek and Lovejoy are now working together. 

7:48: Engelland fires a slapper from the right poing. Eric Tangradi is in front and re-directs ti wide on the near side.

7:39: Malkin circles around from the behind the Chicago net to above the right circle. He turns and whips a wrister into traffic. Tangradi is once again in front causing havoc. The puck hits a body or two and deflects by Richards on the stick side. Malkin ends up getting credit for the goal. Tangradi and Comrie get assists. What a great sequence by Tangradi in front of the cage. The Penguins didn't have a net-front presence like that on nearly enough occasions last seaosn. The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 1-0.

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5:38: John Scott is called for roughing Asham. Malkin, Letestu, Comrie, Goligoski and Kunitz take the ice. Goligoski and Malkin man the points. 

5:25: Letestu drives a slapper on net. Richards makes the save but gives up another rebound. Kunitz crashes in for the puck but takes a tumble and can't get a clean shot off.

4:23: Goligoski fakes a slapper at the top of the point then dishes to Malkin on the left half wall. Malkin uncorks a big one-timer. Richards makes thes save but gives up a rebound. A few Penguins are there but Campbell is able to whip it down ice for a clear. 

3:05: Ouch. Derek Engelland better start looking for apartments in Scranton on Craigslist. He controls the puck in the right circle in his own zone. He attempts to make a pass to Simon Despres on the left wing wall but makes a simply brutal turnover to Kane, Chicago's most dangerous player on the ice tonight. Kane moves in and tries to deke on his backhand. Brent Johnson is able to stick with the move and makes an impressive glove save as he falls to his left. Engelland owes Johnson a beer after that. Assuming Johnson feels like driving to Northeast Pennsylvania anytime soon. 

1:25: Adams takes a pass from Despres in the left circle and chips a little backhander on net. Richards makes the easy save.

0:41: Jack Skille makes a nice rush on net from the left wing. He tries to jam it by Johnson but is denied.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Blackhawks 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION


-Not that we ever put much weight into how the team preforms collectively in preseason games, but that was a solid first period for the home team. They controlled play in Chicago's end for the most part and pressured Richards quite a bit.

-The Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin line continues to show some chemistry.

-That said, we just don't see how Mark Letestu doesn't make this roster instead of Tangradi. Assuming Letestu doesn't turf Dan Bylsma's yard or something, he'll be an NHL Penguin on Oct. 7. He wins faceoffs, he gets shots on net, he's solid in all three zones.  Tangradi's playing nice, but he still has a lot of development ahead of him. Letestu has probably reached his ceiling.

-None of the candidates for the No. 6 and 7 defensemen spots have really stood out in camp, but Engelland pretty much just put himself at the bottom of the list after that turnover.

-Brent Johnson was hardly tested that period outside of Engelland's mistake.

-Richards has actually looked pretty good considering the Penguins are controlling play.

-The Penguins have a 9-5 lead in shots.

-Kane leads the game with four.

-Letestu leads the Penguins with three.

-Lovejoy leads the game with 7:57 of ice time.

-Brent Seabrook is right behind him with 7:56.

-Faceoffs are tied 5-5 (50 percent).

-Ryan Potulny is 2 for 2 (100 percent).

-Talbot is 3 for 5 (60 percent).

-Lovejoy leads the game with three blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

18:17: Goligoski makes a pretty ugly turnover at his own blue line. That leads to a pretty ugly shot by Stalberg which is no where near the Penguins' goal.

17:26: Seabrook jabs a quick little slapper on net from the right point. Despite traffic, Brent Johnson leans down to his left and gloves it.

16:50: Making an appearance tonight... Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!!

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-For what it's worth, he was selling mass produced stuff in foil bags and didn't have the big board with cotton candy on sticks. It was an odd sight to say the least.

16:45: Campbell gains the Penguins' blue line in the slot and lifts a slapper on net. Brent Johnson gloves it.

16:14: And Dustin Jeffrey makes his case. Rupp chips a puck from the right wing into above the faceoff circle. Adams is ther and takes a wild swing at it. As he releases the puck, Potulny absolutely levels him with a nice shoulder-to-shoulder check from the left side. The puck travels towards the net. Jeffrey is driving to the cage and almost accidently, the puck his his blade and changes direction on Richards who gets jammed up and can't stop the puck from trickling in. Adams is fine after the hit. He gets an assist along with Rupp. The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 2-0.

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15:22: Perhaps frustrated after his turnover in the first period, Engelland drops teh gloves in his own zone with Jake Dowel.He holds Dowell off with his left hand and throws a ton of right hands. He lands a few. Dowell gets a few in and ends up cutting Egnelland above the right eye. Engelland goes to the locker room for repairs. Dowell goes to his locker room to have his jersey cleaned as it has some blood on it. That was a pretty spirited - but quick - fight.

12:04: Ben Smith makes a rush up the right wing and juuuuust barely avoid getting plastered on a hip check by Despres. Smith did get clipped a bit, but avoided the "meat" of the hit.

11:07: That was ugly. Bryan Bickel enters the offensive zone on the left wing and snaps off a low wrister to the far side. Brent Johnson boots it out to the opposite wing right to.... Kyle Beach. Beach says "thank you" and easily plants the juicy rebound by Johnson on the glove side. That was a pretty brutal rebound. PUT IN BYRON LEFTWICH!!!! Bickell and Seabrook get assists. Brent Johnson could make a case for one. Penguins 2-1.

10:16: Lovejoy puts a slapper on net from the left point. Richards makes the inital save. Tangradi is down low battling for a rebound but can't quite get his stick on the puck.

10:09: The Penguins work the puck around to Malkin in the right circle and he cranks a slapper on net. Richards eats it up.

8:11: Nick Johnson picks up a loose puck in the left circle, turns and whips a wrister on net. Richards eats it up.

7:24: As Kane brings the puck up ice on a rush, Bolland is called for interference on Michalek. Malkin, Letestu, Goligoski, Comrie and Kunitz take the ice. Malkin is on the point with Goligoski.

6:26: Goligoski gains the offensive zone on the right wing and dishes a little pass to Malkin along the boards. Malkin makes a nifty curl and drag move by Bickell, moves into the right circle and lifts a wrister on net. Richards eats it up.

5:24: The Blackhawks kill the penalty without much of a threat from the Penguins.

4:45: Attendance is announced as 18,087.

4:28: Lovejoy cranks a slapper from the right point. Richards makes the save but gives up a rebound. Rupp is there battling for it but can't get a clean shot off.

3:49: Bickell snaps off a low wrister from the top of the slot. Brent Johnson makes the save but has trouble with the rebound. He scrambles a bit and is able to collect it with his stick and cover as Smith approaches.

3:21: Engelland returns after a fairly lenghthy absence.

2:43: Comrie sneaks up the right wing while fending off a defender. He makes a last second pass into the slot as Tangradi and Malkin each crash in. Neither can get a stick on the puck.

0:34: Goligoski corrals a puck at the left point, winds up and golfs a slapper towards the net. It hits a body or two and goes wide on the near side.

0:02: Nick Johnson takes a pass on the left wing, enters the offensive zone and whacks a shot towards the net. It goes wide to the far side as the horn sounds.

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

SECOND INTERMISSION


-The Tangradi-Comrie-Malkin line displayed some more chemistry. It's like they've spent a whole season together already.

-Tangradi has had his best game of the preseason so far in our opinion. He's going to the net, causing havoc and he's just being a presence.

-That said, Letestu is still playing better. He just provides more of what this team needs at the moment. (I.E. faceoffs).

-Ben Lovejoy has taken a big step forward tonight. He's providing something in the offensive zone. He's putting some shots on net and he's been pretty solid in the defensive zone as well.

-Goligoski is still far too prone to mental mistakes for someone with his level of NHL experience.

-Brett Sterling was pretty much invisible that period.

-We have a hard time seeing Despres getting more than the 10-game "tryout" for junior-eligible players, but he's sure as heck making a case to stick with the NHL roster. Not that the others battling for the No. 6 and 7 spots are standing out, but Despres has been solid.

-The Penguins have a 20-14 lead in shots.

-Kane still leads the game with four.

-Letestu and Malkin lead the Penguins with three each.

-Seabrook leads the game with 15:31 of ice time.

-Michalek is right behind him with 15:27.

-The Penguins have a 20-12 lead in faceoffs (63 percent).

-Comrie is 6 for 9 (63 percent).

-Potulny is 5 for 8 (63 percent).

-Lovejoy leads the game with four blocked shots.

-Jassen Cullimore leads the Blackhawks with three.

-Hannu Toivonen is now in net for the Blackhawks.

THIRD PERIOD

18:57: Nick Leddy grabs a loose puck at the left point and cranks a slapper on net. Brent Johnson gloves it.

18:49: Michalek takes his first penalty of the preseason as he hals down Skille in the right wing corner in the Penguins' zone. Fire Ray Shero. The Penguins go on the penalty kill for hte first time tonight. Adams, Talbot, Engelland and Goligoski take the ice.

18:19: Adams chases down a loose puck deep on the right wing in Chicago's zone. He move behind the Chicago net, come around to the left wing, turns and whips a wrister on net from a tough angle. Toivonen boots it out.

17:12: Goligoski chips a loose puck just inside his blue line down ice to get a clear.

16:51: Kunitz enters the offensive zone shorthanded and snaps off a wrister. It appears to get deflected a bit as Toivonen pushes it wide with his glove. The Penguins kill the  Michalek penalty without much of a threat from the Blackhawks.

16:30: Malkin and Comrie have a few cracks at a loose puck down low but can't get it by Toivonen.

15:40: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"

15:07: Off a nice little give an go, Letestu and Kunitz create a chance off the left wing. Toivonen is able to cover the puck.

14:45: Nick Johnson and Talbot get two chances down low but can't get them by Toivonen. Toivonen has been busy so far.

14:26: With Smith pressuring from behind, Despres makes a nice little play inside his blue line to shake off Smith - who blows a tire and takes a spill - and moves the puck back up ice. That takes some confidence by Despres to make that play.

12:26: Fernando Pisani decides to make an appearance and drives a shot on net. Brent Johnson makes the save and steers the rebound into the netting. Officials fail to halt play.

12:08: What a save by Toivonen. Sterling collects a puck in the right wing corner in Chicago's zone. He circles and distributes to Lovejoy at the left point. Lovejoy winds up and cranks a slapper on net. Toivonen is there for the intial save. Letestu jumps on the rebound and has a seemingly open net but Toivonen is able to fall onto his left side and hold it out.

11:35: Dear Steve Smith. Seabrook just scored on his own net! Talbot forces the puck up the right wing and draws two defenders in the corner in Chicago's zone. He flicks a backhandes pass towards the slot. It appears to glance off the stick of Nick Johnson then deflects off the forehand of Seabrook's stick and into the net by Toivonen on the stick side. Ugh. Dan Boyle Seabrook looks up in disgust. Johnson gets credit for the goal. Talbot and Martin get assists. Seabrook deserves an assist for that. Steve Smith not impressed:

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-The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 3-1.

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8:47: Seabrook just needs a hug at this point. Kunitz drives up the left wing after a loose puck against Leddy. He flicks a fluttering backhander towards the net. Toivonen "punches" it out with his right shoulder. Letestu crashes in and pokes at it. Seabrook is there jabbing away also. The puck takes a funny hop and hits off the pants of Seabrook and deflects into the net. Yeesh. Seabrook smashes his stick over the cross bar. He needs a beer. The Penguins will take it.  Letestu gets credit for the goal. Kunitz and Martin get assists. Dan Boyle not impressed:

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The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 4-1.

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8:16: This is cruel. "SEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAA..... BRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRooooooooooooookkkkkkkkkkkkkk......"

7:04: Brent Johnson fights off a wrister by Troy Brower.

4:28: Smith takes a pass in the slot and has a clean look at the net. He lifts a wrister. Brent Johnson is square to the shooter and eats it up. During the stoppage, "Cotton Eyed Joe" is busted out:

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3:09: Despres gets caught flatfooted as Stalberg skates by him on the right wing with the puck. Stalbert gets behind Despres and moves in on net. His shot is denied by Brent Johnson.

3:03: A slapper by Dowell from the slot is off the mark.

2:53: Talbot carries the puck up the right wing. With Despres driving to the net and drawing two defenders, Talbot crosses into the slot and whips a wrister. It clinks off the right post.

0:09: Kane snaps off a wrister from the right wing through traffic. Brent Johnson makes the initial save and gloves the rebound as it hops up.

0:00: End of game. The "Woo Hoo" song is played. Penguins 4, Blackhawks 1.

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POSTGAME


-There was a lot to be happy about with this game for the Penguins.

-First, Ben Lovejoy is still alive. After a mostly unimpressive training camp, he stepped up with a really nice effort tonight. He was strong in all three zones, sacrificed his body some, put some shots on net and was just had a nice all-around effort.

-Go ahead and pre-order that No. 10  Mark Letestu jersey. He's on t his roster assuming he doesn't just fall apart in the next week or so. He did just about everything well tonight. He's a pretty versataile player and seemingly can find somethign to do on all four lines.

-Eric Tangradi came through with his best effort of the preseason in our opinion. He just went to the net and took up space. He played a simple game and was really effective.

-Simon Despres continues to keep himself in the conversation to make the NHL roster. Coming into camp, there seemed to be an assumption that he would simply be returned to juniors while Lovejoy, Deryk Engelland, Corey Potter, Andrew Hutchinson and others would battle for the No. 6 and 7 spots. But thanks to a mostly unimpressive effort by those four and Despres' natural talent, he could very well be on the NHL roster come Oct. 7.

-Dan Bylsma thought Engelland responded well after his turnover to Kane in the first period. But at this point, it's hard to see him starting the season in the NHL.

-Bret Sterling, Dustin Jeffrey and Nick Johnson didn't really stand out a great deal tonight.

-We liked what we saw out of Brent Johnson tonight. Granted, he was playing a lineup mostly comprised of Rockford IceHogs, but he was very calm and steady.

-Paul Martin was pretty solid. It was the first we've seen of him in person in a Penguins uniform and his skating ability is impressive.

-The Penguins ended up with a 39-22 lead in shots.

-Kane and Letestu led the game with five each.

-Brian Campbell led the game with 23:56 of ice time.

-Goligoski led the Penguins with 21:54.

-The Penguins once again dominated faceoffs, 27-17 (61 percent).

-Potulny was 6 for 9 (67 percent).

-Talbot was 9 for 15 (60 percent).

-Lovejoy led the game with five blocked shots.

-Cullimore led the Blackhawks with three.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

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