-Hey, guess where we are:
-No, not quite:
-EN readers Bob Rizzitano and David Kaleida are coming through with some pictures on locale. The line to get into Philips Arena:
-An Olympic fountain:
-A fan of sod farms and brothers:
-Some more Penguins fans:
-The Penguins' starters are Pascal Dupuis, Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Brooks Orpik, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Ben Lovejoy, Mike Comrie and Eric Godard.
-The Thrashers' starters are Andrew Ladd, Niclas Bergfors, Rich Peverly, Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom and Ondrej Pavelec.
-Their scratches are Jim Slater and Freddy Meyer.
-FSN Pittsburgh provides your lines and defensive pairings:
18:58: Quasi-Penguin killer Nik Antropov chops a loose puck on net from the left circle. Fleury shoulders it away.
18:03: After, Chris Conner, Tyler Kennedy and Mark Letestu force a turnover, Conner is denied on a wraparound.
17:45: A wrister by Ron Hainsey from the left point is snagged by Fleury.
17:39: Mike Rupp and former Penguin Chris Thorburn tangle in the Penguins' zone. Rupp gets the early advantage as he lands seven or eight rights to the back of Thorburn's nogging. Thorburn rebounds and pretty much bodyslams Rupp to the ice. Give that one to Rupp. Oh and Thorburn used to be a Penguin:
17:19: And the Penguins give up the first goal once again. SBrent Sopel chops a slapper from the right point to the far side. With Eric Boulton and Zbynek Michalek in front on a screen, the puck sails to the far side and beats Fleury on the shoulder side. We have no idea how Fleury could have seen that shot Alexander Burmistrov and Anthony Stewart get assists. Thrashers 1-0.
16:45ish: The Thrashers are off and running. Fleury has to slide to his left and kick out a nice re-direct attempt by Byfuglien from the slot with his left foot. The Thrashers are really playing aggressive
1621: Ben Eager, hardly a favorite of Penguins fans, is dropped in the right circle in Atlanta's zone by Matt Cooke. Eager is helped off the ice by teammates and a few members of the team's support staff. He retreats to the locker room.
16:06: Off the ensuring faceoff, Cooke attempted to drop the gloves with Evander Kane, who leveled Cooke in a fight last season.
-Kane doesn't take him up and Cooke is sent to the box for interference. Side Crosby, Letang, Orpik and Kunitz take the ice.
15:49: Enstrom snaps off a wrister from the left point. Fleury eats it up.
15:35: A wrister by Crosby from the right wing is knocked down by Pavelec.
15:03: A wrister by Byfuglien from the left point is denied by Fleury.
13:39: Cooke and Asham are each denied in tight.
12:54: A slapper by Letang from the right point is knocked away by Pavelec despite traffic.
9:47: A wrister by Letang from the right point is booted out aby Pavelec.
9:30: Eager returns to the ice.
9:13: Dupuis snaps off a pass from the right wing to the left circle. Crosby takes the pass and rips a rising wrister. Pavelec juuuust gets a piece of it with his glove and the puck deflects wide on the far side.
8:40: Kunitz hops a loose puck in the slot wide to the left of the cage. The net was wide open too. He needed to bury that.
8:01: The Penguins get a power play as Kane is nabbed for interference against Maxime Talbot. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Goligoski take the ice.
7:43: Shorthanded, Ladd made a nice move around Letang in the left circle in the Penguins' zone and is denied in tight by Fleury.
7:12: And the Penguins' power play come to a quick end as Malkin is nabbed for hooking Johnny Oduya. Four-on-four for 1:11.
6:01: The Kane minor expires. The Thrashers have 49 seconds of power play time.
5:58: Letang snaps off a nasty looking wrister from the slot. His aim is off and he misses the net to the left.
5:12: Malkin's minor expires. Back to five on five.
4:31: Ladd clunks a wrister off the cross bar.
3:58: Peverly is nabbed for slashing. Conner, Michalek, Letestu, Martin and Cooke take the ice.
1:58: Two minutes later, and the Penguins didn't do a thing.
1:41: Peverly chops a big slapper on net to the far side from the left wing. Fleury knocks it away with his blocker.
0:11: As EN commenter smwit87 suggest, Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay looks like Patrick Stewart:
0:00: End of period. Thrashers 1, Penguins 0.
-Well... that could've been worse. The Thrashers jumped all over the Penguins that period and really attacked the offensive zone. Were it not for Fleury being up to the challenge, this could be a 3-0 game.
-The Thrashers don't really have that one elite player they way they did with Ilya Kovalchuk for all those seasons, but they have a lot of depth. It's almost like they have seven or eight second liners. If that makes sense.
-News Flash: The Penguins don't exactly do very well on the power play.
-We continue to dig this new third line of Conner, Letestu and Kennedy.
-Andrew Ladd has really taken off now that he has been given a bigger role in Atlanta.
-The Thrashers have a 12-10 lead in shots.
-Byfuglien leads the game with three.
-Crosby leads the Penguins with two.
-Letang leads the game with 8:12 of ice time.
-Enstrom leads the Thrashers with 8:02.
-The Thrashers have a 9-8 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Little is 2 for 2 (100 percent).
-Adams is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Michalek leads the game with two blocked shots.
-More photos. A few jersey fouls. A couple which is apparently fond of memories involving the 1991 Campbell Conference final:
-What's up with the black trim on that North Stars jersey?
-And what's up with this guy?
-The Red Wings-Penguins rivalry comes into play here with this Henrik Zetterberg fan:
17:24: After a stagnant two and a half minute opening to this period, Letestu snaps off a wrister from the right wing to the far side. Pavelec boots it out with his right foot.
15:10: Kunitz chops a slapper off the right wing. It's deflected out of play. Compared to the first, this is a really slow period.
14:55: Arron Asham distributes a backhander to Cooke in the left circle. Cooke snaps it on net. Pavelec hangs on despite having Malkin digging for a rebound.
12:04: Goligoski controls a puck at the left point. He winds up and slaps a shot towards the cage. Talbot and Rupp are in front. Talbot appears to re-direct it by Pavelec. Rupp falls and knocks Pavelec over. Officials immediately rule no goal and say Rupp interfered with Pavelec. Replays show Rupp's rear end bumping into Pavelec's blocker. By the letter of the law, that's the right call. But how often is that rule enforced that strictly?
11:12: Off a give an go, Kunitz chops a shot on net from the slot. Pavelec boots it out to the right wing. Malkin is there and pokes the puck off the side of the cage. Argh.
9:58: Sopel blasts a big slapper from the right point. It hits Letang right in the right hand. Letang hunches over and begins to wave his hand. He finishes his shift and goes to the bench. He takes off his glove and his hand, already with a few bandages on it, is shaking a little big.
6:38: More Asham-Malkin chemistry. Asham gains the offensive zone on the right wing. He toaps the pass to Malkin. Malkin taps it back. Asham taps it back and BOOM. Malkin whips a wrister through the gear of Pavelec on the near side from the right circle. Asham and Letang get assists. According to Bob Errey, 75 percent of the Penguins' goals this season have involved a defenseman. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1.
5:43: Martin is nabbed for slashing Boulton. Dupuis, Orpik, Talbot and Michalek take the ice.
4:39: Byfuglien snaps off a wrister form the left point. Fleury gets a piece of it with his blocker despite a screen.
4:07: Michalek slides down to the ice to block a wrister by Byfuglien in the left circle.
3:43: Martin's penalty is killed. Wonderful effort by the Penguins.
3:06: Little is called for holding Malkin along the left wing boards in the Penguins' zone. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Martin and Michalek take the ice.
2:46: Malkin sneaks by Oduya on the right wing, moves i on net and jabs a quick wrister on Pavelec's five hole. Pavelec hangs on to freeze play.
2:12: Letang chops a quick shot from the top of the slot. Malkin re-directs it on net. Pavelec boots it to the corner.
1:06: Little's penalty expires. Not that the bar has been set real high, but that was probably the Penguins' best effort of the night on the power play.
0:02: Orpik sticks his hip into Antropov near the Atlanta blue line. That's interference. As play moves up ice towards the Penguins zone. Eager clips Orpik in the face with his stick. Orpik goes down like a ton of bricks. That prompts Paul Steigerwald to reference Eager's butt-kicking at the hands of Gary Roberts:
-Orpik (interference), Talbot (roughin) and Eager (high sticking) each get minors. The Thrashers end up with apower play. Crosby, Engelland, Michalek and xxx take the ice as the Thrashers pull Pavelec for an extra attacker with little time left.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1.
-Things really slowed down that period and we think that benefits the Penguins. After a pretty hard-fought game last night with the Lightning, the Penguins probably need a slower pace to this game.
-This is hardly a long-term answer, but we love what Asham has done on Malkin's line.
-The Penguins really limited the Thrasher's offensive chances that period. As a result, Fleury was hardly tested.
-The power play is still awful.
-The Thrashers have a 19-17 edge in shots.
-Byfuglien leads the game with four.
-Letestu, Kunitz, Cooke, Letang, Malkin and Crosby each have two.
-Michalek leads the game with 15:49 of ice time.
-Byfuglien is right behind him with 14:44.
-The Thrashers have a 20-15 lead in faceoffs (57 percent).
-Peverly is 9 for 16 (56 percent).
-Adams is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
20:00: The Thrashers will have 1:57 of power play time on fresh ice. Adams, Cooke, Michalek and Martin take the ice.
19:12: Antropov snaps off a wrister from the left half wall. It hits a body or two in front. Peverly is there e for the rebound but can't punch it in. Martin is smarting after taking a puck off his skates.
18:49: Fleury covers a slapper by Byfuglien.
18:17: Shorthanded, Dupuis booms a slapper from the left point. Pavelec makes the save but bobbles the rebound. Goligoski follows up on the puck and sweeps it right into Pavelec with a backhander. Pavelec freezes play.
18:03: The Penguins return to full strength.
17:19: From the right wing, Malkin moves a pass to Engelland at the left point. Engelland cracks a one-timer towards the net. Crosby is in the slot and re-directs it on net with his backhand under the glove hand of Pavelec on far side. What a play by Crosby. Engelland and Malkin get assists. Penguins 2-1.
17:09: Burmistrov is called for boarding Conner. Crosby, Kunitz, Malkin, Letang and Goligoski take the ice.
15:18: Crosby distributes pass to Martin at the right point. Martin cranks a slapper which gets deflected wide on the near side. Pavelec expects the puck to rebound to the other side of the cage and plays the puck wrong. Malkin doesn and bangs in the puck with a backhander by the right foot of Pavelec. Martin and Crosby take the ice.
15:00: Orpik is called for hooking. Little pretty much hugged Orpik's stick. Orpik even held his right hand up to show he wasn't guilty. Either way, The Thrashers have a power play. Talbot, Cooke, Goligoski and Michalek take the ice.
13:29: Adams forces a turnover by Kane at the left point. Adams chases it down and is held up by Kane. The offical's hand goes up. On the delayed penalty, Dupuis whips a wrister on net from deep on the left wing. Pavelec covers. Kane oges off for holding. Four-on-four for 30 seconds.
13:00: Orpik's minor expires. The Penguins will have 1:30 of power play time.
12:22: Goligoski snaps off a wrister to the far side from the left circle. It goes wide on the far side.
11:29: Kane's minor expires. Not much to brag about there for the Penguins.
9:15: Ugh. That was pretty brutal. The Penguins catch the Penguins' napping and cash in. Bogosian dumps the puck into the Penguins' zone. Kane retrieves it and makes a nifty little backhanded pass to the slot for Bergfors. Bergfors snaps a quick wrister which squeaks through Fleury's gear and trickles into the net. Fleury should make that save. Bergfors now has nine career points in six games against the Penguins. Kane and Bogosian get assists. Penguins 3-2.
7:26: Off a give and go with Cooke, Malkin booms a big one-timer from above the right circle. Pavelec boots it away.
6:04: Fleury kicks out a big slapper by Sopel from the right point.
5:46: Stewart lifts a wrister from the left wing. Fleury traps it against his torso and hangs on for the save.
5:36: Crosby gains the offensive zone and taps a pass to Kunitz on the right wing. Kunitz moves into the circle and rips a wrister. Pavelec eats it up.
5:24: Burmistrov snaps a wrister from the left wing. Fleury snags it.
4:16: Letang makes a simply stupid pass from behind his net across the crease to the left wing. Little steals it as Fleury scrambles to get into position. Little moves it to Eager who shuffles it on net as quickly as possible. Fleury keeps it out despite having Eager and Orpik crash on top of him. Letang owes Fleury many, many, many beers.
3:23: Byfuglien blasts a slapper from the right point. Fleury punches it away with his blocker.
1:30: Pavelec is pulled out for an extra attacker.
1:18: Malkin tries to move the puck out of the zone and is hip checked down by Enstrom at the blue line
1:02: Cooke pushes the puck up the ice up the left wing. Crosby retrieves the puck and moves it to Malkin. Malkin move sin on net all alone and calmly deposits the puck into the cage for one of us:
It's Malkin's sixth career hat trick. Crosby and Cooke get assists. Penguins 4-2.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Thrashers 2.
-We were more impressed with this win than last night's to be honest with you. Last night's win was at home against a really weak, ailing Lightning team which had a tough game the night before against the Capitals. Tonight's win was against a solid, mostly healthy Thrashers team on the road. And the Thrashers were pretty aggressive, early on at least.
-And when you throw in the fact that this was the second game of back-to-back nights for the Penguins, it was even better.
-Fleury's recover seems to be legit. He didn't fall apart or just get depressed once he gave up that first goal. Just like last night, he made a few key saves which helped keep his team in the lead.
-The Thrashers are a pretty impressive team. They have a lot of depth and will attack on offense.
-Malkin has woken up in a big way the last few games. This team won't win without him playing this way.
-The blue line had a few mistakes tonight - most notably, Letang's horrible pass attempt whcih was intercepted by Little - but we thought it was a solid effort against a group of aggressive Thrashers forwards.
-The Thrashers had a 33-28 lead in shots.
-Byfuglien and Malkin each led the game with seven shots.
-Byfuglien led the game with 25:16 of ice time.
-Letang led the game with 24:43 of ice time.
-The Thrashers controlled faceoffs, 31-21 (60 percent).
-Talbot was 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Little and Antropov were each 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Oduya led the game with four blocked shots.
-Michalek and Letang each led the Penguins with three.
-Malkin's last hat trick came in a 6-4 home win against the Islanders, Jan. 19. His third goal in that game was an empty netter as well.
-His third goal was the 150th of his career.
-Malkin now has 397 career points.
-Letang now has 96 career points.
-Asham recorded his 100th career assist.