-Greetings from a cold, windy, snowy day in Pittsburgh. Its in the mid-20s and we have a coating of the white stuff. It would be a perfect day for the Winter Classic.
-A blurry Consol Energy Center:
-Ryan Whitney still has one fan outside at least:
-The man of honor tonight is of course Bill Guerin:
-The former Penguins and Devils (and Bruins/Oilers/Stars/Blues/Sharks/Blues) forward officially retired today. He will be honored prior to the game.
-Also, Sidney Crosby was named your first star of the week by the NHL.
-Some sights around the arena. You can't accuse HBO of not covering all the bases here. They're filming beer sales:
-A Deryk Engelland fan:
-Fans walking in from Centre Avenue:
-Joe Sakic Nordiques:
-This is pretty awesome. Johan Hedberg Manitoba Moose:
-Zach Parise regular:
-And Zach Parise "Christmas" throwback:
-Craig A _ ams:
-Fittingly enough, this fan is wearing a Miroslav Satan jersey for a Devils game:
-Prior to the start of the game, a brief video presentation in honor of Guerin featuring his Penguins highlights and some of his work off the ice is played to Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run:"
-The team presents a painting, a trip to Hawaii and a No. 13 jersey which Guerin puts on immediately. Fans off a standing ovation.
-Guerin walks down a red carpet on the ice in front of the Penguins bench and bumps fists with all the players. Fans offer a "Billl-EEEEE! Billll-EEEEE!" chant.
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Mike Comrie, Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin.
-The Devils' starters are Ilya Kovalchuk, Jamie Langenbrunner, Travis Zajac, Henrik Tallinder, Colin White and Johan Hedberg.
-Their scratches are Stephen Gionta, Mike McKenna and Alexander Vasyunov.
-No Jimerson. No photo.
18:50: Devils color commentator Glen "Chico" Resch mentions that Crosby and White are each from Nova Scotia:
17:52: Chris Conner snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Hedberg scrunches down and boots it away to the corner.
17:45: Mark Letestu puts a shot on net from in tight. Hedberg eats it up.
17:03: Rupp chops a loose puck on net from in tight. Hedberg boots it out.
15:40: Arron Asham puts a slapper on net form the right wing. Hedberg fends it off with ease.
14:44: David Clarkson has a chance in the slot and lifts a little wrister. Fleury gets a piece of it with his glove and smacks it away.
12:20: Mike Rupp splatters Mark Fayne into the left wing corner boards.
12:13: Clarkson holds up Rupp. That's two minutes for holding. Crosby, Chris Kunitz, Mark Letestu, Kris Letang and Paul Martin take the ice.
12:09: off a faceoff win, Letang drives a slapper on net. Hedberg eats it up despite traffic. Afterwards, Kunitz and White get into a shoving match. An official steps in before anything significant develops.
11:40: Martin tosses a wrister towards the net from the top of the slot. Hedberg eats it up.
10:43: White and Kunitz are battling pretty intensely down low. Those two are going to be sick of each other at the end of the night.
10:13: The Clarkson minor ends. The Penguins had a few chances on that.
9:57: Langenbrunner sails a wrister on net from the right point. Fleury absorbs it.
9:09: Arron Asham rushes the puck up ice one-on-one with Henrik Tallinder. Asham chips it up ice. Tallinder holds him up and Asham falls backwards. That's two minute for interference. He protests the call. There are a lot of officials who wouldn't make that call. Regardless, the Penguins will take it. Letestu, Kunitz, Crosby, Letang and Martin take the ice.
8:15: From the top of the slot, Letang slides a pass to the right circle. Crosby is there, kneels down and strikes a one-timer. An old nemesis in Anton Volchenkov is there to block it out of play.
7:07: Tallinder's penalty is killed. The Penguins did next to nothing that two minutes.
6:41: Dupuis is called for hooking on Mattias Tedenby behind the Penguins' net. That's two minutes. Adams, Cooke, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
5:40: And the penalty kill gives up a goal for the third consecutive game. Tedenby swoops behind the net with the puck from the left wing. he emerges on the other side and deals to Jason Arnott at the right point. Arnott cranks a one-timer on net. It hits a body in front. Brian Rolston is right there to bang it in by Fleury's left leg. A nice dirty goal down low. Arnott and Tedenby get assists. Devils 1-0.
4:53: Fayne snaps off a wirster from the top of the slot juuuust wide to the right of the cage.
4:19: Yeesh! What a shot! Crosby takes a pass off his left skate and kicks it forward. He gains the offensive zone on the right wing and from above the circle, he slides a cross-ice pass to Kunitz above the opposite circle. Kunitz has his stick cocked. He unleashes a wicked one-timer over the the glove hand of Hedberg who was about 34 minutes behind the pass. Crosby and Dupuis get assists. CROSBY NEEDS NEW WINGERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Devils 1, Penguins 1.
3:16: The Penguins get another power play as Hedberg is called for interference. (Huh?). David Clarkson will serve the minor. Kunitz, Crosby, Letestu, Eaton and Letang take the ice.
1:16: The Hedberg minor expires. The Penguins did nothing with that chance.
0:29: Andy Greene cranks a one-timer from the right point. Fleury absorbs the shot initially. As the official blows his whistle, the puck squeaks through and sits in the crease. Fans get a bit of a scare but play is dead.
0:00: End of period. Devils 1, Penguins 1.
-A pretty decent first period of hockey. Plenty of up and down action. Both teams put a fair amount of rubber. Even though the Penguins doubled the Devils on shots, we'd say play was pretty even.
-The Penguins special teams aren't exactly doing to hot tonight. They're 0 for 3 on power plays and have allowed one goal shorthanded.
-Hedberg has been the best player on the ice. He was tested quite a bit.
-Did anyone see Ilya Kovalchuk at all?
-Crosby now has points in 16 consecutive games.
-The Penguins have a 16-8 lead in shots.
-Who else but Crosby would lead the game with four?
-Rolston and Patrik Elias each lead the game with two.
-Martin leads the game with 9:58 of ice time.
-Fire Lou Lamoriello.
-Zajac leads the Devils with 8:41.
-The Penguins lead in faceoffs, 13-10 (57 percent).
-Talbot is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Zajac is 5 for 8 (63 percent).
-Elias leads the game with three blocked shots.
-No one for the Penguins has more than one.
19:24: After Kovalchuk whiffs on a shot at the left point, Dupuis races up the right wing with some space. In the right circle, he chucks a wrister on net. Hedberg boots it away.
17:49: From behidn the net, Letestu deals a nice backhanded pass to the slot. In a tight space, Kennedy spins and whips a wrister on net. Hedberg knocks it dead and covers.
17:20: Guerin is in the FSN Pittsburgh booth with Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey:
17:03: Dupuis hits White from the side/back into the boards. Whitecrashes down. Dupuis is sent off for boarding. That was borderline. Adams, Cooke, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
15:03: Just as Dupuis penalty expires, Rolston hits Martin from behind into the boards behind the Penguins' net with a cross check to the back. Martin goes down awkwardly. Rolston looks down at his former teammate with some concern as Adams comes in and challenges Rolston. They kind of wrestle around a bit but it's not a fight. Rolston gets two minutes for roughing and boarding. Kovalchuk will serve one of those minors. Adams gets two minutes for roughing. Martin appears fine. The Penguins get a power play. Martin, Letang, Kunitz, Crosby and Letestu take the ice. Attendance is announced as 18,185. It is the team's 181st consecutive sell-out.
14:49: Letang cranks a slapper from the top of the slot. Hedberg fends it off.
14:39: Letang is really aggressive with his shot. He puts another slapper on net from the same exact spot. Despite a screen by Kunitz, Hedberg eats it up.
13:03: The Martin penalty expires. Another unimpressive effort by the Penguins.
12:49: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the right wing. Hedberg fends it off with his blocker.
10:30: Kovalchuk has a chance in the slot but Kunitz hustles back and chops the puck away on a backcheck.
9:42: Rupp chases a puck up the right wing. Volchenkov shows some guts by attempting to crash in with a big body check. Rupp pulls up and Vochenkov crashes into the boards awkwardly.
8:13: Langenbrunner cranks a slapper on net from the right wing. Fleury eats it up.
7:11: Goligoski swats a little wrister on net from the left point. Hedberg makes the initial save but allows a rebound to his left. And of course Crosby is there. Crosby immediately swats it at the net. The puck hits the blade of White's stick and deflects over the glove hand of a stretched out Hedberg. Another goal for the best player in the world. A dirty one too. Goligoski and Kunitz get assists. The"Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2-1.
4:57: Letestu snaps off a little wrister from the right circle. Hedberg steers it to the opposite corner.
4:33: After a turnover by Martin in the neutral zone. Zajack has a chance in tight on a bit of a breakaway. Fleury appears to poke check it away before he can get a shot off.
4:15: After another sloppy turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Dainius Zubrus lifts a wrister on net. Hedberg gloves it. All the Penguins' skaters that shift owe Fleury a beer.
1:40: After some serious mucking and griding down low by Eric Godard, Rupp and Adams, Letang snaps off a wrister from the right point. Hedberg is twisted around and appears to make the save with his butt.
0:51: The Penguins get another power late in the period. Zubrus is called for tripping Engelland at center ice. Crosby, Letang, Martin, Letestu and Kunitz tke the ice.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Devils 1.
-More of the same that period. Plenty of offensive chances for each team. Plenty of skating. Plenty of goaltending.
-Hedberg is playing lights out. He's the reason this is still a one-goal game.
-Crosby is kind of good.
-Letang has had a pretty sharp game in our opinion. He has fired tons of shots. He's been marvelous with the puck. He's played with a ton of confidence.
-Fleury was challenged a little bit more that period.
-The power play still stinks.
-The Penguins have a 27-18 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with seven. Shocking.
-Langenbrunner and Volchenkov each lead the Devils with three.
-Martin leads the game with 17:23 of ice time.
-Fire Lou Lamoriello.
-Zajac leads the Devils with 16:38.
-The Devils lead in faceoffs, 22-21 (51 percent).
-Talbot is 4 for 5 (80 percent).
-Zajac is 10 for 16 (63 percent).
-Elias leads the game with four blocked shots.
-No one for the Penguins has more than one.
-EN cohort Pat Dougherty spotted a Bill Guerin Islanders jersey:
-Former Pirates pitcher Kent Tekulve is in the press box media level chewing wearing a Fleury jersey and chewing the fat with former Penguins coach/executive Eddie Johnston and current goaltending coach Gilles Meloche.
20:00: The Penguins will have 1:09 of power play time on fresh ice to work with. Crosby, Kunitz, Martin, Letestu and Letang take the ice.
19:26: Things get worse for the Devils as Rod Pelley whips a puck out of play. That's two minutes for delay of game. The Penguins will have a two-man advantage for Crosby, Letestu, Martin, Kunitz and Letang remain on the ice.
18:51: The Zubrus minor expires. The Penguins have a one-man advantage for 1:25.
18:49: Crosby strikes a one-timer from the right circle wide and high on the near side.
18:22: Letang has a chance in tight off a pseudo version of the "Whitney Play." His backhander is denied by Hedberg.
17:46: Kennedy is called for holding up Tallinder in the right circle. That's two minutes for hooking. Great effort by the Devils' penalty killers. Four-on-four for 20 seconds.
17:26: Pelley's minor expires. The Devils will have a power play for 1:40.
15:46: The Kennedy minor expires. Nothing much there for the Devils.
14:31: After a collision near the Penguins' bench, Engelland challenges Clarkson to a fight. Clarkson takes him up. Engelland lands two solid rights. He misses on the third and slips to the ice. Clarkson shows some proper etiquette and holds off from throwing any punches. Not a great fight.
13:44: Letang has a chance on the right wing. He looks for a pass until the last second before finally deciding to take the shot. Before he can, Tallinder hustles back and makes a nice poke check to knock the puck away.
12:33: Crosby gets a little space in the left circle and rips a wrister off the far post.
11:16: The third line creates another chance through hard work down low. Conner deals a little pass from below the goal line to Kennedy in the slot. Kennedy immediately puts a shot on net. Hedberg makes the tough save.
9:15: Crosby is sent off for hooking Zajac near the Penguins' net. Orpik, Michalek, Cooke and Adams take the ice. Big moment here.
8:16: Kovalchuk blasts a one-timer from above the left circle. It hits a body in front and deflects away.
7:23: Fayne cranks a one-timer from the right point wide on the near side.
7:15: Crosby's minor is killed. Big kill for the Penguins.
6:31: Engelland whips a clunky wrister on net from the right point. Hedberg knocks it down and covers.
4:37: With a commercial stoppage, tons of "fans" head for the exits. We're guessing these weren't the same fans in Columbus. A tight 2-1 game and you leave? Why even buy a ticket? In this instance, we turn to the Bruins' bear advertising mascot:
4:00: Zajac whistles a wrister from the right wing. Fleury "waffle boards it away" as Mike "Doc" Emrick describes it.
3:45: Hedberg gloves a slapper by Kennedy.
2:00: The Devils get a huge break as the Penguins ice the puck. The faceoff is in the Penguins' zone with a few tired bodies in blue jerseys.
1:46: Kovalchuk puts a slapper on net after some hesitation from the right point. It appears to get deflected a bit. Fleury eats it up.
1:42: Off a faceoff win in the right circle, Fayne immediately puts a slapper on net from the right half wall. Fleury absorbs it. The Devils call a time out to get organized. Hedberg is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:49: After a turnover by Letang in his own zone, Elias has a chance in the slot. Adams flops down to the ice to knock the puck away and knocks over Elias. Elias appears upset that there wasn't a call.
0:02: Kovalchuk air mails a long distance slapper from the neutral zone. Fleury boots it out to the left wing. Rolston immediately puts the rebound on net. Fleury eats it up. The Penguins begin to celebrate a win as the clock runs down. The goal horn goes off. Officials say Fleury froze the puck with time left. Faceoff in the left circle.
0:00: End of game. Crosby wins the faceoff from Zubrus. The game ends. The "Woo-Hoo!" song plays. Penguins 2, Devils 1.
-This was a pretty even game. The Devils gave a tough, honest effort but ultimately, mistakes did them in. The Penguins converted a giveaway into a goal. And the Devils took too many penalties. Not that the Penguins made them pay on the power play, but the Devils were shorthanded for over 10 minutes. That's a big chunk of time where you can't really mount much of an offense.
-We can't even make the lazy, sarcastic "Crosby is kind of good" joke at this point. He's the most dominant player in the NHL right now. Johan Hedberg said he was probably the difference. He has a hand in both goals tonight and played strong in all three zones.
-It would be a stretch to say Fleury was challenged, but he once again did what he needed to in order to win.
-The scary thing is, the Penguins are winning despite the absence of Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal, two former No. 2 overall draft picks.
-And Mike Comrie too!
-Once again, the defense sealed the win late. The Devils had a power play with roughly 10 minutes left. Killed. And the Devils made a late gutsy push with the goaltender pulled in the final two minutes. Killed.
-Hedberg was outstanding. He was the main reason this was a 2-1 game.
-Still looking for confirmation that Ilya Kovalchuk played in this game.
-Amazing how things change in a year. The Devils swept the Penguins in six games last season. All six wins were in regulation and by at least two goals.
-The Penguins led in shots, 34-28.
-Letang and Crosby each led the game with seven shots.
-Langenbrunner led the Devils with four.
-Zajac led the game with 25:33 of ice time.
-Crosby led the Penguins with 24:59.
-The Devils led in faceoffs, 34-32 (52 percent).
-Letestu was 7 for 11 (64 percent).
-Zajac was 14 for 21 (61 percent).
-White and Tallinder each led the game with four blocked shots.
-Dupuis led the Penguins with two.
-Crosby appeared in his 400th career game. In his first career game, he got an assist against the Devils. Tonight, a goal and an assist. We guess he's getting better!
-Kunitz recorded his 150th career assist.
-Goligoski (73 points). Moved into the team's top 100 career scorers. He moved ahead of Matt Cooke, Darryl Edestrad, Kip Miller, Mark Taylor and Bryan Trottier.