-Greetings from a cold but pleasant day in Pittsburgh. After some fairly low temperatures in the teens, things were hovering around 32 degrees today. Today's weather would be ideal for the Winter Classic. Speaking of which:
-We were over at Heinz Field today to pick up our credentials.
-Temporary bleachers have been erected in front of the main entrance:
-The public rink:
-Lots of water (and ice) is needed to maintain this rink:
-And we dare you to find us a better skyline in the world:
-The rink at PPG Place:
-And Ryan Whitney still has at least one fan on that rink:
-One Oxford Centre:
-The Civic Arena:
-The current barn:
-A few jersey sightings:
-News flash: Sidney Crosby is popular here in many ways shapes and forms:
-So is his employer:
-And so are his wingers:
-Fans walking in off Centre Avenue:
-A Minnesota Wild hoodie?
-Darius Kasparaitis and Sergei Gonchar:
-Eddie Shack and Mark Letestu:
-Jeff Taffe Wilkes-Barre/Scranton:
-Evgeni Malkin Team Russia:
-A pretty bad jersey foul here with a Heath Miller Steelers jersey and a Brant Brown-era Pirates hat:
-Brooks Orpik Team USA:
-Jordan Staal Petersborough Petes:
-Here's an all-timer. John Chabot:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland, Eric Godard and Brent Johnson.
-The Thrashers' starters are Andrew Ladd, Rich Peverly, Anthony Stewart, Zach Bogisian, Johnny Oduya and Ondrej Pavelec.
-Their scratches are Nik Antropov, Niclas Bergfors and Freddy Meyer.
-No Jimerson. No photo of the anthem.
19:41: Peverly snaps off a heavy wrister from above the left circle. Fleury fends it off
19:26: Crosby challenges Tobias Enstrom in the offensive zone, does a spin move and whips a backhander from the left circle. Pavelec knocks it down and covers.
19:13: What happened to the Penguins' defense there? Little moves up the right wing against Little. Letang just kind of floats in the defensive zone with no purpose. That allows Little to create a two-on-one against Orpik with Evander Kane. Little sneaks a pretty simple uncontested pass to the slot. Kane is there and buries it by Fleury. That was pretty ugly. What was Letang doing there? Little and Alexander Burmistrov get assists. Thrashers 1-0.
17:54: Fredrik Modin is called for interference against Chris Conner. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Kris Letang and Martin take the ice.
16:25: Kane puts a wrister on net from deep on the right wing. Fleury boots it away.
12:56: Patrice Cormier is denied on a wrap around attempt behind the Penguins' net.
11:21: Burmistrov has a chance in tight on a rebound but punches it wide.
10:42: Peverly snaps off a heavy high wrister from the left wing. Fleury knocks it down and swats it away
10:15: The Thrashers have controlled play down low below the Penguins' goal line for at least 45 minutes.
10:01: The Penguins finally break the play out. Kunitz races up the slot. He gets hooked on the way to the net by Estrom and slips to his knees. Kunitz recovers to his feet and is able to push a backhander on net. Pavelc fends it off
9:50: Enstrom is sent off for hooking. Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice. During a television time out, a video presentation for the 10th anniversary of Mario Lemieux's comeback game is played.
9:26: 25. Letang makes a brilliant paly to keep the puck in on a clearing attempt by Peverly at the top of the slot. he moves the puck down low to Crosby to the right of the cage. Crosby kneels down and snaps it high over the glove hand of a helpless Pavelec. Crosby's scoring streak is at 25 games. Letang gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Thrashers 1, Penguins 1.
8:41: Off a poor turnover in the neutral zone by Martin, Chris Thorburn pushes a pass from the right wing to Stewart coming off the left wing. Stewart settle the puck with his foot taps it on net. Fleury's right foot edneis him. Boulton follows up on the rebound but is denied by Fleury. Martin owes Fleury a beer.
8:11: The Penguins get a little sloppy in their own zone. That leads to another scoring chance for Little in tight but he's denied by Fleury's left leg. Another tough save. Fans offer "FLERRR-EEEEE! FLERRR-EEEE!" chants.
7:16: Malkin is called for hooking Stewart. Dupuis, Maxime Talbot, Orpik and Zbynek Michalek take the ice.
6:28: Dupus battles Peverly for a loose puck in the neutral zone and knocks him down in front of the Thrashers' bench. He picks up the puck, moves in and rockets a wrister from the left circle high. It appears to strike Pavelec in the face mask and stuns him a bit. Adams recovers the rebound and immediately whips a wild wrister from the right circle wide to the far side. The Thrasher caught a break there. That net was wide open.
5:31: A bit of a tough spot here for Penguins as Cooke is called for kneeing his buddy Kane. Five on three for 15 seconds. Talbot, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
5:13: As the minor to Malkin expires, Enstrom chops a one-timer from above the right cicel. Fleury eats it up. The Thrashers will have 1:45 of a five on four.
4:42: Wow. What a shot. Enstrom controls the puck at the left point and moves it to Byfuglien at the top of the slot. Byfgulien moves in, windes up an cranks a rockets. Despite Michalek and Talbot diving to block it, the puck sails under the blocker of Fleury, clanks off the right post and into the net. Dang! Enstrom and Little get assists. Thrashers 2-1.
3:56: Goligoski is called for hooking Byfuglien near the Penguins' net. Orpik, Adasm, Michalek and Dupuis take the ice.
3:34: Bogosian moves in off the right point and cranks a slapper from the half wall. Fleury eats it up.
3:16: And Matt Cooke just continues to further endear himself to the Atlanta Thrashers. He attempts to clear the puck out of his zone but ends up firing a slap shotright into their bench sending a few bodies scattering. Combine that with his kneeing penalty and what looked like an elbow to the head of Kane earlier and he's probably not all that popular with them tonight.
1:56: The Goligoski minor expires.
1:26: Goligoski snaps a pass from tehe neutral zone to Crosby at the Atlanta blue line as the Thrashers make a line change. Crosby just skates in, splits Brent Sopel and Ron Hainsey and rips a wrister by Pavelec's glove for his second goal of the net. Goligoski gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 2, Thrashers 2.
0:39: Conner motors behind the net, emerges on the left wing, spins and snaps off a forehand pass to the slot. Tyler Kennedy is there and taps it juuuust wide.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Thrashers 2.
-That was a pretty eventful period. Quite a few shots. Some scoring. Some power play success. A few penalties.
-The Thrashers had the bulk of the better play we thought. They controlled the puck in the Penguins' zone quite a bit and grinded it out down low. They pretty much played the Penguins' game.
-Fleury was outstanding. His teammates had some sloppy moments in their own end and he cleaned things up for them.
-Crosby is kind of good.
-Bryan Little has had a strong game. He figured in on both Atlanta goals and created a few other scoring chances.
-The Thrashers have a 14-11 lead in shots.
-Crosby leads the game with four.
-Enstrom leads the Thrashers with three.
-Enstrom leads the game with 10:34 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 8:35 of ice time.
-The Thrashers controll faceoffs, 13-8 (62 percent).
-Peverly is 6 for 8 (75 percent).
-Crosby is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
18:17: Orpik pumps a slapper from the left point. It hits a cluster of bodies in front.
18:02: Kane makes a move around Letang off the left wing. He move in on net but simply runs over Fleury. Letang, and Kane crash into the net dislodging it.
17:55: Kennedy cranks a slapper on net from the right wing. Pavelec fights it off.
16:19: Rupp picks up a loose puck in the offensive zone and snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Pavelec knocks it down and covers.
15:24: Peverly flies up the right wing goes behind the net and tries to tuck in a forehand. He's denied by Fleury's right foot.
15:04: Letang races up the right wing after a loose puck and is thumped to the ice with a shoulder check by Bogosian. Fans boo, but it's a clean hit.
14:40: Lovejoy steals a puck at the right point and puts a slapper on net. Pavelec is there with the save but allows a rebound. Malkin jumps on the puck and juuuuuust barely snaps it through the crease wide of the cage.
14:14: Oduya makes a brutal turnover in his own slot. Malkin is there to immediately punch it on net. Pavelec covers. Malkin jabs for a potential rebound. Burmistrov takes exception and kind of hacks at Malkin's stick. Malkin turns around and shoves his fellow Russian. Talbot steps in and a small scrum develops. Nothing comes of it.
14:04: Off a forced turnover by Sopel in the left wing corner in Atlanta's zone, Martin cranks a slapper on net from the top of the slot. Pavelec eats it up.
12:19: Ben Eager and Arron Asham get matching roughing minors in the Thrashers' zone. Four on four.
12:03: Crosby appears to get tripped up on the right wing in Atlanta's zone by Andrew Ladd. No call.
11:29: Crosby and Malkin are on together. Crosby deals a pass to Malkin in th slot. Malkin snaps off a heavy wrister which is deflected high of the cage.
10:42: Dupuis cranks a slapper from the right point. Pavelec makes the save but allows a rebound. Kennedy jumps on it but can't get a clean enough handle to put a shot off.
9:39: Michalek golfs a slapper from the top of the slot. Pavelec denies it despite traffic.
8:59: Orpik is sent off for high sticking. He offers a pretty animated protest of the call but to no avail.
8:49: Byfuglien booms a slapper from the right point. Fleury stops it with his left leg. Ladd is there for the rebound but can't get a stick on it.
8:22: That. Was. Brutal. Cooke forces Byfuglien into a pretty bad turnover behind the Atlanta' net. Cooke turns and deals a pass to the slot. Adams is there and snaps it over the blocker of a helpless Pavelec. What a play by Cooke but Byfuglien and Enstrom can't be that sloppy behind their own net. Cooke gets the only assist. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 3-2.
6:59: The Orpik penalty is killed.
6:14: Attendance is announced as 18,322. It is the team's 186th consecutive sell-out.
4:43:Goligoski chops a slapper from the right point. It hits a body and hops in on net. Pavelec hangs with the puck and makes the tough save. Cooke is there for the rebound but can't settle it down to get a shot off.
4:22: The Thrashers are nabbed too many men on the ice. Stewart will serve the minor. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.
3:36: Martin gains the offensive zone down the middle of the ice and deals a backhanded pass to Malkin at the left wing. Malkin then distributes it back to Martin streaking down the slot. Martin's backhand is fought off by Pavelec's left leg. That was some pretty passing.
2:21: Off a turnover by Goligoski, Enstrom chops a half slapper from the right point. Fleury punches it away out of play. The Thrashers' minor expires.
0:17: Byfugllien rips a wrister from teh slot wide to the far side.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Thrashers 2.
-That was more in line with what the Penguins want to do. They kept the puck in Atlanta's zone. They limited the Thrashers' scoring opportunities and kept the pressure on Fleury light. If not for some tough save by Pavelec, the Penguins have a few more goals.
-Pavelec was pretty darn good that period. He denied the Penguins on quite a few decent chances and even got a little lucky once or twice.
-The Penguins can't afford to let up. The Thrashers have the players and the aggressive nature to maintain an offensive attack.
-The Penguins have a 27-20 lead in shots.
-The outshot the Thrashers, 16-5 in the second period.
-Letestu, Conner and Talbot are the Penguins' only skaters without shots.
-Crosby and Enstrom each lead the game with four shots.
-Byfuglien leads the game with 17:32 of ice time.
-Letang leads the Penguins with 15:58.
-The Penguins have a 20-18 edge in faceoffs (53 percent).
-Crosby is 8 for 11 (73 percent).
-Burmistrov is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-No one has more than one blocked shot.
19:51: And it doesn't take the Penguins long to get their fourth goal. Crosby chases down a loose puck on the right wing. He kind of fake an attempt to push it on net with a backhanded poke. That jams hup Bogosian for a moment. Crosby then is able to really push it towards the crease with his backhand. Kunitz jumps in and jabs it through Pavelec's five hole. Kunitz's has his 10th goal of the season. Half way to 20. And he has a four-game scoring streak. Watch out Gretzky. Crosby and Michalek get assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 4-2.
18:26: Cooke takes another penalty. This time for hooking Sopel. Dupuis, Adams, Michalek and Orpik take the ice.
17:40: Rough spot here for the Penguins as Letang shoots the puck out of play. The Thrashers will have a two-man advantage for 1:14. This is a must score here for them. Talbot, Adams and Orpik take the ice.
17:22: Byfuglien cranks a slapper from the top of hte right cirlce. Fleury denies it.
17:03: Talbot chips a puck of the left wing boards and out of danger for a big clear.
16:26: Cooke's minor is killed. The Thrashers still have a one-man advantage for 46 seconds.
15:40: The Letang minor is killed. Fans off an ovation for the Penguins' effort on the penalty kill.
15:17: After a poor turnover by Hainsey in the neutral zone, Malkin gets loose on the right wing on a bit of a breakaway. As Hainsey dives on a poken check. Malkin shoots low. Pavelec holds it out. Hainsey crashes into the net and dislodges it.
14:13: After a turnover by the Penguins in their own zone, Eager cracks a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury eats it up.
13:44: With a puck dumped into the left wing corner in the penguins' zone, Asham smacks Kane into the left wing boards with an quasi-hit from behind. Kane smacks the boards face first and falls into heap on the ice. As play moves back up ice, he's on the ice in a heap. Play is eventually halted. An athletic trainer attends to Kane who eventually recovers to his skate and makes his way to the bench. He retreats to the locker room. It was weird how Asham hit him. It was almost kind of his hit on Kane's butt and Kane hit the boards. No penalty is called.
13:00: Scoring change. Dupuis gets the secondary assist on Kunitz's goal instead of Michalek.
12:41: Another penalty for Cooke? Yeesh. Cormier puts a shot on net from the slot. Fleury fends it off. Modin collects the rebound on the right wing and whips it towards the net. Orpik kneels down and blocks it out of play. Cook is sent off for hooking Cormier. Dupuis, Michalek, Orpik and Adams take the ice.
10:48: Oduya has two wristers from teh top of the slot blocked in front.
10:41: Cooke's minor is killed. The Thrashers really applied some heat there.
8:05: Letang air mails a slapper from the neutrla zone. It catches Pavelec's helmet again. He covers the puck to freeze play and appears fine.
7:00: And that was the icing on the cake. Burmistrove has a pretty poor turnover in his own zone. Letestu takes it off him, pushes Burmistrov away like a 10-year-old and dekes Pavelec out of his jock with a nice forehand move. That was horrible. No assists. Burmistrov could claim two assists. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 5-2.
6:03: Another penalty for the Penguins. Amazingly, it's not Cooke. Dupuis is sent off for holding. Orpik, Cooke, Michalek and Talbot take the ice.
4:32: Byfuglien cuts in off the right wing by Goligoski and lifts a backhander off the near post and out of play.
4:26: Oduya rockets a slapper from the right point. Fleury eats it up.
3:44: Another hat trick. Against the Thrashers. Or not? On a delayed penalty, Michalek moves the puck to Crosby who jumps on the ice as an extra attacker. From the top of the slot, Crosby simply winds up and cranks a slapper. It appears to hit the stick of Cooke and deflects by the blocker of Pavelec. Pavelec shrugs his shoulder in defeat.The goal is awarded to Cooke initially. Crosby and Michalek get assists. Hats litter the ice regardless. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 6-2.
3:09: And the Thrashers get one back. Thorburn kind of barges in on net and pushe the puck to the crease. Slaper sneaks in and jabs at it. Adams fails to clear the rebound as Boulton charges in and puches it by the glove hand of a sprawling Fleury. Slater and Thorburn get assist. Fire Ray Shero. Penguins 6-3.
1:44: Byfuglien rips a shot from the right point wide on the near side.
1:24: Enstrom cracks a slapper from the left point. It hits a body or two and deflects out of play.
0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played and Mike Lange tells us about Elvis' wheareabouts. Penguins 6, Thrashers 3.
-This was an odd game. The Penguins looked really shaky early on but eventually came away with a good old fashioned butt-whipping of the Thrashers.
-Things didn't start out well for the Penguins. The Thrashers dominated play in the first period and kept the puck in the offensive zone. They peppered the Penguins' net with shots. The Penguins were fortunate to emerge from that period with a tie. Eventually, after playing a strong second period, they were able to capitalize on a mistake by Dustin Byfuglien behind his own net and they never looked back.
-Crosby continues to just not let up. He has had the pedal to the floorboard all season. Forget this 25-game scoring streak. Do you realize he has scored in all but four games this season. FOUR!
-Fleury was really strong tonight and he had to be with his defense getting off to a slow start. He kept his team in this game early and put it in position to come away with the win.
-How big were special teams for the Penguins? They found away to get at least one power play goal. Most importantly, they turn away five power play for Atlanta, including two five on threes.
-Obviously, Adams' shorthanded goal was huge. Thrashers coach Craig Ramsay said it was the difference. It broke open what was until that point, a pretty even game.
-The Kunitz goal was huge too. Right off the opening draw of the third period, Crosby rushes up the right wing and creates a goal for Kunitz. The Thrashers can't let that happen.
-Pavelec played tough for the most part until the ocean just kind of washed over him. He was left out to dry by his teammates.
-Discipline was an issue again for the Penguins. They gave the Thrashers six power plays. They took a ton of penalties in Ottawa and Washington as well.
-The Thrashers have not won in Pittsburgh in exactly four years and one day. The last time they came away with a victor in Pittsburgh was 4-2 win, Dec. 27, 2006. Erik Christensen and Ryan Whitney accounted for the Penguins' goals that day.
-The Penguins led in shots, 36-34.
-Enstrom led the game with six shots.
-Malkin and Crosby each led the Penguins with four.
-Talbot was the only Penguins skater who failed to record a shot on net.
-Byfuglien led the game with 28:06 of ice time.
-Orpik led the Penguins with 26:12.
-The Thrashers had a 34-29 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Crosby was 10 for 18 (56 percent).
-Burmistrov was 6 for 9 (67 percent).
-Michalek and Orpik each led the game with two blocked shots.
-Letang moved ahead of Mario Faubert for 68th place on the team's all-time scoring list. Both players have 111 points, but Letang (27) has more goals than Faubert (21).
-Dupuis (95 points) moved ahead of Kennedy (94) for 83rd place.
-Kunitz's goal set a franchise record for fastest goal to start a third period at nine seconds. The previous mark was held by Martin Straka who scored 11 seconds into the third period of a 4-3 win against the Red Wings, Oct. 18, 2003.