-We can't say it any better:
-It's a wonderfully sunny but cold day in Pittsburgh. It's one of those days were being in the sun versus the shade makes a big difference. "Dahntahn:"
-The rink at PPG court is completely gone:
-This might be the most obscure historical marker we've ever encountered:
-Nothing obscure about this place:
-The Warner Centre:
-A random Darius Kasparaitis fan on a quiet Sunday morning on mostly empty streets:
-Which way you going?
-BNY Mellon's evil corporate lair:
-A sunny Civic Arena:
-The current barn:
-The student rush line:
-Some jersey sightings. Jaromir Jagr:
-Magnets being given out:
-A rare Marc-Andre Fleury Team Canada:
-Fans walking in off Center Avenue:
-Two somewhat peculiar sightings of Blackhawks fans. A blatant jersey foul:
(Even that kid is wondering what this guy's problem is.)
-And former Penguin Marian Hossa:
(Forget about this not even being a rival of the Penguins or Panthers, we think this is a jersey foul on the grounds of Hossa never wearing this style of jersey.)
-Matt Cooke still has some fans:
-A very bizarre jacket:
-This might be the highlight of our year. This gentleman was with a group of six other Penguins fans from Norway. In broken English, he said "We here Friday watch Devils. Today Panthers. And Tuesday... $@ing Flyers."
-Jacket Foul of the Day: 1994 MLB All-Star Game:
(That thing is in pretty good shape too for being 17 years old.)
-You don't see too many Howard Baldwin era Bob Errey jerseys:
-Someone got creative with a towel giveaway, a pair of jeans and a sewing machine:
-What a view:
-This is our first sighting of a James Neal jersey:
-Lemieux Team Canada:
-Jersey of the Day: This might be Jersey of the Year: Bob Woytowich:
-Prior to the game, the team's awards are handed out.
-Mike Rupp wins the Baz Bastien "Good Guy" award. It acknowledges the player local media acknowledges as the best to deal with.
-Deryk Engelland is acknowledged as the team's Masterton Trophy nominee. That goes to the a player dedicated tot he sport.
-Marc-Andre Fleury is awarded the AT. Caggiano award from the team's booster club. It acknowledges the accumulation of the team's three stars. It is named after a long-time team attendant.
-Mark Letestu is named the team's Rookie of the Year. It is named after former Penguins forward Michel Briere.
-Brooks Orpik is named the team's Players' Player. It acknowledges leadership.
-The Edward J. DeBartolo Community Service Award goes to Rupp and Maxime Talbot.
-Orpik wins the defensive player of the year.
-And as you might imagine, Fleury is named the team's MVP. Fans chant "Flerrrr....EEEEEE! Flerrrr....EEEEEE!"
-The Penguins' starters are Alex Kovalev, James Neal, Maxime Talbot, Kris Letang, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Matt Cooke, Deryk Engelland, Eric Godard, Dustin Jeffrey, Brent Johnson, Mark Letestu and Eric Tangradi.
-The Panthers' starters are Marty Reasoner, Michal Repik, Patrick Rissmiller, Jason Garrison, Mike Weaver and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Shawn Matthias, Jack Skille and Scott Timmins.
-Jeff Jimerson does his job:
17:55: David Booth flies up the right wing and flicks a backhander on net. Ben Lovejoy deflects it a bit. Fleury knocks it dead.
16:31: Rupp and Keaton Ellerby pursue a puck in the right wing corner of the Panthers' zone. Rupp smacks him into the board with a loud crash. Despite Rupp stumbling to the ice, fans offer an appreciative cheer.
15:53: Ellerby and Alex Kovalev chase after a puck in the same corner. Kovalev thumps Ellerby with a shoulder check. A rare hit from Kovalev.
15:25: Garrison chops a quick slapper from the left point. Fleury kicks it out with his right leg.
14:15: Alexander Sulzer puts a slapper on net from the left point I thit s a body in front. Darcy Hordichuk does a good job fighting off a check from Kris Letang and punches the rebound on net. Fleury holds it out. Steve Bernier sniffs for another rebound but no dice.
13:47: Off a faceoff win in the right circle, Dmitry Kulikov whips a wrister on net from a tough angle. Fleury kicks it out.
11:58: Tyler Kennedy tains the offensive zone on the right and chops a slapper on net from the point. Vokoun punches it out of play with his blocker. That's the Penguins' first official shot on net.
10:23: Evgeny Dadonov flies into the offensive zone on the left wing one-on-one with Zybnek Michalek. From the left circle, Dadonov flicks a wrister which Michalek blocks out of play.
9:44: Garrison booms a heavey one-timer from the left point. Fleury fights it off but allows an iffy rebound. Sergei Samsonov jumps on it and seems to have Fleury beat on his backhand but loses control of the puck. Replays show the butt end of Fleury's stick juuuust knocking the puck off Samsonov's stick at the last second.
9:34: Paul Martin gains the offensive zone on the right, takes it deep along the boards and taps back and drop pass at the left point. Michalek steps up and hammers a one-timer on net. His fellow Czech Vokoun eats it up.
9:13: Rismisller strips Oprik of the puck at the right point of the Panthers' zone. That creates a two-on-one with Repik against Letang. Letang slides down to take away the pass. Rissmiller pulls up a bit to let Letang slide by and deals a pass to Repik on the right wing. Repick taps it on net but Fleury's left leg kicks it out. Fantastic play by Fleury. Orpik owes him a beer.
7:26: Booth whips a wirster on net from deep on the right wing. Fleury kicks it out.
7:06: Mike Weaver, a former attendee of a Penguins' training camp, puts a slapper on net from the right point on a delayed penalty.
7:01: Niskanen is called for hooking Mike Santorelli. Orpik, Michalek, Craig Adams and Pascal Dupuis take the ice.
6:27: Santorelli flicks heavy wrister on net from the right circle. Fleury kicks it out with a "thud."
6:12: The Panthers get nabbed for too many men on the ice. Repik will serve the minor. Four on four for 1:11.
5:31: Jordan Staal pumps a heavy wrister from above the left circle on net. Vokoun knocks it dead and covers.
5:12: Conner hustles into the offensive zone on the right wing and flicks a wrister on net. Ellerby blocks it. Conner recovers the rebound and cuts across the slot as Adams drives to the net. He seems to have an opening on Vokoun on the glove side but whips a wrister weeeeellllll high of the net.
5:01: Niskanen's minor is killed. The Penguins will have 49 seconds of power play time.
4:19: Kennedy, Letang and Reasoner have an awkward-looking collision in the slot of the Penguins' zone. Thankfully all three appear fine.
4:12: The Panthers' bench minor is killed. Back to four on four.
0:58: After a stagnant three minutes, Neal snaps off a wrister from the right wing wide on the near side.
0:04: Letang controls a puck at the right point show shot then taps a pass to Staal in the right circle. Staal cracks a one-timer which Ellerby blocks.
0:00: End of period. Panthers 0, Penguins 0.
-That was a quietly dominating period for the Panthers. They challenged the Penguins quite a bit in the offensive zone. They had the bulk of quality scoring chances. And they limited the Penguins on offense.
-Fleury has been sharp. He has stolen a goal or two.
-The Panthers are short on NHL-caliber talent but they compete. This won't be an easy game for the Penguins.
-Orpik was okay in his return. That said, he did have the one turnover which led to the best scoring chance of the game by Repik.
-The Panthers have an 11-5 lead in shots.
-Booth, Hordichuk, Repik and Garrison each lead the game with two shots.
-Michalek leads the game with 8:13 of ice time.
-Garrison is right behind him with 8:09.
-The Panthers are dominating faceoffs, 11-3 (79 percent).
-Reasoner is 6 for 6 (100 percent).
-Staal is 2 for 3 (67 percent).
-Ellerby leads the game with three blocked shots.
-None of the Penguins has more than one.
-Pascal Dupuis is your cover boy for IceTime:
18:50: Talbot limps off the ice and to the locker room with assistance after a collision behind the Panthers' net. That doesn't look good. That's the 191th (or so) center on the Penguins' top line to get injured. Replays show him hitting Kulikov behind the net and slamming his right foot or knee into the boards.
18:04: Adams puts a wrister on net from the right circle. Vokoun turns it away.
16:16: Alexander Sulzer recovers a loose puck on the right wing and chucks it on net. Fleury eats it up.
13:46: Michalek snaps off a wrister from the right point wide to the far side.
12:59: The Penguins have an odd line combination of Mike Comrie, Arron Asham and Alex Kovalev on the ice.
12:52: After Letang turns the puck over in his own zone, Dadnov circles around the offensive zone and deals a pass from the left circle to the slot. Santorelli is there and re-directs it on net. Fleury holds his ground and fights it off. Letang owes Fleury two beers for that. Tough save.
11:01: Off a faceoff win in the left circle, Ellerby snaps off a wrister. Fleury gloves it.
10:27: On a delayed penalty, Niskanen leads a rush up ice, gains the offensive zone and drives a slapper on net from the left wing. Vokoun kicks it to the corner.
10:23: Ryan Carter is sent off for cross checking Fleury. Staal, Kennedy, Neal, Letang and Martin take the ice.
9:50: Kennedy pushes a slap/pass to the slot. Neal is there and re-directs it out of play with is forehand.
9:18: Santorelli pushes the puck up the left wing shorthanded and lifts a backhander.
8:28: Michalek controls a puck at the left point, fakes a shot and deals a pass to the left circle. Kovalev is there. He tees up a one-timer but kind of hits it wrong and sends the puck wide on the near side.
8:23: Carter's minor is killed. Nothing doing for the Penguins.
8:13: Talbot is apparently healthy as he leads a rush up ice on a mini-breakaway. He pushes a backhander from the slot wide to the left of the cage. Michalek set him up with a heck of a breakout tape-to-tape pass from the Penguins' goal line to the Panthers' red line.
8:00: Per Penguins stats legend Bob Grove, Marc-Andre Fleury has a shutout sequence of 147 minutes and change. It's by far the longest in team history. Jocelyn Thibault had the old record of 136:13.
4:43: After a stagnant three plus minute, Bernie steals a puck off Niskanen at the Penguins blue line and lifts a wrister on net from the left circle. Fleury gloves it easily.
4:28: Hordichuk works the puck around the boards and deals the puck to Sulzer at the left point. Sulzer tees up a slapper into a cluster of bodies. It his off Ryan Carter in the slot and deflects by Fleury on the glove side. Fleury's shutout sequence ends at 150:13. A new team record. Sulzer and Hordichuk get assists. Panthers 1-0.
3:29: Repik guns a slapper from use outside the left circle. Fleury kicks it out.
2:29: Niskanen comes close to tying the game. From the right point, Lovejoy deals a pass to the left point. Niskanen snaps off wrister which clanks off the near post.
2:11: Tie game. Kovalev fights off a check from Sulzer in the right circle and deals a pass to Lovejoy on the goal line. Lovejoy turns towards the net and snaps off a wrister under Vokoun's right armpit and into the net. He actually joked that his most career goals are against the Panthers coming into the is game (one). Nice play by Lovejoy but Vokoun needs to make that save. Kovalev and Neal get assists. Panthers 1, Penguins 1.
0:41: Off a turnover by Rupp, Penguins killer Nicklas Bergfors has a chance in tight but is robbed by Fleury's left leg. Rupp owes Fleury a beer.
0:02: Paul Martin cracks a slapper on net from the left point. Vokoun denies it to close out the period.
0:00: End of period. Panthers 1, Penguins 1.
-Things picked up a bit that period for each team. Both squads took a few more chances.
-The Panthers are simply outworking the Penguins for the most part. They're getting to most loose puck first and winning a lot of battles in the corners.
-Fleury has been the best player in this game. Without him, the Panthers have at least three goals.
-Peter DeBoer is a heck of a coach. He keeps this dreadful team competitive.
-The Panthers lead in shots, 24-13.
-Repik leads the game with four.
-Talbot leads the Penguins with two.
-Michalek leads the game with 15:46 of ice time.
-Garrison leads the Panthers with 15:12.
-The Panthers control faceoffs 24-14 (63 percent).
-Reasoner is 8 for 13 (62 percent).
-Staal is 6 for 11 (55 percent).
-Ellerby and Garrison each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Asham and Letang each lead the Penguins with two.
-EN cohort Ron Michalak spotted a few jerseys. Ron Stackhouse:
-And what is this?
19:18: Dupuis delaas a pass to the right point. Michalek booms a slapper. Vokoun covers and freezes play.
18:44: Michalek blocks a wrister by Samsonov on the right wing.
17:43: Neals slams Ellerby to the ice with a nice check along the right wing boards of the Panthers' zone.
16:56: Attendance is announced as 18,270. It is the team's 204th consecutive sellout.
15:55: Kennedy has a slapper from the right point blocked by Ellerby.
15:36: Kennedy corrals a bouncing puck in the left circle, spins and whips a wrister on net. Vokoun is in perfect position and fights it off.
14:38: Bernier pushes a puck up the right wing, goes behind the net and forces Kovalev to hook him. That's two minutes. Orpik, Michalek, Staal and Adams take the ice.
13:10: Garrison snaps off a wrister from the right point. Fleury fights it off.
13:03: Garrison pumps a one-timer from the right point wide on the near side.
12:39: Letang calmly taps a puck from the slot in his own zone off the left wing boards and down ice to kill off the rest of Kovalev's penalty.
12:21: Off a faceoff win in the left circle, Garrison puts a slapper on net from the left point. Fleury bodies it away.
11:35: Staal sends Samsonov sprawling to the ice at the left point with a high, clean hit.
10:28: Repik whips a wrister on net from the left wing. Fleury snags it. We get our first notable scrum of the game near the left circle. Nothing comes of it.
8:19: Off a turnove by Kennedy in the offensive zone, Dadonov leads a three on two rush the opposite way on the right wing. He deals a pass to Santorelli trailing in the slot. Santorelli snaps off a wriste. Fleury says no. He also denies Booth on the doorstep on two rebounds. Kenneyd owes Fleury a beer
8:02: And the Penguins get a break. Booth is nabbed for hooking Niskanen. Kovalev, Neal, Kunitz, Martin and Letan gtak ethe ice.
6:57: Kovalev has a chance in the right circle but whips a wrister wide ont he near side.
6:40: Neal guns a slapper from the left point. It hits off the far post. Kunitz and Kovalev each have a chance down low with the rebound but can't get it by the pile-up of bodies in the crease.
6:16: Neal floast a wrister from the right point. Vokoun eats it up.
5:38: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Garrison blocks it out of play.
5:35: Off the ensuing faceoff in the right circle, Michalek guns a one-timer from the right point. Vokoun appears to fight it off.
4:53: Booth hustles up the left wing and tries to cut inside Letang. Letang steps up and seperates him from the puck. Orpik cleans up the rebound.
4:16: Adams pumps a slapper on net from the left wing. Vokoun fights it off but allows a generous rebound. Asham is there but overskates the puck.
3:50: Off a faceof win in the left circle, Ellerby guns a slapper from the left point. Fleury eats it up.
1:53: From the left pont in his own zone, Orpik whip a pass to Kunitz on the at the red line. Kunitz one-touches it to Dupuis rushing up the slot. He attacks the net with speed but whips a wrister wide to the far side.
1:30: Ellerby limps down the runway to the Panthers locker roo. The Panthers call a time out following an icing call to get a breather.
1:26: Michalek chucks a wrister on net from the left point. Vokoun eats it up.
0:36: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the left circle to the far side. Vokoun kicks it out with his right foot.
0:16: Booth hustles up the right wing and snaps off a wrister from a deep angle. Fleury eats it up.
0:00: End of period. Panthers 1, Penguins 1.
-The Panthers have a 36-24 lead in shots.
-Vokoun is replaced in net by Scott Clemmensen. No word on why. We assume he's injured.
3:49: Bobby Orrpik is in deep on the left wing and attempts a wraparound from the other side of the net. Clemmensen holds it out with his left foot.
2:42: Ellerby returns to action.
2:14: Michalek has a chance in tigh ton a re-direction. Clemmensen kicks it out.
1:45: Letang thumps Samsonov into the boards in front of the Penguins' bench.
1:01: Orpik makes a brutal turnover at the right point of the Panthers' zone. The puck is tapped up the left wing. Stephen Weiss chases it down and cranks a slapper to the far side. Fleury kicks it out with his left. Add another beer to Orpik's tab owed towards Fleury.
0:18: Kennedy steals a puck from behind the Florida net and deals to Staal in the left circle. Staal guns a one-timer on net. Clemmensen fight sit off and covers the rebound before Lovejoy can pounce on it. The Penguins call a time out to get something organized of the ensuing faceoff.
0:00: End of period. Panthers 1, Penguins 1.
-The Penguins? In a shootout? How rare.
-Letang gets the call first. With everyone standing, he goes slightly to he left, attacks the net and has a wrister kicked out by Clemmensen's left leg. Not a great effort.
-Santorelli flies in, goes to the backhand and has the puck knocked away by Fleury's poke check. What a play.
-Kovalev is up. "Kooo-Veee!" chants greet him. He comes in, goes deep on his backhand and snaps immeistely to his forehand beating Clemmensen on the sticks side. Penguins 1-0.
-Bergfors comes in with speed and snaps off a wrister. Fleury's blocker says no.
-Neal can end it. He flies in and snaps off a wrister which toasts Clemmensen on the blocker side. End of shootout. Penguins 2, Panthers 0. End of game. Penguins 2, Panthers 1.
-First things first, Vokoun left the game after the third period because his back tightened up.
-Call us glass-half-full type of people, but we think the Penguins were lucky to get two points today. The game came down to a skills competition and the Penguins had a few one-time all-stars in Marc-Andre Fleury, Alex Kovalev and Kris Letang involved. The Panthers had Mike Santorelli and Niclas Bergfors. You do the math.
-The Panthers having nothing to play for other than pride. They showed quite a bit in that with today's effort. There's very little NHL talent on that roster but coach Peter DeBoer has gotten this group to buy in and they play full bore each game. They deserved a better fate today.
-Marc-Andre Fleury looks like a completely different player than the invididual who struggled in October. His confidence and his body language are totally different. He looks like someone who know he will make the save. Back in October, he looked like he was scared about making the save. He showed today why he is the team's MVP.
-The Penguins set an NHL record with their fourth consecutive shootout win.
-Ben Lovejoy gets "demoted" to the third defensive pairing with Matt Niskanen but still finds a way to contribute. He picked up his third goal of the season. The Penguins recent injuries on defense allowed him to pick up tons of ice time as of late and in the process, he picked up tons of confidence.
-Kovalev has been underwhelming for the most part in his return to the Penguins but he's found a way to secure three wins for this team in the shootout. Those are the type of wins the team wasn't getting prior to his return.
-Oprik was okay for the most part in his return but he had a few shaky moments which led to some scoring chances for the Panthers. Against a team with a little bit more finishing ability, they pay for those. He'll clean that up with another game under his belt.
-The Panthers led in shots, 38-28.
-Michalek, Booth and Repik each led the game with six shots on net.
-Garrison led the game with 28:07.
-Letang led the Penguins with 26:22.
-The Penguins led in faceoffs, 37-25 (60 percent).
-Santorelli was 10 for 16 (63 percent).
-Talbot was 6 for 11 (55 percent).
-Garrison led the game with five blocked shots.
-Michalek and Letang each led the Penguins with three.
-Kovalev recorded his 350th career point with the Penguins.