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Penguins at Lightning - 01-15-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-Apologies for not providing a live blog for yesterday's game. Our Internet access was screwy most of the day and prevented us from have the blog. We were able to record the game on our DVR and rewatch it. Consider this an "old school" EN "live" blog where we would watch the game later and do the blog on a delay. To get you into a 2007ish mood, here's Nelly Furtado's "Say it Right:"

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It's just like 2007 now.

-The Penguins' starters are Pascal Dupuis, Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, Paul Martin, Zbynek Michalek and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Steve MacIntyre and Joe Vitale.

-The Lightning' starters are Vincent Lecavalier, Tom Pyatt, Martin St. Louis, Brett Clark, Matt Gilroy and Mathieu Garon.

-Their scratches are Marc-Andre Bergeron and J.T. Wyman.

-Good old Mathieu Garon. He was the Penguins' back-up goaltender during the 2009 Stanley Cup run. He even got a good amount of mop-up duty in Game 5 of that seasons' Game 5 in the Stanley Cup final. He also made this face once:

FIRST PERIOD

19:34: Off a turnover by Brett Clark in his own zone, Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the right circle. It gets blocked partially on its way to the net and Goaron fights it off.

19:14: Evgeni Malkin racesu p the left wing and at the Lightning's blue line, he's tripped up by Steven Stamkos. That's two minutes for slashing. Malkin, James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Steve Sullivan  and Matt Niskanen take the ice.

18:39: Malkin boom a one-timer from the right circle. Nate Thompson blocks it.

18:30: Malkin slides a pass to Niskanen at the left point. Niskanen cracks a one-timer. Garon gloves it.

17:53: Sullivan has a slapper from the left point blocked by Dana Tyrell.

17:39:  Malkin whips a low wrister from the right circle. Garon kicks it out.

17:17: James Neal scoring from a bad angle on the right wing in Tampa Bay? Where have we seen this before. Martin backhands  a pass from the right circle to Neal on the goal line on the right wing. Neal whips an immediate wrister into the crease. It hits off Garon and squeaks into the net. A bad goal for the Lightning to give up. But Neal will take it. Martin and Malkin will get assists. It wasn't quite as fluky as this goal, but if you recall, Neal's only playoff goal with the Penguins came on that side of the ice last season:

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Penguins 1-0.

16:15: Craig Adams races into the offensive zone on the right wing and whips a backhander on net. Garon holds it out.

16:02: Stamkos flies up the right wing, fends off a stick check from Martin and deals a pass to the slot. Ryan Malone barges in while battling with Zybnek Michalek and appears to kick the puck on net. Fleury snags it.

15:33: Kunitz fights his way from behind the net towards the crease and tries to jam in a low shot. Garon holds it out.

14:43: Ben Lovejoy chucks a wrister from the right point. It hits a stick and flops up into the air and bouces to the right of the crease. Kennedy has wide open chance but can't get the puck to settle enough to get a clean shot on net.

13:36: Deryk Engelland and drops the gloves with Pierre-Cedric Labrie at the right point of the Lightning zone. They mostly wrestle around. Engelland lands a few rights and even knocks off Labrie's lid. The fight is kind of a snorer as they just grip each other's jerseys. Officials step in and send each party to their respective penalty box. Based on his French Canadien Afro, we can only conclude Labrie attempted to channel Ogie Oglethorpe during the bout:

13:01: Dominic Moore has a chance in the right circle but Michalek is able to body him off the puck and get it out of danger. Excellent play.

12:09: Bruno Gervais steps up and chops a slapper from above the right circle on net. It appears to hit a Lightning player in front and deflects over the cage.

11:03: After Michalek turns the puck over in the neutral zone, Clark pushes it up the left wing and attempts a centering pass. Michalek leans down and breaks it up.

10:19: Kunitz hustles up the right wing and snaps off a low wrister. Garon fights it off.

9:45: Neal jumps on a loose puck on the left wing and whips a quick wrister on net. Garon eats it up.

9:34: Lecavalier pushes the puck into the offensive zone and challenges Michalek one-on-one. Michalek knocks it off his stick and Martin swats the loose puck away. Those two have had a great game thus far.

9:22: Welcome back to the scoreboard Richard Park. Park jumps on a loose puck  at the right point, drags it by Pyatt and pulls it to the slot. He uses Gilroy as a screen and snaps off a sick wrister under the blocker of Garon. What an effort by Park. The goal is unassisted. It's Park's 98th career goal. Penguins 2-0.

9:02: Kennedy snaps off a wrister from the left circle. It glances off the cross bar and deflects out of play. The Penguins are all over the Lightning this period.

8:35: Adams snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Garon fights it off. Adams chops the rebound back on net. Garon is able to cover it up despite having Adams and Eric Tangradi crash in.

8:01: Brooks Orpik chops a slapper from the right point. Malkin is in the left circle and re-directs it on net.

7:53: Things get worse for the Lightning as Pavel Kubina hooks up Neal on the left wing. That's two minutes. Malkin, Neal, Sullivan, Kunitz and Niskanen take the ice.

7:27:  Malkin chops a slapper from the left circle. Eric Brewer blocks it out of play.

7:08: Kunitz chops a backhander from the right of the crease. Garon kicks it out.

6:42: Neal loses the puck at the right point of the Lightning's zone. Thompson picks it up and flies up the left wing. Niskanen skates over to defend. Thompson is able to play it to the slot. Neal gets on his horse and hustles back to the defensive zone to break up the play momentarily. The puck takes a bad hop and rests right in front of Pyatt in the slot. Pyatt whacks a one-timer on net. Fleury challenges and kicks it out. Tough save.

6:34: Off a drop pass from Malkin, Dupuis whips a heavy wrister on net. Garon snags it.

6:17: Kennedy glies into tho effensive zone and whips a high wrister form the slot. It hits off Garon's plastic throat protector and drops down. Garon covers it then goes to the bench to have an equipment manager check his lid. Garon has been busy this period.

5:39: Coming back from commercial, broadcaster Bob Errey uses this graphic to point out Eric Tangradi is tall:

-A red arrow would have been completely inadequate.

4:53: Park whips a wrister on net from the right wing. Garon snags it.

4:17: Oh big chance! Malone deals a backhanded feed from behind the cage to the crease. It hits off the skate of Arron Asham and sits loose in the blue pain. Lecavalier is there all alone with the open net but his shot sails wide to the far side. He actually put that puck through Fleury's five hole and through the crease. He looks up in disbelief.

2:04: Steve Downie controls the puck in the neutral zone. Engelland steps up to hit him. Downie steps out of the way at the last second but Engelland pretty much "checks" the butt end of Downie's stick and sends it out of the rink.

0:52: Teddy Purcell psuesh the puck up the left wing two-on-one against Michalek and Martin. Michalek engages Purcell physcially and separates him from the puck. Martin recovers it and skates it out of danger. Another great play.

0:00: End of play. Penguins 2, Lightning 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

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-Everything went right for the Penguins that period. They controlled the bulk of play in the offensive zone and kept Garon busy with plenty of shots. Additionally, they got plenty of lucky bounces on both end of the ice.

-Martin and Michalek were outstanding that period. They looked like the 2010-11 version of Martin and Michalek which shut just about everything down.

-Garon deserved a better effort from his teammates.

-Since were doing this blog on a delay, we only have a few statistics available.

-The Penguins have a 17-5 lead in shots.

-The Lightning has a 14-12 edge in faceoffs.

-Coming back from commercial, Root Sports replays Orpik's hit on Stamkos at the start of Game 1 in last season's playoff series:

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SECOND PERIOD

18:34: Malone barges into the offensive zone down the slot, slide to the right circle one-on-one with Martin and deals a pass to no one in particular causing a turnover. Great play by Martin to force the bad pass.

17:59: Sullivan whips a quick wrister on net. Garon knocks it deadl and covers to freez play.

17:44: Cooke steals a loose puck on the left wing and centers a pass to Park in the slot. Park snaps off a wrister which clanks off the post.

16:41: Kunbina snaps off a low wrister on net from the right wing. Fleury eats it up.

14:35: Downie collects a loose puck at the right point and booms it on net with a slapper. Fleury kicks it away. Just over five minutes into the period and play has really leveled out. Neither team has had an advantage.

13:35: Coming back from commercial, we're shown video of the Lightning unveiling a statue of Phil Esposito, the hall-of-famer who helped found the Lightning back in the early 1990s:

The Lightning giving a statue to Esposito is akin to the Pirates giving a statue to Kevin McClatchy. Esposito helped bring a franchise to the area and was largely responsible for it even existing, but it was completely mismanaged during his tenure as an executive. It's no coincidence that once he left the organization in a management capacity, the Lightning became a better franchise and eventually won the Stanley Cup in 2004.

12:24: Lecavalier forces the puck into the right wing corner against Michalek and turns it over. Another solid play by Michalek.

11:26: Engelland chops a slapper with a loose puck at the right point. Labrie blocks it.

8:44: Lovejoy controls a puck at the right point, looks up and chops a slapper which sails through track and "CLACKS!" off the far post.

8:01: Jeffrey tries to jam in a puck from the right side of the cage. Garon holds it out.

7:18: Another break for the Penguins. Stamkos takes a pass in the right circle and force a pass to the crease. Orpik leans down and deflects the pass with his stick. The puck hops up in to the air. From the left of the crease, Malone chokes up on his stick like a baseball bat and "bunts" it into the cage. The goal horn sounds. Fleury immediately points at Malone to signal a high stick. Officials immediately wave off the goal. A brief review confirms the call.

6:58: Kunitz has a chance on a minibreakaway and attempts to jam in a rolling puck on a backhander. Garon's right leg says no.

5:39: Cooke snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Mikkelson blocks it over the cage.

5:07: Adams controls the puck in this right wing corner of the Penguins' zone and plays it up ice. As he releases the puck, Downie smacks him into the boards. Just as Downie arrived, Adams turned away from the hit and put himself into a slightly bad position. A scrum develops around Downie with Asham leading the charge. Nothing really comes of it. Downie gets a boarding penalty. That's kind of ticky tack. Malkni, Neal, Sullvian, Niskanen and Kunitz take the ice.

4:31: From the right circle, Malkin taps a feed to the slot. Neal re-directs it on net. Garon snags it with a glove hand.

3:53: From the left wing, Sullivan deals a pass to Martin at the top of the slot. Martin leans down and chops a slow one-timer on net. Garon gloves it despite traffic.

3:07: Downie's minor is killed. The Penguins didn't do much with that chance.

2:34: Dustin Jeffrey chops a backhander from the right circle. Garon denies it.

2:26: Cooke backhands a pass from below the goal line to Jeffrey in the left circle. Jeffrey swats a one-timer at the cage but Martin St. Louis deflects it out of play. Good defensive play.

1:45: Errey  mentions that Stamkos and St. Louis do not have a shot on net thus far.

1:18: Malkin (6-foot-3, 195 pounds) tries to line up Kubina (6-foot-4, 258 pounds) on the right wing boards of the Lightning's zone. Kubina braces for the hit and Malkin kind of bouces and rolls off the  hit. What a collision.

1:06: Engelland knocks St. Louis off the puck with a nice check behind the Penguins' net.

0:14: Downie is sent off for roughing Mat Cooke. Cooke heads to the bench with a slight smile. A stupid time to tkae apenlayt. Neal, Malkin, Kunitz, Niskanen and Sullivan take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Lightning 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

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-Things kind of evened out that period. The Penguins weren't nearly as dominant as they were in the first period, but they definitely controlled the bulk of play.

-Michalek and Martin might be having their best game as a tandem all season.

-Garon better get a day off tomorrow. He's keeping his team in this game.

-It's not just the Penguins' top line creating scoring chances. Park, Jeffrey and Kennedy and other have all been threats.

-The Penguins are dominating shots, 32-13.

-The Lightning has a 27-22 lead in faceoffs.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will have 1:46 of power-play time on fresh ice. Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Sullivan and Letang will take the ice.

19:26: It doesn't take the Penguins long to take advantage of that fresh ice. Malkin circles around the top of the offensive zone and taps a gentle pss t Neal in the right circle. Neal launches a rocket of a one-timer to the far side which toasts the glove hand of Garon. Wow! What a shot. The Penguins' power play is 2 for 4 in this game. Malkin and Sullivan get assists. Penguins fans go nuts. Penguins 3-0.

-This is a road game right?

18:13: St. Louis gallops off the right wing wall of the offensive zone, dodges a stick check by Engelland and smacks a shot on net. It hits off the skate of Pyatt and bounces out.

18:00: Not so fast. Stamkos controls the puck behind the Penguins cage. The Penguins apply no pressure and allow him to operate freely. He taps a pass to Gilroy in the right circle. Gilroy drives a one-timer to the far side by Fleury's right leg. This game isn't over. Stamkos and St. Louis get assists. Penguins 3-1.

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-That Tesla coil might be the coolest thing in any hockey arean on earth.

16:29: Off a faceoff win in the right circle of the Penguins' zone, Mikkelson snaps off a wrister which goes juuuussstt wide.

15:59: As Lecavalier has a chance in the slot stripped on a nice back check Sullivan, Engelland is sent off for high sticking St. Louis. Michalek, Orpik Dupuis and Adams take thei ce.

15:18: From the top of hte slot, St. Louis taps a feed Lecavlaier in the right circle. Levcavalier chops a one-timer on net. FLeury kicks it out.

15:07: Lecavalier controls a puck in the right circle and deals a pass across the slot to Malone on the back door of the crease. Malone is able to settle the puck and punches it behind a sprawling Fleury. Fire Ray Shero. What a pass by Lecavalier. Lecavlier and Purcell get assists. The Penguins call a timeout to get organized and stunt the Lightning's momentum. Penguins 3-2.

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13:10: What a swing of momentum. Gervais tees up a a slapper from the right point. Fleury stops it dead. Purcell knocks over Lovejoy in the crease and jabs teh rebound with a backhander by the right skate of Fleury. What an effort by Purcell. Lovejoy needs to make that play. Lecavlier and Purcell get assists. Lightning 3, Penguins 3.

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12:40: Malkin has a chance to the right of the crease but sails it well wide of the crease.

12:22: And the momentum swings back in the Penguins' favor. After Kunitz forces Kubina into a turnover in the left wing corner with a strong forecheck, Malkin collects  the puck on the left wing wall, gallops towarsd the cage and flings a backhander to the far side by Garon's blocker. What a shot. What a play by Kunitz. The goal is unassisted. Kunitz deserves an assist. Penguins 4-3.

11:11: Mikkelson controls the puck off a faceoff win in the right circle of the Penguins' zone and whips a wrister from the top of the slot above the cage.

10:54: Wow. Just.... wow. Purcell is forced into a turnover in the neutral zone by Adams and Orpik. The puck is poked up ice to Malkin on the left wing. Malkin hustles his way toawrs the net from the left circle, dodges a diving poken check by Gervais, stumbles to his knees and slides a backhander by the left skate of Garon. What an effort by  Malkin. What a defensive effort by Adams and Orpik. Orpik gets the only assist. Penguins 5-3.

8:08: Malkin and Lecavalier exchange pleasantries after a collision in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone.

7:49: All heck breaks loose as Lecavalier jumps Malkin in the neutral zone. Lecavalier hooks Malkin in the neutral zone and appears to invite him to a fight. Malkin responds with a shoulder to Lecavalier's "upper-body" area. Lecavalier snaps and starts throwing punches at Malkin from behind. A scluster of bodies pile up along the boards in front of the scorers' box. As officials try to hold everyone off, Lecavalier socks Malkin in the face with a gloved fist. As that all goes on, this schlub displays a horrible jersey foul while giving some free publicity for a local dentist:

(We can't tell you how many people tweeted this photo to us screaming about a jersey foul.)

-Lecavalier gets a double minor for roughing while Malkin received only one roughing minor. Downie will serve one of Lecavalier's minors. Lecavalier heads to the dressing room. That's a pretty stupid play by Lecavalier. As a captain, he needs to maintain his composure with a two-goal deficit late. The dust-up appeared to orginate in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone when Malkin ducked under a hit by Lecavalier. Lecavalier didn't seem to like it and just kind of chased Malkin around the ice. The Penguins get a power play. Kennedy, Kunitz, Neal, Sullivan and Niskanen take the ice.

7:44: Neal and Kubina mix it up. Officials don't put up with it and send each party off for 10-minute misconducts.

6:10: Clark swats a loose puck down ice to kills some time. It's hits a referee in the neutral zone and bounces on net. Fleury actually has to make a "save."

5:49: One of Lecavalier's minors is killed. Downie returns to play.

4:26: Sullivan circles out of the left wing corner of the Lightning's zone and lifts a wrister from the circle. It hits Garon in the mask and bouncehs out.

3:59: Clark chucks a wrister from the right point. Fleury makes the inital save. Malone is right there for the rebound but Niskanen fends him off  and allows Fleury to reach out and cover to freeze play.

2:53: Orpik tees up a slapper from the right point. It hits a stick in front and deflects on net. Garon makes the save.

2:38: Pyatt makes a move by Michalek on the left wing and taps a feed to the slot. Martin is there to kick it out and plays it up ice.

1:32: Cooke jumps on a loose puck on the left wing wall of the Lightning's zone and whips it on net immediately. Garon fights it off.

1:24: Garon is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:57: Malkin forces Stamkos into a turnove rin the neutral zone, recovers the puck on the wall in front of the Lightning penalty box and chips it down ice into the cage for one of us:

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-It's a natural hat trick. The goal is unassisted. Malkin could claim an assist given how he stole the puck off Stamkos.  The Lightning call a timeout to get organized. Penguins 6-3.

0:45: Garon is pulled again. The Lightning aren't givein up.

0:28: Malkin has a chance on the left wing wall but Gilroy smacks the stick out of his hand. No call.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Lightning 3.

POSTGAME

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-There has been multiple occasions during this rash of injuries the past two seasons that multiple critics, including this outlet, have called on Malkin to step up his game. Even under ideal circumstances, Malkin needs to carry a heavy load for this team. But that weight gets even heavier when the likes of Sidney Crosby and Jordan Staal are unavailable. It was no coincidence that during the Penguins' recent six-game losing streak, Malkin's production was relatively quiet. The past two games, Makin has found ways to produce and as a result, he has carried this team to two wins.

-The defensive pairing of Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek had its best game of the season. They were routinely matched-up against the Lightning's top players and more often than not, they didn't allow a thing. They were a big reason all-star Steven Stamkos, the league's leading goal-scorer, didn't record an official shot on net. They need more efforts like that.

-For a guy who "broke his foot" a week ago, James Neal was really sharp today. His release can be just deadly.

-If there's room for concern, it's the mini-comeback the Lightning made in the third period. They erased a three-goal deficit with relative ease.

-Marc-Andre Fleury was strong. He did face a ton of shots, but he kicked out every shot he shoud have, aside from Gilroy's goal.

-It might seem weird to say this after he allowed five goals, but Mathieu Garon had a heck of a game. He was hounded all game long by the Penguins and really gave his team a chance to win this.

-What in the world has happened to the Lightning. They were one of the best teams in the NHL last season and now they look like they're playing for a lottery pick. They have some injury issues on the blue line with two of their better players in Victor Hedman and Mattias Ohlund sidelined, but that can't be an excuse.

-Most of the Penguins' scoring came off the stick of Malkin, but they got plenty of contributions from their role players like Matt Cooke, Richard Park and Tyler Kennedy. They created a fair amount of scoring chances.

-The Penguins dominated shots, 44-20.

-The Penguins' top line of Malkin, Neal and Chris Kunitz each led the game with six shots.

-Arron Asham, Deryk Engelland and Ben Lovjeoy were the only Penguins skaters who did not record an official shot on net.

-Ryan Malone led the Lightning with four.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Martin led the game with 23:59 of ice time.

-Eric Brewer led the Lightning with 22:50.

-The Lightning controlled faceoffs, 46-33 (59 percent).

-There were 79 faceoffs? Yeesh.

-Vincent Lecavalier was 11 for 15 (73 percent).

-Craig Adams was 8 for 11 (73 percent).

-Brett Clark led the game with three blocked shots.

-Lovejoy and Brooks Orpik each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Orpik (102 points) moved ahead of Nick Harbaruk and Warren Young (101 each) for 82nd place on the franchise's all-time scoring list.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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