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Penguins at Senators - 03-24-12

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

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-The table is set for the Penguins. The Rangers' loss to the Sabres last night gives them a chance to take over first place tonight. The Rangers can beat the Maple Leafs tonight and still maintain their lead, but with a game in hand, the Penguins can take over the lead in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division tomorrow against the Devils.

-Don't expect the Senators to roll over tonight. They need a win badly. After getting thumped by the rival Canadiens last night, the Senators have lost three in a row and are actually in danger of falling out of the playoff race. With 84 points, they only have a two point lead over ninth place Buffalo.

-Brad Thiessen gets the start in net tonight for the Penguins. He's 3-0-0 so far this season with all his games coming at home. It will be interesting to see how he handles a road start.

-Pascal Dupuis is one point shy of tying his career high of 48 points.

-The Penguins' starters are Pascal Dupuis, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Deryk Engelland, Brooks Orpik and Brad Thiessen.

-Their scratches are Dustin Jeffrey, Brent Johnson, Matt Niskanen, Richard Park and the great Joe Vitale.

-The Senators' starters are Daniel Alfredsson, Zack Smith, Kyle Turris, Sergei Gonchar, Chris Phillips and Ben Bishop.

-Their scratches are Alex Auld, Bobby Butler, Matt Gilroy and Zenon Konopka.

-Root Sports provides your lines and defensive pairings:

-The lack of Lyndon Slewidge is disappointing:

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-To say the least, Slewidge's replacement offered a ... different... take on the anthems:

(+1 for the Nordiques fan.)

-As soon as we find a video, we'll post it. Suffice it to say, Brooks Orpik's face tells you all you need to know:

-It still doesn't beat this harmonica/double guitar rendition of the anthems prior to a Penguins-Maple Leafs game last season:

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FIRST PERIOD

18:38: Thiessen gets a test early and he passes. Jason Spezza controls the puck behind the Penguins' net and feeds a little backhanded pass to Colin Greening in front of the blue paint. Greening jabs a quick shot on net. Thiessen is in perfect position and eats it up.

17:31: Eric Tangradi gains the offensive zone with speed and snaps off a wrister from above the left circle. Phillips blocks it wide with his stick.

16:10: According to broadcaster Bob Errey, Evgeni Malkin is absent from the bench.

16:02: Steve Sullivan backpeddles from behind the Ottawa net to the left circle adn lifts a wrister. Bishop fights it off.

15:27: Orpik tees up a slapper from the left point. Bishop punches it away.

15:09: The Michaleks are brothers and Milan flicks a backhander from the right wing boards on net. Thiessen battles it away.

x1.

14:52: Malkin returns to the ice.

13:45: Crosby pushes the puck up the right wing and whips a wrister on net from the right circle. Bishop fights it off.

12:03: Malkin lifts a backhander from the right circle. Bishop swats it away. Neal crashes in but can't get a stick on the rebound.

11:38: Chris Neal snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Thiessen eats it up.

10:55: The Senators get dirty and take the first lead. Filip Kuba smacks a one-timer from the top of the slot. It hits of the stick Greening in the slot and deflects into Thiessen. Thiessen makes the inital save but can't control the rebound. Milan Michalek settles the puck, pulls it slightly to the right of the crease and tucks it into the cage by the left skate of Thiessen. Right place right time. Greening and Kuba get assists. The Michaleks are brothers. Senators 1-0.

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x3.

10:44: The Michalek's are brothers:

x3.

10:14: Tie game. Engelland snaps off a pass from the left point of his own zone to the Ottawa blue line. Cooke settles the puck, races into the offensive zone, creating a partial two-on-one with Crosby against Erik Karlsson. Cooke eyes the net and snaps off a low wrister on Bishop. The puck clunks off Bishop's left leg and trickles into the net through his five hole. Crosby appears to jab the puck as it cross the goal line. Cooke gets credit for the goal. It's hits 18th of the season. Eighteen goals for Matt Cooke! Engelland gets the only assist. Penguins 1, Senators 1.

7:11: Nineteen goals for Matt Cooke! From the left wing wall of his own zone, Martin hits Crosby with a stretch pass to the Ottawa blue line. Crosby takes the pass in stride and creates another partial two-on-one against Karlsson. Karlson takes the body on Crosby. Crosby spins in the right circle and flings a backhanded pass to the front of the crease. Cooke crashes in and pokes it over the sprawling Bishop. What a pass by Martin. What a pass by Crosby. What a goal by Cooke. Crosby and Martin get assists. Penguins 2-1.

6:25: Kuba pounds a slapper from the left point. Greening is in front again and re-directs the puck off the near post.

6:01: Phillips fires a slapper from the left point. It this a body in front.

4:25: The Senators get the first power play as Tangradi strikes Matt Carkner in the face with his stick after a check. Jordan Staal, Zbynek Michalek, Orpik and Craig Adams the the ice.

3:01: Sergei Gonchar flings a wrister from th left point. Kris Letang blocks it.

2:23: Malkin strips a puck off Smith at the Penguins' blue line and essentially kills off the rest of Tangradi's penalty.

2:04: Kaspar Daugavins flings a wrister at the net from the left wing wall. Thiessen gloves it. Smith and Ben Lovejoy mix it up after the whistle.  Nothing comes of it.

0:50: Crosby (5-foot-11) takes a shift with Sullivan (5-foot-8) and Kennedy (5-foot-11). Don't expect that trio to do much screening on Bishop (6-foot-7).

0:43: Orpik flings a wrister from the left point. It hits something in the crease and deflects wide.

0:34: Turris has a wrister from the right circle blocked by Orpik.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Senators 1.

FIRST INTERMISSION

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-The Senators started the period strong and you had to kind of expect them to do so after last night' game. They wanted to come out with energy at home. But it seemed like once they got a lead, they kind of relaxed. At that point, the Penguins got into their game and just did what they normally do. Get goals.

-Matt Cooke is on the verge of becoming a 20-goal scorer. Let that sink in for a moment.

-Erik Karlsson is a very talented player, but his defense needs some work.

-Is everyone off the "WEHATEPAULMARTIN!!!!" bandwagon yet?

-The Penguins have a 13-9 lead in shots.

-Cooke, Sullivan, Letang, Daugavins, Greening and Milan Michalek.each lead the game with two shots.

-Gonchar leads the game with 9:08 of ice time.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Orpik is right behind him with 9:07.

-The Senators have an 8-6 edge in faceoffs (57 percent).

-Spezza is 3 for 4 (75 percent).

-Adams is 2 for 3 (67 percent).

-Phillips and Lovejoy each lead the game with two blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

19:27: Tie game. Nick Folingos circles behind the net with Staal giving chase. Staal's stick gets caught up in the net and that creates enough space for Foligno to deal a pass from the right of the net to Gonchar sneaking in the slot. Gonchar snaps off a wrister which sneaks under Thiessen's glove hand. Staal didn't exactly make the right play there after losing his stick. Instead of chasing Foligno, he recovered his stick. That gave Foligno the space to make the pass. Foligno and Alfredsson get assists. Penguins 2, Senators 2.

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18:08: Smith floats a wrister from the top of the slot. Thiessen eats it up.

15:51: As noted by mombert41 in the comments, the Penguins and Senators got a kick out of the anthems:

14:07: Zbynek Michalek whips a wrister from above the left circle. It hits off something and deflects away. Cooke's left skate clips the right skate of Bishop. Bishop does some sort of spinning mid-air version of the Triple Lindy to sell the penalty.

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13:48: The Michalek's are brothers:

x4.

-Dupuis, Staal, Zbynek Michalek and Orpik take the ice.

13:07: In front of  the blue paint, Greening re-directs a feed from the left wing by Spezza on net. Thiessen hangs on for the save. Orpik and Zbynek Michalek give the business to Greening but nothing comes of it.

12:55: Turris settles a puck in the left wing corner an sneaks a nifty pass across the crease to Phillips in the left circle. Phillips chops a one-timer which beats Thiessen on the near side b his glove. Foligno had a wonderful screen on that play. Great pass by Turris through traffic. Turris and Alfredsson get assists. Senators 3-2.

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12:19: A fluky hop gives the Senators a two-goal lead. Gonchar takes a pass at the top of the slot. He settles the puck and flings it towards the cage. It hits off the stick of Turris int he crease and takes a fortunate hop over the glove hand of Thiessen. Talk about puck luck. Foligno and Gonchar get assists. Fire Ray Shero.  Senators 4-2.

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12:05: And this game is wide open. Off a poor turnover by Karlson in the neutral zone, Staal backhands a loose puck to Sullivan at the blue line. Sullivan circles aroun in transition on another partial two-on-one against Kuba. Kuba stretches out to prevent a pass but Sullivan is able to sneak a pass to Kennedy to the right of the crease. From a tough angle, Kennedy is able to roof a wrister by the glove hand of a diving Bishop. What a defensive play. It's Kennedy's 10th goal in 17 career games against the Senators. Sullivan and Staal get assists. A rough game for Karlsson continues. Senators 4-3.

11:00: The Penguins get their first power play as Rob Klinkhammer is called for hooking Tangradi to the right of the Ottawa crease. Crosby, James Neal, Malkin, Kris Letang and Kunitz take the ice.

10:50: Kunitz drives a one-timer form the left circl.e Bishop fights it off desptie traffic.

10:37: After Letang and Neal fail to punch a puck into the cage from in tight, Bishop gets twisted up in the crease. He's on the ice in discomfort. An athletic trainer attends to him as backup Craig Anderson gets his gear on. Bishop eventually recovers to his skates and slowly makes his way to the dressing room with some assistance. Anderson will replace him. Anderson has a 3-2-1 record all-time against the Penguins with a 2.46 goals against average and .920 save percentage.

10:06: Crosby races into the offensive zone for behind his net. From the slot, he rips a wrister. Anderson knocks it dead and covers the  rebound.

9:00: The Penguins' power play expires. They didn't pose much of a threat there.

6:54: Thiessen bobbles a bouncing puck a bit with Alfredsson giving chase. Thiessen is able to collects it as Alfredsson makes contact with him and knocks his stick away. No one in a white jersey gives Alfredsson any grief for that. If that was Chris Neil, it's a barroom brawl. That just shows you the respect most of hte league has for Alfredsson.

5:59: Huge save! After a poor turnover by Letang in his own zone, Foligno creates a partial two-on-one against Martin. Foligno deals a pass to Turris in the slot. Turris swats a one-timer on net. Thiessen slides down and fights it off. The rebound bounces to the right of the net. Alfredsson has a clean look at the net but Martin is able to poke it away with a poke check from his belly. Letang owes Thiessen a beer.

5:10: Spezza is called for tripping Zbynek Michalek in the Penguins' zone. Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Neal and Letang take the ice.

3:53: The Penguins' power play gets sloppy and pays the price. Off a poor turnover by Letang in the offensive zone, the Senators turn it back up ice in transition. Jared Cowen deals the puck from behind his net to Milan Michalek in the right circle. Michalek flings it up ice to spring Alfredsson on a breakaway. As Crosby gives chase, Alfredsson moves in and picks a sick wrister by the glove hand of Thiessen. The Penguins' power power play has been brutal tonight. Michalek and Cowen get assists. Senators 5-3.

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3:10: The Spezza minor is killed. Very little threat by the Penguins during that two minutes.

1:49: After a poor pass by Lovejoy forces Engelland into a turnover at the left point of the Ottawa zone, Turris pokes a pass to Alfredsson to create a partial two-on-one against Lovejoy. Alfredsson cranks a slapper from the right circle off the near post. The Penguins dodged one there.

1:41: Neal lifts a wrister from the left circle. Anderson eats it up. Foligno gives Neal a shove into the end boards after the whistle. Neal gives the business back to Folingo. Neal and Folingo each get roughing minors. Four on four.

1:04: Working with space, Letang snaps off a wrister from the left circle which hits something in front.

0:41: Letang makes a nice play to keep a puck in at the Ottawa blue line, hodlds it, makes a nifty move around Erik Condra and races into the left circle. He lifts a wrister which Anderson eats up.

0:00: End of period. Senators 5, Penguins 3.

SECOND INTERMISSION

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-What a response by the Senators. They took advantage of a few mistakes by the Penguins and took a big lead.

-The Penguins need to cut down on those mistakes and capitalized on the chances the Senators are giving them. They've had two power plays and have produced little out of it while giving up a shorthanded goal.

-It's tough to put a lot of this on Thiessen's shoulders. The Senators have had several breaks and Thiessen has stolen a goal or two. But he needs to shut things down here for for the Penguins to have a chance at a come back.

-If a team has the offense to moutn a comeback, it's the Penguins.

-The first line needs to produce something. Malkin, Neal and Kunitz haven't had a tone of quality scoring chances.

-Overall, it's been a pretty sloppy game by both teams.

-A better look at the national anthem:

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-The Penguins have a 27-21 lead in shots.

-Letang leads the game with five shots.

-Greening leads the Senators with three.

-According to Tweets from media in Ottawa, Bishop will not return to the game due to a "lower-body" injury.

-Steve Sullivan hasn't played since 7:12 of the second period.

-Gonchar leads the game with 17:17 of ice time.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 16:35.

-The Senators have a 24-16 lead in faceoffs (60 percent).

-Spezza is 9 for 12 (75 percent).

-Craig Adam is 3 for 6 (50 percent).

-Lovejoy leads the game with four blocked shots.

-Phillips leads the Senators with two.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: We'll have 19 seconds of four on four play on fresh ice.

19:40: As the minors to Foligno and Neal expire, Malkin snaps off a wrister from the right circle which appears to catch Phillips in the face.

18:31: Dupuis drops Karlsson with a strong hit into the boards behind the Ottawa net.

18:25: from the right wing, Condra slides a slow feed to the slot. Smith races after it but right before he can get a stick on the puck, Thiessen pokes it away.

17:49: As Staal takes a shift with Cooke and Kennedy, Lovejoy floats a wrister from the right point. Anderson gloves it.

16:49: Foligno sneaks a quick wrister from the right circle. Thiessen snags it.

15:57: Off another turnover by Karlsson at the left point of the Ottawa zone, Malkin races in off the left wing and lifts a wrister off the near post. CLINK!

15:21: Kunitz lugs the puck up ice into the offensive zone and whips a wrister from the slot wide to the far side.

15:05: Off a drop pass from Spezza, Condra booms a one-timer from the top of the slot no where near the cage.

14:46: Off a blocked shot from Gonchar, Daugavins booms a slapper over the cage from the right half wall.

12:58: After Folingo forces Zbynek Michalek into a turnover in the left wing corner of the Penguins' zone, GOnchar has a chance at a one-timer in the slot and punches it wide.

12:32: The Folingos, Nick and Buffalo's Marcus, are brothers:

x1

12:00: Everytime Erik Condra does something, we keep thinking of Contra for Nintendo:

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10:59: Kunitz has a wrister from the left circle blocked by Gonchar. Fire Ray Shero.

10:51: Martin corrals a puck at the left point and chucks a wrister at the cage.  It hit something in front.

10:43: Daugavins snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Martin blocks it.

10:03: Off a hideous turnover by Karlsson in his own zone, Malkin snaps off a wrister from the slot. Karlsson goes stick on puck and blocks it out of play.

8:17: Welcome back Sidney Crosby. Asham controls the puck behind the cage, peeks through traffic and sneaks a little pass to Crosby in the slot. Crosby takes the pass and rips a wrister by the glove hand of Anderson. What a pass by Asham. Asham and Dupuis get assists. It's Crosby's first goal in his latest comeback. Dupuis ties a career high of 48 points. Senators 5-4.

7:05: Milan Michalek flings a wrister from the left circle. Thiessen says no.

6:51: Asham tries to chip and chase a puck at the right point of the Ottawa zone but is held up by Phillips. No call.

6:44: What. Was. That? Milan Michalek corrals the puck in the right wing corner and snaps off a cross ice pass to Spezza on the right wing. Spezza pretty much as a breakaway from his won blue line in. He motors in and rips a wrister through the five hole of a hapless Thiessen. Just brutal. A brutal non-call against Phillips led to that chance. And some brutal defense by the Penguins created it. Michalek gets the only assist. Senators 6-4.

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6:30: Off a turnover by Phillips in the right wing corner of his own zone, Staal snaps off a quick wrister from the right of the crease. Anderson eats it up.

5:30: Do or die here for the Penguins. Milan Michalek holds up Malkin in front of the penguins' bench. That's two minutes. Letang, Malkin, Kunitz, Neal and Crosby tae the ice.

5:10: Neal chops a one-timer from the left circle off the cross bar.

4:57: Jim O'Brien pushes a puc up the left wing shorthanded. Malkin is the only man back and slides down to knock the puck away. He ends up slide tackling O'Brien. That's two minutes. Four on four for 1:25.

4:25: Turris and Alfredsson have a chacne on a two-on-one against Letang. Turris draws in Letang on the left wing and sneaks a pass to Alfredsson in the right circle. Alfredsson cuts to the slot and is denied by Thiessen.

3:30: Milan Michalek returns to the ice. The Senators will have 35 seconds of power play time.

3:04: Off a faceoff in the left circle, Michalek chops a slapper from the left point wide to the far side.

2:55: In transition, the Senators strike again. Folingo collects the rebound off Michalek shot and racesup the left wing, He gains the blue line, cuts inside Orpik and skates to the right circle. He sneaks a backhanded pass to the slot. Aflredsson takes the pass on his forehand, moves ot his backhand and tucks it over the right skate of Thiessen. This is ugly. Foligno gets the only assist. He should get two for that effort. Senators 7-4.

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2:27: Malkin pushes the puck behind the net and his smacked into the boards by Neil. A pile up ensues behidn the net. Matt Carkner, one of the best fighters in the league tries to drop the gloves with Tangradi. Before that can happen, Engelland jumps on Carkner's back. He probably save Tangradi's teeth with that move. Asham ends up with the only penalty, a roughing minor. Cooke, Adams, Zbynek Michalek and Orpik take the ice.

1:52: Just brutal. The Senators put on a passing display and rack up another goal. From the left half wall, Spezza snaps off a cross ice pass to Karlsson to the right circle. Karlsson one-touches it by Orpik to Greening all alone in the slot. Greening jabs it by the right skate of a helpless Thiessen. Cooke and Milan Michalek exchange pleasantries after the whistle but nothing comes of it. The Senators have rebounded in a big way. Karlsson and Spezza get assists. Senators 8-4.

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1:23 Kennedy weaves his way into the offensive zone and guns a slapper from the slot. Anderson kicks it out.

0:17: Cowen is called for roughing Dupuis. Malkin, Neal, Crosby, Kunitz and Letang take the ice.

0:00: End of period. Senators 8, Penguins 4.

POSTGAME

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-First things first. The Rangers beat the Maple Leafs, 4-3, in a shootout. They now have a three-point lead over the Penguins in the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division races.

-Additionally, the Flyers beat the Canadiens, 4-1. They trail the Penguins by two points.

-The Penguins' streak of 14 games with a point had to come to an end at some point, but like this? They didn't come back to earth, the crashed into it like Vladimir Komarov. (Google it.)

-Brad Thiessen's game was mud tonight, but what goaltender is supposed to stop that many breakaways, two-on-ones and impromtu passing drills in his own zone? The Penguins' team defense was the biggest culprit in this game. 

-A true Stanley Cup contender doesn't give up two breakaways in a game. And the Penguins didn't just give up breakaways to scrubs like Erik Condra. They gave the first one up to a future hall of famer in Daniel Alfredsson and the second to a former No. 2 overall pick in Jason Spezza. Tonight's defense was inexcusable.

-Special teams were a mess for the Penguins. The power play went 0-for-4 while the penalty kill allowed two goals on four chances. To make matters worse, the Senators scored a shorthaned goal.

-The first line of Evgeni Malkin, Chris Kunitz and James Neal was really quiet. Beyond a few shots, that trio produced little.

-All the Penguins' goals came from the third line but that trio of Sidney Crosby, Matt COoke and Tyler Kennedy really didnt' hoko up too much to create them. Other than Cooke's second goal, all three scored their goals from other sources. It was kidn of weird.

-Steve Sullivan did not record a shifts past the 12:48 mark of the second period. His absence didn't help matters. There was no world on his status.

-The new "shutdown" pairing of Brooks Orpik and Zbynek Michalek was pretty attrocious. They looked lost trying to handle the Senators' top lines.

-Daniel Alfresson is a marvel at age 39. He still looks like an elite two-way talent capable of playing 20 minutes a night and potting a point a game.

-"Erik Karlsson" might be Swedish for "Mike Green." He has all  the offensive skill in the world and is very dangerous in that area. But he looked lost quite a bit in his own zone. He had a hand in the Penguins' first three goals and just was incredibly sloppy in that end of the ice. But he's only 21. He'll learn that part of the game eventually under head coach Paul MacLean.

-Colin Greening is a very solid net-front presence.

-The Penguins led the game in shots, 40-28.

-Kris Letang and Crosby each led the game with six shots.

-Eric Tangradi was the only Penguins skater who didn't record a shot on net.

-Spezza and Greening each led the Senators with four.

-Sergei Gonchar led the game with 26:05 of ice time.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-Letang led the Penguins with 24:00.

-The Penguins had a 33-32 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).

-Spezza was 12 for 17 (71 percent).

-Staal was 11 for 20 (55 percent).

-Gonchar, Chris Phillips and Ben Lovejoy each led the game with five blocked shots.

-Dupuis tied a career high with 48 points and extended a scoring strea to nine games.

-Cooke now has nine points (seven goals, two assists) in his past six games, all with Crosby back.

-Spezza finishes the regular season series against the Penguins with eight points (four goals, four assists) in four games.

-Thiessen became the 52nd goaltender in Penguins history to record a loss. What a special moment it must be for him.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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