-When Wayne Gretzky called the Devils a "Mickey Mouse operation" after the Oilers pounded the Devils, Nov. 19, 1983. From that moment on, the Devils were a better franchise. It didn't happen immediately. It was a slow process. It didn't happen overnight. But eventually, the Devils became a championship organization.
-Flash forward to Dec. 4, 2010. The Penguins traveled to Columbus and spanked the Blue Jackets, 7-2. Nationwide Arena was filled with Penguins fans:
-In addition to being embarrassed on the ice, the Blue Jackets suffered the indignity of having Penguins fans as their "guest riders" on the Zamboni machines between periods. A few days afterwards, the Blue Jackets enacted a new policy which banned fans from wearing another team's jersey from riding the Zamboni.
-Having a fan in a Penguins jersey ride your Zamboni isn't as embarrassing as having the most iconic hockey player in history compare to your franchise to a cartoon rodent, but the #ColumbusInvasion was the "Mickey Mouse" moment for the Blue Jackets.
Since then, they've parted ways with franchise forward Rick Nash, brought in general manager Jarmo Kekalainen as well as president John Davidson and traded for Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky. Above all else, they've built a team. In years past, it was just Nash and a handful of underwhelming support players. Today, the Blue Jackets have a lot more depth at every position and as a result, are more competitive. They nearly made the postseason last season and as a result of relocation, have a chance at this season's playoffs in the weak Atlantic Division.
-We're not sure how much the #ColumbusInvasion had to do with the Blue Jackets' current state, but we know the have steadily improved since then.
-Bobrovsky returns to Consol Energy Center where he has a 5-1-1 career record. He just owns this place.
-Beyond that statistical curiosity, Bobrovsky has given this team something it has never had, a franchise goaltender. The Blue Jackets tried and failed with the likes of Steve Mason, Pascal Leclaire and others. Bobrovsky has finally given them a presence at the most important spot on the ice.
-The Blue Jackets also have a fairly deep blue line. With Jack Johnson, Fedor Tyutin, James Wisniewski, Ryan Murray and Nikita Nikitn, we would dare say the Blue Jackets' top five defensemen are among the best top five in the NHL.
-The Pens have some of their stuff packed and ready to go to Columbus:
-Alex Alexei Kovalev:
-Fans entering the barn:
-There are a handful of Blue Jackets fans. Jared Boll:
-Lucky Luc Robitaille:
-Jersey of the Night: Even if the font is a little off, We have to go with former Penguins and Blue Jackets goaltender Ron Tugnutt:
-The Penguins' starters are Craig Adams, Tanner Glass, Brandon Sutter, Matt Niskanen, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Matt D'Agostini, Chuck Kobasew and Rob Scuderi.
-The Blue Jacket's starters are Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky, Mark Letestu, Dalton Prout, Fedor Tyutin and Sergei Bobrovsky.
-Their scratches are Boone Jenner and Nikita Nikitin.
-Jeff Jimerson handles the anthem:
19:21: Dubinsky tries to jam in a little forehand shot from in front of the blue paint. Fleury kicks it out.
19:15: Dalton Prout sails a wrister from above the right point over the cage.
18:36: Off a little give and go with Sidney Crosby, Kunitz lifts a wrister from the left wing. Bobrovsky fights it off.
18:17: Off a feed by Marian Gaborik from below the goal line, Nick Folingo tries to poke in a one-timer from under the right circle. Fleury fends it off.
18:06: With Crosby partially screening, Dupuis rips a wrister from the right wing. Bobrovsky knocks it dead and covers.
18:01: Robert Bortuzzo pumps a slapper from the left point. Bobrovsky fights it off.
16:59: Michael Chaput snaps off a wrister from center point. Fleury bats it way with is glove hand.
14:49: Blake Comeau whips a wrister from the slot on net through traffic. Fleury kicks it out. There's a scramble for the rebound. Off a little pass by Evgeni Malkin, Bortuzzo is able to skate it out of danger.
13:49: off a cross-ice pass by Crosby, Dupuis taps a feed to Kunitz streaking down the slot. Kuntiz re-directs the puck juuuuuust wide to the left of the cage.
12:55: Malkin races up the left wing, dekes between David Savard and Comeau with a pretty move and pusehs a backhander wide to the far side. Savard ended up hooking Malkin on the play. That's two minutes. Crosby, Malkin, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin and Kris Letang take the ice.
12:49: The Penguins cash in immediately. Crosby wins the faceoff in the right circle back to Martin at the right point. Martin holds, moves slightly towards center point and pops a slapper towards the slot. Kunitz is battling with Jack Johnson for position abut is still able to re-direct the puck with his forehand by the right should of Bobrovsky. What an effort by Kunitz. Martin and Crosby get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
10:25: Savard snaps off a wrister from the right point. it hits a stick and deflects wide on the near side.
9:11: Dupuis tries to jam in a forehand wraparound from the right of the cage. Bobrovsky holds it out.
8:45: Malkin dances in off the right wing and challenges Tyutin one-on-one. Tytuin stands his ground and blocks his wrister.
8:22: Brooks Orpik blocks a wrister by Gaborik in the right circle. Foligno follows up on the rebound and rips a wrister from the right circle which Fleury kicks away.
7:23: The Blue Jackets get a chance to tie the game as Letang is nabbed for cross checking R.J. Umberger. That's two minutes. Crosby, Dupuis, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
6:54: Gaborik rips a wrister from inside the slot wide the right side of the age.
6:45: Gaborik snaps off another wrister from the left circle. Fleury boots it away with his right leg.
6:06: Wisniewski snap off a wrister through traffic from center point. Fleury is able to locate and fight it off. Brandon Sutter flings the rebound down ice.
5:23: The Letang minor is killed with the Penguins allowing a few perimeter chances to the Blue Jackets.
5:08: Crosby leans down and rips a one-timer from the slot high of the net.
3:27: Dubinsky has a low in the left circle but a backchecking Jeffrey lifted his stick and forced a turnover.
2:38: Another power play for the Penguins. Adams is called for cross checking Derek MacKenzie into the left wing corner of the Columbus zone. Dupuis, Crosby, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
1:18: Ryan Johansen jabs a little backhander from in tight which Fleury fights off.
1:08: Johnson booms a slapper from the right circle. Fleury knocks it dead and
0:58: Artem Ansiimov flings a wrister froma bove the right cirlce on net. Flueyr fights it off.
0:49: Cam Atkinson has a chance right to left of the age but he's pretty much tackled to the ice by Bortuzzo. No call.
0:38: The Adams minor expires. The Penguins were lucky to fend that off.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Blue Jackets 0.
-The Penguins were a little lucky to escape that period with a lead. The Blue Jackets generated a lot of opportunities down low. The Penguins didn't do a good job defending those chances in tight. Marc-Andre FLeury is the reason the Penguins have a lead.
-Fleury was oustanding. He didn't fight the puck and was kicking out a lot safe rebounds.
-Paul Martin really showed a lot of patience in setting up the Kunitz goal. He's like Sergei Gonchar in that he can find the open areas to shoot from the point.
-The Blue Jackets have a 15-9 lead in shots.
The Blue Jackets lead in attemtped shots 22-20.
-Dupuis, Kunitz, Bortuzzo, Comeau, Umberger, Johansen and Foligno each lead the game with two shots.
-Johnson leads the game with 8:34 of ice time.
-Orpik leads the Penguins with 8:04 of ice time.
-The Penguins have a 9-6 edge in faceoffs (60 percent).
-Crosby was 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Johansen is 2 for 3 (67 percent).
-Orpik leads the game with two locked shots.
19:15: Dubinsky flings a wrister on net from the left half wall. Fleury eats it up.
18:50: Branson Sutter. red hot. Picking up a loose puck outside the Columbus blue line, He dekes around Johnson and create a bit of two-on-one. As Savard slides down to take away the pass, Sutter simply rips and wrister by Bobrovsky through the five hole. What a nasty shot. Glass and Adams get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 2, Blue Jackets 0.
17:48: The hole gets a little deeper for the Blue Jackets. Wisniewski is nabbed for delay of game as he covered the puck with his hand. With some members of the varsity power play gassed, the J.V. power play take the ice. Sutter, Jokinen, Niskanen, Letang and Malkin take the ice.
16:59: Malkin corrals a puck ont he right wing and deals to Niskanen at center point. Nisken calmly slides a pass to Letang at the right half wall. He whacks one-timer which Bobrovsky appears to initally save but the puck squirt though his gear and into the cage. That appeared to be deflected by something in transit. Bobrovsky is yanked for Curtis McElhinney. His night is over. Niskanen and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song" double shifts. Penguins 3-0.
15:23: Gaborik tries to sneak in off the right wing but Martin slides and takes away the puck. Great play by Martin.
14:26: The rout is on. Malkin muscles his way by Tyutin in the right circle. and flings a backhanded pass to the crease. it hit s a stick and bounces to Jokine in the right circle. Jokinen is able to to sneak a pass above the blue paint to Jayson Megna crashing in. Megna punches the puck into a wide open net by an out-of-place McElhinney. What a pass by Jokinen. Jokinen and Malkin get assists. The "Hey Song' is winded. Penguins 4-0.
13:18: The Blue Jackets have a little life. Jeffrey is called for tripping Chaput. Dupuis, Orpik, Sutter and Martin take the ice.
11:39: Marc-Andre Fleury is tuned in. Off a nifty backhanded feed by Umberger below the goal line, Dubinsky jabs a little shot in tight. Fleury kicks it out. A rebound bounces out to Wisniewski who rockets a one-timer from the right circle. Fleury challenges and eats it up. Fans offer "FLERR-EEEE!" chants in appreciation.
11:18: The Jeffrey minor is killed. The Blue Jackets had one really good chacne but little else.
10:26: With an icing call, Dan Bylsma calls a timeout to get his team a breather.
10:04: The Blue Jackets aren't done. They get busy around the net and cash in. Off a turnover by Dupuis, Johnson sneaks a pass from the end boars to Foligno positioned to the right of the age. Foligno is able to sneak a pass through the blue paint to MacKenzie on the back door. MacKenzie slams in the easy goal by the left leg of a helpless Fleury. The Penguins are having all kinds of trouble with Blue Jackets around the net. Foligno and Johnson get assists. Penguins 4-1.
9:03: Dalton Prout golfs a slapper from the right point. Fleury knocks it dead and covers. Attendance is announced as 18,620. It is the team's 295th consecutive sellout.
8:13: Comeau snaps off a wrister from the right circle to the far side. Fleury boots it out.
6:22: Orpik snaps off a wrister from the right point wide to the far side. It looked like Megna tipped it wide.
5:38: Off some great work down low by Dubinsky, Atkinson has a chance to the right of the cage but jabs a shot wide.
1:42: After a few stagnant minutes, Jeffrey steal a puck in the Blue Jackets' right wing corner and deals a pass to Bortuzzo at the right point. Bortuzzo pops a one-timer which Bobrovsky fights off.
0:39: Wisniewski chops a slap-pass from the right point. At the left of the crease, Mark Letestu raises his stick for a pass. Wisniewski chops it to him but Letestu taps it wide of the cage.
0:07: Murray golfs a slapper from the right point. Fleury locates it through traffic and gloves it.
0:00: End of period. As the horn sounds. Blake Comeau and Niskanen mix it up in the Penguins' crease and drop the gloves. They mostly wrestle around and throw a few big punches. it ends with Niskanen tripping and Comeau falling on top of him. Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 1.
-Goaltending was the difference in that period. Fleury came to play. Bobrovsky is on the bench.
-The Penguins are still having a heck of a teim with defending around their net. Most of Columbus' chances have been generated near the blue paint. The Blue Jackets' only goal was from near the crease.
-Jayson Megna knows how to generate offense near the crease. Each of his first two NHL goals from been near the net.
-The Blue Jackets have a 27-18 lead in shots.
-The Blue Jackets have a 42-34 lead in attempted shots.
-Orpik leads the game with 16:02 of ice time.
-Johnson leads the Blue Jackets with 14:58.
-The Penguins have an 18-15 lead in faceoffs (55 percent).
-The great Joe Vitale is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Dubinsky is 4 for 7 (57 percent)
-Orpik and Tyutin each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Olli Maatta has made his IceTime Cover debut:
19:35: Dubinsky is called for holding Crosby. Crosby, Kuntiz, Malkin, Martin and Letang take the ice.
18:25: The Penguins cash in. Or do they? Crosby skates off a check from Savard in the left wing corner and sends a pass to Malkin in the left circle. Malkin leans down and lifts a one-timer over the right shoulder of McElhinney. The goal horn goes off and the Penguins sort of celebrate. Officials rule a goal on the ice but consult the video replay. Video shows the puck hitting off the cross bar, glancing off the left post and rolling along the goal line. The puck never passed the goal line. After a lengthy review, officials overturn the on-ice call. No goal.
17:35: The Dubinsky minor is killed.
15:51: Off a turnover by Maatta, Johnson flings a wrister from the left point. McElhinney eats it up.
15:37: Battling for a puck, Malkin gets a stick in the face from Johnson on the left wing wall of the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes for Johnson. Crosby, Malin, Kunitz, Martin and Letang take the ice.
15:27: Malkin sweeps a writer from the right of the cage on net. McElhinney holds it out.
13:51: Umberger tries to push the puck up the right wing one-on-one against Maatta. Maatta shows some patience and takes the puck off Umberger's stick and reverses play back up ice.
13:40: Jeffrey lift a wrister from the right circle which McElhinney fends off.
12:49: Duinsky booms slapper from center point. Fleury boots it away.
11:41: Johnson air mails a slapper form the red line on net. Fleury boots it out.
10:28: Prout chops a slapper from the right point. Kunitz challenges and pokes the puck out of play.
9:02: Maatta flings a wrister from the left point. Wisniewski blocks it.
8:23: Johnson chops a slapper from the right point which Letang blocks.
8:14: Atkinson trie to jam in a forehand wrapround from the left of the cage. Fleury holds it out.
8:01: Atkinson races up the right wing and snap off a wrister which Fleury snags.
7:00: Martin chops a one-timer from the right point. Bobrovsky gloves it.
6:30: Gaborik lifts a wrister from the left wing. Fleury kicks it out. Dubinsky partially puts the rebound back on net. Fleury smothers it. Dubinsky and Kunitz have words aftewards but nothing comes of it.
4:45: Off a feed from Malkin, Adams whips a wrister fromt he right circle which Murray blocks.
4:41: Bortuzzo is deep on the right wing and rips a writer from the right circle high of the cage.
3:18: Glass slams Johnson to the ice with a strong forecheck into the left wing corner of the Columbus zone.
2:30: A penguins player retreated back to the dressing room. We couldn't make out the number.
0:45: The Blue Jackets get a late goal. Digging a puck out of the left wing corner, Johansen backpeddles to the left circle and lifts a wrister by Fleury ont he near side. It looked like Letang was a little lost in space on that one. Umberger and Wisnikewski get assists. Penguins 4-2.
0:33: McElhinney is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:25: Letang is called for delay of game after poking a puck out of play from his own zone. The Blue Jackets call a timeout to get organized.
0:18: Wisniewski booms slapper form the right point. Fleury eats it up.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 2.
-Goaltending was the difference. Just ask the respective coaches. Dan Bylsma and Todd Richards echoed each other after the game tonight and said Marc-Andre Fleury was the reason the Penguins won this game.
-The Blue Jackets actually played a pretty strong game for much of the night. They generated quite a few chances down low and pressured Fleury a lot. He turned away a ton of quality shots.
-On the flip side, Sergei Bobrovsky, who has virtually owned this building throughout this career, was torched for three goals on only 13 shots.
-Don't expect a repeat performance tomorrow. The Blue Jackets will be plenty motivated from this loss.
-Special teams were obviously a key. The Penguins went 2 for 4 with the power play while the Blue Jackets were 0 for 4.
-The Penguins got contributions from all over the lineup on offense. They got goals from forwards on their top three lines (Chris Kunitz, Brandon Sutter and Jayson Megna) and one from a defenseman in Kris Letang.
-Evgeni Malkin's offensive game came alive with a two-point effort. He snapped a six game slump without an even-strength point.
-Dustin Jeffrey quietly had a nice rebound game after being pretty ineffective Wednesday against the Bruins. He did take a penalty but he had a few key defensive plays which were nice.
-Kris Letang had such an up and down game. He scored the eventual game-winning goal but he made the wrong play on the goal by Ryan Johansen. Additionally, he took a penalty which led to a Columbus power play.
-Jayson Megna just gets it. It's hard to see him being sent back to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton if the Penguins every get a few of their forwards healthy. He's scoring goals and creating chances.
-Sutter is a streaky scorer. After going 11 games without a goal, he now has two in two consecutive games. And they each have been important goals.
-Brandon Dubinsky and Nick Foligno were tough down low. They were a big part of the success Columbus had near the Penguins' net.
-Richards was non-committal to announcing a starting goaltender tomorrow. We would expect Bobrovsky to get the start considering he didn't even play half a game.
-We would expect Jeff Zatkoff to play for the Penguins tomorrow. But that's just a guess.
-The Blue Jackets had a 39-27 lead in shots on net.
-Robert Borutzzo led the game with six shots. Dang.
-Cam Atkinson Dubinsky and James Wisniewski led the Blue Jackets with five shots each.
-The Penguins had a 31-26 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Crosby was 12 for 20 (60 percent).
-Dubinsky was 10 for 15 (67 percent).
-Bortuzzo and Brooks Orpik each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Fedor Tyutin led the game with three blocked shots.
-Fleury is the first goaltender to reach 10 wins this season.
-Each of Letang's goals are game-winners this season.
-Tanner Glass, who helped set up Sutter's goal, now has five points on the season. He had two all of last season.