-We'll have a few more thoughts on the Penguins' Olympic selections (and non-selections tomorrow). Tonight, we'll just say selection of Rick Nash for Canada was disappointing. He has not had a great year.
-Forget about James Neal for a moment. How did Martin St. Louis not make this team?
-We have a feeling Neal's habit of getting lured into post whistle scrums in order to settle personal scores may have played a factor in his non-selection to Canada's roster. To his credit, he hasn't done much of that stuff since being suspended for hitting Brad Marchand in the head.
-Penguins broadcaster Bob Grove came up with a tremendous list of one-time Penguin players who have played in the Olympics:
USA (20) - Bob Paradise; Mike Ramsey; Mark Johnson; Scott Bjugstad; Ed Olczyk; Scott Young; Greg Brown; Kevin Stevens; Kevin Miller; Stephen Leach; Shawn McEachern; Moe Mantha; Garth Snow; John LeClair; Bill Guerin; Kevin Hatcher; Tom Barrasso; Brooks Orpik; Ryan Malone; Ryan Whitney.
Canada (19) - George Swarbrick; J.J. Daigneault; Darren Lowe; Dave Tippett; Zarley Zalapski; Kent Manderville; Dave Hannan; Patrick Lebeau; Jason Woolley; Todd Hlushko; Peter Ferraro; Greg Johnson; Chris Kontos; Petr Nedved; Brad Werenka; Mark Recchi; Mario Lemieux; Sidney Crosby; Marc-Andre Fleury.
Czech Republic (8) - Robert Lang; Jiri Slegr; Jaromir Jagr; Martin Straka; Josef Beranek; Martin Skoula; Petr Sykora; Jan Hrdina.
Finland (8): Ville Siren; Petteri Lehto; Arto Javanainen; Janne Laukkanen; Tuomas Gronman; Jarkko Ruutu; Ville Nieminen, Jussi Jokinen.
Russia/Unified Team (8) - Sergei Zubov; Dmitri Mironov; Darius Kasparaitis; Sergei Gonchar; German Titov; Aleksey Morozov; Alexei Kovalev; Evgeni Malkin.
Sweden (7) - Tomas Sandstrom; Ulf Samuelsson; Andreas Johansson; Johan Hedberg; Fredrik Olausson; Markus Naslund; Mikael Samuelsson.
Slovakia (7) - Miroslav Satan; Ziggy Palffy; Marian Hossa; Richard Lintner; Martin Strbak; Tomas Surovy; Ronald Petrovicky.
Belarus (1) - Konstantin Koltsov.
Germany (1) - Sven Butenschon.
-Any game blog which includes a Sven Butenschon reference is a good game blog.
-As far as tonight's game is concerned, the Penguins have the good fortune of not facing the Canucks at their best. Goaltender Roberto Luongo is out of the lineup after suffering an ankle injury after being hit by Kings captain Dustin Brown Saturday. Brown collided with Vancouver's Mike Santorelli and did this odd spinning flip into the air:
We say it's odd because Brown has a well deserved reputation for diving and questionable hits. He showed off both characteristics there.
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Brian Gibbons, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Robert Bortuzzo, Chuck Kobasew and Zach Sill.
-The Canucks' starters are Mike Santorelli, Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Dan Hamhuis, Chris Tanev and Eddie Lack.
-Their scratches are David Booth, Roberto Luongo and Dale Weise.
-At Rogers Arena, they have a really cool touch with the dividers in the glass being illuminated:
Really cool touch in Vancouver where the dividers are lit up: pic.twitter.com/p6eLTgvKTK— Seth Rorabaugh (@emptynetters) January 8, 2014
19:07: Despres settles a puck at the right point and launches a slapper on net. Lack traps it against his chest.
18:47: Evgeni Malkin chips a loose puck from the right of the cage juuuuuust wide to the far side.
18:40: Neal lines up behind Malkin for their "quick-draw" faceoff play in the Canucks' left circle. Malkin wins the draw back to Neal who rips a wrister which Lack kicks out.
17:13: Chris Tanev rips a wrister form the right point which is blocked.
15:45: Corralling a loose puck on the left half wall, Jason Garrison whacks a heavy one-timer on net. Fleury kicks it out despite traffic.
15:10: Ryan Kesler tries to lug the puck through the slot but is slammed to the ice on a meaty check by Letang.
15:02: Malkin races up the right wing and deals a pass to Neal trailing slightly on the left wing. Neal lifts a wrister which Lack fights off.
14:47: With Letang pinching in deep, Zack Kassian and Christopher Higgins create a two-on-one against Rob Scuderi. Higgins cuts across the slot and flings a backhnder from the right circle which Fleury kicks away.
13:08: Dan Hamhuis lofts a wrister from the right point wide to the far side.
12:36: Higgins smacks the great Joe Vitale with a nice check behind the Penguins' net.
11:16: Jussi Jokinen flings a wirster from the left circle. Lack eats it up.
9:30: Tanner Glass hustles up the right wing and leaves a drop pass for Brandon Sutter. Sutter grips and rips a wrister which is blocked.
9:25: Battling for a puck, Pyatt slams Darren Archibald on the Canucks' right wing wall. Officials give Pyatt an interference minor. That's a tough penalty to figure out. There wasn't really a great view of whether or not Archibald had the puck. Either way, it was a strict interpretation of the rule. Craig Adams, Brandon Sutter, Deryk Engelland and Brooks Orpik take the ice.
8:12: Kesler flings a wrister from the left wing. Fleury eats it up. Tom Sestito give Fleury a jab. Fleury jabs him back. Letang and Scueri give some grief to Sestito afterwards.
7:25: As the Pyatt minor expires, Hamhuis flings a wrister on net which is deflected juuust wide.
7:16: Off a defensive zone turnover by Vitale, Hamhuis whacks a one-timer form the left point which Fleury kicks out at the last second.
6:45: Brian Gibbons opens the scoring? Crosby loses a defensive zone draw in the left circle to Brad Richardson. Hamhuis simply fumbles the puck at the left point and loses it to Gibbons. Gibbons pokes the puck to the neutral zone, races up the left wing, levels out to the slot and attacks the net. He fends off a backchecking Hansen and tucks a forehand shot through the five hole of Lack. What an effort by Gibbons. The goal is unassisted. Penguins 1-0.
5:10: Letang takes a puck in the neutral zone and attacks the Vancouver blue line. he challenges Garrison one-on-one and gets by him. He advances on net and his hooked by Garrison. That's two minutes for holding. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Niskanen and Malkin take the ice. Presumably, after skating a fairly long shift, Letang is on the bench to take a breather.
4:18: Malkin whacks a slapper from the center point which hits Crosby. Crosby seems to be wincing in pain but remains on the ice.
3:39: Malkin whacks a slapper from the center point which hits a stick and skids in on net. Lack kicks it out.
3:10: The Garrison minor is killed. the Penguins did a nice job of controlling the puck but didn't get many quality shots on net.
0:11: Off a steadl in the offenive zone, Malkin deals a pass to Kunitz to the right of the cage. Kunitz swipes a one-timer off the near post.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canucks 0.
-For two teams with plenty of offensive skill, that was a pretty hesitant period of hockey all around. It seemed like both teams were feeling each other out a bit.
-Brian Gibbons is doing everything thing he can to stay on that first line. He keeps showing an ability to play at the pace of Crosby and Kunitz. Oddly enough, he created that goal by himself. He pressured Hamhuis, forced a turnover and took it in himself.
-Letang had an up-and-down period. He had a nice check to knock Kesler off the puck and drew a penalty in the offensive zone. But he also had a pinch which created a two-on-one for the Canucks.
-Lack has been asked to do a little more than Fleury thus far.
-The Penguins have a 13-8 lead in shots on net.
-The Penguins have a 25-18 lead in attempted shots.
-Neal leads the game with four shots.
-Daniel Sedin leads the Canucks with two shots.
-Hamhuis leads the Canucks with 9:07.
-Neal leads the Penguins with 8:21 of ice time.
-The Canucks have an 11-7 lead in faceoffs (61 percent).
-Kesler was 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Crosby was 4 for 8 (50 percent).
-Kesler leads the game with two blocked shots.
-Root Sports caught a good look at Kesler giving Crosby's dinged up foot a tap near the bench:
19:06: Off a feed from behind the net, Santorelli has a chance in tight but puts it over the cage.
18:17: Taking a pass in the slot, Higgins whips a wrister wide of the cage. The Canucks have had some jump thus far this period.
17:34: Yannick Weber tries to jam in a backhanded shot from the right side of the cage. Fleury holds it out.
15:48: A partial slapper by Letang from the right point is blocked en route to the net.
14:52: Malkin tries to make a drop pass in the offensiv zone that is stolen by Hansen. Hansen chips and chases the puck to the neutral zone and attacks the net. He goes forehand and is denied by Fleury.
14:35: Malkin makes amends. He lugs the puck up the left wing and leaves a drop pass for Neal in the left circle. Neal is able to deal it back to Malkin in the slot. Malkin has to adjust and lifts an awkward wrister over Lack and into the cage. What an odd sequence of events. Neal and Maatta get assists. Penguins 2-0.
14:18: Daniel Sedin flips a forehand shot on net from the right point. Fleury fights it off.
13:40: Weber takes a pass on the rush up the left wing and lifts a wrister from the left circle off the cross bar. It makes a "clunk" and bounces out.
12:45: Settling a puck, Gibbons lifts a forehand shot from the right of the cage. Lack fights it off.
12:11: Off a drop pass from Gibbons, Letang lifts a wrister from the left circle which clinks off the cross bar.
10:21: A wrister by Kassian deep on the right wing is kicked out by Fleury.
9:14: Sutter lifts a wrister from the right wing which is blocked.
8:14: Adams lifts a wrister from the right wing on net. Lack eats it up.
7:01: Off a feed by Malkin, Letang lifts a wrister from the slot which Lack finds a way to deny.
6:14: Scuderi lifts Kassian with a hip check on the right wing boads of the neutral zone.
5:57: Off a feed from the right side of the cage by Glass Letang has another prime chance in the slot but is once again robbed by Lack.
5:24: Corrado cranks slapper from the right point which Glass slides down to block.
5:12: Hamhuis chops a loose puck from the left half wall on net which Fleury eats up.
4:25: The Canucks finally get on the scoreboard. After Crosby makes a terrible turnover with an attempted backhand pass from the Penguins' right wing corner to Gibbons in the slot, Garrison takes the pass above the left circle and snaps off a wrister over Fleury's right shoulder. It glances off the cross bar and into the cage. What a shot. We wonder if Gibbons or Crosby was more responsible for that turnover? The goal is unassisted. Penguins 2-1.
2:15: Corrado chops a slapper from the right point wide on the near side.
1:33: Despres is called for tripping Daniel Sedin in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Sedin didn't exactly provide much resistance to that. Crosby, Adams, Engelland and Orpik take the ice.
1:29: Kesler wins the draw in the left win corner to Daniel Sedin at the right point. Sedin hurries a slapper which Crosby blocks.
1:06: Garrison hammers a one-timer from the right point wide to the far side.
0:04: Weber booms a slapper from the right point well wide to the far side.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Canucks 1.
-Things picked up a little bit in that period, particularly in the Penguins' zone. The Canucks sustained a little more of an sustained attack during the second period.
-Fleury and Lack were pretty sharp that period.
-Tanner Glass had a few nice plays in that period. He fended off a check to set up Kris Letang with a nice scoring chance and he blocked a shot by Corrado.
-Has anyone seen Henrik Sedin?
-The Penguins have a 20-18 lead in shots on net.
-The Canucks have a 41-39 edge in attempted shots.
-Letang leads the game with 15:43 of ice time.
-Hamhuis is right behind him with 15:21.
-The Canucks have a 20-17 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).
-Kesler is 8 for 14 (57 percent).
-Crosby is 8 for 15 (53 percent).
-Garrison, Corrado and Kesler each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Neal and Letang each lead the game with four shots on net.
20:00: The Canucks will have 28 seconds of power play time on fresh ice. Sutter, Adams, Scuderi and Orpik take the ice.
19:32: The Despres minor expires.
19:20: Maatta challenges Maatta one-on-one in the left circle. Maatta fights him off with a nice stick-on-puck.
19:13: Kunitz lifts a wrister from the left circle which Lack eats up.
18:53: Crosby lifts a backhander from the right wing which Lack eats up.
16:19: A wrister by Kevin Bieksa from the left half wall is blocked by Gibbons who is hobbled a bit.
15:40: On a two-on-one with Adams, Engelland rips a wrister from the left circle. Lack steers it away.
15:13: According got Root Sports broadcaster Bob Errey, Glass is absent from the bench.
15:08: Off a feed by Hansen, Sestito dangles around Despres in the slot and attacks the net. He tries to go backhand/forehand but pokes his shot wide of the cage.
13:26: Higgins lifts a wrister from the left circle which glances off Letang's stick and on net. FLeury is jammed up a bit by the shot but still eats it up.
12:47: A slapper by Hamhuis from the left point is blocked by Kunitz.
12:28: Big save. Tanev takes a pass from Kassian above the left circle. Tanev settles the puck and chops on net from the left circle. Fleury's right skate kicks it out.
12:21: Tanev gets a goal this time. He takes a pass above the left circle and fires a partial slapper through a mass of humanity in front of Fleury to the far side. The puck blows by Fleury's left skate and into the cage. Fleury didn't have a prayer on that. Kesler and Higgins had some great screens on that. Hamhuis and Kassian Canucks 2, Penguins 2.
11:25: Malkin settles a puck in the slot and fire a wrister which hits off the stick of Richardson and deflects out of play.
11:06: Letang plays a puck from his end boards and is hit by Sestito who leaves his feet to deliver a hit. What a dump play. He gets a charging minors. Letang heads to he dressing room. Crosby, Niskanen, Malkin, Kunitz and Neal take the ice.
9:34: Jokinen glides up the left wing and flings a forehand shot on net which Lack gloves. Letang returns to the ice for the following faceoff.
9:06: Two minutes later, the Sestito minor is killed with little threat by the Penguins. They were really flat for that two minutes.
8:15: Hamhuis misfires on a pass from his blue line for Santorelli. The puck hits off the end boards and deflects near the cage where Higgins has a chance but can't bury it.
7:50: Crosby give Hamhuis a nice thump tot he ice in the vancouver right circle.
7:22: Sestito tries to chip a chase puck from the Penguins' blue line but is stood up by Niskanen who drops him. Both players took a spill there.
7:00: The great Joe Vitale tries to jam in a backhand shot from the right of he cage. Lack holds it out.
6:53: Diggins a puck out of a scrum in front of the Canucks' crease, Hansen skates it to the neutral zone and chips it to the Higgins on the left wing at the Penguins' blue line. He gets a stip on Despres and attacks the net on a mini-breakaway. He goes cuts in front of the blue paint, gets Fleury to open up his legs and tucks a subtle backhander through the five hole. Letang and Despres looked lost on that play. Hansen and Weber get assists. Canucks 3-2.
6:44: Neal lifts a bouncing puck from the left circle which Lack fights off.
6:36: The Canucks open up a two-goal lead. Higgins tries to deal a pass off the left wing which is blocked by Scuderi. The puck trickles to Kassian just to the left of the cage. He is able to float a backahnder by Fleury's glove hand on the far side. That was a bit of a fluky play but Fleury needs to stop that. Higgins and Bieksa get assists. Canucks 4-2.
5:07: Neal chips a wrister from the right circle off the cross bar and out of play.
4:13: Neal tries to move in off the right wing one-on-one against Hamhuis but loses the puck on a nice stick-on-puck.
4:01: A one-timer by Garrison from above he left circel. is blocked.
3:47: Santorelli gets position on Despres above the the blue paint and jabs a puck over the net.
3:19: Bieksa whacks a one-timer from the high slot which strike Sedin up high. Sedin goes down in a heap. Replays show the puck hitting him in the groin. That would drop just about any man. As play is halted Bieksa tripped up Letang in the slot with a slew foot. No penalty.
2:47: Kesler tries to feed a pass from the right wing to the slot but Maatta breaks it up. Nice play.
2:20: Hamhuis dumps Jokinen in the right circle. Jokinen responds with a cross check. No penalty.
1:25: Fleury is pulled for an extra attacker.
1:11: Not so fast. After Crosby cleanly wins a faceoff in the Canucks' right circle against Richardson, Jokinen takes the puck at the right point and deals to Leatng at center point. Letang golfs a pedestrian one-timer off the right post and into the cage. It's a one-goal game somehow. Jokinen and Crosby get assists. Canucks 4-3.
1:05: The Penguins pull Fleury again.
0:54: Tie game!?!? Oh wow. After Jokinen settles a loose puck above the left circle, he flings it at the cage. It hits off Hamhuis' body and hops up in the air. Kunitz backhand whacks it out of midair to Crosby to the left of the cage. Crosby is able to settle the puck with his right skate and chops it into the cage. What a sequence of events. Kunitz and Jokinen get assists. Canucks 4, Penguins 4.
0:00: End of regulation. Canucks 4, Penguins 4.
-The Penguins have a 32-26 lead in shots.
3:22: A shot by Santorelli from deep on the left wing deflects out of play.
3:08: Off a little give and go with Sutter, Jokinen slides a backhanded pass to Letang in the high slot. Letang whacks a one-timer which Lack fights off and deflects out of play.
2:09: Off a give and go with Malkin, Neal rockits a wrister from the left circle. Lack snags it.
1:10: Neal tries to challenge Bieka one-on-one down the slot but Bieksa holds his ground and fights the puck uoff.
0:45: On a partial two-on-one with Malkin, Neal chucks a weak wrister from the right circle which Lack kicks out.
0:00: End of period. Canucks 4, Penguins 4.
-The Penguins lead in shots, 35-26.
-Kassian is up first. Het aks the puck, weaves down the slot, goes forehand/backhand a few times and loses the puck on a poke-check by Fleury.
-Jokinen gets the nod for the Penguins. He veers wide the right, levels out and lifts a wrister which Lack gloves.
-Santorelli. He attacks right down the slot with speed an lifts a forehand shot which clunks off the right post.
-Crosby takes the puck, veers a little to the left, levels out and snaps off a wrister through the five hold of Lack. Penguins 1-0.
-This is do or die for Higgins. He takes the puck, goe a bit to the right and attacks the cage. He lifts a wrister which Fleury punches out with a blocker. End of shootout. Penguins 1, Canucks 0. End of game. Penguins 5, Canucks 4.
-As entertaining and wild that game was, that still not a "good" win by the Penguins. They surrendered a 2-0 lead and had to pull out a crazy, improbable win late in regulation against a team with a backup goaltender and lots of injuries on defense. This should have been a cleaner two points.
-Hey, a win is a win. And on the road, they're always a little tougher. Still, something doesn't feel right about this win especially coming off the sloppy undisciplined win against Winnipeg Sunday.
-The Penguins' blue line had some issues. They were mixed and matched a little as the game wore on. Kris Letang and Simon Despres didn't seem to be very comfortable with one another. Neither did Brooks Orpik and Rob Scuderi. Even the steady pairing of Matt Niskanen and Olli Maatta had some issues.
-The odd thing was the Penguins did a pretty good job of limiting the Sedin brothers. It was the Canucks' second- and third-liners who did most of the damage.
-Despres had a really rough night. Maybe he didn't have a good feel for what Letang was going to do on the play, but he didn't defend Christopher Higgins very well on the goal he scored. Addtionally, he took a penalty, which admittedly was ticky tack, and he didn't look all that strong near his own cage.
-Niskanen and Maatta were dominated physically by the Canucks' net-front players on the goal by Chris Tanev.
-Letang had a vintage up and down game. THere was plenty of good and plenty of bad to his game tonight. Thankfully for the Penguins, the good outweighed the bad tonight.
-Fleury was fine until the fourth goal by Zack Kassian. If he makes that save, this is maybe a cleaner win.
-To Fleury's credi, he didn't have a lot of help. The first three goals he allowed came off errors by his teammate.
-The Penguins' second line with Evgeni Malkin, James Neal and Jussi Jokinen created some chances but just couldn't beat Eddie Lack too often.
-Jussi Jokinen had a quiet but important role in this comeback. He made the pass to set up Letang's one-time goal then settled a puck and got it on net in order to help set up Crosby's game-tying goal.
-James Neal had another strong game. If not for Lack, Neal could have a few more points.
-Something seemed a bit off with Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz and to a lesser extent, Brian G ibbons most of the night. It wasn't until late that Kunitz and Crosby found a little chemistry.
-We're not sure if Gibbons was out of position on the turnover by Crosby which led to Jason Garrison's goal or if Crosby should take the bulk of the blame, but if you look past that play, Gibbons continued to show ability to play with those two.
-Tanner Glass has looked flat since returning from his hand injury. Tonight was probably his best game in his comeback.
-As a unit, the third line of Glass, Taylor Pyatt and Brandon Sutter didn't offer much.
-The Penguins' power play looked awfully flat most of the night.
-Officials let quite a bit go on both sides of this game. There were plenty of dangerous plays by both teams which went unpenalized.
-Lack was pretty good until late. He deserved a better fate.
-Christopher Higgins had been dealing with an injury as of late. He came back into the lineup tonight with a pretty determined effort. He was pretty dangerous.
-Dan Hamhuis, who was selected to the Canadian Olympic team, had a pretty up and down game as well. He had a few turnovers but was also involved in some strong defensive plays in his own zone. He even set up Chris Tanev's game-tying goal.
-Imagine how bad this would have been for the Penguins if the Sedin had shown up?
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 35-26.
-Neal led the game with seven shots.
-Higgins and Daniel Sedin each led the Canucks with four shots.
-Hamhuis led the game with 26:53 of ice time.
-Letang led the Penguins with 24:54.
-The Canucks led in faceoffs, 34-30 (53 percent).
-Ryan Kesler was 15 for 25 (60 percent).
-Crosby was 15 for 30 (50 percent).
-Orpik, Crosby, Jason Garrison, Brad Richardson, Kesler, Mike Santorelli and Frank Corrado each led the game with two blocked shots.
-Dan Bylsma (233) surpassed Eddie Johnston (232) for most regular season wins in franchise history.
-It should be pointed out Bylsma has the advantage of shootout wins in his totals. His entire coaching career has been in the shootout era. Johnston never saw a shootout. Many of his games ended in ties. Additionally, during Johnston's first stint from the 1980-81 season until 1982-83, the NHL did not have regular season overtime. After getting rid of regular season overtime in the middle of the 1942-43 season due to restrictions in place due to World War II, the league didn't bring it back until 1983-84.
-This isn't to nitpick on Bylsma. That applies to any win totals regarding coaches, wins or teams.
-Chris Kunitz moved past Sergei Gonchar for 28th place on the franchise's all-time scoring list. Both players have 259 career points but Kunitz (114) had more goals than Gonchar (54).