-Greetings on a chilly, windy and slightly snowy day in Pittsburgh. It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh in more ways than one.
-The Flyers are in town. It was just over a month ago the Penguins opened the season in Philadelphia with a mostly non-descript 3-1 win against a flat Flyers team. Since then, these rivals have trended in opposite directions. The Penguins have mostly surged to the top of the Eastern Conference standings while the Flyers are middling out of playoff contention.
-Injuries have really dictated the fortunes of each team. The Penguins have been mostly healthy while the Flyers have been ravaged by injuries to the likes of Scott Hartnell and Andrej Meszaros. Additionally, the Flyers never really replaced the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle.
-IF Robert Bortuzzo dresses tonight, it'll be interesting to see if he crosses paths with Flyers forward Zac Rinaldo. Rinaldo concussed him last season with a high hit:
-The Penguins dressed Bortuzzo in Buffalo Sunday to counter some of the more physical elements on that roster. The Flyers certainly like to play physical. Do they go with Bortuzzo over Despres once again?
-Speaking of physical, Tanner Glass called out Daniel Briere as dirty.
-After setting a career high with 19 goals lasts season, Maxime Talbot has none this campaign. Talbot's primary value is in other areas, but he has to score a little bit, especially with injuries setting in.
-Tomas Vokoun is playing tonight. We wouldn't read anything into that beyond the fact that Marc-Andre Fleury has not played more than three consecutive games this season. If he had played tonight, this would have been his fourth consecutive start. As per design, the team wants to play Tomas Vokoun quite a bit this season to lessen Fleury's work load.
-Chris Kunitz is your IceTime coverboy:
-Brandon Sutter has a fan here:
-An EN reader spotted a fan of former Penguins/Flyers forward Mike Comrie:
(We apologize for not indentifying the reader. We lost his identity on Twitter.)
-Fans entering the barn:
-The @ConsolBears have emerged from hibernation for their buddy, Ilya Bryzgalov:
-There are a few Flyers fans here. Jaromir Jagr:
-Yikes. Antero Niittymaki:
-Former Penguins/Flyers star Mark Recchi:
-Jersey Foul of the Night: We don't even know what to say:
-Jersey of the Night: Another former Penguins/Flyers star Rick Tocchet:
-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Brooks Orpik and Tomas Vokoun.
-Their scratches are Zach Boychuk, Simon Despres and Dustin Jeffrey.
-The Flyers' starters are Claud Giroux, Matt Read, Jakub Voracek, Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossman and Ilya Bryzgalov.
-Their scratches are Kurtis Foster, Tye McGinn and Tom Sestito.
-Jeff Jimerson handles his business:
19:39: Giroux leads a rush up the ice into the Penguins' zone, at the blue line, he stripped of the puck by Orpik. Martin takes the loose puck and leads it up the other way. Great teamwork by those two.
19:15: A backhander by Evgeni Malkin is fended off by Bryzgalov.
18:06: Off a point to point pass by Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland swats a one-timer from the left point. Brzygalov kicks it out with his right skate.
17:58: Tyler Kennedy has a little chance in tight held out by Bryzgalov.
17:07: Crosby and Dupuis try to jam in forehand shots on the right side of the net but Byzgalov holds them out.
16:22: After an offensive zone turnover by the Penguins, Sean Couturier leads a three-on-one up the ice against Matt Niskanen. Couturier carries the puck up the right wing and attacks the net himself. He sort of runs out of room with the puck and tries to juam it under Vokoun's left leg. Vokoun holds it out. Not the most creative play by Couturier.
14:53: Letang jumps on a losse puck at the right half wall and snaps off a wrister hit hits off the legs of Girou and bounces right to Niskanen at the center point. Niskanen winds up and chops a one-timer through traffic and through Bryzgalov. Niskanen gets credit for the goal. Letang gets the only assist. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
14:40: The Flyers chip a puck in behind the Penguins' net and chase after it. Deryk Engelland and Bortuzzo venture behind the cage with Harry Zolnierczyk and Rinaldo in chase. Zolnierczyk gives Bortuzzo a bump into the end boards. Rinaldo does the same to Engelland. That results in Engelland's hand or stick clipping Zolneirczyk in the nose. Zolneirczyk goes down holding his face. A small scrum ensues. Zolnierczyk heads to the dressing room with a bloody nose. What a stupid play. Rinaldo That results in a Flyers' power play. Crosby, Malkin, Martin, James Neal and Chris Kunitz take the ice.
14:33: Malkin snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Bryzgalov snags it with his glove hand. Toughs ave.Or maybe too tough. Officials tame a moment to review the play on video. It looked like Bryzgalov's glove may have went over the glove line to make the save. A fairly lengthy review backs up the call on the ice. No call. The angles we showed did not definitively show the puck going over the line.
12:53: Crosby pounds a slapper from above the right circle. It gets blocked in front.
13:45: Evgeni Malkin goes to the net and gets rewarded. Martin controls the puck at the right point and pounds a slapper wide to the right of the cage. It caroms off the end boards and bounces right to the right side of the cage where Malkin is able to punch it in by Bryzgalov's right skate. We have to wonder if Martin was intentionally shooting wide on that to get the carom. Martin and James Neal get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 2-0.
10:43: Penguin killer Mike Knumble tries to jam in a sweeping wraparound from the left side of the cage. Vokoun holds it out.
8:19: What in the world? After a turnover by Glass in the right wing corner by the Penguins, Coturier has chacne right in front with Vokoun. Vokoun challenges him but over plays the puck. There's a crazy scramble in the blue pain with Knuble, Letang and Glass battling in the blue paint. Vokoun is almost in the right faceoff circle battling to get into his crease which is full of skaters' bodies. Eventually Grossman is able to get the puck into the net despite the presences of nearly every skater on the ice in the crease. What a bizarre play. And it was all created by a bad turnover. Knuble and Couturier get assists. Penguins 2-1.
7:11: Deja vu. After a turnover by Martin in the left wing corner, Daniel Briere controls the puck at the left circle, fakes a shot and deals to Wayne Simmonds along the goal line. Simmons is able to skate in front of the crease and tucks a forehand shot by Vokoun's left skate. Martin barely touched him. What an awful sequence for Martin This is just like the playoffs. The Penguins call a timeout Flyers 2, Penguins 2.
6:45: The Flyers get a chance to take a lead as Engelland is called for roughing Rinaldo. Additionally, Cooke and Voracek are sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct. Cooke and Voracek are screaming at each other in the penalty box. The Flyers get a power play. Tanner Glass, Craig Adams, Martin and Orpik take the ice.
6:32: Welcome to Flyers-Penguins. Glass tries to clear a puck from near the right wing corner, Brayden Schenn shoves Glass from behind into the boards. Orpik goes after Schenn. All nine skaters gather in the corner. Simmonds and Glass drop the gloves and pound the daylights out of each other. Officials step in when they get tied up and worn out. Give Simmonds an advantage on points in that fight. In addition to fighting majors for Glass and Simmonds, Schenn gets two mintues for cross checking. Four on four for 1:47. Just a stupid play by Schenn there that eliminates his team's power play.
6:14: Giroux chops a slapper on net from the right point. Vokoun fights it off.
5:25: Off some tic-tac-toe passing, Crosby deals a pass to Bortuzzo on the right circle. Bortuzzo swats a one-timer wide of the cage. He didn't hit that puck right and it sort of rolled on him.
4:32: Play returns to five on five.
3:55: Cooke tries to jam in a shot to the right of the cage but is fended off by Bryzgalov. Nicklas Grossman slams him into the end boards after the fact.
3:03: After Kunitz forces a turnover in the left wing corner of the Flyers' zone, Martin has a chance from the high slot and booms a loose puck wide of the mark.
2:40: More penalties. Letang and Rinaldo get slashing minors in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. Four on four.
1:17: Crosby leads a two-on-one with Kunitz on up the right wing. Gervais holds his ground in the slot and slides down to take away the pass. Despite that, Crosby still forces a bad pass which Gervais pushes back up ice. Have to shoot that.
0:33: Engelland tries to settle the puck in the right facoeff circle and is RUN over by Rinaldo. What a hit by a dangerous player.
0:00: End of period. As play expires, there is another scrum. Neal appeared to get hit in the face with a stick. No call. Flyers 2, Penguins 2.
-We thought the playoff were over 10 months ago? This is like a repeat of the wild hockey we saw these two teams display in the postseason last spring. The Penguins get a quick lead, the Flyers call a time out, get the Penguins off their games and get back into the contest.
-The lack of composure the Penguins are displaying is the most shocking. They know the Flyers are going to try this stuff and they allow themselves to get sucked into it. The Penguins are not going to win this game unless they show some mental toughness.
-Its amazing how much of an impact Rinaldo has - literally - on these games despite his lack of skill. All he does is try to inflict punishment - not always legally - on the opponent. Often times, that gets the opponent off their game.
-The sloppiness the Penguins displayed on the two Flyers' goal was disappointing. Two bad turnovers lead to two sloppy goals.
-Hard to blame Tomas Vokoun on either goal. His defense left him out to dry.
-The Penguins have a 15-13 lead in shots.
-Couturier leads the game with six.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with four.
-Martin lead the game with 9:29 of ice time.
-Coburn leads the Flyers with 7:51.
-The Penguins lead the game in faceoffs, 14-9 (61 percent).
-Crosby is 6 for 9 (67 percent).
-Giroux is 6 for 10 (60 percent).
-Orpik, Grossman and Giroux each lead the game with two blocked shots.
18:54: Crosby leads a two-on-two rush up the left wing with Dupuis. Dupuis nseaks behind the defense and crosby chips a pass to him but their timing is off and Dupus over skates the puck.
18:24: Off a rush into the offensive zone, Malkin booms a slapper from above the left circle. Bryzgalov kicks it out.
16:41: Rinaldo and Engelland exchange a few pleasantries in the right circle of the Flyers' zone. Officials separate them before anything materializes.
16:22: Attendance is announced as 18,650. It is the team's 261st consecutive sell-out.
16:09: Dupuis flips a backhander on net from the left wing. Bryzgalov eats it up.
15:25: Off a neutral zone steal by Malkin, Neal flicks a shot on net from teh slot. Bryzgalov fights it off.
15:15: Couturier gives Neal a shove from behidn into the boards. Nothing too dramatic but Neal sells it a bit. Couturier is called for cross checking. Neal, Malkin, Crosby, Martin and Kunitz take the ice.
14:47: Neal chops a one-timer from above the left circle. Timonen blocks it.
14:32: Crosby rips a wrister from above the left circle. Bryzgalov kicks it out.
14:11: Maxime Talbot steals a puck at the Flyers's blue line is off on a breakaway. He hustles up ice with Crosby in chase pestering him from behind. As he approaches the net, Vokoun poke checks the puck away.
13:04: As the Couturier penalty expires, Brandon Sutter tries to jam in backhanded wrapround from the right of the cage. Brygalov holds i out.
11:40: Giroux has a wrister from the right circle blocked by Orpik.
11:16: Voracek has a chance in the right circle blocked by a errant glove laying on the ice.
9:36: Neal runs over Zolnierczyk at the red line in front of the scorer's box away from the puck. Neal is called for interference. Not a lot of disicpline on that by Neal. Galss, Adams, Letang and Orpik take the ice.
9:12: Brayden Schenn snaps off a wrister form the slot while using Orpik as a screen. Vokoun knocks it dead and covers.
7:36: The Neal minor is killed. Strong effort by the Penguins that two minutes.
7:13: Rinaldo leads a rush up the right wing and is knocked off the puck by Engelland. Engelland took the worst of that hit and ended up on his back but knocked the puck away from Rinaldo.
4:52: Martin chips a wrister from the left point. Cooke is in front on a screen. Bryzgalov is still able to fight it off.
3:45: After some strong work down low by Rinaldo, Zolnierczyk rushes in the slot and chops a loose puck on net with a backhander. Vokoun gloves it.
3:34: Off a cross ice pass from Crosby, Letang drives a slapper on net from above the left circle. Bryzgalov steers it away.
2:10: Off a rebound Neal has a chance in the left circle and forces a pass to Malkin on the other side of the cage which doesn't connect.
1:32: Bad time to take a penalty. Adams is called for elbowing Voracek near the Philadelphia blue line. Adams goes to the penalty box under protest. Crosby, Letang, Orpik and Cooke take the ice.
0:50: Timonen drives a slapper from the center point. It hits a body in front and deflect to the left wing corner.
0:23: Voracek snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Vokoun fights it off.
0:16: Voracek chops a shot from the right circle again. Vokoun says no.
0:10: The Flyers crash the net and cash in. Schenn snaps off a wrister from the left circle. Vokoun fights it off despite Simmonds is there to pound the rebound on net. the puck slides to Voracek along in the left circle. As Vokoun and Orpik dive to block it, Voracek lifts a wrister over them and into the twine. A nice dirty goal. Simmonds and Schenn get assists. Flyers 3-2.
0:00: End of period. Flyers 3, Penguins 2.
-That was a good period for the Penguins for the first 19:50. The last 10 seconds were a killer though.
-For the most part, the Penguins eliminated their errors and regained their composure. It was a strong 20 minutes with the exception of the final 10 seconds.
-Bryzgalov looks pretty composed tonight. He's not really fighting the puck and he's spitting out pretty safe rebounds. The Penguins aren't going to get a leaky goal against him if they hope to tie this.
-Crosby's pass selection has been suspect tonight. He's forcing too many passes and not taking the shot. He's a former Richard Trophy winner. He's allowed
-This is Zac Rinaldo's hit on Deryk Engelland in the first period. Is that a hit to the head?
The Flyers have a 23-22 lead in shots.
-Couturier leads the game with six.
-Malkin leads the Penguins with five.
-Martin leads the game with 16:54.
-Giroux leads the Flyers with 15:44.
-The Penguins control faceoffs, 26-13 (67 percent).
-Crosby is 14 for 17 (82 percent).
-Giroux is 9 for 22 (41 percent).
-Orpik leads the game with five blocked shots.
-Coburn, Grossman, Giroux and Timonen each lead the Flyers with two.
19:42: What. Was. That? Vokoun and Martin fumpble with a puck exchange behind the net. Vokoun tries to sit on the puck ouside the blue paint. Giroux and Fedotenko keep digging for it to keep it loose. The puck slides to Voracek in the right circle and he chips it into the wide open cage. Just... ugly. Coburn and Giroux get assists. Flyers 4-2.
18:46: Malkin and Couturier are mixing it up in the left wing corner. As play is halted. Malkin goes right after Couturier in the slot and cross checks him high. Couturier is called for slashing. Malkin gets a double minor for roughing. Bennett will servce on of Malkin's minors. What a selfish penalty. Orpik, Adams, Martin and Dupuis take the ice.
17:12: Giroux grips and rips a wrister from the left circle which clinks off the far post.
16:42: As the Flyers' power play expires, Coburn chucks a wriste ron net from the left point. Kunuble and Brier chop away hoping for a potential rebound. Nothing doing.
16:00: Kunitz slams Fedotenko to the ice at the Flyers' blue line while trying to settle a loose puck. He folllows that up by getting away with a slash to Rinaldo's shins.
14:31: Just when the Penguins need a goal, they get one for the likley of soucres. Martin wries a slapper from the left point. It hits a body in front and bounces to Kennedy just to the left of the cage. He turns and lifts it by Bryzgalov on the near side. He pumps his fist in celebration. That man and his needed a goal badly. Martin and Orpik get assists. The "Hey Song" and the WWE "KENNEDY!" clip are played. Flyers 4-3.
12:54: Off a feed from Crosby from behidn the cage, Kunitz has a chance in tight but can't get a clean shot off.
13:36: Malkin lifts a wrister from the left circle wide to the far side.
12:24: So much or a comeback. Simmonds leads a rush up the left wing against Letang. As Niskane is late getting back in coverage, Simmonds tries to deal a feed to Giroux on the back door. Niskanen leans down and accidentally re-directs the puck over the left shoulder of Vokoun and into the net. Just rotten luck there. The Flyers will take it. Simmonds gets credit for the goal. Talbot and Gervais get assists. Flyers 5-3.
12:04: Glass and Rinaldo collide in the neutral zone. Glass' stick comes up and clips Rinaldo in the face. The bridge of Rinaldo's nose is cut. That's a double minor for Glass. Sutter, Adams, Letang and Orpik take the ice.
10:00: There is a scoreboard malcunction in the game. The scoreboard reverts to the first period with a 0-0 score.
8:24: Knuble is called for high sticking. Engelland in the right wing corner of the Penguins' zone. He aparently drew blood as Engelland has a bloody nose. There will be 20 seconds of four on four play. This is do or die here for the Pengins in this game.
8:04: The Glass minor expires The Penguins will have 3:40 of a power play.
7:43: BIG time gift here for the Penguins. Fedotenko is called for high sticking Neal on a neutral zone faceoff. Th penguins will have a five-on-three for two minutes.
7:30: Malkin has a one-timer blocked by Talbot in the left circle. Talbot stick breaks in the process.
7:14: Malkin calmly controls the puck above the right circle and deals pass to Neal in the the circle. Neal drives a one-timer which beats Bryzgaloov through his five hole. The Penguins still have a five-on-three power play for 2:00 mintues. Wow. This place is rocking. The "Hey Song" is played. Malkin and Crosby get assists. Flyers 5-4.
6:55: A one-timer by Letang in the left cirlce is blocked.
6:35: Neal whcks a one-timer from the left circle wide. The Flyers clear the rebound.
6:08: Kunitz has a wrister from the slot fogouth off. The Flyers trie to clear the rebound. Talbot actually gloves the puck and is called for putting his hand on the puck. The Penguins will stay on the two man advantage for a LONG time.
5:39: TIE. GAME!?!? Crosby plays apuck from the left of the cage fo the crease. There's an intense battle for the puck. Kunitz appears to kick the puck in? Bryzgalov goes balistic on the officials claiming it was kicked in. A lengthy review confirms Bryzgalov's protest. The goal is waved off. That's a legit call. Kunitz booted that in like he was Gary Anderson.
5:11: Knuble rejoins play. The Penguins will have 1:28 of a one-man advantage.
4:39: Malkin drives a one-timer fom the center point. It hits off the end boards. Kunitz tries to jam it by Brygalov's left skate but no dice.
3:41: As the Penguins power play exires, Malkin hs a chance in tight go off the mark.
3:05: Sutter has a wrister from the left circle fought off by Bryzgalov.
2:45: Sutter has a another wrister from the left circle denied by Bryzgalov.
2:03: Brandon Sutter to the rescue. He controls a puck behind the Flyers' cage. He waits for Giroux to chase him then goes to the left of the cage and tucks the puck through Bryzgalov's legs and into the cage. What in the world is going on? Martin had a nice chip into the end boards which created that chance. Martin and Cooke get assists. Flyers 5. Penguins 5.
1:31: Dear .... What ... what... what? Voracek again? Giroux chips the puck off the left half wall of the Penguins' zone to Voracek near the right wing corner. As Orpik skates over to engage Voracek, Voracek chips the puck into the legs of Vokoun who alows the puck to squeak through his gear. Awful. Inexcusable by Vokoun. Giroux gets the only assist. Flyers 6-5.
1:10: Vokoun is pulled for an extra attacker
0:00: End of game. Flyers 6, Penguins 5.
-We're still not sure what we watched tonight. There's really no way to describe this. Both teams melted down at various times tonight. The Penguins just happened to be the team which melted down last.
-If there's a word to describe this game, it's composure. The Penguins lacked it badly. They Flyers goaded them into stuff after the whistle and into selfish penalties.
-It's a sad day when Zach Rinaldo displays more mental toughness than an entire team.
-The scary part is that the Penguins knew this is what the Flyers wanted to do. As soon as Peter Laviolette calls a timeout, he sends Rinaldo and Harry Zolnierczyk in on a forecheck to stir the pot. The Penguins new this stuff was coming and still got sucked in.
-Tomas Vokoun looked awful. He didn't get a ton of help tonight, but he looked just awful. He just looked jittery at times. He looked the way Marc-Andre Fleury did in the postseason.
-Shockingly, the Flyers only scored one power play goal on six chances tonight. The penalty kill didn't really do the Penguins in tonight.
-The Penguins' power play produced some offense but it wasn't good enough. The Penguins had a humungous chance at the end of the game to tie the game or even take the lead late on the power play but all they could muster was a non-goal kicked in by Chris Kunitz. Despite it's success tonight, the Penguins' power play failed it was needed the most.
-Paul Martin had such and up and down game. He had some sloppy turnovers behind his net which led to goals but had some creative plays off the end boards with set the Penguins up. If one player was emblematic of this goofy game, it was Martin.
-Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo was obsessed with Zac Rinaldo tonight. Engelland tried to fight Rinaldo a few times but Rinaldo didn't bite.
-Say what you will about Rinaldo. He skirts that line between legal and illegal all the time. But he can be so effective as an energy guy. He gets opponents agitate and certainly makes an impact, literally, on the game.
-Jakub Voracek just gets it done against the Penguins. His success against this team is baffling.
-What makes this effort more impressive was the fact that the Flyers were without 20-goal threat Matt Read most of the game. He left the game in the first period due to an "upper-body" injury.
-Ilya Bryzgalov was not very sharp. But he was sharper than Vokoun if that's worth anything.
-Beau Bennett was nearly invisible tonight. We're not sure what he's supposed to show the coaching staff on the third line.
-Shots were tied, 32-32.
-Sean Couturier led the game with six shots.
-Brandon Sutter and Evgeni Malkin each led the Penguins with five shots.
-Sidney Crosby led the game with 27:00 of ice time.
-Braydon Coburn led the Flyers with 26:32.
-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 41-20 (67 percent).
-Crosby was 21-28 (75 percent).
-Claude Giroux is 12 for 31 (39 percent).
-Brooks Orpik led the game with five blocked shots.
-Coburn and Kimmo Timonen each led the Flyers with three blocked shots.
-Crosby now has 634 career points, two short of tying Rick Kehoe (636) for third-most in franchise history.
-Matt Cooke moved past Zarley Zalapski for 61st place. Both players have 135 points but Cooke (61 goals) has more goals than Zalapski (33).
-Neal moved past Andy Bathgate and Dick Tarnstrom for 81st place. All three have 103 points but Neal (53) has more goals than Bathgate (35) and Tarnstrom (28).