-Greetings on a brilliant early spring day in Pittsburgh. It's sunny, it's a little breezy and brisk out. It's playoff weather. A sunny day in Dahntahn:
-The Penguins look to rebound after a wretched performance against the Rangers Wednesday. From start to finish, that was as thorough of a beating as the Penguins have taken all season. They just weren't into that game. The Rangers had a lot of energy with three new players in the lineup. Presumably, that difference in energy will be leveled off tonight.
-Mark Eaton returns to the lineup. Considering the Penguins failed to stop all but one of the power plays the Rangers had Wednesday, it seemed pretty evident how much the team relies on Eaton to kill penalties.
-Jussi Jokinen will make his Penguins debut tonight and is expected to fill in for Sidney Crosby on the top line. A big thing with Jokinen. The Penguins have relied on Crosby so much in the faceoff circle in every area of the ice including special teams. Jokinen has won over 59 percent of his draws this season. He will help offset the loss of Crosby quite a bit.
-Jokinen will be the 12th player to wear No. 36 for the franchise. Previous No. 36s include:
-Yikes. That's a pretty rotten history.
-Jokinen will be the 13th Finnish born player in franchise history. He joins:
-Sandstrom was born in Finland, but for all intents and purposes, he was Swedish.
-Marc-Andre Fleury is on the cover of Icetime:
-Fans entering the barn:
-Simon Despres has a fan on hand:
-Douglas Murray has a fan (of t-shirts):
-Former Penguins/Rangers forward Martin Straka:
-Former Penguins/Rangers defenseman Ulf Samuelsson:
(Did the Penguins put first initials on his and Kjell Samuelsson's jerseys to distinguish them?)
-The Rangers have a few fans on hand. Mike Richter with the 1994 Stanley Cup patch on the left shoulder:
-Former captain Mark Messier:
-The current captain Ryan Callahan:
-The always rare Tom Barrasso/Henrik Lundqvist combo:
-We always seem to run into a Craig Adams fan:
-The always rare Marc-Andre Fleury Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins jersey:
-Jersey of the Night: James Neal Plymouth Whalers:
-The Penguins' starters are Pascal Dupuis, Jussi Jokinen, Chris Kunitz, Mark Eaton, Brooks Orpik and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Sidney Crosby, Simon Despres, Dustin Jeffrey and the great Joe Vitale.
-The Rangers' starters are Ryan Callahan, Rick Nash, Derek Stepan, Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto and Henrik Lundqvist.
-Their scratches are Matt Gilroy, Roman Hamrlik and East Palestine, Ohio native J.T. Miller.a
-No Jimerson. No national anthem picture.
19:31: From the right wing, Dupuis tries to feed a pass to Jokinen in the slot but Girardi slides down to block it.
19:04: Murray collects a puck at the left points and immediately snaps it on net. Lundqvist eats it up.
18:14: Off a rush into the offensive zone, Iginla chops a backhander from the right circle. Del Zotto gets a piece of it with his stick.
18:07: Rick Nash barrels up the left wing with Bortuzzo challenging and snaps off a wrister on net. Fleury eats it up.
17:49: Morrow controls the puck behind the New York net. Anticipating contract from John Moore, he slams his back into Moore's front and sticks the Rangers' blueliner on his wallet.
17:31: Eaton strikes a one-timer from the right point which hits a body in front.
14:05: A re-direction attempt by Morrow is sent wide.
12:25: Moore snaps off a wrister from the left wing well wide to the far side.
12:06: Off a drop pass from Kunitz, Dupuis whacks a one-timer from the left wing on net. Lundqvist steers it away.
11:47: Off a defensive zone faceoff win, Engelland plays a puck out of his own left wing corner and is thumped by Ryane Clowe. They decide to drop the gloves. They mostly luck up along the boards and exchange some rabbit punches. Engelland gets a few rights in. Clowe wiggles free and lands a few big rights. The eventually they tire out and end the affair on their own.
11:16: Taylor Pyatt snaps off a wrister from a bad angle on the right wing. Fleury punches it away.
10:41: Callahan races up the left wing and deals a feed to the slot. Anton Stralman is driving to the net and taps the puck on net. Fleury kicks it out.
10:32: Stepan rips a wrister from the left. point. It his a body in front Nash is able to settle it then throws a wrister from the slot. Fleury eats it up. A couple of tough saves there for Fleury.
9:45: Dupuis hustles up the right wing and pushes a backhander on net from in tight. It trickles through a few players and is loose to the left of the blue paint. Iginla races in and punches it juuuust wide.
9:35: A chance in tight from the slot by Boyle is denied by Fleury.
8:43: Ryan McDonagh snaps off a wrister from the eleft point. Fleury kicks it out despite traffic.
8:18: Brad Richards chops a half slapper from above the left circle. Fleury eats it up.
7:52: Collecting a puck in the left wing corner, Tyler Kennedy throws a wrister on net from the left boards. Lundqvist steers it away.
7:36: Kunitz whacks a bouncing puck on net form the left wing. Lundqvist fight sit off. The rebound hops around in front of the blue paint. Kunitz jumps on it and backhand pokes it over the cage.
6:54: A wrister by Stepan in the left cirlce is blocked by Eaton.
6:41: Malkin leads a rush up the right wing, gains the offensive zone, pulls up and deals a pass to Neal on the left wing. Neal rips a wrister on net which Lundqvist fights off with stick.
6:04: Fleury is getting a workout here. Eminger chops a shot from the left point. FLeury's right foot kicks it out.
5:34: Off a feed from Matt Cooke, Morrow fans on a shot from the left circle. The puck slides in on Lundqvist who covers to freeze play.
5:01: Nash lifts a wrister from the left circle. Fleury knocks it dead and covers.
3:38: Steve Eminger slams Cooke into the boards in front of the Rangers' bench while battling for the puck. Cooke seems no worse for wear.
2:27: Kennedy snaps off a wrister fro the right circle which Moore blocks. the rebound hops around int eh slot. Kennedy jumps on it and tries to jam in a shot which Lundqvist fights off. Adams has a chance on the second rebound but cant get a clean stick on it.
2:24: The Rangers ice the puck. With a faceoff in their own zone, they call time out to get a breather.
2:10: Niskanen grips and rips a wrister from the right point which is blocked.
1:49: Del Zotto pumps a slapper from the left point which is blocked by Murray.
1:23: Brian Boyle lifts a shot from the left circle which Fleury battles away.
1:08: Off a rush into the offensive zone, Malkin feeds a pass from above the right circle to Kunitz in the left circle. Despite hitting the stick of a backchecking Zuccarello, Kunitz is able to settle the pass and lifts a wrister on net. Lundqvist fights it off.
0:45: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Del Zotto chucks a wrister from the left point which hits a body in front and skips towards the crease. Fleury lunges out to glove it like a shortstop grabbing a hopper.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 0, Rangers 0.
-The goaltenders were the story of that period. Each goaltender faced a ton of quality scoring chances. Fleury and Lundqvist each looked very confident during that 20 minutes.
-The Penguins appeared to have a lot more life tonight than they did Wednesday. They're winning their share of puck battles. They're initiating contact. They look light years better.
-So far so good with the Jussi Jokinen era. He seemd to keep up with the play. He seemed comfortable with Dupuis and Kunitz. A few things were off such as the passing touch with Kunitz and Dupuis but that will come with time.
-On eight shifts, Jokinen had 4:28 of ice time and was 2 for 3 in faceoffs (67 pecent).
-Brenden Morrow had one of his better periods with the Penguins thus far. He initated quite a bit of contact and was a little better on the backcheck.
-Offensive zone faceoffs were a problem for the Penguins again. They were only 2 for 5 (40 percent).
-The Rangers have a 13-11 lead in faceoffs.
-Nash leads the game with four shots.
-Kennedy leads the Penguins with three.
-Brooks Orpik leads the game with 8:59 of ice time.
-Hagelin leads the Rangers with 8:04.
-The Penguins have an 11-10 edge in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Malkin is 5 for 7 (71 percent).
-Richards is 4 for 6 (67 percent).
-Orpik and Moore each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Jokinen already has a fan:
19:36: Dupuis whacks two shots from the slot which are off the mark.
16:01: Sneaks up the right wing and strikes a slapper from the right circle on net. Fleury kicks it out.
15:10: Sutter heads to the dressing room. Replays appear to show him suffering some sort of injury on a faceoff with Stepan.
14:28: Off a drop pass from Iginla, Neal snaps off a wrister from the left wing. Lundqvist fights it off. Attendance is announced as 18,659. It is the team's 275th consecutive sellout.
13:28: Sutter returns to the bench.
13:17: Nash tries to chip and chase a puck by Eaton on the left wing of the Penguins' zone. Eaton holds him up with a free arm. That's two minutes. Murray, Orpik, Adams and Sutter take the ice.
12:46: Short-handed, Adams lobs a wrister from the slot on net. Lundqvist hugs it against his chest.
12:33: Zuccarello pushes a puck up the left wing and leaves a pass for Stepan all alone in the slot. Stepan lifts a nifty wrister. Fleury is above his paint challening and snags the puck with a fancy glove hand.
12:03: Callahan gets a chance from the high slot and whips a heavy wrister wide to the left of the cage.
11:17: The Eaton minor is killed. The Rangers offered little threat there.
11:04: Dupuis races up the left wing, gains the offensive zone and chucks a wrister on net. Lundqvist eats it up.
10:25: Hagelin whisp a wrister from deep on the left wing. It hits a body in front.
10:07: Iginla controls the puck deep on the left wing and tries to sneak cross ice pass to Malkin in the right circle. McDonagh slides down to block the pass. Iginla tries to settle the puck and jams it in by Lundqvist's left skate but he can't get a clean handle on the puck.
9:49: Fleury is on his game tonight. Off a feed from the right wing corner, Asham swats a one-timer from the right circle. Fleury reads the play all the way and snags the shot with his glove hand.
9:41: Off the ensuing offensive zone faceoff win, Nash has a chance in the slot but lifts a wrister wide of the cage.
8:27: Glass smacks Zuccarello into the right wing boards of the New York zone.
7:51: Off a pass from Malkin, Neal lifts a wrister from the right wing. Lundqvist makes the easy save.
6:45: The Penguins get their first power play of the game as Darrol Powe chips a puck from his own zone out of play. That two minutes for delay of game. Iginla, Malkin, Kunitz, Niskanen and Neal take the ice.
6:27: Off a rush into the offensive zone, Kunitz lifts a wrister from the right wing. Lundqvist eats it up.
5:51: Kunitz pushes the puck into the offensive zone at center point he leaves a pass for Iginla in the right circle. Iginla grips and rips a heavy wrister which Lundqvist kicks out.
4:45: The Powe minor is killed. The Penguins were limited to two shots with that chance.
4:03: Orpik slams Zuccarello into the right corner boards of the Penguin's zone.
3:00: Giradi strikes a one-timer from the right ricle. Fleury fights it off as he loses his glove. He defends the goal for a few second minus his glove. As play returns up ice. An official returns Fleury's glove to the owner.
2:35: Off a pass from Malkin, Neal strikes a one-timer from the left circle which sails out of play.
0:33: RIchards tees up a cannon of a shot from the left wing. Fleury kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 0, Rangers 0.
-More of the same that period. Both teams generated quality scoring chances but each goaltender remained sharp.
-We're pretty sure the first team which makes a crucial mistake is going to lose this. Both squads have played tight, clean games thus far with few errors.
-Jokinen continued to look comfortable. He has 9:51 of ice time on 16 shifts and is 9 for 10 in faceoffs.
-Offensive zone faceoffs are still an issue as the Penguins are only 4 for 12 (33 percent).
-The Penguins have a 20-19 edge in shots.
-Nash leads the game with five shots.
-Dupuis leads the Penguins was four.
-Orpik leads the game with 16:58 of ice time.
-McDonagh leads the Rangers with 15:58.
-The Penguins have a 23-17 lead in faceoffs.
-Jokinen tops everyone at 9 for 10 (90 percent).
-Brassard is 5 for 6 (83 percent).
-Niskanen and Orpik each lead the game with three blocked shots.
-Del Zotto and Moore each lead the Rangers with two.
19:30: Welcome to Pittsburgh Jussi Jokinen. From the left wing Dupuis whips a shot wide, possible on purprose, on the near side, Kunitz settles the puck and deals a pass to Jokinen positioned in in the left circle. From the faceoff dot, Jokinen snipes a wrister rigt by Lundqvist's glove hand on the far side. Wha ta shot. What play to set him up. Kunitz and Dupui sget assists. The "Hey Song" is always welcome. Penguins 1-0.
17:20: Neal heads to the bench in some apparent pain.
16:17: Niskanen strikes a slapper from the right circle. Lundqvist gloves it.
15:22: Clowe snaps off a wrister from in tight on the slot wide to the left of the cage.
15:09: A drive by Clowe from above the right circle is fought off by Fleury.
13:24: Engeland slams Boyle to the ice on the left wing of the Penguins' zone with a shoulder check.
12:42: McDonagh smacks a one-time from the left point. Murray blocks it.
11:55: Callahan whips a wrister on net from a bad angle on the left wing. Fleury steers it away.
11:39: WOW! What a save! Off a backhanded pass by Callahan in from the left of the cage, Stepan punches a seemingly easy goal on one. Fleury stretches to his left and robs him of a goal. WOW! Orpik is laying on the ice behind the cage in discomfort. He eventually recovers t his feet. It looked like he hit Callahan with his left leg and didn't fare too well. Fans offer a standing ovation for Fleury and chant "FLERR-EEE! FLERR-EEE!"
9:45: The Penguins get another power play as Boyle hits Kunitz from behidn itno the right wing boards of the Penguins' zone. That's two minutes for cross checking. A few Penguins give some grief to Boyle who tries to goad a player in a black jersey into a retaliatory penalty. No one bites. Kunitz collects himself after a few minutes and heads to the bench. A television timeout ensues. Neal, Kunitz, Malkin, Iginla and Niskanen take the ice.
8:42: Neal chips a chase a puck deep on the left wing. Del Zotto gets to hit first and pulls up striking Neal's front withi his back. Neal hits the ice in discomfort. Play is halted as athletic trainer Chris Stearts attends to Neal who appears dazed. He teaks a few months to collect himself and heads to the bench with Stewart.He eventually retreats to the dressing room. Replays show Del Zotto swinging his right elbow into Neal's face.
8:09: Eaton hammers a one-timer from center point. It hits a mass of bodies in front. Lundqvist is able to hold it out depsite the screen.
7:29: Boyle lifts a backhander on net from the circle. Fleury holds it out. Just as he realeases, Murray (6-foot-3, 245 pounds) slams Boyle (6-foot-7, 244 pounds) into the end boards with a right shouldercheck. Oof. Boyle tries to get back at Murray but officials hold them at bay.
6:51: This game is getting a little nasty. Dupus comes flying in on a forecheck and misses Del Zotto behind the New York net. Del Zotto takes exception and goes after Dupuis. An official holds them off. Cooke is chirping the Ranger's bench and even exchanges a few shoves with Clowe. Dupuis gets a minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Not sure for what. Sutter, Adams, Murray and Orpik take the ice.
6:23: Del Zotto tees up a slapper from the right pont which Murray blocks.
6:07: As Orpik gets away with a slash which breaks Zuccarello's stick, Callahan snaps off a wrister from the left circle which is blocked in front. The Penguins clear the rebound down ice.
4:52: As the Dupuis minor is about expire. Brassard snaps off a wrister from a bad anglein the left wing corner. It hits Fleury's gear and rolls around. As he falls backwards into the cage, Clowe stabs at the puck. Fleury fins a way thold it out as Eaton and Niskane fight off Clow. Officials dont' signal anything but check the replay to see if there's a goal. The video doesn't show anything conclusive.
4:49: On the ensuing facoeff, the Rangers strike with a version of the Penguins' quick draw play. Stepan beats Sutter on the draw in the left circle, Nask is positon behind him and wnaps off a wrister whch sneaks through Fleury's gear. What a shot. Stepan gets the only assist. A tie game. The goal does not technically count as a power-play goal as Dupuis' penalty had just expired. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
2:46: Another tough save by Fleury. Haglen races up the right wing and beats Eaton to a loose puck. He deals a blind backhanded pass to Boyle in the lsot. Boyle has a mini-breakaway and his wrister is fought out into the netting above the glass by Fleury's blocker. Orpik was toasted on that chance.
2:21: Following an icing call, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather.
2:13: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, McDonagh drives in deep on the right wing and attacks the net along the goal line. He loses the puck before he can get a shot off.
1:08: Off a turnove ra this ow blue line by Iginla, Stepan cranks a one-timer from above the left circle. Fleury fights it off.
0:18: Haglen has a wrister from the slot blocked by Eaton.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Rangers 1.
-The Rangers have a 33-24 lead in shots.
3:41: Sutter drives up deep on the left wing fend ing off Stalman and deals a pass to the slot which is blocked.
2:46: Kennedy hustles up the left wing, gets a little space on Girardi with a between the legs moves and flings a bkachander on net which Lundqvist fights off.
1:58: A wrister from Niskanenn the left circle is blocked wide.
1:54: Dupuis tries to jame in a forehand wraparound attempt by Lundqvist's left skate but can't get it to go. He battles for a rebound. Malkin barges in but then is slammed to the ice by Girard and Del Zotto.
1:35: McDonagh tees up a slpper from center point. Fleury kicks it out.
1:10: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Engelland golfs a slapper from the left point. Lundqvist holds it out.
0:19: Off a give and go with Iginla, Malkin tees up a one-timer from the left circle which McDonagh blocks.
0:08: Stepan has a chance in tight to the left of the cage but Fleury slides out and knocks the puck off his blade.
0:00: End of period. Rangers 1, Penguins 1.
-What a battle. Whatever the Penguins get out of this game, FLeury deserves all the credit.
-Dan Byslma sends out Jokinen, one of the best in NHL hisotry, at shootouts. He takes the puck, swings really wide on the right wing, levels out in the slot an snaps off a wrister under the blocker of Lundqvist. Penguins 1-0.
-Nash gets the nod for New York. He goes slightly to the right, attacks the net and his forehand shot is stopped by Fleury's stick.
-Malkin is next. He goes slightly to the right, attacks the cage and can't sneak a backhander by Lundqvist's left skate.
-Zuccarello, one of the better player in the league at shootouts, gets the call. He attacks the net down the slot slowly. He goes forehand and is rejected by Fleury's right skate.
-Dupuis can win it. He goes right at Lundqvist and has his forehand shot fought off by Lundvist's blocker.
-Callahan has to score. he races in on net and rips a wrister well wide of the cage. End of shootout. Penguisn 1, Rangers 0. End of game. Penguins 2, Rangers 1.
-First things first, there was no update on James Neal's health. With no practice over the net two days, we presumably won't get an official update until Monday.
-On the hit, Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto didn't offer much. He simply said, "I think it was just dumped in. I knew I was going to get hit on the forecheck there. I just tried to reverse hit and brace myself. I’m not sure exactly what happened there. I didn’t really see it. I hope he’s okay."
-It's a tough hit to judge. Del Zotto had his back to the play and seemed be bracing for Neal's forecheck. As he did that, he swung his right elbow backwards into Neal's head. How does the league judge that? It's a tough call.
-For what it's worth, the NHL does take a player's previous history with fines and suspensions into account when doling out discipline. Del Zotto was fined $2,500 for an altercation with Florida's Tomas Kopecky in 2011:
-Regarding the game. What an effort Marc-Andre Fleury. Rangers coach John Tortorella put it best when he said, "We dominated the third. The reason we don’t win the game in the third [period] is Fleury.”
-The Rangers took over long stretches of puck possession and put tons of quality shots on net. FLeury was up to the task nearly every time. He robbed the Rangers of several goal. He gave his team a win tonight.
-What a debut by Jussi Jokinen. All he did was fill in for the presumed Hart Trophy winner in Sidney Crosby, score the Penguins' only goals in regulation and the shootout and ripped it up in the faceoff circle going 13 for 15 (87 percent).
-How impressive was Jokinen's debut, at least as it pertained to the faceoff circle?
Jokinen 13-2 on draws (86.6%), third-best performance ever by Penguin who took at least 15 draws in a game. Barnes 15-2, Crosby 21-3.— Pens Radio Network (@PensRadioNet) April 6, 2013
-The regulation goal Jokinen scored was similar to something you would see with Sidney Crosby in terms of the chemistry he displayed with Pascal Dupuis and Chris Kunitz. Dupuis, presumably, sent a shot wide on the right wing into the end boards. Kunitz settled it and dealt a pass to Jokinen in the right circle. The rest was up to Jokinen who put a perfect shot by Henrik Lundqvist on the far side.
-As far as the shootout went, it's tough to do much better than Jokinen in this area. He now has 31 career shootout goals. Only Minnesota's Zach Parise and Detroit's Pavel Datsyuk have more with 32 each.
-Jokinen had 15:02 of ice time on 25 shifts, one regulation goal and one shot.
-The Penguins' penalty kill had a big rebound game. It turned away both Rangers' power play after getting touched Wednesday.
-The nastiness which festered in this game stood out. As things wore on, a lot more contact before and after the whistle took place. If these teams meet in a postseason series, things will be ugly.
-We liked Tyler Kennedy's game on the fourth line. He had a few nice rushes which led to scoring chances. He just seemed to fit in well on that line.
-Brenden Morrow had his best game as a Penguin. He initiated quite a bit of contact and had a strong effort skating. He was responsible in his own zone and figured in on afew scorign chances.
-The Neal-Evgeni Malkin-Jarome Iginla game created several scoring chances but just couldnt' make that last connection which would lead to a goal. They're going to get one eventually.
-We were surprised by the team's decision to make Simon Despres a healthy scratch but Robert Bortuzzo had a solid game in his place. He had a good game from a positioning sense.
-Henrik Lundqvist deserved a better fate. He turned away several quality scoring chances as well. His effort was even more impressive when you consider he revealed after the game that he was dealing with a hamstring ailment.
-The Rangers' "new" guys - Ryane Clowe, Derrick Brassard and John Moore - weren't nearly as noticeable as they were Wednesday. They had to come back to earth.
-We loved the game Ryan McDongah had. He was all over the ice in all three zones.
-The Rangers led in shots, 35-27.
-Rick Nash led the game with seven.
-Dupuis led the Penguins with six.
-McDonagh led the game with 28:06 of ice time.
-Orpik led the Penguins with 27:02.
-The Penguins controlled faceoffs, 36-25 (59 percent).
-Jokinen led the way going 13 for 15 (87 percent).
-Brad Richards was 8 for 15 (53 percent).
-Matt Niskanen led the game with six blocked shots.
-Del Zotto led the Rangers with three blocked shots.
-Jokinen is the 459th player to score a regular season regulation goal for the Penguins.