-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “That’s patience around the net. That’s my touch around the net.” - Brandon Sutter joking about the power-play goal he scored. Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith accidentally played a puck off Sutter's rear end and into his own net.
-The Arizona Republic's recap. "My thought process was to ice the puck but probably a wrong time of the game. Bad decision-making, and it cost us a goal. It ended up being pretty important … and that one's on me." - Smith on the play.
-The Associated Press' recap. Christian Ehrhoff could not play after aggravating an undisclosed injury during warmups.
-Mike Lange's goal calls.
-Marc-Andre Fleury was all over this puck:
-The bunny runs around the tree:
-Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson swatted away this puck:
-Mike Johnston speaks:
-Brandon Sutter speaks:
-Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin have resumed skating on their own.
-Are the Penguins pursing any NCAA free agents?
-Carter Rowney had a goal and an assist for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 4-3 road loss to the rival Binhamton Senators. Taylor Chorney recorded three assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton while teammate Jeff Zatkoff made 19 saves.
-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins forward Conor Sheary missed the game due to a "lower-body" injury.
-Franky Palazzese made 28 save for the Wheeling Nailers in a 2-1 loss to the Elmira Jackals.
-Happy 67th birthday to former Penguins goaltender Dunc Wilson (right). Acquired before the start of the 1976-77 season in a trade which sent a draft pick to the Rangers, Wilson spent two seasons with the Penguins. As the team's primary starter in 1976-77, Wilson appeared in 45 games, went 18-19-8 with a 2.95 goals against average and five shutouts, fourth-most in franchise history. In 1977-78, Wilson was limited to 21 games a 5-11-3 record and a 4.83 goals against average. Early in the 1978-79 season, he was traded to the Canucks for cash. In 66 career games with the Penguins, Wilson had a record of 23-30-11 a 3.53 goals against average and five shutouts.
-Happy 50th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Todd Charlesworth. A second-round pick in 1983, Charlesworth spent parts of five seasons with the Penguins As a rookie in 1983-84, Charlesworth appeared in 10 games and failed to record a point. In 1984-85, Charlesworth set career highs in games (67) and points (nine). He was limited to two games and no points in 1985-86. He only saw action on one game and failed to record a point again in 1986-87. During 1987-88, Charlesworth appeared in six games and scored two goals. After spending all of 1988-80 with the Penguins' IHL affiliate in Muskegon, Charlesworth joined the Oilers as a free agent in the 1989 offseason.
-Happy 39th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Sven Butenschon. A third-round pick in 1994, Butenschon, one of three Penguins born in Germany (Randy Gilhen and Marcel Goc are the others), spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 1997-98, Butenschon appeared in eight games and failed to record a point. He followed that up in 1998-99 by playing in 17 games and once again did not score a point. In 1999-2000, he was limited to three games and no points. After five games and one assist in 2000-01, he was traded to the Oilers in exchange for Dan LaCouture. In 33 games with the Penguins, he recorded one assist.
-Happy 38th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski. Acquired from the Panthers in exchange for a draft pick at the 2007 trade deadline, Kwiatkowski appeared in exactly one game for the 2006-07 Penguins and was a minus-1. The following offseason, he signed with the Thrashers. He is currently a member of Gottéron of the NLA in Switzerland.
-Happy 41st birthday to former Penguins defenseman Tuomas Gronman (right). Acquired early in the 1997-98 season in a trade that sent Greg Johnson to the Blackhawks, he appeared in 22 games for the Penguins that campaign and recorded three points. He saw action in one postseason game that spring and failed to record a point. After missing most of 1998-99, he returned to his native Finland to play for Jokerit Helsinki of the SM-Liiga.
-After the Jump: Things are getting tight for the last wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
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Hillary's email debacle may not be much of a scandal, but it did bring to light one important fact: The democrats are without a backup plan when it comes to the 2016 election.
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The Vincentian and Blackhawk girls teams made history, while the Aliquippa boys were kept from history.
That's how the state basketball championships ended up for the WPIAL this weekend. The Vincentian and Blackhawk girls teams won championships today for the second consecutive season. It is the first time that the WPIAL had two girls teams repeat as champions.
The Seton-LaSalle girls also were trying to repeat as champions, but lost Friday to Neumann-Goretti.
Meanwhile, the Aliquippa boys were trying to become only the 13th team in WPIAL history to win a state championship with a perfect record, but the Quips were upended this afternoon by Conwell-Egan, 62-51.
For the Vincentian girls, it was a memorable game on a few fronts. First, the Royals clubbed Old Forge, 86-38, to win the Class A championship. It was the biggest blowout in the history of PIAA girls championships. The PIAA girls championships go back to 1973. (Pictured, the Vincentian girls celebrate their title).
While Vincentian had a memorable game, one of the Royals had an unforgettable performance. Brenna Wise, the Royals' sensational senior guard-forward, had a triple double with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 13 steals.
The PIAA doesn't keep individual statistical records. But I've covered the state championships since 1984 and I never remember a player having a triple double. And the 13 steals? Wow.
Now, Old Forge was way overmatched. But still? To have a triple double in the state title game is pretty special.
The 86 points scored by Vincentian ties the second-most points scored in a PIAA girls game.
Blackhawk, meanwhile, won its second consecutive Class AAA championship, 46-40, against Archbishop Wood. (Pictured are the Blackhawk girls celebrating).
Chassidy Omogrosso and Courtney Vannoy were quite the dynamic duo for Blackhawk, combining for 40 points. Omogrosso scored 23 and Vannoy 17.
Like Wise, it was a memorable end to a great career for Omogrosso. She passed the great Swin Cash of McKeesport and moved into sixth place on the WPIAL's all-time scoring list with 2,686 points.
Wise also scored over 2,000 career points and ended as the No. 15 scorer in WPIAL history with 2,315 points.
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-By all indications, Steve Downie will play tonight. He was a question mark after Thursday's game when he left in the third period. He looked shaky after a violent collision with a handful of Stars. And with the Penguins not holding practice yesterday or a morning skate today (as well as providing no media access), there was doubt the Penguins could dress a complete lineup.
-With the team needing to send Derrick Pouliot to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in order to clear salary cap space in order to recall Andrew Ebbett, there doesn't appear to be any remaining cap room for another recall. We talked with a reporter who is better versed in this stuff than we are and he estimated the Penguins have less than $300,000 of salary cap space, less than a league minimum contract of $550,000.
-According to the team's Web site, the Penguins' lines and pairings will be:
David Perron - Sidney Crosby - Blake Comeau
Chris Kunitz - Brandon Sutter - Steve Downie
Daniel Winnik - Nick Spaling - Beau Bennett
Andrew Ebbett - Maxim Lapierre - Craig Adams
Paul Martin - Kris Letang
Christian Ehrhoff - Ben Lovejoy
Rob Scuderi - Ian Cole
-We don't want to say the Coyotes are struggling, but two of their three leading scorers no long play for the team:
-Yandle and Vermette were traded two weeks ago.
-Ekman-Larsson is having a pretty good season and if he were on a better team, he might be a candidate for the Norris Trophy. Pay attention to him tonight. He's as complete of a defenseman as you'll see in the NHL.
-The Coyotes are kind of a sleeper candidate for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. There's so much focus on eastern teams like the Sabres, Maple Leafs or the Hurricanes for potentially drafting McDavid. Heck, even the Oilers in Western Canada get some focus. But the Coyotes have the second worst record in the NHL. We're not sure the NHL's higher up are enamored with the idea of the "next one" going to a small western market like Arizona.
-The Penguins' starters are Blake Comeau, Sidney Crosby, David Perron, Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-Their scratches are Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin.
-The Coyotes starters are Kyle Chipchura, Shane Doan, Sam Gagner, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Michael Stone and Mike Smith.
-Their scratches are Martin Erat and Brandon Gormley.
19:22: Stone gets a little grabby with Crosby to the left of the Arizona net. He's nabbed for holding. With parts of the Penguins' varsity power play on the ice for that shift, Brandon Sutter, Beau Bennett, Downie, Letang and Martin take the ice.
19:14: Off a feed by Letang, Bennett chops a slapper from the left point wide of the cage.
18:52: Letang chops a shot/pass from center point. The great Joe Vitale deflects it wide. Fire Jim Rutherford.
18:26: The Coyotes strikes with a short-handed goal. Letang lugs the puck up through his own zone and deals a pass to Crosby in the neutral zone. Crosby fumbles the puck and David Moss steals it. Moss pushes it up the right wing, gains the offensive zone and creates a partial two-on-one with Tobias Rieder against Martin. Martin drifts towards Moss who deals a pass from the right circle to Rieder in the slot. Rieder pull away from a diving Letang and lifts a wrister over Fleury's blocker. THAT is not what the Penguins needed. Moss gets the only assist. Coyotes 1-0.
17:19: The hole gets deeper for the Penguins. As Stone's minor is killed, Bennett grabs the stick of Connor Murphy to the left of the Coyotes' net. Bennett is given two minutes. That's an easy call. Maxim Lapiere, Daniel Winnik, Rob Scuderi and Letang take the ice.
16:46: From the left of the cage, Doan forces a cross-ice pass. Scuderi leans down in the slot and deflects the puck out of the defensive zone.
16:21: John Moore pounds a slapper from the left point. Fleury steers it to the near corner.
15:19: Another penalty. Just as the Bennett minor expires, Crosby chips and chases a puck through the neutral zone. Ekman-Larsson sticks his left arm out to impede Crosby and holds him up. That's two minutes for interference. Officials are calling this tight so far. Crosby, Perron, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.
14:39: Crosby chops a shot/pass from the right circle which deflects wide.
14:24: Off a feed by Letang, Crosby whacks a one-timer from the right circle. It hits something and rattles to the left of the cage. Martin is in deep and chops it off the side of the cage.
14:16: Letang fires a slapper from center point which is is wide of the cage.
14:02: Letang fires another slapper from center point. Vitale breaks it up. Fire Jim RUtherford.
13:19: The Ekman-Larsson minor expires. The Penguins were pretty aggressive with their shots during that power-play chance.
11:54: Rieder pushes the puck up the left wing and chops a slapper. Ian Cole deflects it out of play.
11:22: Off a feed from Downie, Kunitz fires a little shot from the left circle which Moore blocks.
10:42: A wrister by Ekman-Larsson from the left half wall is deflected out of play.
10:30: Martin air mails a slapper from the neutral zone. Smith snags it.
9:16: Off a defensive zone turnover by the Penguins, Doan deals a pass from the right half wall to Gagner in the left circle. Gagner has a acre of ice to work with and he booms a slapper wide to the far side.
8:47: MORE penalties. Doan is called for hooking while Adams is called for holding his stick. We'll see two minutes of four-on-four play.
8:25: Sutter rips a wrister from the right circle. Klas Dahlbeck blocks it.
6:49: Just prior to the Doan and Adams minors expiring, Crosby snaps off a wrister from above the right circle. Smith fights it off and loses his stick in the process.
5:54: Ben Lovejoy fumbles a puck at the right point and that creates a two-on-one for Justin Hodgman and Craig Cunningham against Scuderi. Hodgman takes the puck deep on the left wing and deals a pass to Cunningham in the slot. Scuderi leans down and breaks up the pass. Lovejoy owes Scuderi a beer.
4:59: A loose puck skids to center point. Stone is there and whacks a one-timer which Cole blocks with his hand. He heads to the bench in discomfort.
4:43: Crosby drives up the slot and challenges the Moore-Dahlbeck pairing. Moore manages to knock the puck of his stick and breaks up the scoring chance. Crosby responds by thumping Dahlbeck to the ice.
4:11: Deep on the left wing, Rieder lifts a wrister. Fleury hugs the near post and fights it off.
3:29: A wrister by Sutter is eaten up by Smith.
2:42: A wrister by Ekman-larsson is from the top of the left circle is punched away by Fleury.
1:00: Kyle Chipchura rips a wrister from the left wing. Fleury fights it off.
0:46: Chipchura rips a wrister from the right half wall. Moore is in deep near the crease and re-directs it on net. Fleury fights it off.
0:37: Lauri Korpikoski crashes in on a loose puck in the crease and knocks over Fleury. The puck slide loose in the right circle. Cunningham chases it down and whips it on net. Fleury recovers to his skates and eats up the puck despite losing his stick.
0:00: End of period. Coyotes 1, Penguins 0.
-First things first, Christian Ehrhoff did not record a shift in the first period. There's no word on his status.
-The Penguins were too sloppy with the puck during that period. If not for Fleury and the Coyotes simply being a bad team, they would be down by more than a goal.
-The officials called a pretty tight game. Full credit to them, especially after Thursday's groping festival in Dallas, but to paraphrase Chris Rock, you shouldn't get credit for something you're supposed to do.
-The Coyotes lead the game in shots, 13-3.
-The Coyotes lead the game in attempted shots, 20-11.
-Moore and Rieder lead the game with three shots.
-Letang leads the game with 10:46 of ice time.
-Ekman-Larsson leads the game with 9:08 of ice time.
-The Coyotes have a 10-7 lead in faceoffs (59 percent).
-Mark Arcobello is 3 for 4 (75 percent).
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-Crosby is 4 for 11 (36 percent).
-Lovejoy, Cole and Vitale each lead the game with two blocked shots.
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
19:49: Downie snaps off a wrister from the high slot. Smith eats it up.
19:45: Off the ensuing faceoff win in the Coyotes' left circle, Letang rips a quick wrister from the left half wall.
19:27: Comeau lifts a wrister from the right half wall on net. It hits off the side of the cage.
18:48: Sutter chucks wrister from the right half wall. Smith eats it up. The Penguins have been aggressive with their shots so far this period.
17:30: Winnik directs a wrister from the left half wall. It hits Spaling in front.
17:23: Winnik corrals his rebound in the left wing corner, veers around the cage, emerges on the right wing and chucks a wrister towards the slot. It hits something and deflects out. Quite a shift for Winnik.
16:49: Adams and Ekman-Larsson chase down a puck on the left half wall of the Penguins' zone. Ekman-Larsson sends him sprawling to the ice with a strong hit.
16:33: After a strong shifts by the Coyotes, Stone drives a slapper from the right point. Fleury fights it off.
15:56: Off a feed by Crosby, Perron has a chance in the slot. His wrister is kicked out by Smith's left leg.
15:39: Dahlbeck takes a pass in the high slot and lifts a wrister over the cage.
15:25: Moore snaps off a wrister from the right half wall. Fleury fights it off despite traffic.
14:51: Scuderi settles a puck at the left point and lobs it on net. Smith fights it off.
14:18: Downie rips a wrister from the right wing which is blocked by Moore.
13:59: Bennett directs a pass from the right wing to the slot. Winnik is driving the net and taps it on net. Smith kicks it out.
12:40: On a delayed penalty, Crosby whacks a one-timer from the right point. Smith kicks it out.
12:25: Perron gets loose on the right wing and rips a wrister from the right circle juuust wide to the far side.
12:22: Vitale is called for tripping Cole after he slew footed him behind the cage. That's two minutes. Kunitz, Crosby, Perron, Letang and Martin take the ice.
12:05: Off some perimeter passing, Letang fires a one-timer from the high slot. Kunitz re-directs it on net. Smith eats it up.
11:52: Crosby directs a pass from the left circle to Perron in the slot. Perron taps the puck wide of the cage.
11:15: WHA?!?! The Penguins win a neutral zone faceoff and Cole dumps it into the offensive zone on the left wing. Smith leaves his crease to play the puck. He tries to whip it straight up the slot. Sutter chases after him and the puck hits him in the right leg then deflects into the open cage. Sutter had actually turned away from the puck and shielded his face as Smith released it. Woof. What an ugly goal to give up. Beggars can't be choosers and the Penguins will take it. The goal is unassisted. Coyotes 1, Penguins 1.
8:52: A wrister by Sutter is snagged by Smith.
8:14: Deep on the right wing, Letang lifts a wrister which is going wide. Smith gloves it.
7:39: More luck for the Penguins. Off a faceoff win in the Coyotes' right circle, Crosby deals a bouncing pass to Letang at the left point. Letang tees up a one-timer. It glances off Winnik and hops over the right shoulder of Smith. That took a strong hop. Smith reacted very late to it. It's credit to Winnik. It's his first goal with the Penguins Letang and Crosby get assists. Penguins 2-1.
7:10: Off a faceoff win in the Coyotes' left circle, Letang fires a slapper from the left point. It deflects out of play.
7:06: Off another faceoff win in the Coyotes' left circle, Letang whips a puck from the left half wall. Smith steers it away.
6:50: Comeau takes a pass in the left circle and rips a wrister. Smith snags it.
6:16: Moore rips a wrister from the right right point. It gets blocked in front.
6:04: Kunitz gains the offensive zone on the right wing, criss-crosses with Cole across the slot and releases a wrister from the left wing. Smith snags it.
5:21: Off a neutral zone turnover by the Penguins, Arcobello gets loose on the left wing and rips a wrister which deflects off the cross bar and sails out of play.
5:16: A slapper by Ekman-Larsson is denied by Fleury.
5:10: Off a feed by Ekman-Larsson, Stone whacks a slapper from the right point. Fleury snags it.
4:17: Comeau release a wrister from the left circle.
4:02: Kunitz rips a wrister from the left wing. Moore blocks it out of play with his stick.
3:30: Downie pounds a slapper from the right wing. Smith kicks it out wit h his right leg.
3:15: Off a feed by Ebbett, Sutter lifts a wrister from the left circle. Smith eats it up.
2:39: Perron trips up Tye McGinn on the Coyotes' right wing corner. That's an easy two minutes. Perron has taken a minor penalty for five consecutive games. Lapierre, WInnik, Scuderi and Letang take the ice.
2:00: Off a tap pass by Rieder, Ekman-Larsson booms a slapper from the left point. Fleury gloves it.
1:19: Gagner goes deep on the left wing and deals a sneaky backhanded pass to Rieder in the left circle. Rieder has some space and rips a wrister which Fleury eats up. Doan pokes around for a rebound and incurs the wrath of a few Penguins who shove him out of the way.
0:36: As Perron's minor expires, a slapper by Stone from the right point is blocked.
0:14: Korpikoski hacks the puck out of Winnik's hands at the Coyotes' right point. No call.
0:02: With a faceoff in the Coyote's right circle, the Penguins pull Fleury for an extra attacker.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Coyotes 1.
-If the Penguins' coaching staff send a message after the first period, the message looked like it was received. The second period was a complete 180 from the first period. The Penguins were much better with controlling the puck and putting it on net. We can't say they had a ton of high quality shots but they certainly were much more aggressive with shooting the puck.
-The Penguins got a little lucky with a few bounces as well.
-Officials continue to call a pretty tight game. As a result, it seems like there's more open ice.
-The time on ice sheet says Bennett had five shifts that period. We can't say we noticed a single one.
-Shots on net are tied, 24-24.
-The Penguins have a 40-38 lead in attempted shots.
-Letang leads the game with 21:34 of ice time.
-Ekman-Larsson leads the Coyotes with 16:03 of ice time.
-The Coyotes have a 24-22 lead in faceoffs (52 percent).
-Arcobello is 9 for 11 (75 percent).
-Crosby is 11 for 22 (50 percent).
-Moore leads the game with three blocked shots.
-Lovejoy and Cole each lead the game with two blocked shots.
19:31: Off a feed by Cole, Kunitz flips a little wrister from the left circle. Smith eats it up.
18:38: Another penalty. Crosby drives through the neutrla zone and is knocked over by Arcobello. That's a tripping minor. Crosby may have sold that a bit. Crosby, Perron, Kunitz, Letang and Martin take the ice.
17:34: The Penguins nearly give up a short-handed goal. Rider hounds Martin into a turnover in the Penguins' right wing corner. Letang comes over and knocks him over and knocks the puck free. Perron recovers it on the board and make a horrendous cross-ice pass attempt to Crosby in the left circle. Rieder recovers to his skates and breaks up the pass and rips a wrister from the slot. Fleury eats it up. Perron owes Fleury a beer.
17:30: On the ensuing faceoff in the Penguins' left circle, Ekman-Larsson has a wrister from the left point deflected out of play.
17:10: A wrister by Comeau from the right half wall is blocked.
17:01: Taking a pass on the left half wall, Lovejoy pops a slapper which Smith eats up.
16:53: A shot/pass by Crosby from above the left circle is blocked.
16:32: As Arcobello's minor expires, Crosby attempts two cross-ice passes and each are broken up. The Penguins looked disjointed on that chance.
16:06: Crosby challenges Ekman-Larsson one-on-one down the slot. Ekman-Larsson coolly breaks up the chance with a poke check.
15:55: Arcobello zips up the left wing and snaps off a wrister which Fleury steers away.
15:27: Scuderi strokes a slapper form the right point. Spaling re-directs it on net. Smith says no.
14:25: Ebbett gets loose on the left wing and lifts a wrister which Smith fights off.
13:46: Settling a puck out of a cluster of bodies in the slot, Crosby lifts a backhander from the left circle wide of the cage.
12:10: On a three-on-two rush, Comeau has some space to work with on the right wing but Ekman-Larsson closes ground in a hurry and knocks Comeau off the puck in the right wing corner. Ekman-Larsson crashes into the boards and appears to injury his left shoulder. He heads to the bench in discomfort.
11:53: Crosby gains the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Kunitz at he left point. Kunitz rips a wrister which Smith eats up.
11:26: Cole rips a wrister from the left circle which Murphy blocks.
11:09: BIG save. Lapierre slinks his way up the left wing and backhands a centering pass to the opposite side of the crease. Downie is there and chops it on net. Smith reads the play all the way and eats up shot. That keeps his team in the game.
9:49: Crosby moves up the left wing and lifts a wrister over the cage.
8:54: A wrister by Crombeen from above the left circle is blocked by xxx.
7:59: Sutter pushes the puck up the right wing and leaves a drop pass for Downie who whips a wrister on net. Smith fights it off.
7:27: Comeau snaps off a wrister from the right half wall over the cage.
6:54: Lovejoy takes a pass at the right point and pounds a slapper. Smith eats it up.
5:46: Off a feed by Gagner, Dahlbeck whips a wrister from center point which deflects wide of the cage.
5:41: Fighting for the rebound off the end boards, Letang hooks up Hodgman. Hodgman may have tucked Letang's stuck into his midsection. Either way, the call is legit. Winnik, Adams, Martin and Lovejoy take the ice. This is a huge two minutes.
4:42: Ekman-Larsson rips a wrister from the right circle. Doan is in front and re-directs it on net. Fleury fights it off.
4:01: Lapierre chips a puck through the neutral zone and Ekman-Larsson interferes with him just slightly to prevent him from from recovering the puck. Winnik picks it up and enters the offensive zone with Lapierre offside.
3:36: As the Letang minor expires, Hodgman deals a pass fro behind the net to Arcobello is alone to the left of the cage. his wrister is rejected by Fleury. BIG save.
2:37: Using Dahlbeck as a screen, Sutter snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Smith fight it off.
2:21: Sutter pounds a slapper from the right point. Smith fight sit off.
1:28: A wrister by Moss from the left point is blocked by Lovejoy.
1:05: Smith is pulled for an extra attacker.
0:57: Doan spins off a check from Kunitz on the Penguins' left half wall and deals a cross-ice pass to Stone above the left circle. Stone lifts a wrister which Fleury snags with a snazzy glove save.
0:17: A wrister by Ekman-Larsson from the center point is blocked.
0:12: Crosby pushes the puck up to the neutral zone, gains the red line and bounces a shot into the open cage for one of us:
The goal is unassisted. Penguins 3-1.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 3, Coyotes 1.
-First things first, a slight update on Christian Ehrhoff:
Johnston says Ehrhoff injury is not concussion-related.— Dave Molinari (@MolinariPG) March 22, 2015
-On the postgame audio, Johnston said Ehrhoff was dealing with a nagging injury and tested it during warmups then decided not to play.
-It wasn't pretty. Not many games in the NHL these days are. Their first two "real" goals were a little fluky. And the opponent wasn't very good. But its a win. And it's a display offense. The Penguins haven't had much of either in the past four games.
-We have no clue if this sparks a run in the right direction for the Penguins. They could very well get smashed by the Blues Tuesday. But it's a step in the right direction.
-The were plenty of warts on this game. The first period was beyond ugly for the Penguins. They were dominated by a pretty bad team in the first 20 minutes. Something change during the second intermission and they appeared to change their approach. They were cleaner with their puck management and were much, much more aggressive with shooting the puck.
-Games like this are a perfect example of why Marc-Andre Fleury is the team's MVP. He kept his team in a position to win this game despite getting outplayed in the first period. He stole a few goals as the game wore on as well. He earned this win.
-The officials called a pretty tight game. Referees Paul Devorski and Dave Jackson as well as linesmen Ryan Galloway and Shane Heyer called pretty fairly and even made calls late regardless of the time of the game. As a result, it seemed like there was a lot more open ice on both sides.
-How sad is the state of officiating when normal calls are seen as a good development?
-Kris Letang had a monster game. He had to pick up a ton of ice time with Ehrhoff absent and was a force in all three zones. He needed a game like this after a rocky week with officials and other issues.
-The Penguins went 1 for 4 with their power play and allowed one short-handed goal. The goal they allowed was the botched clearing attempt by Mike Smith which hit off Brandon Sutter and into the net. Overall, it wasn't a great night for the power play but after they fumbled around with the first chance, the Penguins kept things simple and just shot the puck. They weren't high quality shots but they were directed at the net. It looked like how Mike Johnston wants to run his power play.
-Paul Martin got a lot of time with the first power-play unit with Ehrhoff absent and he looked pretty comfortable. Even if the entire lineup is healthy, he should get more of a look on the first power play in our opinion.
-After his turnover which led to a short-handed goal by Tobias Rieder, Sidney Crosby had a pretty clean game. He drove to the net and drew a lot of defensive attention. That results in a one penalty by the Coyote and open space for his teammates.
-David Perron had a fairly rotten game. He had a hideous turnover in the third period which nearly lead to tying goal for Rieder and he took a poor penalty late in the second period which led to a power play for the Coyotes. The Penguins need better from him.
-Blake Comeau had five shots and was aggressive with firing the puck as usual. But he's gone eight game without a point. The Penguins need more from him.
-Ditto Chris Kunitz. He looked like he had some chemisty with Crosby but he has gone eight games without a point and 11 games without a goal.
-Are we alone in wondering if Andrew Ebbett is a better option than Craig Adams or Beau Bennett right now?
-We liked Rob Scuderi's game. He seemed to have a stick or a leg or a skate on plenty of shots or passes by the Coyotes. He broke up a handful of quality scoring chances.
-Maxim Lapierre hasn't been a liability. He's been fairly responsible. But we've expected more of an impact by him. Tonight was a pretty good example of his tenure with the Penguins thus far.
-The same could be said for Winnik until tonight. His goal was kind of fluky. But he went to the net and paid a bit of a price to score.
-The Coyotes are short on talent but they aren't short on effort. This team gave an honest thorough effort.
-Other than the bad clearing attempt on Sutter's goal, Smith was pretty sharp. He didn't fight the puck.
-Oliver Ekman-Larsson was fantastic. He a larger, Swedish version of Letang. He does just a little bit of everything.
-Rieder was a pain in the butt most of the night. He's a nice player.
-Michale Stone was paired with Ekman-Larsson most of the night and he seemed to be involved in the play quite a bit. We're not sure if he simply benefits by being with Ekman-Larsson or if he does most of this on his own, but Stone looks like a pretty nice asset for Arizona.
-The Penguins led in shots on net, 37-31.
-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 60-53.
-Letang led the game with 31:09 of ice time.
-Ekman-Larsson led the Coyotes with 24:45 of ice time.
-The Penguins had a 35-34 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).
-Sutter was 12 for 23 (52 percent).
-Mark Arcobello was 10 for 16 (63 percent).
-Fire Jim Rutherford.
-Ben Lovejoy, Ian Cole and John Moore each led the game with three blocked shots.
-Winnik is the 483rd player to score a regular season goal for the Penguins.
-Croby moved into first place in the NHL's scoring race with 74 points.
-Longtime EN reader Mark Ware was on site in Glendale, Ariz. and send in a few pictures. Sergei Gonchar has a fan on hand:
-A couple of hideous Ekman-Larsson jersey fouls:
-A Wayne Gretzky jersey foul:
-A Patrick Kane Blackhawks jersey foul:
-Jersey of the Night: Kevin Hatcher: