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Flyers at Penguins - 04-12-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-On account of a faulty alarm clock, our pregame comments will be brief today.

-The Penguins will not dress Chris Kunitz or Brooks Orpik today. It sounds like the Penguins are giving them some rest. Both players could benefit from a game off before the playoffs.

-Some pregame sights. The barn:

-The ice:

-Jean Pronovost:

-This Warren Young jersey has clearly seen better days:

-Alex Goligoski:

-Colby Armstrong:

-Martin Straka:

-Evgeni Malkin Team Russia:

-Tom Barrasso:

-Matthew Barnaby:

-Fans entering the barn:

-There are a few Flyers fans on hand. Claude Giroux:

-Chris Pronger and Daniel Briere:

-Eric Lindros:

-T-shirt of the Day:

-A few former Penguins/Flyers. Kevin Stevens:

-John LeClair:

-Paul Coffey:

-Jersey of the Day: Rick Tocchet:

-Warmups:

During warmups, the Penguins' lines and defensive pairings were:

Lee Stempniak - Sidney Crosby - Beau Bennett
Brian Gibbons - Jussi Jokinen - 18 James Neal
Brian Gibbons - Brandon Sutter - Tanner Glass
Taylor Pyatt - Craig Adams - Harry Zolnierczyk

Note: It looks like Pyatt is a scratch. Engelland is in.

Robert Bortuzzo - Paul Martin
Kris Letang - Rob Scuderi
Matt Niskanen - Olli Maatta

-The Penguins' startes are Tanner Glass, Jayson Megna, Brandon Sutter, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi and Marc-Andre Fleury.

-Their scratches are Simon Despres, Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin, Brooks Orpik and Taylor Pyatt.

-The Flyers' starters are Claude Giroux, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek, Braydon Coburn, Andrew MacDonald and Steve Mason.

-Their scratches are Steve Downie, Nicklas Grossman, Zac Rinaldo and Kimmo Timonen.

-Jeff Jimerson does his job:

FIRST PERIOD

19:01: Bortuzzo chops a slapper from the right point. Matt Read blocks it.

18:00: Jussi Jokinen. Twenty-goal scorer. Neal chucks up the left wing with the puck. As Gibbons drives to the net with Luke Schenn in tow, Neal deals a pass to the high slot. Jokinen has some space and lifts a wrister by the glove hand of Mason. What a simple but effective play. Neal and Gibbons get assists. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

16:40: Beau Bennett swipes a wrister from the right half wall. Mason fights it off. MacDonald plays the rebound behind the cage and is thumped to the ice by Bennett for his troubles.

15:56: Read drives a one-timer from above the left circle wide on the near side.

14:02: A backhander in tight by Adam Hall is steered away by Fleury.

12:43: Sutter races the puck up the right wand snaps off a wrister low. Mason kicks it out.

11:16: Gibbons gives Jay Rosehill a solid bump into the boards between the penalty boxes.

10:20: Sutter is on the ice with Adams and Zolnierczyk.

9:10: McGinn chips a puck in from the left point of the Penguins' zone and is dumped hard by Niskanen into the boards.

8:41: Engelland is back on with Adams and Zolnierczyk.

7:45: Hall controls a puck in the right wing corner and tries to center it. Bortuzzo lays won his his big frame to break up the pass.

7:15: Niskanen swipes a one-timer from the right point. Mason kicks it out.

6:30: Letang is skating with Niskanen.

5:44: Martin thumps Wayne Simmonds into the right half wall of the Penguins' zone.

5:01: Off a rush by Voracek up the right wing, the Flyer move the puck around the attacking zone with precision passing. That results in Mark Streit rips a wrister from the right circle off the near post.

3:17: Neal loses his cool. Battling for a puck off a neutral zone faceoff, he slashes Read. That's two minutes. Sutter, Adams, Martin and Bortuzzo take the ice.

2:51: The Flyers cash in immediately. Taking a pass on the right wing, he dances by a weak poke check attempt by Adams and a kneeling Martin to rip a wrister behind Fleury. Death, taxes and Jakub Voracek scoring a power play goal against the Penguins. Giroux and Streit each get assists. Flyers 1, Penguins 1.

2:07: MacDonald chops a slapper form the right point which is blocked.

1:38: A slapper by Niskanen is blocked by Voracek.

0:42: A wrister by Megna is rejected by Mason.

0:30: Off a faceoff in the Flyers' right wing corner, Sean Couturier appears to trip up Sutter. No call.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 1, Penguins 1.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That was a difficult period to get a hold on as neither team has it's full lineup. Both squards are missing some regulars for the sake of rest.

-Crosby doesn't appear to be having a sharp day. He's made a few curious decisions with the puck.

-We can't say he's made a significant impact in this this game thus far, but Engelland seems like a much better option on the fourth line than Pyatt.

-So far so good for Kris Letang. He seems comfortable with Rob Scuderi.

-The Penguins have a 7-6 lead in shots on net.

-The Flyers have a 14-12 lead in attempted shots.

-Hall leads the game with two shots.

-Fire Ray Shero.

-MacDonald leads the game with 8:06 of ice time.

-Letang leads the Penguins with 7:11.

-The Flyers have a 12-20 lead in faceoffs (60 percent).

-Couturier is 5 for 7 (71 percent).

-Adams is 2 for 3 (67 percent).

-No one had more than one blocked shot.

SECOND PERIOD

19:32: The Penguins will get an early power play on fresh ice as Streit held up Jokinen battling for a puck. That's two minutes for interference. Jokinen, Neal, Crosby, Niskanen and Martin take the ice.

18:10: Off some fancy passing down the slot, Crosby rips a wrister from the right circle which Mason kicks out.

17:36: HUGE save. Letang chucks a wrister from the right point. It sneaks through traffic and is fought off by Mason. Bennett tries to jam in the rebound with a backhander from the left of the crease. Mason stretches out to hold it out with his right skate. Wow.

17:32: The Streit minor is killed. The Penguins had two really nice chances but little else with that power play.

16:41: McGinn chops a slapper from the right point wide to the far side.

14:27: Another power play for the Penguins. The Flyers are called for delay of game after Mason froze a puck behind the net. Officials wanted him to move the puck but he refused. Hartnell will serve the minor. Crosby, Neal Jokinen, Martin and Niskanen take the ice.

14:01: The hole gets deeper for the Flyers as Hall is called for hooking Jokinen the left circle.The Penguins will have a two-man advantage for 1:34. Crosby, Neal, Kunitz, Niskanen and Martin take the ice.

13:50: Off a cross-crease pass by Jokinen, Neal snap off a wrister from below the right circle. Mason fights it off by reaching back with his stick. Another big save.

12:40: Neal loads up and cranks a big one-timer from the right circle and falls down. Mason denies.

12:29: Off a cross-ice pass by Crosby, Jokinen lifts a wrister from the left circle off the side of the net.

12:01: Play returns to even-strength. The Penguins missed a big opportunity there.

11:30: Bennett tried to jam in a backhanded wraparound from the right side of the cage.

9:15: Crosby is skating with Megna and Sutter.

8:23: Neal and Jokinen each have chance in right but can't beat Mason.

7:56: A wrister by Hal Gill in the slot is blocked.

5:33: The Flyers take a lead on only their seventh shot of the game. Gill move a puck from the right point to Giroux on the right half wall. Giroux whacks a knuckles through traffic. It hits off a skate or stick and trickles behind Fleury. There was a great screen by Hartnell but Fleury needs to make that save. Voracek is given credit for the goal. Hartnell and Giroux get assists. Flyers 2-1.

4:48: Brayden tees up a slapper form the right point. Fleury fights it off. Martin clears the rebound.

3:33: Crosby races up the right wing with the puck and lifts a wrister on net. Mason fights it up but allows an iffy rebound. As he reacts to the puck, Megna drives to the net and shoves MacDonald into Mason. mason is shaken up and play is halted. Megna gets a minor for goaltender interference. Mason takes several moments to gather himself but remains in the game. Glass, Letang, Adams and Scuderi take the ice.

3:20: A one-timer by Giroux from the right half wall is blocked.

3:16: Voracek chops a one-timer from the slot. Fleury fights it off.

1:56: After Stempniak forces a turnover, Niskanen chucks a puck down ice to kill some time.

1:33: Megna's minor is killed. The Flyers did little with that chance outside of an opening spurt.

0:58: Crosby gives a power bomb to Gill in the Penguins' right circle.

0:41: The Penguins will get a late power play as Raffl is called for hooking Neal. Neal, Crosby, Jokinen, Niskanen and Martin take the ice.

0:31: A one-timer by Martin from center point is wide of the cage.

0:04: Short-handed, Read chops a one0timer from the right circle wide of the cage.

0:00: End of period. Flyers 2, Penguins 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Special teams have been the big story of this game thus far. The Penguins' special teams are failing them. They've allowed on power play goal and have been blanked on all of their power plays to this point.

-Steve Mason has had a tremendous game. He stole a few goals in the second period.

-The Penguins have done a pretty good job in terms of puck possession. They have limited the Flyers chances with the puck. The only thing is the Flyers have been able to cash in their limited chances.

-The Penguins have a 22-10 lead in shots on net.

-The Penguins have a 39-27 lead in attempted shots.

-Crosby and Neal each lead the game with four shots.

-Voracek leads the Flyers with three shots.

-Coburn leads the game with 17:36 of ice time.

-Crosby leads the Penguins with 17:20.

-The Flyers have a 20-17 lead in faceoffs (54 percent).

-Couturier is 10 for 15 (67 percent).

-Crosby is 7 for 13 (54 percent).

-Corburn leads the game with four blocked shots.

-Scuderi and Adams each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Kunitz graces the cover of Icetime:

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Penguins will have 1:20 of power-play time on fresh ice. Crosby, Neal, Jokinen, Martin and Niskanen take the ice. Ray Emery is in net. Mason was shaken up after MacDonald and Megna ran him over.

18:40: The Raffl minor is killed. Nothing doing there for the Penguins.

17:49: Voracek rips a wrister from the right point. It gets deflected. Fleury smothers it to freeze play. Attednance is announced as 18,673. It is the team's 326th consecutive sellout and ties the mark for largest crowd at Consol Energy Center.

16:11:  Martin pushes a puck deep on the right wing and lifts a wrister which Emery fight soff.

16:01: A one-timer by Neal from the right half wall is eaten up by Emery.

15:43: Raffle aces a puck p the right wing and chips it down ice. Just as he releases the puck, Bortuzzo blasts him with a big shoulder check. Raffl's was "de-skated" on the hit. Oof.

15:12: Raffl gives Bortuzzo a sold hit from the side at the Flyer's right point.

14:48: Off a feed by Crosby, Letang jabs a wrister from the slot which is blocked.

14:00: Scuderi chops a slapper from the center point. Simmonds ties to goad Crosby into a penalty. Crosby just laushs ans skates away.

13:11: Sutter lifts a wrister from the right circle wide to the far side.

11:41: Two wrister by neal off the right wing are denied by Emery.

10:32: After Letang loses the puck int eh right circle after being tackled by Hartnell, Sutter jumps on the puck and lifts a wrister from the right circle. Emery stops it. Hartnell and Letang exchange punches. A few more bodies join the battle. Officials step in to break up the first notable skirmish of the day. Letang and Hartnel each get roughing minors. As officials sort everything out, Glass and Simmonds have a long chat at the benches. Neal Crosby, Niskanen and Maatta take the ice.

9:01: Scuderi chucks a wrister on net from the left point. Emery snags it. Glass and Simmonds keep chirping one another from the benches.

7:33: A "Phill-EEE XXXX's" chant starts up.

6:24: Megna mashes Gill into the boards at the Flyers' right point.

6:19: A wrister by McGinn is snagged by Fleury.

6:08: Crosby steals a puck from Coburn swats a wrister from the left half wall on net. Emery smothers it.

5:07: James Neal to the rescue. After Letang digs a  loose puck on the left half wall, Crosby picks it up and veers to the slot with but lies on a poke check by Coburn. he is still ab le to backhand a pass t Neal in the right circle. Neal is able to chucks it through Emery's gear and into the cage. That's a leaky goal. Crosby and Letang get assists. Letang has had a hand in two third period goals in his first two games back int he lineup. The "Hey Song" is played. Flyers 2, Penguins 2.

4:48: Simmonds pounds a slapper from the right half wall. Fleury eats it up.

4:15: A one-timer by Niskanen from the right poitn whistles wide to the far side.

3:55: "GO-HOME FLY-ERS!" chants begin.

1:46: Adams battles Gill for a puck in the neutral zone. Adams pokes the puck away as Gill lifts his stick to play it. His stick catches Adams in the face. Adams goes down. No call.

1:15: The Flyers regain the lead late. After a neutral zone turnover by Gibbons, Voracek deals a pass from the left half wall to the slot. Giroux is able to re-direct it behind Fleury to take a one-goal lead. Voracek and Hartnell get assists. Flyers 3-2.

0:36: The Penguins refuse to lose this game. With Fleury pulled for an extra attacker, Crosby deals a pass from behind the net to Niskanen at the left point. Niskanen chops  shot wide of the cage. Neal controls it behind the cage an shuffle to the crease off the right point. It bounces out where Letang is able to jab it behind Letang. Neal and Niskanen take the ice. The "Hey Song" is played. Flyers 3, Penguins 3.

0:05: Stempniak hustles up the left wing and rips a wrister which is blocked.

0:00: End of period. As the horn sounds, Glass and Voracek get mixed up. That quickly develops into a massive five-on-five brawl. in front of the Flyers' bench. Officials take several moments to break it up. Glass and Voracek each get roughing minors Flyers 3, Penguins 3.

THIRD INTERMISSION

-The Penguins have a 35-20 lead in shots on net.

OVERTIME

5:00: With Glass and Voracek serving minors, the period will begin with two minutes of three on three play.

4:31: Neal swerves around the left wing and chucks a wrister towards the crease. Emery smothers it.

3:28: Crosby tees up a slapper from the right circle wide on the near side.

2:50: The Flyers take the game. Streit skates into the offensive zone. From the right circle, he slides a pretty simple backhander into the crease. Fleury ends up re-directing the puck with his own stick through his own five hole and into the cage. Ouch. What an awful goal to allow. The Flyers will take it. MacDonald gets the only assist. End of game. Flyers 4, Penguins 3.

POSTGAME

-For as wild and wacky as of a typical Penguins-Flyers game this was, Flyers coach Craig Berube explained what the biggest difference in a simple, succinct manner. He simply said, "Won us the hockey game, our goalies." In contrast, the Penguins' goaltender lost them this game.

-Regardless of the circumstances, any goaltender on any team is going to be under the microscope. Marc-Andre Fleury play is always going to under scrutiny. But when he gives up leaky goals with the playoffs looming against the rival Flyers, he gives his critics every justification to question his place as the team's No. 1 goaltender.

-The overtime goal was a perfect example of it. In all fairness, it hit off the stick of Kris Letang then took an odd hop towards Fleury. That said, Fleury still knocked the puck into his own net with the game on the line. Yes, the game didn't mean anything to the Penguins with their seeding in the playoffs secure. But it was a bad moment for a goaltender who has arguably the most important postseason in his career about to begin. With Jeff Zatkoff expected to start tomorrow, Fleury will enter the postseason coming off a poor game against the nemesis Flyers.

-Fleury has been pretty sharp the past few weeks. Today, he was not.

-Were a few of the goals the Flyers scored a bit tricky? Sure. But Ray Emery came into the game facing a dangerous power play at the start of the third. Did he allow a few iffy goals, sure, but he came into a bad situation and emerged with a win.

-Berube had quite a few other things to say in his postgame scrum which were... interesting.

-After saying goaltender Steve Mason was removed from the game for precautionary reasons due to an "upper-body" injury he suffered when Jayson Megna shoved Andrew MacDonald into the him, Berube said, "Does it bother me? Yeah but what can I do about it. Yeah it bothers me. I don’t see our guys doing that.”

-After the game, Dan Bylsma made a comment about a confrontation between Kris Letang and Scott Hartnell. Bylsma said, "[Letang] kind of had the play there and the puck on his skate to try to score a goal. It fell off his stick and the whistle and everything ensued after that. Yeah it does, a guy picking on a guy who had a stroke."

-Berube as asked about Bylsma's comment and said, "Then he shouldn't play," Berube said. "He shouldn't be out there playing, bottom line. It's a stupid comment."

-A team spokesperson told the Canadian Press, that Bylsma's comment was made in jest.

-Imagine if these two teams were to meet in the postseason? As it is, the win will ensure the Flyers will face the Rangers in the first round while the Penguins will face either the Blue Jackets or Red Wings.

-Special teams once again let the Penguins down in this game. They went 0 for 4. Part of that was with a long two-man advantage for over a minute and a half. Additionally, they allowed the Flyers to score one power-play goal on two chances today. The Penguins just can't figure out the Flyers on special teams.

-The ending of this game was just bizarre. Which is to say it was typical Penguins-Flyers. There were three goals in the final six minutes of regulation and a fluky overtime goal. In between all of that, there was a near line brawl. Afterwards, the coaches were sniping at each other through the media.

-Letang continued to look solid but hardly perfect in his return. He had 23:42 of ice time on 28 shifts, four shots on net, a goal and an assist and one blocked shot.

-Furthermore, he continued to look fairly comfortable with Rob Scuderi as his defensive partner. Them finding some chemistry is highly important.

-The fourth line of Deryk Engelland, Craig Adams and Harry Zolnierczyk was ... meh. It didn't have a huge impact on the game but they looked more competent than other versions of this line this season.

-We feel Engelland has more to offer as a forward on that line than Taylor Pyatt if those are the choice. Presumably, Pyatt is in there to offer some physicality. He has failed to that for the most part in his time with the Penguin. While he's not as big as Pyatt, Engelland is a far more physical player. And he has seven goals, some of which came as a forward.

-The third line may have taken a step back with Megna instead of Gibbons. 

-Sidney Crosby did not have a particularly sharp day. His decisions with the puck seemed to be a bit off.

-The Penguins led in shots on net, 36-21.

-The Penguins led in attempted shots, 70-39.

-Neal led the game with nine shots.

-Jakub Voracek led the Flyers with seven shots.

-The Flyers led in faceoffs, 34-29 (54 percent).

-Claude Giroux was 14 for 24 (58 percent).

-Crosby was 14 for 23 (61 percent).

-Braydon Coburn led the game with four blocked shots.

-Scuderi and Jokinen each led the Penguins with two blocked shots.

-Jussi Jokinen reached the 20-goal mark for the second time in his career.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

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About the Flyers - 04-12-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Flyers.

When and where: 3 p.m. EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC.

Record: 41-30-9, 91 points. The Flyers are in third place in the Neapolitan Ice Cream Metropolitan Division.

Leading Scorer: Claude Giroux, 82 points (27 goals, 55 assists).

Last Game: 4-2 road loss to the Lightning, Thursday. Ray Emery made 26 saves for the Flyers.

Last Game against the Penguins: 4-3 road win, March 16. Wayne Simmonds had two goals and an assist for the Flyers.

Flyers Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Simmonds. He has six points in four games against the Penguins this season.

Ex-Penguins on the Flyers: Adam Hall, RW; Hal Gill, D; Joe Mullen, assistant coach; Kjell Samuelsson, player development.

Ex-Flyers on the Penguins: Harry Zolnierczyk, LW.

Useless Flyers Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Flyers right winger Matt Read (21 goals) has the fifth-most goals by an undrafted player in the NHL this season. Only Penguins left winger Chris Kunitz (35), Rangers right winger Martin St. Louis (30), Lightning center Tyler Johnson (24) and Capitals right winger Joel Ward (24) have more.

Best Flyers Video We Could Find: Former Flyers captain/center Dave Poulin scoring a nifty short-handed breakaway goal against the Flames in 1984-85:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (39-18-4, 2.35 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Penguins. Steve Mason (33-18-7, 2.51 GAA, .917 SV%) for the Flyers.

Injuries: For the Penguins, centers Marcel Goc (left foot/ankle), Evgeni Malkin (foot) and Joe Vitale ("upper body") are out. Right wingers Chris Conner (foot), Pascal Dupuis (knee) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Flyers, defenseman Chris Pronger (head) is on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins did not hold a morning skate today. Consider this a guess based on yesterday's practice:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 19 Beau Bennett
49 Brian Gibbons - 36 Jussi Jokinen - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 16 Brandon Sutter - 22 Lee Stempniak
17 Taylor Pyatt - 27 Craig Adams - 59 Jayson Megna

44 Brook Orpik - 7 Paul Martin
2 Matt Niskanen - 3 Olli Maatta
58 Kris Letang - 4 Rob Scuderi

-The Flyers did not hold a morning skate or a practice yesterday. Their primary lines and defensive pairings against the Lightning Thursday were:

19 Scott Hartnell - 28 Claude Giroux - 93 Jakub Voracek
12 Michael Raffl - 10 Brayden Schenn - 17 Wayne Simmonds
24 Matt Read - 14 Sean Couturier - 9 Steve Downie
15 Tye McGinn - 40 Vincent Lecavalier - 18 Adam Hall

 44 Kimmo Timonen - 5 Braydon Coburn
47 Andrew MacDonald - 32 Mark Streit
26 Erik Gustafsson - 22 Luke Schenn

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Flyers, this happened:

-Penguins coach Dan Bylsma has appeared in 399 career games.

-Adams has 99 career assists.

-Flyers center Zac Rinaldo is suspended.

-Our live blog begins at approximately 2 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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Empty Netter Assists - 04-12-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-"I expect it to be a Philly-Pittsburgh game regardless of the circumstances of the schedule, the game it is, and what position we're both in or not in in the playoff picture." - Dan Bylsma on facing the Flyers today.

-When will Evgeni Malkin (above) return?

-The Penguins recalled forward Harry Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. In 11 NHL games this season, Zolnierczyk has scored two goals.

-Who has drawn the most penalties for the Penguins this season?

-Beau Bennett and Robert paid a visit to some victims of Wednesday's stabbing attack at Franklin Regional High School:

-Sidney Crosby speaks:

-Matt Niskanen speaks:

-Tomas Vokoun made 23 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 3-2 shootout win against the Syracuse Crunch. Anton Zlobin and Spencer Machacek scored in the shootout for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Chuck Kobasew scored each of the Penguins' regulation goals while teammate Brian Dumoulin recorded two assists.

-Highlights:

-“Physically, I feel good. Hopefully, all those (health) issues have been addressed and resolved. I didn’t feel great playing-wise, but that’s a whole-other story. You’re not as confident as you would normally be. As the game went on, I felt a little bit better.’’ - Vokoun on playing his first game of consequence since June.

-Dumoulin left the game in the third period due to an "upper-body" injury.

-Eric Hartzell made 33 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 6-3 loss to the Cincinnati Cyclones. Tom Kuhnhackl, Denver Manderson and Derek Army each had a goal and an assist for Wheeling.

-Penguins defensive prospect Derrick Pouliot, currently a member of the WHL's Portland Winterhawks, injured Victoria Royals defenseman Joe Hicketts with a punch during a line brawl during a playoff game Thursday:

(+1 to EN reader Rob Luther for the heads up.)

-Happy 41st birthday to former Penguins forward Krzysztof Oliwa. Acquired midway through the 2000-01 season in a deal which sent a draft pick to the Blue Jackets, "The Polish Hammer" spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2000-01 by appearing in 26 games for the Penguins and scoring three points while accumulating a massive 131 penalty minutes. In five postseason games that spring, he failed to record a poitn and netted 16 penalty minutes. During 2001-02, he played in 58 games, recorded two assists and accumulated a team-leading 150 penalty minutes. During the 2002 offseason, he was traded to the Rangers in exchange for a draft pick. One of eight natives of Poland to play in the NHL, Oliwa appeared in 83 games for the Penguins, scored five points and recorded 281 penalty minutes.

-Happy 43rd birthday to former Penguins forward Kent Manderville. Acquired at the 2002 trade deadline in a deal which sent Billy Tibbetts to the Flyers, Manderville spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 2001-02 by playing in four games for the Penguins and scoring one goal. In 2002-03, Manderville played in all 82 game and scored seven points. He retired following the season. In 86 games for the Penguins, Manderville scored eight points.

-After the Jump: The NHL gets a new discipline czar.

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Drawing power - 04-11-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

For a team with the league's best power play at 23.7 percent, drawing penalties is important to the Penguins.

Who has been the best at drawing penalties for the Penguins this season? Not surprising, a few all-stars are the top of the list. Somewhat surprisingly, a few journeymen are among their peers on a per-game basis.

Here's a look at every skater who has appeared in a least one game for the Penguins this season and how many penalties they have drawn:

Player, position Games
Played
Penalties
Drawn
Penalties Drawn
Per Game
Harry Zolniercyzk, LW 11 8 0.77
Evgeni Malkin, C 60 36 0.60
Sidney Crosby, C 79 32 0.41
James Neal, LW 57 22 0.39
Tanner Glass, RW 65 22 0.34
Brian Gibbons, C 39 13 0.33
Robert Bortuzzo, D 53 17 0.32
Kris Letang, D 35 10 0.29
Chris Kunitz, LW 77 20 0.26
Joe Vitale, C 53 13 0.25
Brandon Sutter, C 80 18 0.23
Deryk Engelland, D 55 12 0.22
Lee Stempniak, RW 19 4 0.21
Simon Despres, D 33 7 0.21
Jayson Megna, C 34 7 0.21
Chuck Kobasew, W 32 6 0.19
Pascal Dupuis, RW 39 7 0.18
Brian Dumoulin 6 1 0.17
Marcel Goc, C 12 2 0.17
Beau Bennett, RW 19 3 0.16
Olli Maatta 76 11 0.14
Brooks Orpik, D 71 10 0.14
Jussi Jokinen, LW 79 11 0.14
Craig Adams, RW 80 11 0.14
Matt D’Agostini, RW 8 1 0.13
Andrew Ebbett, C 9 1 0.11
Chris Conner, RW 19 2 0.11
Paul Martin, D 37 4 0.11
Zach Sill, C 20 2 0.10
Matt Niskanen, D 80 8 0.10
Rob Scuderi 51 4 0.08
Taylor Pyatt, C 33 2 0.06
Nick Drazenovic, C 1 0 0.00
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond 1 0 0.00
Adam Payerl, C 2 0 0.00
Philip Samuelsson, D 5 0 0.00
Dustin Jeffrey, C 10 0 0.00

Note: The total number of penalties drawn are via the Extra Skater Web site.

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

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Arizona recruit Matijevic off to blazing start ..... Roundball tomorrow ..... other notes

Written by Mike White on .

Norwin baseball player J.J Matijevic had a pretty lofty reputation entering the season. That comes when you sign with the University of Arizona.

But Matijevic has only enhanced that reputation this season.

The kid with two initials for his first name has become synonymous with two other letters. It's J.J. for HR.

Matijevic has hit a home run in five consecutive games. Norwin has played only six games. He did not hit a home run in the season opener against Penn Hills. But he hit one against Valley, two against North Allegheny, one against Albert Gallatin and one against Connellsville. Matijevic, a 6-foot, 190-pound senior shortstop, has six home runs and 20 RBIs.

"We've had some good hitters here, but hands down he is the best one we've ever had," said Norwin coach Mike Liebdzinski. "Our single-season record at Norwin for home runs is seven. He's one behind in the first six games."

Matijevic has helped Norwin to a 5-1 record.

"He has a ton of power, and the home run he hit against Valley was the farthest home run I've seen hit live on any level," Liebdzinski said. "I don't get down to many Pirate games, but that would've been way out in any ballpark in the country. He has power that most people his age don't have."

Matijevic might be a first baseman at the University of Arizona.

"That's if he gets there," Liebdzinski said. "We've had anywhere from three to seven [major-league] scouts at our games."

McKay's impressive stats

Blackhawk pitcher Brendan McKay is putting together statistics that are unheard of in the WPIAL.

McKay, a senior left-hander, now has a 37-inning scoreless streak going back to last year. No one has WPIAL records for the longest scoreless streak. But I've been covering WPIAL sports for more than three decades and there certainly haven't been many - if any - Brendan McKayto put together such a streak.

But what's hard to believe is that McKay had a similar streak as a sophomore. He went 35 consecutive innings without giving up a run as a 10th grader. In case you didn't realize a 37-inning scoreless streak is more than five high school games.

A few more scoreless games and McKay will be approaching national marks. According to the National Federation of High School Associations, a 52-inning scoreless streak will put McKay in the top 10 all time.

But McKay has a ways to go to reach the national record. In 1973, Joey Porter of South Natchez-Adams High in Natchez, Miss., had an 80-inning scoreless streak.

About 20 major-league scouts were on hand when McKay pitched a no-hitter Wednesday against West Allegheny.

"I hate to say it, but he really wasn't even at his best," said Blackhawk coach Bob Amalia. "He hadn't pitched in 10 days. He was only hitting 86 or 87 and he just wasn't at his best. It was still pretty good, though."

Amalia said the attention from major-league scouts is getting "crazy."

In case you are interested in seeing McKay pitch, Amalia said he is tentatively scheduled to pitch Monday at home against Ambridge. Check back here on the "Varsity Blog" Monday morning and I will give an update on whether McKay is going to pitch.

Son of Fedko shines

There is now a Fedko zone at Vincentian baseball games.

It's at shortstop. That's where Christian Fedko resides.

Christian Fedko, son of the sportscaster, is starting at shortstop for Vincentian. Although Christian is only a freshman, he is one of the team's top hitters with a .455 average. Vincentian is 6-0.

I wonder if we'll see a chopper over Vincentian games now. 

Rounball Classic tomorrow

The stars will come out tomorrow at Geneva College. That's when the Roundball Classic will be played.

The Roundball is an annual all-star basketball event run by Allen Deep. It is now four games with the top seniors in the WPIAL, City League and a few surrounding districts. 

Deep is touting this as possibly the most talent he has assembled for the boys and girls games. A total of 20 all-state players from Western Pennsylvania will be included. The two girls games are at 2 and 4, and the two boys games at 6 and 8. Tickets are available at the door.

All of the seniors on the Post-Gazette Fabulous 5 teams will play. That includes New Castle's Malik Hooker, Hampton's Ryan Luther and Obama's D.J. Porter on the boys side, and Fox Chapel's Erin Mathias and Seton-LaSalle's Yacine Diop on the girls side.

I've been to the Roundball. The games, at least on the boys side, are usually high scoring. It's a little like the NBA All-Star game. Defense is foreign to a lot of the guys. But if you like offense, then check out the games.

Lincoln Park's Elijah Minnie is one of the players in the game. He is visiting Robert Morris.

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