Print

About the Ducks - 03-07-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Ducks.

When and where: 10 p.m. EST. Honda Center.

TV: Root Sports, Prime Sports.

Record: 43-14-6, 92 points. The Ducks are in first place in the Pacific Division.

Leading Scorer: Ryan Getzlaf (right), 68 points (29 goals, 39 assists).

Last Game: 4-3 home shootout loss to the Canadiens, Wednesday. Hiller made 28 saves for the Ducks.

Last Game against the Penguins: 3-1 road loss, Nov. 18, 2013. Viktor Fasth made 24 saves for the Ducks.

Ducks Player We Would Bet Money On Scoring: Saku Koivu. He has 50 points in 48 career games against the Penguins.

Ex-Penguins on the Ducks: Brad Lauer, assistant coach; Ben Lovejoy, D.

Ex-Ducks on the Penguins: Craig Adams, RW (Adams signed with the Ducks in the 2005 offseason but was traded to the Hurricanes before the start of the 2005-06 season); Dan Bylsma, head coach; Chris Kunitz, LW.

Useless Ducks Trivia Vaguely Related to the Penguins: Kunitz (201 goals) is one of three NHL players who have scored 200 career goals or more while spending part of his career with the Ducks and Penguins. The others are right wingers Tomas Sandstrom (394) and Petr Sykora (323).

Best Ducks Video We Could Find: Former Ducks left winger Dan Bylsma scoring a nifty backhanded goal against the Atlanta Thrashers in 2001-02:

Probable goaltenders: Marc-Andre Fleury (32-14-3, 2.32 GAA, .916 SV%) for the Penguins. Jonas Hiller (26-9-5, 2.29 GAA, .918 SV%) for the Sharks.

Injuries: For the Penguins, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo ("upper body") is questionable. Right wingers Beau Bennett (hand/wrist), Chris Conner (hand), Pascal Dupuis (knee), defensemen Kris Letang (stroke), Paul Martin (hand) and goaltender Tomas Vokoun (blood clots) are on injured reserve. For the Ducks, right winger Teemu Selanne (flu) is day to day. Defensemen Stephane Robidas (leg), Sheldon Souray (right wrist) and center Mathieu Perreault ("upper body") are on injured reserve.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins' did not hold a full morning skate. Consider this a guess at their lines and defensive pairings for tonight based off last night's game:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 49 Brian Gibbons
36 Jussi Jokinen - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
15 Tanner Glass - 16 Brandon Sutter - 22 Lee Stempniak
17 Taylor Pyatt - 57 Marcel Goc - 27 Craig Adams

4 Rob Scuderi - 2 Matt Niskanen
44 Brooks Orpik - 3 Olli Maatta
47 Simon Despres - 5 Deryk Engelland

-The Ducks expected about lines and defensive pairings are:

21 Kyle Palmieri - 15 Ryan Getzlaf - 10 Corey Perry
62 Patrick Maroon - 13 Nick Bonino - 33 Jakob Silfverberg
34 Daniel Winnik - 11 Saku Koivu - 7 Andrew Cogliano
39 Matt Beleskey - 67 Rickard Rakell - 8 Teemu Selanne

4 Cam Fowler - 6 Ben Lovejoy
47 Hampus Lindholm - 23 Francois Beauchemin
55 Bryan Allen - 5 Luca Sbisa

Notes:

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

-Our live blog, direct from our couch, begins at approximately 9:45 p.m. Please tune in.

(Photo: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Empty Netter Assists - 03-07-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-Shelly Anderson's recap from last night's game. “It’s going a little bit over the net, and I’m about to catch it, and it drops probably two feet just inside the post. Just one of those bounces." - Jeff Zatkoff on the game-winning goal he allowed to Sharks captain/forward Joe Thornton.

-The San Jose Mercury News' recap. "We got physical, and that just totally turned the game. Everybody got into it after the big hits." - Thornton.

-The Associated Press' recap. "We did a good job in the first half of the game and then made it easy for them in the second half of the game. Once they tied it at 3-3 they really came at us hard." - Sidney Crosby.

-Highlights:


-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-The short-handed goal by Sharks forward Patrick Marleau deserves its own clip:

 

-This was a road game for the Penguins:

-Former Penguin Tyler Kennedy had to fend off new Penguin Lee Stempniak:

-A good look at Olli Maatta's second goal:

-Olympic figure skater Polina Edmunds dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff between Thornton and Crosby:

-Dan Bylsma speaks:

-Lee Stempniak speaks:

-Marcel Goc speaks:

 

-Are the Penguins getting enough work for Zatkoff, Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun in practice?

-“Eddie Lack came up to me and told me I got traded to Pittsburgh. I’m probably going to shoot at his head the rest of the year. I’m happy I’m still a Canuck.” - Canucks forward Ryan Kesler on teammate Eddie Lack who was duped by a bogus report on Twitter which had Kesler going to the Penguins.

 

-Happy 34th birthday to former Penguins forward Eric Godard. A free agent signing in the 2008 offseason, Godard spent three seasons with the Penguins. In 2008-09, he set career highs in games played (71), points (four), penalty minutes (171) and got his name on the Stanley Cup. He followed that up in 2009-10 by playing in 45 games, netting three points and 76 penalty minutes. In 2010-11, Godard saw action in 19 games, recorded three assists and accumuated 105 penalty minutes. In 135 career regular season games with the Penguins, Godard scored 10 points and recorded 352 penalty minutes.

-Happy 58th birthday to former Penguins defenseman Greg Hotham. Acquired from the Maple Leafs midway though the 1981-82 season in exchange for a draft pick, Hotham spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1981-82 by playing in 25 games for the Penguins and scoring 10 points. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and recorded three assists. In 1982-83, Hotham played in 58 games and scored a career-high 32 points. He followed that up in 1983-84 by playing in a career high 76 games and netting 30 points. Hotham's final NHL season was 1984-85. He was limited to 11 games and two assists. After spending all of 1985-86 with the Penguins' AHL affiliate in Baltimore, Hotham was released in the 1986 offseason. In 170 regular season games, with the Penguins, Hotham scored 74 points.

-Happy 46th birthday to Pirates broadcaster former Penguins defenseman Greg Brown. A free agent signing in the 1993 offseason, Brown appeared in 36 games for the Penguins in the 1993-94 season and recorded 11 points. He spent most of the 1994-95 season in the IHL before being traded to the Jets. He is currently an assistant coach with Boston College.

-Happy 53rd birthday to former Penguins forward Bryan Erickson. Acquired from the Kings midway through the 1987-88 season along with Chris Kontos in a deal that sent a draft pick to Los Angeles, Erickson played 11 games for the Penguins that season and recorded five points. He left the team in the following off season when he joined HC Merano in Italy.

-After the Jump: Steven Stamkos takes over as the Lightning's captain and Nicklas Lidstrom's No. 5 is retired.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Is West Virginia returning to the 3-3-5 defense? An investigation

Written by Stephen J. Nesbitt on .

WVUSports.com

Morgantown has descended into outright chaos the last few weeks with rampant rumors flying around that West Virginia University’s American football team has transitioned to the ignominious 3-3-5 defense.

Coaches have denied any and all claims, but defensive lineman Kyle Rose ripped the wound open Thursday night by telling Blue & Gold News’ Michael Carvelli that the Mountaineers had, indeed, begun to install more of a 3-3-5 scheme — this a drastic departure from the traditional 3-4 defense of the last two seasons.

Well, fear not, fine friends, for when it comes to West Virginia’s not-3-3-5 defense, I’ve got exactly the non-answers you weren’t looking for. Do buckle in.

Kyle Rose is a 3-3-5 truther, but not everyone is aboard that same boat.

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

New Castle's Richards approaching WPIAL milestone ..... A look at Philly's finest

Written by Mike White on .

New Castle's Anthony Richards is about to shoot his way into some select company.

Richards is a senior guard at New Castle who has meant so much to the team's success the past few seasons. The Anthony Richardsway he plays defense and the way he dives for loose balls, I've said he's as tough as a bad steak. But a big part of his game is also shooting. It wouldn't be an overstatement to say he will go down as one of the best 3-point shooters in WPIAL history.

Richards has been on the varsity since his freshman year and has 294 career 3-pointers. New Castle starts the PIAA playoffs tomorrow. If Richards gets six more 3-pointers, he will become only the fourth player in WPIAL history to have 300 career 3-pointers.

The others are Highlands' Micah Mason, Chartiers Valley's T.J. McConnell and Chartiers Valley's Mike Colbert. Richards doesn't have a realistic chance to catch Mason, who had 346 from 2008-12, or McConnell, who had 334 from 2006-10. But Richards does have a chance to catch Colbert, who had 302 from 1994-98.

Micah MasonAs for the select company Richards has a chance to keep, Mason (pictured to the left) is now a sophomore at Duquesne University and leads the country in 3-point shooting percentage. McConnell (pictured to the right) plays for one of the top teams in the country (University of Arizona) and has been called one of the top point guards in the country.

Philly's finest

Philadelphia-area teams are always major players in the PIAA boys basketball playoffs. Here is a look at some Philly teams to watch. Team thumbnails are written by Josh Verlin of cityofbasketballlove.com, a good web site that covers Philadelphia high school and college basketball. 

Contenders

AAAA Chester (1-1)

Record: 22-5 overall, 8-2 Del Val

Recent history: The Clippers are the four-time defending District 1 champions and won it all in both 2011 and 2012 before falling to Lower Merion in the title game last year. A championship this year would be the powerhouse's fifth in the last 10 years and ninth overall.

Key players: Conrad Chambers (Sr., G), Mahir Johnson (Sr., G), Tyrell Sturdivant (Sr., F)

Why they could win it: Up front, Chester has one of the toughest forwards in all of AAAA in Sturdivant. The 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward can step out and hit the 3 but is devastating in the low post; he had 17 points and 18 rebounds in the District 1 title game. He and Mahir Johnson, the team's leading scorer at over 19 ppg, transferred back home from Glasgow (Del.) in the offseason, and if they're on top of their game there's no better inside-out duo in AAAA. An athletic squad behind them features several tough role players and a lot of length around the court--it is Chester, after all.

AAAA: Martin Luther King (12-2)

Record: 22-5 overall, 7-3 Public League

Recent history: The Cougars have taken quite a leap under second-year head coach Sean Colson, going from the 'C' Division of the Public League last year to winning its first-ever Pub title this season. Now, they have their sights set on another first: a state title.

Key players: Greg Bennett (Sr., G/F), Sam Foreman (Jr., G), Jahmir Taylor (Sr., F)

Why they could win it: Despite bringing in a number of transfers this year, King has developed solid chemistry thanks in large part to a coach that understands how to relate to his players and get the most out of them. Foreman, who was known as a ball hog early in his career, has really improved his passing skills and become a dangerous scoring guard, while Taylor, at 6-8 and 210 pounds, brings some size up front. They still rely on a lot of youth, including a trio of sophomores in Jabri McCall, Xzavier Malone and Rasool Samir, but Colson has had this bunch playing well all season.

AAAA: Pennsbury (1-2)

Record: 22-5 overall, 12-2 Suburban One

Recent history: The Falcons have been successful at qualifying for the District 1 Class AAAA Playoffs; however, states has been a different story. Pennsbury last qualified for the State Tournament in 2009-2010. Former Sixer and current Indiana Pacer Lavoy Allen led the Falcons to State berths in 2006 and 2007, while current Temple Owl Dalton Pepper took the reigns for the next two years.

Key players: Mekhi Bryant (Jr., G), Cameron Jones (Jr., G), Derrick Woods (Jr., F)

Why they could win it: Pennsbury is a very reliable, balanced and consistent basketball team. They're highlighted by 6-foot-8 forward Derrick Woods, recently offered by Binghamton, who is capable of putting up a double-double on any given night. The dynamic duo of Mekhi Bryant and Cameron Jones give the Falcons a lethal force on the wings - specifically the perimeter. The junior trio would not be what it is without their senior point guard Steve Ciotti, a true court general who glues everything together. This may be new territory for these Falcons, however, Pennsbury has not shied away from the light thus far in postseason play.

AAAA: Roman Catholic (12-1)

Record: 22-4 overall, 13-0 Catholic League

Recent history: The Cahillites' performance in the PIAAs hasn't been stellar, including a first-round loss to District 1 ninth seed Norristown last year. But they did go on an undefeated tear through the toughest league the state this year before falling to Neumann in the PCL final at the Palestra.

Key players: Shep Garner (Sr., G), Rashann London (Sr., G), Manny Taylor (Jr., F)

Why they could win it: Guards win basketball games at this level, and the Cahillites have a very good trio of them. Garner (Penn State) and London (Drexel) are both 1,000-point scorers and easily capable of dropping 20 on any occasion, and sophomore point guard Tony Carr might be better than both of them by the time he finishes his high school career. They need starting forward TreVaughn Wilkerson, who's missed the last few games with a foot injury, to get healthy--especially if they want to beat physical teams like Chester and King.

AAA: Archbishop Carroll (12-3)

Record: 21-4 overall, 11-2 Catholic League

Recent history: Paul Romanczuk led his team to the state finals last year--and though a few key pieces are gone, this is a group that knows what it takes to get there. They're waiting for a major title to solidify their place as one of the state's elite programs.

Key players: Ernest Aflakpui (Jr., F/C), Derrick Jones (Jr., F), Austin Tilghman (Sr., G)

Why they could win it: There's no deeper team in the class, as Paul Romanczuk usually goes five or six players into his bench--the Patriots have had more than 14 players score in a game twice this season! Jones, a freakish athlete at 6-7, has offers from the likes of Kentucky, Arizona and Syracuse, while Aflakpui, a 6-9 native of Ghana with numerous high-major offers, is perhaps the most improved player in the area. They have their flaws for sure, but when they can get out in transition, Carroll is the Dunk City of Pennsylvania.

AAA: Imhotep Charter (12-4)

Record: 20-6 overall, 8-2 Public League

Recent history: Andre Noble has the current longest winning streak in the PIAA Playoffs, with three consecutive championships--last year in their current classification as well as the 2011 and 2011 Class AA titles. Brandon Austin (Oregon) is gone, so the Panthers have gone with a lead-by-committee approach.

Key players: Jakwan Jones (Sr., G), Sean Lloyd (Jr., G/F), Basil Thompson (Sr., F)

Why they could win it: There's no star on this team, with Noble going nine-deep with players who could all contribute on the offensive end. They're not the most skilled team but they're certainly tough, with players like Thompson (a St. Francis (Pa.) commit) and Lloyd, a Division I recruit, fitting right into the Panther mold. Four members of the rotation sat out the 3-4 seeding matchup with Carroll, so they need to get healthy quick if they're going to make a run.

AAA: Neumann-Goretti (12-1)

Record: 22-4 overall, 12-1 Catholic League

Recent history: The most dominant team in Catholic League history, the Saints won three consecutive PIAA Class AAA titles from 2010-12 before losing to Donegal in the quarterfinals last season. The six-time defending PCL and District 12 champions know how to win playoff games.

Key players: Troy Harper (Sr., G), Ja'Quan Newton (Sr., G), Tony Toplyn (Sr., F)

Why they could win it: When you need a bucket, there's no better player to turn to than Ja'Quan Newton, who's headed to Miami (Fl.) next year after leaving as the most impressive in a line of Division I guards to come out of the South Philly institution. The 1800-point scorer has got plenty of D-I talent around him, including Campbell-bound duo Harper and Toplyn, plus junior point guard Lamarr Kimble, a CAA/A-10 recruit with several offers. And if you didn't notice above, this senior class has done a lot of winning in their years at the school.

AA: Constitution (12-1)

Record: 23-5 overall, 8-2 Public League

Recent history: The 2012 PIAA Class A champions moved up to AA last year but found the road a little tougher, losing to Division 2 top seed Holy Cross in the quarterfinals. Rob Moore didn't have any seniors on that team, and now his juniors--freshmen the last time the Generals won it all--are ready to lead their own run.

Key players: Ahmad Gilbert (Jr., G/F), Raheem Liggins (Sr., F), Kimar Williams (Jr., G)

Why they could win it: Despite all the transfers in the Philadelphia region last offseason, Constitution's roster remained nearly unchanged thanks to a lack of a senior class and no real roster needs. Williams, a quick 5-11 slasher, has become a bona-fide Division I prospect in his junior year, while Gilbert, a 6-6 wing with good range, has solidified his standing as a mid-major-plus recruit. They've got some size with the 6-5 Liggins, 6-6 Chad Andrews and Gilbert, but their strength is pressure defense and using turnovers to create mismatches on the offensive end.

A: Math, Civics & Sciences (12-1)

Record: 11-14 overall, 4-6 Public League

Recent history: The 2011 PIAA Class A champions have quickly become a state powerhouse, considering the whole program is not yet 10 years old. Last year they were bounced in the semifinals by eventual champion Rysheed Jordan and now-closed Vaux HS.

Key players: Samir Doughty (Jr., G), Louis Myers (Sr., G), Mike Watkins (Sr., F/C)

Why they could win it: It's been a rough year for the Mighty Elephants, but they still have more raw talent than anybody else in the classification--if they can put it all together. Watkins, a Penn State commit, is an athletic monster in the frontcourt, and Doughty (offers from Temple, Rhode Island, La Salle, SJU and more) leads a number of capable scorers in the backcourt. Head coach Dan Jackson has to hope a disappointing regular season leads to an inspired postseason.

Dark Horses

AAAA: Abington (1-6)

Record: 22-5 overall, 14-0 Suburban One

Recent history: Last year, the Galloping Ghosts were the third seed in District 1 but wound up with a tough draw against St. Joseph's Prep in the first round and didn't advance.

Key players: Amir Hinton (Jr., G/F), Anthony Lee (Sr., F), Matt Penecale (Jr., G)

Why they could win it: It was known that head coach Charles Grasty had one potential Division I recruit in Penecale, but Hinton has emerged this season right alongside him; they're both athletic and bouncy and can shoot it quite well. There are solid pieces around them, including Lee, stretch-forward Lazaros Mackrides, Jordan Neely and more. A pair of regular-season wins over Pennsbury proves they can play with the top teams in one of the toughest districts in the state.

AAAA: Conestoga (1-3)

Record: 24-5 overall, 16-3 Central League

Recent history: Conestoga has not qualified for the state playoffs since the 2008-2009 season, where it went 29-4 and fell in the second round. Last year's Pioneers, dropping nine games by 15 points combined, failed to earn a spot in Districts. In 2011 and 2011, Conestoga fell in the first round of the District playoffs. Experience is scarce, however that only adds to the motivation of this year's edition of Conestoga.

Key players: Zack Yonda (Sr., G), Andrew Diehl (Jr., G/F), Martin Dorsey (Jr., F)

Why they could win it: This year's Pioneers are known for their smart and tough playing style. 'Stoga is not the most athletic team in the field, however their size and depth are what got them here - and they'll continue to ride the wave of that. Senior guard Zack Yonda, Swarthmore College bound, is the man behind it all and one of the purest scorers you will find in Pennsylvania. 6-foot-4 Andrew Diehl and 6-foot-3 forwards Martin Dorsey and Dan Vila are the men in the middle.

AAA: La Salle College HS (12-3)

Record: 19-6 overall, 9-4 Catholic League

Recent history: Despite seven seniors on last year's squad, including current D-I players Steve Smith (Fairfield) and Amar Stukes (La Salle), the Explorers fell just short of a berth in the state tournament. But this current group is playing without any such expectations in the school's first trip to the PIAAs since 2011.

Key players: David Krmpotich (Jr., F), Najee Walls (Jr., G), Shawn Witherspoon (Jr., G)

Why they could win it: Despite a large percentage of the minutes (and scoring) coming from a junior class that only saw spot minutes last year, the Explorers came in fifth in the Catholic League. Krmpotich is a long and lanky 6-7 forward with Division I interest, while Walls and Witherspoon are the primary ballhandlers. They'll need players like senior guard Sean Greenberg and sophomore wing Chuck Champion to knock down shots if they're going to advance.

 

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.
Print

Penguins at Sharks - 03-06-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

PREGAME

-Greetings from the dawn of the Goc/Stempniak era. It's a bright new world in which Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak are Pittsburgh Penguins!

-Okay, it's not quite the same as adding Jarome Iginla or Brenden Morrow but the Penguins are a better team right now than they were 48 hours. There were significant holes on the third line and Ray Shero filled them without dealing away anything significant.

-In years past, Shero has been willing to deal away former first-round picks such as Angelo Esposito or Joe Morrow or even the actual first-round picks such as in 2008 and 2013 away to improve his team. Additionally, several second-round picks have been traded away for the likes of Jordan Leopold or Douglas Murray.

-When you combine that with an inability to develop many forward prospects of the players they have been able to draft, that has led in part to the predicament the Penguins were in prior to adding Goc and Stempniak. The true price of adding the likes of Marian Hossa and Hal Gill was felt in this season's roster which was crunched by the salary cap taking a drop.

-Goc will be the third German-born Pittsburgh Penguin. He joins center Randy Gilhen and defenseman Sven Butenschon.

-Stempniak will be the eighth New York-born Pittsburgh Penguin. He joins Chris & Peter Ferraro, Joe Mullen, Matt Murley, Andre Roy, Rob Scuderi & Brandon Sutter.

-EN Reader Will Rohrer is in San Jose:

-According to the team's Web site, the Penguins' lines in warm-ups were:

14 Chris Kunitz - 87 Sidney Crosby - 49 Brian Gibbons
36 Jussi Jokinen -71 Evgeni Malkin - 18 James Neal
17 Taylor Pyatt - 16 Brandon Sutter - 22 Lee Stempniak
15 Tanner Glass - 57 Marcel Goc - 27 Craig Adams

44 Brooks Orpik - 3 Olli Maatta
4 Rob Scuderi - 2 Matt Niskanen
47 Simon Despres - 41 Robert Bortuzzo

-The Penguins' starters are Sidney Crosby, Brian Gibbons, Chris Kunitz, Olli Maatta, Brooks Orpik and Jeff Zatkoff.

-Their scratches are Deryk Engelland and the great Joe Vitale.

-It looks like Paul Martin is officially listed as being on injured reserve.

-The Sharks' starters are Brent Burns, Joe Pavelski, Joe Thornton, Justin Braun, Scott Hannan and Antti Niemi.

-Their scratches are Mike Brown, Martin Havlat and Matt Tennyson.

FIRST PERIOD

19:14: Neal races up the right wing and has a wrister rejected by Niemi.

18:56: A one-timer from the center point by Niskanen is blocked

17:54: Raffi Tores gets a chance down the slot. As he speeds by Bortuzzo, he shuffles a backhander on net. Zatkoff kicks it out.

17:33: Scott Hannan pops a one-timer from the left point which hits a body wearing black in the slot.

16:26: Kunitz races down the slot, goes backhand to forehand and shoots a wrister. Niemi kicks it out.

15:19: Torres centers a pass from the right wing corner to the slot for Jason Demers. Malkin reads it all the way and intercepts the puck.

14:51: A big slapper by Marc-Edouard Vlassic from the right point is

14:57: Tommy Wingels snaps off a wrister from the right circle which Orpik blocks.

13:42: Off a turnover by Glass in his own zone, Joe Thornton lifts a wrister from the left circle. Zatkoff steals it.

13:17: Kunitz makes contact with Niemi after he smothers a puck. Hannan gives Kunitz some grief afterwards.

12:41: Jokinen loads up with a wrister from above the right circle and rips it on net. Niemi fights it off and deflects it out of play.

12:36: Off an offensive zone faceoff win, Despres pounds a shot from the left point. Niemi fights it off.

12:21: Braun flings a wrister from the right half wall as Despres smacks him into the boards. Zatkoff eats it up.

11:53: A slapper by Dan Boyle from above the right circle is kicked out by Zatkoff.

10:49: The Sharks will get the first power play as Jokinen is called for tripping up against Jason Demers behind the Sharks' net. Crosby, Orpik, Scuderi and xx take the ice. take the ice.

10:43: Boyle pounds a big slapper from the right point. Zatkoff kicks it out.

10:08: Patrick Marleau snaps off a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff kicks it out. There's a big rebound to the left circle where Joe Pavelski misses the open net and chops it wide.

9:54: Couture snaps of a wrister from above the left circle. Glass slides down to block it.

9:31: Another block by Glass. Marleau pounds a slapper from the left circle. Glass gets a stick on the puck.

9:02: Torres gets a little space against Bortuzzo off the left wing and flings a backhander wide of the cage. Zatkoff smothers the rebound of the end boards.

8:49: Jokinen's minor is killed. The Sharks had a few decent chances.

5:19: A wrister by Braun from the right wing is blocked by Orpik.

4:51: Finn-on-Finn violence. Off a nice little pass by Goc, Glass whacks a puck at the right point on net. Niemi kicks it out. Maatta is in deep and crashes the net. He cleans up the rebound and sweeps it by the glove hand of a sprawling Niemi. That was odd how that play developed. Glass and and Goc get assists. Penguins 1-0.

4:20: The Penguins get a power lay as Burns is called for roughing Scuderi in the Penguins' right wing corner. They were battling for a puck in a fairly routine scrum then Burns went a little overboard and starting punching Scuderi in the head. Malkin, Crosby, Niskanen, Neal and Kunitz tak the ice.

4:15: Malkin fires a one-timer from the right point. Marleau blocks it and clears the rebound down ice.

3:55: Taking a pass from niskanen, Malkin fires a one-timer from center point wide of the cage.

3:39: The penguins cash in. Hannan chases a puck in the right wing corner of his own zone but has it stolen by Malkin in pursuit. Malkin is able to turn around and tap a little feed to Kunitz in the slot. Kunitz leans downa and snaps off a wrister by the blocker of Niemi. That was nothing but hustle by  Malkin and Neal who was also chasing Hannan. Malkin gets the only assist. Penguins 2-0.

2:38: Vlasic whacks a one-timer from the left point. Zatkoff snags it.

0:30: Wingels chucks a wrister from the left point. Zatkoff steers it away.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Sharks 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/5199651737_a744ffe168.jpg

-For a player who hasn't played in nearly five weeks, Jeff Zatkoff looks fairly sharp. He steered away several clean rebounds.

-Overall, there was a good amount of energy to this period. Both teams were skating pretty well. The Penguins just did a better job of cashing in on opportunities.

-What a nice little play by Goch to set up Glass' shots which led to Maatta's goal. Ther was just enough touch on the pass to allow Glass to get a clean shot on net.

-Goc has five shifts, 3:24 ot ice time and is one for one on faceoffs.

We're not sure we notices Stempniak that much. He has 5:10 of ice time on seven shifts and one blocked shots.

-The Sharks have a 13-10 lead in shots on net.

-Thornton leads the game with three shots.

-Kunitz and Maatta each lead the Penguins with two shots.

-Orpik leads the Penguins with 7:44 of ice time.

-Hannan leads the Sharks with 6:49.

-The Sharks have a 10-8 lead in faceoffs (56 percent).

-Couture is 4 for 5 (80 percent).

-Crosby is 4 for 7 (57 percent).

-Glass, Bortuzzo, Marleau and Vlasic each lead the game with two blocked shots.

SECOND PERIOD

19:01: Niskanen gets a little cute with the puck behind his net and turns it over to a forechecking Couture. Couture deals a pass to Matt Nieto who whistles a wrister wide of the cage.

18:30: Neal jabs a hard wrister from the slot. Niemi knocks it dead and covers.

18:05: Another power play for the Penguins. Matt Irwin is called for hooking up Pyatt who is barging down the slot. That's two minutes for hooking. Kunitz, Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Niskane take the ice.

17:51: Taking a pass in the right circle, Malkin coasts in and whips a wrister to the far side. Niemi's right leg kicks it out.

16:05: As Irwin's minor expires, Despres takes a pass at center point and chops a slapper. It hits a body in font.

15:49: Burns floats a wrister from the slot wide to the right of the net.

15:45: As Zatkoff freezes a losoe puck, Torres mixes it up with a few Penguins. Nothing comes of it.

15:30: James Sheppard takes a pass in the slot and is hooked up by Glass. He loses the puck and barges into Zatkoff. Glass is called for hooking. Goc, Adams, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.

15:27: Off an offensive faceoff win, Marleau pounds a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff kicks it out. Orpik clears the rebound.

15:02: Couture lofts a wrister from the right point through traffic. Zatkoff snags it.

14:46: Pavelski loads up a one-timer from the center point. It hits a stick and deflects away.

14:20: Short-handed, Kunitz lifts a wrister from the slot. Niemi gloves it.

13:52: Irwin fires a slapper from the right point which is blocked.

13:46: Irwin chucks  wrister from the left half wall which clangs off the near post.

13:30: The Glass minor is killed.

13:23: Burns leans down and rips a wrister from above the left circle. Zatkoff snags it.

13:16: The Penguins get a little sloppy with their defensive zone cover. Pavelski has a chance in the slot but loses the puck.

13:05: A wrister by Despres from the right point is blocked in front.

12:47: Burns moves around Orpik in tight and has a wrister denied by Zatkoff.

11:36: Sutter lines up for a shift with Malkin and Pytat. Sutter wing a draw in the right circle. Despres hammers a slapper from the right point. Niemi smothers.

11:13: Crosby lines up with neal and Kunitz. Off an offensive zone faceoff win by Crosby, Maatta fires a shot from the right point. Niemi snags it.

10:52: Off a feed by Thornton, Vlasic booms a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff challenges and snags the puck.

10:40: Goc hustles up the right wing after a dump-in and is dropped by Hannan. Officials call Hannan for interference while Goc is nabbed for embellishment. We're not sure we saw Goc's infraction. We'll have four-on-four for two minutes.

9:30: Bortuzzo has not recorded a shift since there was 2:41 remaining in the first period.

8:41: Off a feed by Neal, Malkin cuts in from the left circle and is denied by Niemi's right footl.

8:19: Nieto lifts a wrister from the slot over the cage.

7:22: After icing the puck, the Penguins call a timeout to get a breather.

6:31: On a forecheck, Glass rattles Boyle in the right wing corne rwith a solid forehceck. he's skating with Sutter and Adams.

5:47: Crosby rips a wrister off the left wing. Niemi gets a piece of it and deflects it away.

5:24: Kunitz battles for a puck with Demers on the left wing boards of the Penguins zone and smashes into the boards facefirst. He's in some discomfort and heads to the bench.

5:20: Off a rush, Marleau lifts a slapper from the left wing which Zatkoff fights off with his glove hand.

4:25: Neal lifts a sneaky wrister from the left wing. Niemi kicks it away.

3:55: Stempniak is out with Malkin and Sutter.

2:41: A wrister by Andrew Desjardins from the slot is deflected away.

2:17: The Sharks go to the net and get on the scoreboads. Desjardins whips a wrister from the right half wall. Zatkoff tries to cover the puck but Wingels crashes in and knocks it loos. He then deals a pass to Braun at the right half wall. Braun lifts a wrister. Zatkoff tries to fight the puck off as he jostles with Adam Burish. The puck rattles around and slides into the net. Burish is credited with the goal. Braun and Wingels get assists. Give Wingels credit for keeping the play alive. Kunitz heads down the ramp way to the dressing room. Penguins 2-1.

1:06: Demers snaps off a wrister from the slot. Zatkoff kicks it out.

0:58: Orpik is nabbed for slashing Demers.

0:38: Marleau booms a slapper from center point. Zatkoff kicks it out despite traffic.

0:08: Couture hammers a slapper from the right wing. Zatkoff eats it up despite a nice screen by Marleau.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2-1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

 

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4113/5199651737_a744ffe168.jpg

 

-The Sharks slowly took back control of the game in the latter half of the period. They starting initiating some contact and taking the physical play to the Penguins. As a result, the got a goal on the scoreboard.

-With Bortuzzo out, Despres has stepped up a bit with his physical play. He hasn't been afraid to hit back.

-The Penguins mixed and matched their lines up quite a bit that period. We're not sure if it really accomplished anything.

-Marcel Goc continues to stand out more than Stempniak. Goc has 8:09 of ice time on 12 shifts and is 6 for 10 on faceoffs (60 percent).

-Stempniak has 9:32 of ice time on 13 shifts, one blocked shot and is 0 for 1 on faceoffs.

-The Sharks have a 31-18 lead in shots on net.

-The Sharks have a 55-34 lead in attempted shots.

-Burns and Marleau each lead the game with four shots.

-Maatta, Neal and Kunitz each lead the Penguins with nine shots.

-The Penguins control faceoffs, 25-17 (60 percent).

-Crosby is 11 for 15 (73 percent).

-Couture is 6 for 9 (67 percent).

-Boyle leads the game with three blocked shots.

-Bortuzzo, Orpik and Glass each lead the Penguins with two blocked shots.

THIRD PERIOD

20:00: The Sharks will begin the period with 1:03 of power-play time on fresh ice. Orpik, Niskanen, Sutter and Glass take the ice.

19:15: A Couture lifts a wrister from the left wing. Zatkoff steers it away.

19:08: Pavelski centers a pass from the right ahlf wall which Zatkoff kicks out.

18:57: Orpik turens to the ice. The Sharks had a few chances there.

18:33: Sutter lifts a wrister from the right circle. Niemi kicks it out.

18:16: Braun zips a wrister from the right point. Zatkoff is able to reach around a screen and snag it. Kunitz is back on the ice.

18:10: Tyler Kennedy motors out of the right wing corner and has a backhander fought off by Zatkoff.

17:50: Maatta chops a slapper from the right point. Niemi gloves it.

17:34: Battling for a puck in the neutral zone, Nieto knocks off Despres' lid and draws blood out of his forehead. That's a double minor. The Penguins can ice this game here. Niskanen, Malkin, Neal, Kunitz and Crosby take the ice.

17:09: Niskanen whiacks a slapper from the right point wide of the cage.

16:18: Jokinen snaps off a little wrister from in tight to the right of the cage. Niemi fights it off.

15:34: Marleau pushes the puck up ice short-handed. He tries to cut in side Malkin in the Penguins' slot but Malkin knocks the puck away with a nice puck check.

15:01: Kunitz whacks a slapper form the high tslot.

14:54: Despres chops a slapper from the right point which is blocked.

14:42: Marleau beats Malkin this time. After Crosby has a cross-ice pass stolen by Demers, Demers taps the puck up to Marleau in the neutral zone. Marleau pushes it up ice one-on-one against Malkin again, gains the offensive zone. He twists Malkin inside out, goes to his backhand and sneaks a shot under Zatkoff's blocker what an effort by Marleau. Crosby sort of chased the play but didn't exactly bust his butt to catch up to Marleau. What a turn of events. Demers gets the only assists. Penguins 2, Sharks 2.

 

14:21: The Penguins get it right back. Sutter controls the puck in the right circle, fakes a shot and identifies Maatta trailing in the left circle. Maatta takes the puck and whips it by Niemi's blocker on the near side. What a calm little pass by Sutter. Niemi didn't have a chance. Sutter and Jokinen get assists. Penguins 3-2.

13:08: This game has blown wide open. Tie game. After a turnover by Gibbons in his own zone, Thornton draws in Scuderi and Crosby and taps a pass to Pavelski in the right wing corner. Pavelski is able to center the puck to the slot where Burns swipes it by a hapless Zatkoff. It looked like Gibbons failed to cover Burns on that shot as well. What a rough shift for him. Pavelski and Thornton get assists. Penguins 3, Sharks 3.

 

12:26: The Sharks get a power play as Jokinen is called for holding Vlasic in the Shark's right wing corner. Sutter, Adams, Orpik and Scuderi take the ice.

12:22: Off an offensive zone faceoff wing, Pavelski whacks a slapper from the right point. Zatkoff holds it out. There's a mad scrmable for the rebound but the Sharks can't clean it up.

11:57: Thornton fires a slapper from above the right circle. Zatkoff eats it up.

11:52: Off another faceoff wing, Marleau lifts a wrister from the right circle. Zatkoff fights it off.

11:35: Pavelski cranks a slapper from the right point wide of the cage.

10:26: The Jokinen minor is killed. The Sharks really had some quality chances there.

9:25: Crosby is out with Jokinen and Stempniak. he deals a pass from deep on the left wing to Niskanen moving down the slot. Niskanen lifts a wrister which Niemi fights off.

9:16: Thornton settles a puck in his own zone, looks up and snap off a breakout pass which springs Burns on a breakaay. Burns walks in from the blue line and lifts a wrister which rings off the left post. Argh.

8:26: Goc has a wrister from the left wing blocked by Boyle.

7:09: Despres knocks over Burns with a solid hit in the Penguins' left wing corner.

6:58: Off a drop pass by Kunitz, Crosby booms a slapper which sails over the net.

6:48: Marleau puesh the puck up the ice, spins off a check from Scuderi in the right circle and deals a pass to Torres trailing in the left circle. Torres lifts a wrister which Zatkoff fights off.

5:39: Oof. The Sharks take a lead with a fluky shot. Thornton pushes a wrister though a Stempniak check in the neutral zone on the left wing, gains the blue line a and chucks a knuckler at the cage which sinks under Zatkoff's glove. That's ugly. Inexcusable for Zatkoff. He looks dejected. The Sharks get their first lead. Pavelski gets the only assist. Sharks 4-3.

 

3:34: Neal deals a pass from the right wing to Niskanen above the right circle. Niskanen rips a wrister which Niemi fights off.

2:39: Pavelski lifts a wrister fro the right circle. Zatkoff gets a piece of it with his blocker.

1:54: Sutter deals a pass from the rght corner to Niskanen charging into the right circle. Niskanen's wrister is denied.

1:46: Niskanen cranks a slapper from the right point. it hits a body in front.

1:26: Zatkoff is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:43: Maatta c hops a slapper from the right  half wall which is blocked.

0:02: Chasing down a loose puck on the right wing, Burns chops it at an empty cage for one of us:

http://old.post-gazette.com/images4/empty_netters_500x85_new.jpg

-Pavelski and Vlasic get assists. Sharks, 5-3.

0:00: End of game. Sharks, 5, Penguins 3.

POSTGAME

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2775/4425627971_d6ded7771a.jpg

-First things first, Robert Bortuzzo suffered an "upper-body" ailment according to Dan Bylsma during the post-game show on Root Sports. He will be evaluated further.

-This loss was very disappointing but it didn't come across as surprising. Considering the Penguins' awful  history in San Jose and their recent run of spotty play, you could sense a Sharks' comeback brewing as this game wore on.

-The turning point was the double minor penalty by Matt Nieto against Simon Despres in the third period. The Penguins had a one-goal lead and a four-minute power-play to work with. While the Penguins did score a goal, they allowed a short-handed goal to Patrick Marleau which helped the Sharks generate momentum in the third period. Instead of icing the game and putting out of reach, the Penguins allowed the Sharks to spark their comeback.

-Jeff Zatkoff had a marvelous night until he was beaten by that knuckle-puck by Joe Thornton. It might have been a bizarre shot, but Zatkoff needed to stop that goal. The only way to describe that score was that it was a killer.

-Sidney Crosby had a pretty rotten game. We're not big fans of the plus-minus statistic, but he was a minus-five. He had a pass intercepted which which led to Marleau's short-handed goal and he made a pretty weak backcheck on the play.

-As the invaluable ShiftChart.com Web site illustrated, Crosby saw plenty of shifts against the Shark's top line:

-If Crosby was clamped down that much, that's where the team's second line, specifically it's second center needed to come through. Malkin didn't hurt the Penguins the way Crosby did tonight, but he was pretty ineffective. Ditto James Neal.

-In summary, the Penguins' three big offensive stars weren't very good tonight.

-We're not sure how much of a direct correlation there was, but it seemed like the Sharks started to play more physical and started to crash the net more once Bortuzzo left the game. Again, were' not sure how much the absence of a No. 6 defenseman had to do with that change, but the timing sure was peculiar.

-Give the Sharks credit. They played their game and pulled out a comeback win. For all their skill, it was a pretty simple approach. The just threw the body around, threw pucks on net and make life difficult for Jeff Zatkoff.

-How dominant did Brent Burns look at times tonight? He looked like Rick Nash in his prime the way he could control the puck in tight spaces.

-Patrick Marleau had a pretty effective game. It seemed like anytime he had the puck, the Penguins were on their heels trying to defend him.

-The shame of this loss was that Antti Niemi looked shaky at times. The Penguins could have done more to take full advantage of his play.

-As far as the "new" guys went, Marcel Goc appeared to have a stronger game than Lee Stempniak. Goc got some time on the penalty kill and was pretty effective in that part of the game. And as we pointed out earlier, he had a subtle, little pass to set up a shot by Tanner Glass which led to Olli Maatta's first goal. He had 11:06 of ice time on 16 shifts, one assist and was 7 for 13 in faceoffs (54 percent).

-Stempniak looked a bit lost at times as he played with several different linemates. He had 15:08 of ice time on 21 shifts, twho shots and was 5 for 12 on faceoffs (42 percent).

-Sutter had a pretty solid game. He seemed to be energized by playing with new linemates. The play he made to set up Maatta's second goal was pretty composed.

-Speaking of Maatta, he was one of the few Penguins who had nothing to be ashamed of tonight.

-Despres had a pretty strong game. He was one of the few Penguins who matched the Shark's physical play and he even drew a double minor.

-Brian Gibbons had been doing just enough to stay on the top line with Crosby and Kunitz. Tonight, he did quite a bit to get kicked off that line. He had an ugly turnover and a poor back check which led to San Jose's first goal.

-The Sharks dominated shots on net, 47-22.

-The Sharks led in attempted shots, 78-54.

-Marleau led in shots on net with seven.

-Maatta led the Penguins with four shots.

-Niskanen led the Penguins with 25:16 of ice time.

-Joe Pavelski led the Sharks with 23:46.

-The Sharks had a 30-29 edge in faceoffs (51 percent).

-Couture was 9 for 13 (69 percent).

-Crosby was 12 for 20 (60 percent).

-Tanner Glass, Dan Boyle and Marc-Edouard Vlasic each led the game with four blocked shots.

-The Penguins extended their losing streak in San Jose to 11 games (0-9-2). They have not won there since Oct. 22, 1997.

-How long ago was Oct. 22, 1997? Olli Maatta was four years old. Also, this movie had been theaters for five days by that date:

-Goc scored his first point with the Penguins.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights:

 

Join the conversation:

To report inappropriate comments, abuse and/or repeat offenders, please send an email to socialmedia@post-gazette.com and include a link to the article and a copy of the comment. Your report will be reviewed in a timely manner. Thank you.