-Dany Sabourin gets the start in net. It's an odd choice in our book. Granted, Marc-Andre Fleury hasn't played strong this season and the Penguins have a game Saturday in Washington, but you would think the Penguins would want their best goaltender playing against a good team like Carolina. Save Sabourin for a lesser team like Washington.
-Paul Steigerwald gives Maxime Talbot's fu-manchu some love. Hulk Hogan not impressed.
-Sabourin's new helmet has a picture of what looks like a baby on the side of it.
19:35: Things get off to a bad start as Sergei Gonchar goes the penalty box for -- what else -- a hooking call.
19:01: Ray Whitney bangs a slapper by Sabourin from the left boards. It's a bad goal for Sabourin. He went to his knees far too easily when playing the puck. Hurricanes 1-0.
17:32: Erik Christensen thumps Steve Gleason down with a shoulder to the chest.
16:42: Two nights after playing a really bad game, Ryan Malone does what he can to get the Penguins fired up. He picks the Penguins' first fight of the season with the Hurricanes' biggest player, Mike Commodore (6-foot-5, 228 pounds). Commodore pretty much controls the battle and pummels Malone with a few punches before the two fall to the ice. Some fat guy in a blue stripped shirt who is sitting next to the penalty box snaps a picture of Malone with his cell phone.
15:56: The Penguins don't get their first shot on goal until over four minutes into the contest as Jarkko Ruutu gets off a bad angle wrister from the right corner. Cam Ward makes the save.
14:45: Michel Therrien is looking smooth donning a black suit with an orange dress shirt and an orange spotted tie.
14:03: We are treated to a video of Malone asking Commodore to fight. Malone can be heard asking, "Wanna go Commie?"
13:14: We're told that Gary Roberts is a dentist's best friend. He doesn't let any of the Penguins eat junk food. Would you try sneaking a Mars Bar on Roberts' watch?
12:42: Colby Armstrong blocks a slap shot by Matt Cullen from the point and hobbles off the ice.
10:04: A shocking development occurs as Ruutu takes a hooking penalty.
9:18: Armstrong blocks another slapper from the point by Cullen and hobbles to the bench again.
8:10: Malone steals the puck and generates a short-handed opportunity. On a breakaway, he tries to jam up Ward with a fake shot and attack the five hole, but Ward makes the save.
7:48: On a delayed penalty, Crosby sends a pass into the crease to a streaking Ruutu who fires a shot right into Ward's mid-section. Ruutu can't stop his momentum and leaps to avoid hitting Ward. He ends up hitting Scott Walker instead the way Sonic the Hedgehog would attack Dr. Robotnik. Walker is stunned a bit, but gets up. Ruutu advances to the Aquatic Ruin Zone.
5:29: Erik Cole blocks a slap shot by Mark Eaton and it deflects into the neutral zone. Cole immediately scoops up the rebound and comes in alone on a breakaway. He shoots low, but Sabourin stops the puck with his right leg.
1:23: Linesman Mark Shewchyk tries to avoid the puck but accidentally pops Niclas Wallin in the face with his elbow. The Carolina defenseman lays on the ice for a few minutes and returns to the Carolina bench. Shewchyk is suspended for 25 games.
1:02: Sidney Crosby attempts a back-handed wrap-around. Ward makes the save but the rebound slides out into the crease. Sykora gets his Michel Ouellet on and backhands the puck in for a garbage goal. It is the 250th goal in Sykora's career. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
0:40: FSN Pittsburgh brings up a brilliant stat. Sykora has the most goals among active players without ever netting a hat trick. The top five:PlayerGoalsPetr Sykora250Mike Sillinger224Nicklas Lidstrom203Shane Doan199Chris Chelios183
In all fairness to Chelios, hats had not yet been invented when he first began his career.
0:00: End of period. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
-EN Reader Lowell Murray brought this to our attention recently. Does Petr Sykora sound like Rainer Wolfcastle from the Simpsons?
-Wow. A video highlighing some of the Penguins players with 500 career goals shows Chris Tamer assisting on Joe Mullen's 500th.
16:03: A bad line change by the Penguins results on a three-on-one for the Hurricanes. Sabourin makes two save in close on Brind'amour. As the puck bounces around the crease, Sabourin lays down on the ice as if he's trying to get a tan. Trevor Letowski takes advantage of it and shoots the loose puck high and gets a goal. Hurricanes 2-1.
15:40: The Penguins make a classy gesture and acknowledge Ron Francis' recent appointment as the assistant general manager of the Carolina Hurricanes. Fans offer a standing ovation for the former Penguin.
14:17: Someone should forward Ruutu's mail to the penalty box. He takes another penalty as he kicks out Ray Whitney's legs. He enters the box, takes a swig of water and slams the water bottle on the floor.
12:05: We find out we missed a former Penguin our ex-Penguins section of our game preview. FSN Pittsburgh shows that Carolina associate coach Kevin McCarthy was a former Penguin.
10:56: The Penguins squander a fantastic opportunity. A four-on-one develops for the Penguins but the grouping of Adam Hall, Gary Roberts, Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Whitney fails to even get a clean shot off.
5:00: Brind'amour trips over Eaton's leg and falls into Sabourin. No call.
4:40: Justin Williams comes into the zone with the puck, uses Rob Scuderi as a screen and sends a laser past Sabourin's blocker. Replays show Crosby basically dogging it on the back-check. Hurricanes 3-1.
3:53: Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out pretty early.
3:21: FSN Pittsburgh is bringing it tonight. They have the top five goal-scorers among defensemen since 2000:PlayerGoalsSergei Gonchar100Rob Blake94Mathieu Schneider85Nicklaus Lidstrom82Bryan McCabe77
2:34: An odd scene occurs when Walker goes to the bench and falls to his knees. Medical personnel from both teams come to examine Walker and a stretcher even is wheeled out. As he slowly gets to his feet, Steigerwald wonders if he suffered an internal injury. With assistance he slowly skates to the Penguins locker room.
2:06: Ruutu sends a wrist shot from the right boards on net and Ward makes the save. Hall pounces on the rebound and scores his first goal as a Penguin. Hurricanes 3-2.
1:38: Commodore tries to shoot the puck but his stick breaks. Recchi grabs the loose puck and brings it into the Hurricane's zone. As he skates along the left boards, a stickless Commodore reaches out and grabs the faster Recchi in one of the most obvious penalties we've seen in quite a while. After grabbing Recchi, Commodore holds his hands up as if he were O.J. Simpson.
0:05: On a two-man advantage, Gonchar bombs a slapper from the point and Ward makes the save. The rebound trickles out into the slot and Sykora is there again with Michel Ouellet goal. Hurricanes 3, Penguins 3.
0:00: End of period. Hurricanes 3, Penguins 3.
-College hockey highlights? Nice.
19:13: Crosby comes along the goal line and fires the puck into the pads of a kneeling Ward. Crosby's momentum carries him towards Ward and he completely leaps the Carolina goalkeeper in an impressive display of agility.
17:04: Bob Errey informs us that Walker was taken to a hospital with a torso injury.
16:36: Recchi trips up Commodore who didn't exactly do his best to stay on his feet. Recchi is sent to the box for two minutes.
16:05: Sabourin comes up with a big save. Brind'amour sends a puck through the crease to Whitney who tries to poke it into net. Sabourin is able to kick it out.
12:23: Roberts and Frantisek Kaberle each get away with penalties as replays show the two shoving each other in front of the teams' benches.
10:34: On a power play, Malkin shoots a slapper and Recchi re-directs it into Ward's five hole. Recchi raises his hands as if to celebrate, but Ward's not having it. No goal.
7:57: Ray Whitney has a prime opportunity in the slot, but Rob Scuderi makes a nice block on his shot.
6:16: Cole shoots a one time from the left faceoff circle, but Sabourin make a big save down low.
2:45: Crosby takes the puck behind the Carolina net and is held up along the boards by Commodore. No call.
0:00: End of period. Hurricanes 3, Penguins 3.
-Before the first overtime period of the Penguins season begins, we see Crosby getting a change of gloves. We again wonder if the "sweat" problem the new Reebok Edge-Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-You Uniform System jerseys have been alleviated.
3:17: Ray Whitney fires a rising slap shot that Sabourin calmly gloves.
0:02: Malone takes a pass in the high slot from Ryan Whitney. He fires a shot just wide of the net.
0:00: End of period. Hurricanes 3, Penguins 3.
-Cam Ward's first career win from the 2005-06 season is shown. He got it by stopping Ziggy Palffy, Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux in a shootout.
-Who else but Erik Christensen would be first? He calmly comes down the ice, dekes to the forehand, sends Ward sprawling and easily scores. Penguins 1-0.
-Matt Cullen simply comes down the middle of the ice, slows down near the crease, makes a slight deke and beats an out of position Sabourin. Hurricanes 1, Penguins 1.
-Sykora flies down with speed and goes to the backhand and lifts it over Ward's glove hand. Ward kicks the puck out the crease in frustration. Errey says "He had the look of a python, but had the bite of a gardner snake." Pardon the biology lesson, but that really doesn't make sense. Neither pythons nor gardner snakes (or garter snakes if you want to be proper) are poisonous. Either way, Penguins 2-1.
-Jeff Hamilton goes wide, avoids Sabourin's poke check and lifts a backhander off the cross-bar and the far post into the net. Hurricanes 2, Penguins 2.
-Crosby comes down the middle, lifts his leg, fakes a shot and dekes Ward for the easy goal. Penguins 3-2.
-Whitney tries to shoot high again on Sabourin, but the Penguins goaltender easily gloves the wrister for the win. Penguins win the shootout 3-2 and win the game, 4-3..
-Sabourin allowed a few shaky goals, but he made some big saves.
-Malone played a strong game after having a mental meltdown Wednesday.
-We've neglected to mention this so far, but The Pensblog is selling WWGRD (What Would Gary Roberts Do?) bracelets. Steigerwald made a mention of them in the third period.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Check out Nike Bauer's Web site for some entertaining videos of the Staal brothers. We can't link to the videos directly, but if you have at least three brain cells, you'll be able to easily navitage the site and find the videos.
-In case you don't have three brain cells, go to "Players" then go to "Staal Brothers."
-Henry Staal (Papa Staal) looks like former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
-Sadly, no bachelor party videos are available.
(Kudos to EN reader Ryan Wolf for spotting this.)
-Jonathan Toews scored a sick goal for the Blackhawks last night in a 5-3 defeat of Colorado.
Those are the Colorado announcers going crazy on the call by the way. You know it's a good goal when the opponent's play-by-play guy loses his head over it.
PEOPLE READ US
-A reader who doesn't get to watch the Penguins on a regular basis wonders if Sidney Crosby is really that fast.
"I was able to catch the second period scoring rally Friday night via the Yahoo broadcast, and it seemed like Sidney skates twice as fast as everyone else on the ice. Is this true or was it just that every other skater was experiencing an internet lag that Sid wasn't?
Now I saw Sid in person last year in Pittsburgh, but I was wearing my Nordiques jersey and some French Canadians spotted it from across the arena and insisted on buying me as many beers as I could handle, so everyone on the ice looked like blur, not just Sid.
Is Sid really that fast?!" -Tom Rubritz, Orlando, Fla.
EN-First off, we're not French Canadian, but we would buy Tom every beer in Mellon Arena if we saw him in a Curtis Leschyshyn jersey.
-Second, yes Crosby is that fast. He's not an outright speed demon like Alexander Ovechkin or Ilya Kovalchuk, but Crosby can move. He's had skating and conditioning coaches since he was a child. He's as technically perfect skater as you can find in the NHL.