Back to the future

Nov. 23, 2007

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The Penguins play a game reminiscent of the halcyon days of 2006-07 and defeat the best team in the league, the Senators, 6-5 in shootout.

PREGAME

-Paul Steigerwald's on board with The Pensblog. He asks "What Would Gary Roberts Do?" to open the broadcast.

-Steigerwald loses all his street cred however when he says Lyndon Slewidge is maybe the greatest national anthem singer in the league. Jeff Jimerson might have something to say about that.

-Slewidge is a fine singer and he obviously takes pride in what he does, but he's not Jeff Jimerson. It's that simple.

-Mark Recchi, Darryl Sydor and Maxime Talbot are scratched again.

-Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start in net which is odd considering he played the night before.

-Four Winnipeg Jets fans in the crowd? Somewhere, Pat Elynuik is tearing up with pride somewhere.

-We will acknowledge that Slewidge's ability to go alternate between English and French during "O Canada" does give him a distinct advantage over Jimerson, but we subscribe to the school of thought that a language doesn't really exist unless it comes out of Jimerson's mouth.

FIRST PERIOD

19:55: You can tell something is up with the Penguins early on. Tyler Kennedy and Jordan Staal connect with some hits on the forecheck. Something was said between now and Wednesday's loss to New Jersey.

18:48: Jarkko Ruutu gets in on the action as he runs over Wade Redden behind the Senators net.

18:27: In perhaps the slowest fight since "Higher Learning", Georges Laraque and Brian McGrattan go at it. It takes each about 28 minutes to take their gloves off and drop the sticks and another 49 minutes to actually engage each other after skating around. They each throw a couple of big haymakers that don't connect and then wrestle each other to the ice. While that is going on, Ruutu collided with Redden at mid-ice again. Redden pushed Ruutu before officials separate them. Shean Donovan skates over to Ruutu and taps him on the back. Ruutu flops to the ice as if he were hit by a bus. Laraque and McGrattan go off for fighting while Donovan gets a roughing penalty while Ruutu is sent off for diving.

17:17: The Penguins get the advantage early as Chris Neil gets two minutes for hooking. McGratton leaves the penalty box and goes to the Senators' locker room.

16:16: Steigerwald mentions that the ice is fast tonight due to some cold weather in Ottawa.

15:06: Luke Richardson fires a puck on net on a one-timer. It hits a body in the slot and Jason Spezza bangs it through Fleury's pads. As it trickles through the crease, Kris Letang tries to snag it out, but it crosses the goal line before Letang can do anything about it. Senators 1-0.

11:00: Punching is apparently legal in the NHL now. Mike Fisher socks Ruutu in the neck and Ruutu is sent off for diving. We're not saying Ruutu doesn't embellish things in order to draw penalties, but this is ridiculous. If you want to send Ruutu off, fine, but how does Fisher not get a penalty? He PUNCHED Ruutu in the head. A punch is a punch.

9:05: Chris Phillips winds up and fires a slap shot from the point. It stays along the ice and beats Fleury low. It's a bad goal by Fleury to give up, even with traffic in front of him. Michel Therrien pulls Fleury for Dany Sabourin who should've started this game either way. A goaltender shouldn't play on back-to-back nights when one of those games is on the road. Senators/Officials 2-0.

8:01: The officials even things up when they send Donovan off the ice for holding.

1:54: Petr Sykora steals a pass by Daniel Alfredsson in the Penguins zone. Evgeni Malkin takes the puck and plays it through Alexander Nikulin's skates. Malkin blows by Nikulin as if he were standing still and generates a breakaway. He bears down on Martin Gerber and beats him stick-side. Senators 2-1.

1:35: Sidney Crosby brings the puck into the offensive zone and drops a pass in the left faceoff circle for Ryan Malone. Malone squares up and burns Gerber on the stick-side again. Penguins 2, Senators 2.

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

FIRST INTERMISSION

-Malone gives Dan Potash a hug. Potash is flustered.

SECOND PERIOD

14:33: A Magnus Arvedson highlight? (And by "highlight" we mean a video of him getting plastered by Gary Roberts when he was with Toronto.)

12:26: Jason Spezza sends a nice pass along the goal line to Antoine Vermette who tries to beat Sabourin but can get the puck past him.

12:00: Staal loses the puck to Redden but manages to steal it right back off him. Kennedy picks up the loose puck, turns and fires a hard wrister through traffic that beats Gerber. Penguins 3-2.

9:33: Donovan's rough night continues as he takes his third penalty of the game.

9:13: Petr Sykora snaps a sharp wrister from the left faceoff circle that hits the far side post.

8:15: Phillips trips Crosby and gets two minutes. The Penguins will get 42 seconds with a two-man advantage.

7:33: Donovan's penalty expires with the Penguins failing to generate a serious scoring chance.

6:15: The Phillips penalty expires with the Penguins only getting two shots on net.

5:39: Redden sweeps a puck in the slot on net. It gets deflected right to Spezza on the right side of the crease. Spezza easily pokes it past an out-of-place Sabourin. Penguins 3, Senators 3.

5:00: Malone dumps the puck into the corner and his held up by Phillips as he pursues it. No call.

4:32: Malkin trips Gerber up from behind and gets two minutes for goaltender interference. Gerber gets away with a dive of his own. In a rare show of sportsmanship, Malkin actually taps Gerber on the pads to apologize. Evgeni Malkin's Lady Byng campaign has officially begun.

3:46: It doesn't matter who's goaltending when you leave a 50-goal scorer in the slot alone with a clean shot on net. From behind the goal-line, Alfredsson feeds Heatley who snaps a one-timer past a helpless Sabourin. Senators 4-3.

2:11: Richardson hauls down Kennedy and is given two minutes. At this point, are the Penguins allowed to decline the penalty? They're 0-for-5 on the power play.

1:24: Sykora nullifies the power play as he takes a holding penalty.

0:53: Colby Armstrong gets away with a hold on Heatley.

0:00: End of period. Senators 4, Penguins 3.

SECOND INTERMISSION-The Penguins are 0-for-6 on the power play while the Senators are a perfect 2-for-2.

-Is it us or does Tyler Kennedy look sort of like Michel Ouellet?

-If nothing else, Kennedy's nose looks like the nose of California congressman Henry Waxman.

-We felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. We fear something terrible has happened. There was no obligatory camera shot of Mike Yeo before the third period.

-Dan Potash attempts to alleviate our concerns with an interview with Andre Savard but it's to no avail. Alderaan is doomed

THIRD PERIOD

18:56: Andrej Meszaros fires a quick wrister from the point on net. Christoph Schubert is in the crease and deflects the puck past Sabourin. Good thing they pulled Fleury. Senators 5-3.

18:18: Kennedy trips Joe Corvo up in the Senators' zone. No call.

17:05: Again, good thing they pulled Fleury. Afterall it was totally his fault when guys like Dany Heatley are left totally alone in the crease and get clean shots on net. Thankfully for the Penguins Dany Sabourin makes the save.

14:47: Chris Neil hooks Rob Scuderi in the slot. Two minutes.

14:05: A power play goal by the Penguins? We forgot what those looked like. Letang feeds a pass to Gonchar at the point and he blasts a one-timer on net. The puck hits a cluster of bodies and falls to Ryan Malone who punches it into an empty net. Senators 5-4.

12:55: Armstrong takes the puck behind the Senators net. He throws such a good fake on Daniel Alfredsson that he even fakes himself out and falls to the ice. From his knees he feeds the puck to Gonchar who's streaking down the crease and one-times a shot by Gerber. Penguins 5, Senators 5.

9:57: Heatley has a prime opportunity with a loose puck in the crease. Sabourin is able to make the save.

9:39: The Penguins take their 484th too many men on the ice penalty of the season. At what point does the coaching staff need to be held accountable for that?

9:18: From the left corner, Spezza sends a marvelous pass across the crease to Joe Corvo who one-times a shot on net. Sabourin is able to recover and make the big save.

7:37: As the penalty expires, Antoine Vermette tries to poke the puck past a prone Sabourin. The Penguins goaltender is able to squeeze his pads together and freeze the puck.

6:52: Dean McAmmond wipes out an official in the corner.

2:59: Vermette hooks Malkin and is sent to the box.

1:15: While killing the penalty, Alfredsson pushes the puck into the Penguins zone. Malkin engages him and Alfredsson flops to the ice. Senators fans boo wanting a penalty, but given standards the officials have created in this game, Alfredsson could've been called for diving.

0:00: End of period. As the horn sounds, Meszaros and Heatley get involved in a scrum with Armstrong. Some Cotton-Eyed Joe is played. Penguins 5, Senators 5.

OVERTIME

1:59: Fisher comes flying down the left side and fires a wrist shot that Sabourin eats up.

1:39: Malone feeds a cross-ice pass into the corner for Crosby. Phillips holds up Crosby. No call.

0:55: With Gonchar in deep freelancing, the Senators generate a two-on-one with Heatley and Chris Kelly. Heatley bears down the right side with the puck but can't get a pass or a shot off due to a marvelous play by Mark Eaton who falls to the ice and denies the Senators star a clean opportunity.

0:46: Armstrong brings the puck into the offensive zone, stops and feed Malkin in the crease. Malkin fires a shot that hits the outside of the post.

0:28: Kelly brings the puck into the Penguins zone and leaves a drop pass for Spezza who tries to fire a slap shot on net. Eaton is there to block it with his stick.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 5, Senators 5.

SHOOTOUT

-The Senators shoot first and send out Spezza. He glides down the center and easily beats Sabourin five-hole. That wasn't hard. Senators 1-0.

-Mr. Automatic Erik Christensen comes down the center of the ice. He dekes to the left and it appears that Gerber denied it with his right leg. The officials wave it off but replays show the rebound getting batted into the net by Gerber's right arm. Penguins 1, Senators 1.

-Vermette does a leg lift and tries to go the left side but misses the net.

-Sykora approaches the net with speed but fires wide.

-Heatley takes a wide approach to the net and fires a wrister that hits the post.

-Crosby goes low on Gerber who kicks it out with his left leg.

-Fisher attacks with speed and tries to go with a backhander that misses the net.

-Malkin puts on about 39 shoulder fakes but can't jam up Gerber. Malkin fires a weak shot that is easily saved.

-Those posts are being kind to the Penguins again. Dean McAmmond flies in on net and shoots high hitting the iron.

-Ruutu makes a sick shoulder fake that fools Gerber and then goes low with a backhand that sneaks under Gerber's left leg. It's a gutsy move to make in such a situation but it pays off. Penguins 2-1.

-End of shootout. Penguins 6, Senators 5.

POSTGAME

-What an amazing game. Why can't more NHL games be like this? Even with the shoddy officiating. End to end rushes, lots of offense, lots of big time goaltending, big time drama.

-Are we the only ones wondering how the Penguins won this game? They were outshot 36-25, their special teams were atrocious and the Senators are clearly the better team.

-The Penguins went 1-for-8 on the power play why Ottawa was 2-for-4.

-It's amazing what happens when you get scoring from other players than your top two. Crosby and Malkin did not have a hand in the Penguins' last three goals.

-Even if you throw out the second absurd diving call on Ruutu, this was easily the worse officiating we've seen all season. The Senators and the Penguins got away with numerous holding or interference calls. Remember the "New" NHL?

-Malkin has now scored at least a point in 15 consecutive games.

-Gonchar played an insane 30:35.

-We're not sure if McGrattan was injured during his fight with Laraque, but he only had 1:36 of ice time.

-Shelly Anderson's recap.

-Game summary.

-Event summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-EN reader Eric Politowski put together a compilation of the first 10 fights of the season for the Penguins:

-Eric was also the genius that put put together the video we posted a few days ago with every goal the Penguins had scored in the first 20 games this season:

-The value of the franchise is rising.

Northeast Division

-Hall-of-fame Canadiens defenseman and former Bruins head coach Tom Johnson passed away.

Southeast Division

-Panthers defenseman Noah Welch, a former Penguin who is out for the season with a shoulder injury, has been doing everything he can to keep his lower body in shape.

-According to Tarik El-Bashir of the Washington Post, new Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau is a yeller.

Central Division

-A three-point night by Martin Erat led the Predators to a 3-2 defeat of the Red Wings.

-Patrick Sharp scored his fifth short-handed goal of the month and helped the Blackhawks edge the Flames, 2-1. Both of the Blackhawks' goals were shorthanded.

Pacific Division

-According to the New York Post, Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski denied a trade to the Islanders.

Northwest Division

-Peter Budaj stopped a whopping 14 shots for the Avalanche in a 3-2 defeat of the Oilers.

-Apparently feeling having only one useless, untalented piece of trash like Derek Boogaard wasn't enough, the Wild claimed former Stars goon Todd Fedoruk off waivers.

Wales Conference

-Neil Best of Newsday reviews the NHL Network.

-Wayne Scanlan of the National Post wonders if too many penalties are being called.



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