Sidney Crosby's three assists in the third period lift the Penguins to a 4-2 win in Edmonton.
-Paul Steigerwald busts out comparisons between Crosby and Gretzky. O.K. Malkin and Messier. O.K. Letang and Coffey?!? Uh, we're not buying that one.
-What about Fleury and Fuhr?
-Bob Errey busts out a frozen tundra reference. Uh, that's like calling ice frozen ice. It wouldn't be tundra if it wasn't frozen.
-We're not quite sure who to hate more in the FSN holiday commercial. Steely McBeam or Steve Tello, the president of FSN who had Mike Lange canned from the Penguins telecasts.
-Is it us, or does it seem like there's three lights on in Rexall Place?
-Sergei Gonchar dresses tonight for the first time in three games.
-With Gonchar back, the Penguins go with seven defensemen. Adam Hall is scratched for the first time since the first game of the season.
-Jarkko Ruutu is scratched too.
-Georges Laraque and Maxime Tablot will compose the fourth line along with whoever is fresh.
19:46: Steigerwald tells us that the ice in Edmonton, which is usually regarded as the best, is now about 11th. How do you come to the conclusion that an ice surface is 11th? We understand that there's good ice and bad ice in the league. Obviously cities like Edmonton or Montreal will give you a better playing surface than places such as Tampa Bay or Dallas. But how exactly do you rate it numerically? Is there something like a BCS formula for ice? Does strength of schedule figure into it?
16:10: Maxime Talbot centers a pass from the corner to Petr Sykora who tries to one-time it from the slot. Dwayne Roloson is in good position and eats the puck up.
14:21: The Oilers control the puck in the offensive zone and get the Penguins scrambling to follow it. Joni Pitkanen sends a pass from the point diagonally across the zone to Robert Nilsson who fires a one-timer past Fleury. Oilers 1, Penguins 0.
8:20: Rob Scuderi hits Shawn Horcoff from behind against the boards. Two minutes.
7:21: We get a delay as the door to the Penguins bench can't be closed.
0:00: End of period. Oilers 1, Penguins 0.
-First Eat 'n Park Christmas tree commercial of the year by our count.
-All those banners in Edmonton look very cool.
18:12: One of the weird things about Rexall Place is how the cameras are set up in. The penalty and official boxes are on the opposite side of the rink from where the main game cameras are positioned. It's the only rink in the league that is set up in this fashion. It always throws us off not being able to see two benches full of players up at the top of the screen anytime we watch an Oilers home game.
16:49: Sidney Crosby comes flying into the offensive zone and slides a backhanded pass over to the right side. Erik Christensen whips a hard wrister up high. Roloson scrambles and juuuust gloves it.
16:41: Driving towards the net, Crosby is upended by Jarrett Stoll. Crosby appears to have embellished the call a bit.
11:43: Replays show Crosby getting away with a pretty bad slash on Dustin Penner's stick. He pretty much Paul Bunyaned it out of Penner's hands.
8:20: Robbie Brown's in the booth!?!?! Someone tell Alyssa Milano to TiVo this!
5:02: As we squint to see if Brown's hair plugs have finally set in, he all of a sudden starts doing the "pump" he used to do back in his playing days! Before he can get going though, he hits his elbow on a panel behind him.
2:38: Out of the corner, Ales Hemsky sneaks a pass across the crease to Shawn Horcoff who fires a quick one-timer from the left faceoff circle. The Penguins defense looked pretty bad standing around on that play. Oilers 2-0.
0:00: End of a boring period. Boring game. Oilers 2, Penguins 0.
-This is reminding us a lot of the Toronto game Saturday. The Penguins played that game pretty flat for the first two periods. This has become a far too common theme for them.
-Even with the lackluster effort, the Penguins are outshooting Edmonton, 19-14.
-It's right before the third period and we get Mike Yeo back. We can't quit Mike Yeo.
-Why does it look like the Penguins are walking out of a coal mine right before the third period?
13:55: Mark Eaton fakes a shot from the point and gets a defender to commit and fall to the ice for a block. Eaton skates by the prone defender and slides a pass to Evgeni Malkin who blasts a one-timer. Roloson makes the initial save, but gives up juicy rebound. Maxime Talbot dives and swats the puck in with a backhand to pull the Penguins within one goal. Oilers 2-1.
13:34: Holy Pavel Skrbek are things picking up. Crosby comes flying into the offensive zone and pulls up just inside the blueline. He allows to Oilers defenders to skate deep and open things up. Crosby spots Kris Letang who rifles a wrist shot through Roloson for a goal. Oilers 2, Penguins 2
11:45: Petr Sykora brings the puck into the offensive zone and sends a soft pass towards the net. Talbot tries to re-direct it on net, but Roloson holds his ground with a nice save.
10:12: The crowd, which has been quiet most of the night, begins with a pretty weak, "Let's Go... Oyyy... lersss... Let's Go... Oyyy... Lersss..."
9:03: Eaton has the puck at the point and fires a gentle slapper at the net. It hits a body in front of the net and bounces in for a goal. Colby Armstrong gets credit for a goal. Penguins 3-2.
7:32: Marty Reasoner gets whistled for holding. It is only the third penalty of the game so far.
6:30: Someone said something in the second intermission. Gonchar fires a slapper from the top of the crease. It hits a body and kicks to the near boards. Crosby grabs it and sends a cross-ice pass to Whitney who scores on the "back door." Penguins 4-2.
3:29: Horcoff fires a one-timer from the slot that Fleury is able to kick out.
1:42: Oilers coach Craig MacTavish pulls Roloson for an extra attacker.
0:53: Fleury grabs a loose puck and tries for one of us just like he did Monday against the Coyotes. Tom Gilbert is able to knock it down with his fist at his own blueline before it gets anywhere near the net.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 4, Oilers 2.
-It's not often you play only one period and come away with such a convincing win. But you can do that against teams like the Oilers who are short on talent. You can't do that against many other teams in the league.
-The Oilers might have the worst uniforms in the entire league. And that's saying something considering the hatchet job Reebok did in pretty much almost every team's jersey. They look like pajamas. They're so ugly that the Oilers CEO, Patrick LaForge, pointed out that the team is allowed to change them in 2009.
YOU FIGURE OUT A BETTER WAY TO USE "HEXAKOSIOIHEXEKONTAHEXAPHOBIA" IN A HEADLINE
-Miroslav Satan picked up an assist in a 4-3 shootout loss in Atlanta. He now is six points away from 666 in his career.
-Six months after doing that, Scott Niedermayer's offseason has finally ended. The superstar defenseman ended his "retirement" yesterday.
The Ducks have been sputtering some this season playing around .500 hockey. The combination of a Stanley Cup "hangover" and a few questionable signings such as Todd Bertuzzi, have left this team out of playoff contention much of the season to this point.
Even if he's at half-speed, Niedermayer's presence can only help this team. When we last saw him on a NHL rink as a player, Niedermayer was arguably the best defenseman in the sport. Combine him with another all-world talent such as Chris Pronger, and all-star caliber defenseman Francois Beauchemin and Mathieu Schneider, Anaheim may have one of the finest corps of blue-liners in history.
(By the way, the Stanley Cup finals need to be broadcast in... whatever that language is more often.)
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Michel Therrien gives his take on the Mark Recchi situation.
-Should Jordan Staal go to the World Juniors?
-The Sabres will hold a "house party" for the AARP Winter Classic at HSBC Arena. The festivities begin at 11:30 and you can watch the game inside the arena on their new high-definition scoreboard.
-Ned Havern scored the only goal for the Wheeling Nailers in a 4-1 loss at Reading.
-Patrik Elias scored two goals, including one in overtime, and gave the Devils a 4-3 win against the Bruins. Zach Parise also had two goals.
-The Flyers got a goal and an assist from Jeff Carter and beat the Wild, 3-1.
-The Devils named Jamie Langenbrunner captain.
-Former Penguins forward Randy Robitaille scored two goals and goaltender Ray Emery came up big with a save on a penalty shot, and the Senators claimed a 5-4 win in Florida. The win snaps a seven-game losing streak for Ottawa.
-Defenseman Brian Campbell was named the Sabres captain for December.
-The Blue Jackets scored four goals in the third period and claimed a 5-4 win against the Avalanche.
-A goal and assist by Brendan Morrison helped the Canucks beat the Blackhawks, 3-2.
-The Avalanche activated forward Ian Laperriere from injured reserve.
-Joe Thornton had a goal and two assists for the Sharks and lifted them to a 3-2 win at Dallas.
-The Coyotes got a goal and two assists from Peter Mueller in a 4-1 defeat of the Kings.
-Andy McDonald's goal and assists helped the Ducks beat the Sabres, 4-1.
-From the "No Duh" department, former Canucks coach Marc Crawford may have ordered Todd Bertuzzi to attack Steve Moore.