Ty Conklin makes 35 saves and helps the Penguins beat their Florida opponent, the Panthers, 3-0.
-As he's interviewed by Dan Potash, Jarkko Ruutu is displaying quite a hockey face. He has two cuts under his right eye and his left eye is turning black.
-Before the game started, on the advice of many EN readers, we went to PenStation and two kiosks in Mellon Arena looking for those reversible blue and white toques the Penguins wore before the Winter Classic. But much like Ozzy Osbourne, they were sold out.
-Paul Steigerwald continues the Jeff Taffe Hart Trophy campaign as he notes the Penguins are 6-1 with him in the lineup.
-We're not sure who sang the national anthem. It was OK. But it was no Jeff Jimerson.
-19:45: Paul Steigerwald calls the Panthers' new jerseys "pretty." A honey-baked ham is pretty. Your girlfriend's little black dress is pretty. A tic-tac-toe pass between Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Colby Armstrong is pretty. Those train wrecks Reebok calls uniforms aren't pretty.
15:34: With a man on him, Malone zips a pass from the corner to Tyler Kennedy in the slot. Kennedy one-times it and beats Tomas Vokoun. Steigerwald calls him "The little tiger." Tony the Tiger vomits. Penguins 1-0.
13:43: Crosby brings the puck into the offensive zone and backs into the corner. He slides a cross-ice pass to Ryan Whitney. The Penguins defenseman fires a low shot that Vokoun makes a save on with his left leg. The rebound kicks out to the slot where Evgeni Malkin punches it in for an easy goal. Penguins 2-0.
13:26: Steigerwald calls Malkin "Gene, Gene, the Dancing Machine." We've always been a little wary to accept Steigerwald's lame nicknames he tries to force feed us. But we'll accept anything related to "The Gong Show."
11:16: Crosby shows some amazing one-ice awareness as he forces the puck into the slot but is held up by two Panthers. Instead of trying to get off some dinky little shot, Crosby sees Armstrong trailing on the play and sends a pass to him. Armstrong one-times the puck and Vokoun is forced to make a nice save on it.
10:48: Armstrong brings the puck into the offensive zone on the left side and sends a pass into the crease for Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar one-times it but hits the near post.
9:57: Michel Therrien is interviewed by Bob Errey, who is doing the game from between the benches. Therriend is sporting a pink shirt with a pink, striped tied and a grayish-blue jacket. Solid.
6:22: While racing for a loose puck to prevent an icing call, Jordan Staal hits an official, misses the puck and David Booth touches it. The Penguins are called for icing and Darryl Sydor can be seen from the bench giving a stern lecture to the officials with a finger-point and everything.
0:45: From behind the net, Crosby feeds the puck to Malkin and he punches a quick one-timer on net that Vokoun makes a save on down low. The rebound kicks out to the slot and Armstrong jumps on it. He fires his shot directly into Vokoun however who makes the save.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Panthers 0.
-The shots are even, 11-11.
-During the intermission, Errey bad-mouths the Jofa helmet.
17:34: Someone needs to tell Steigerwald about these nicknames. He calls Kennedy and Jordan Staal "Frick and Frack."
15:17: Brett McLean drives to the net and tries to jam it past Conklin. The Penguins goaltender sprawls and keeps the puck out of the net. Anthony Stewart jumps on the rebound but can't lift it enough as Conklin traps it and freezes play.
6:02: On a two-on-two, Crosby keeps it simple and shoots low on Vokoun who is able trap the puck under his pads.
5:21: Radek Dvorak slams Kris Letang in the corner with a nice body check.
1:33: Malone steals the puck, brings it into the Florida zone and fires a slapper. Vokoun makes the save. The rebound kicks out and Tyler Kennedy tries to score, but Jay Bouwmeester makes a marvelous block on the shot.
0:00: End of a boring period. Penguins 2, Panthers 0.
-The Panthers own a 23-21 edge in shots.
-Errey interviews Mike Yeo. Two games in a row, Yeo is interviewed before the third period. We're getting spoiled.
16:14: Richard Zednik streaks down the right side and centers a pass for Jozef Stumpel. Stumpel tries to one-time it, but Conklin stones him.
13:03: Jordan Staal works his way through the Florida defense and generates a mini-breakaway. He fires a quick wrister down low but Vokoun keeps it out with his right foot and covers the puck with his glove. A scrum ensues and Adam Hall gets powerbombed by Bouwmeester.
11:52: A puck is lobbed into the Florida zone and Vokoun tries to snag it out of the air. He drops it and it trickles in front of him. With Ruutu approaching, Vokoun leaves his crease and covers the puck. The officials make a questionable call and give Vokoun two minutes for delay of game. Panthers coach Jacques Martin, who looks like the guy who played Napoleon in "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure", looks like he's going through his own personal Waterloo.
9:59: Stephen Weiss tracks down a loose puck in the offensive zone, dances around Sergei Gonchar with a nice spin move and whips a backhander on net. Conklin is there to eat it up.
9:26: Olli Jokinen brings the puck up ice and is hooked by Armstrong. No call.
8:24: With a stoppage in play, plenty of "fans" begin scrambling to the exits. Weak.
5:50: Letang throws a pass to Brooks Orpik deep in the Penguins zone. Orpik can't control it and it ricochets off the boards into the slot. David Booth picks up the puck and fires a wrister on net. Conklin bails out his teammates with another big save.
2:50: Jassen Cullimore falls and that allows Armstrong to generate a breakwaway. He desk to his right but the puck rolls off his stick.
2:41: Crosby steals the puck off Jokinen and sends a pass to Malkin. Malkin controls it and sends a backhanders pass back to Crosby who rips it from the slot and beats Vokoun. The Panthers goaltender throws his stick against the boards in frustration. That probably could've been an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Vokoun. Penguins 3-0.
0:53: Malkin attacks the zone with the puck. He tries to get around Ruslan Salei who puts a hand on Malkin. Malkin goes down a little too easily and draws a penalty. That would've been rad if Malkin was awarded a penalty shot. We feel ashamed for using the word "rad" for the first time since fifth grade.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 3, Panthers 0.
-The "Conk-Lin, Conk-Lin!" chants need to begin.
-Outside of the rebound he gave up on Malkin's goal, Vokoun played well.
-The Panthers out-shot the Penguins 35-31.
-Whoever had the "We Love Garbage Goals" sign hanging in the F level balcony, quality work.
-Sidney Crosby broke a goal-scoring slump at home.
-Ryan Malone wore an "A" on his jersey as assistant captain. Boy has he come a long way from being a player who was perceived to be lazy and was a healthy scratch some nights.
LAST NIGHT'S ASSAULTS IN THE NHL BROUGHT TO YOU BY (WHO ELSE) PHILADELPHIA
The Flyers have been quiet as of late, but they looked to get back on that suspension list last night when punk Steve Downie jabbed Maple Leafs forward Jason Blake in the eye with a cheap shot:
How about that sick little smile Downie flashed as he was led to the penalty box? It was almost as if he felt he accomplished something.
And when Don Cherry calls you out for a cheap shot, you know it's bad.
Ironically enough, Flyers defenseman Derian Hatcher left his feet to deliver a blow up high on Toronto's Alexander Steen last night. Fortunately for Steen, he ducked the hit. Hatcher then inadvertently hit teammate Joffrey Lupul in the head injuring him. Lupul needed assistance off the ice:
We wonder if Flyers head coach John Stevens is still calling other organizations undisciplined as he did to the Penguins last month.
Gary Bettman warned the Flyers that the next incident would bring the league's ire and would result in a punishment for the organization. That time has come. It's time to punish the franchise for employing thugs like Downie.
The Flyers beat Toronto, 3-2.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Shockingly, Don Cherry didn't discuss Jarkko Ruutu, a Finnish player, beating up Darcy Tucker, a Canadian player, earlier this week:
-Despite less than perfect conditions, the Penguins players would do another outdoor game.
-Sean Collins had two goals for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-2 win against Johnstown.
-Random YouTube find of the day: Former Penguins forward Denis Bonvie fighting Georges Laraque, then of the Oilers:
(You have to love how Mike Lange calls him "La-Rack.")
-Rangers forward Sean Avery likes playing for the Rangers, but not that much.
-P.J. Axelsson had a goal and two assists for the Bruins in a 4-3 win against the Devils.
-Following the game, Boston's Zdeno Chara (6-foot-9) attacked New Jersey's Brian Gionta (5-foot-7).
-Former Penguins forward Randy Robitaille had two goals for the Senators in a 4-3 win against the Lightning.
-Toronto defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo will be out 7-10 days with a knee injury.
-Check out this nice check Ottawa's Anton Volchenkov laid out on Buffalo's Daniel Paille Friday:
-CBC had a pretty good piece about the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium or the "Aud" during the Winter Classic:
(Kudos to EN friend Eric Mocadlo for telling us about this.)
-Mike Green's overtime goal gave the Capitals a 5-4 win at Montreal.
-Check out this sick goal Tampa Bay's Vincent Lecavalier scored last night. Kukla's Korner has the video.
-Jeff Schultz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution says the Thrashers shouldn't give a blank check to free-agent-to-be Marian Hossa.
-Slowly but surely, Atlanta is growing as a NHL market.
-Dominik Hasek made 33 saves for the Red Wings in a 3-0 shutout win at Dallas.
-Manny Legace made 27 saves and helped the Blues edge the Hurricanes, 1-0.
-Kristian Huselius, Jarome Iginla and Daymond Langkow each recorded three points for the Flames in a 6-4 win at Los Angeles.
-Marek Svatos scored a goal in overtime and gave the Avalanche a 2-1 win against the Islanders.
-J.P. Dumont and Dan Hamius each had two-point games for the Predators in a 4-1 win against the Wild.
-Sam Gagner scored a goal in the shootout and gave the Oilers a 3-2 win against the Rangers.
-Two goals by Patrick Rissmiller helped the Sharks in a 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets.
-Peter Mueller's shootout goal gave the Coyotes a 3-2 win against the Ducks.