(We stole the headline idea from The Pensblog sort of.)
A shootout goal by former Penguin Mark Recchi gives the Thrashers a 3-2 win against the Penguins.
-After Jordan Staal had a three-point game in the win against Tampa Bay Thursday, Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald dust off the pterodactyl nickname and bust it out.
-To promote youth hockey in Atlanta, both teams are introduced along with several young female hockey players.
-One girl wearing a red jersey falls over and Ryan Whitney helps her up. We'd still take her over Derian Hatcher in a skating contest:
-The public address announcer announces Ryan Whitney as "Ray Whitney." He also misidentifies Darryl Sydor as Rob Scuderi. It took us 12 games or so to get used to seeing Sydor in Scuderi's old No. 5, but it mid-January. That shouldn't be happening this late in the season. Mellon Arena public address announcer John Barbero wouldn't allow such nonsense to occur.
-Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby get notable applauses when they are introduced.
-During this, the song "Ready Steady Go" by Paul Oakenfold is played. You may remember it from "The Bourne Identity." The music video for this song is very freaky:
-The Thrashers are introduced with their own group of girls who can't skate.
-It's cool that the Thrashers are acknowledging youth hockey, especially girls youth hockey, but get us some kids that can skate for Konstantin Koltsov's sake.
-Is it us, or could the girls that the Thrashers got to skate out with, actually skate better? We call shenanigans.
-Ty Conklin starts in net for the Penguins.
-The Thrashers go with Kari Lehtonen in goal.
-The Penguins' scratches are Erik Christensen, Tyler Kennedy and Ryan Lannon. Christensen is scratched due to a death in the family.
-The Thrashers scratched Steve McCarthy, Eric Perrin and Jim Slater.
19:05: Steigerwald makes funs of those poor girls for having trouble skating. Jerk.
18:57: Tonight's motivational speech for life is brought to you by Bob Errey: "Steigy, I fell down when I first started too and didn't want to play the game again. Everybody falls down once or twice. Just pick yourself up. That's all you got to do." Gung-Ho from G.I. Joe not impressed:
Knowing is half the battle.
14:37: Crosby brings the puck into the offensive zone and slides a pass to the point. "Ray" Whitney grabs it and throws the puck towards the net. Lehtonen makes the initial save and kicks it to the right of the crease. Crosby controls the rebound, moves it from the forehand to the backhand and punches it in past Lehtonen. A pretty loud cheer for the Penguins erupts. Penguins 1-0.
13:25: Colby Armstrong runs over Toby Enstrom.
10:29: Holy Dave Michayluk what a goal. On a power play, Mark Recchi coasts along the left boards and spots Ilya Kovalchuk on the point. Recchi sends a pass and Kovalchuk blasts a one-timer that clinks off the near post and into the net. No one's stopping that shot. The Penguins complain the play should've been blown dead after the puck hit the netting on a clearing attempt. Recchi gets an assist. Fire Ray Shero. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1.
2:15: Kovalchuk and Jeff Taffe race after a loose puck behind the net. Taffe gets away with a hook on Kovalchuk.
0:33: Pascal Dupuis hauls down Darryl Sydor behind the Penguins' net. Two minutes.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1.
-The Penguins will get 1:27 of power play time on fresh ice, or as fresh as it can get in Atlanta.
-Atlanta owns an 11-10 advantage in shots.
-As he interviewed by Dan Potash, Armstrong has the demeanor of someone who just saw their dog get hit by a car.
-A segment highlighting some of the best moments on microphone during the Penguins season is shown:
19:59: Right off the faceoff, Kevin Doell jabs Crosby in a bad spot for men to get jabbed in.
19:03: Bobby Holik smashes Crosby into boards with a solid check.
16:42: Garnet Exelby blasts a slapper from the point. Conklin makes the initial save and kicks the rebound out with his left foot. Colin Stuart is there to swat the puck out of mid-air. Conklin is able to grab it and freeze play.
14:54: Crosby takes a pass in the neutral zone, spins by Enstrom and swoops behind the net. He comes out along the right wall. He leaves the puck for Kris Letang who skates into the corner and backhands the puck into the crease. The puck deflects off Armstrong's skate. Crosby locates it and pounds a shot by Lehtonen. Penguins 2-1.
13:16: Steigerwald talks about how awesome Crosby is at making travel arrangements. Sir Francis Drake not impressed.
12:18: Marian Hossa brings the puck into the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass for Slava Kozlov. Kozlov snaps a wrister high but Conklin is able to come up with the nice save.
11:18: Recchi finds a loose puck and snaps a wrister far side. Conklin is forced to lunge and knock it away with his blocker.
10:16: On the power play, "Ray" Whitney chops at a loose puck in the crease. A sprawling Lehtonen snags it out of mid-air with a nice save.
5:43: As we go to commercial, Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" is played in Phillips Arena:
3:39: Crosby flies into the offensive zone, spins in the offensive zone and whips a backhander on net. Lehtonen makes a fine toe save.
1:39: As Kovalchuk skates behind the net and simply falls over crashing into the boards, Errey busts out a Jim McGeough reference. Solid.
1:14: Petr Sykora clips Alexei Zhitnik in the face with his stick and draws blood. Four minutes.
0:49: Todd White takes a centering pass from the corner and tries to go low. Conklin is able to recover and make the save.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Thrashers 1.
-Atlanta will get 2:46 of power-play time on clean ice.
-The Thrashers still enjoy an advantage in shots, 22-21.
-Why does FSN Pittsburgh even do NHL highlights half the time? First, Paul "The Butcher" Alexander pronounces Daniel Paille's name (normally pronounced "Pie-eh") "Pee-Yay." Then when attempting to show Red Wings-Senators highlights, they give us Devils-Hurricanes highlights. And Alexander just reads along as if nothing's wrong. As we see Patrik Elias score against Cam Ward with a slapper along the boards, he tells us about Mike Fisher splitting the defense to beat Dominik Hasek. It's almost like he's Ron Burgundy. Simply terrible.
18:31: Kovalchuk winds up and bombs a slapper from the point. Conklin is able to find it in traffic and eat it up.
18:20: Hossa takes the puck from behind the net and works his way towards the crease. Conklin has it trapped under his left pad but it's moving along the goal line. Bobby Holik jumps in and Oklahoma drills it under Conklin. Conklin complains that the play should've been blown dead. A brief replay confirms the goal. Penguins 2, Thrashers 2.
11:05: Jeff Taffe sort of gets away with checking Recchi into the boards head first.
10:35: As Conklin eats up a high wrister by Kovalchuk and freezes play, we get to see a sight we haven't experienced in a long time; Mark Recchi's bald spot.
8:02: Jordan Staal and Recchi get into a small scrum in front of the bench. Staal, who is still living in Recchi's guest house in Pittsburgh, complains that his hot water isn't working. We think.
6:43: The first notable scrum takes place in front of the Thrashers bench. Maxime Talbot and Jarkko Ruutu have a go with Garnet Exelby and Slava Kozlov. Talbot and Exelby each go off for roughing. Four-on-four.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Thrashers 2.
2:46: Enstrom swoops behind the Penguins net with the puck and sends a pass to the crease. Pascal Dupuis snaps a quick shot on net that Conklin makes an amazing save on.
2:14: Hossa comes down the right side and fires a hard wrister down low at Conklin's five hole. The Penguins goaltender is able to fight it off.
1:15: Malkin takes the puck along the boards and works his way to the slot. He sends a backhander towards the net and Staal is able to re-direct it. Lehtonen comes up with a huge save down low.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Thrashers 2.
-Kozlov gets the call first. He winds to the right, goes across the slot and gets Conklin to commit. Kozlov fails to lift his shot however and shoots right into Conklin's helmet.
-Sykora goes right down the middle, dekes to the backhand and attacks Lehtonen's glove. Lehtonen is up the task and easily snags the backhander.
-Hossa charges up the middle and snaps a hard wrister that hits the post. The puck ricochets into the equipment of Conklin and nearly goes into the goal. At the last second, Conklin reaches pack and sweeps the puck away with his glove. A brief replay confirms the non-goal.
-Letang goes down the middle, lifts his left leg and shoots glove-side on Lehtonen also. Lehtonen again snags the puck.
-Kovalchuk winds to the right briefly and then comes down the slot. He shoots low but Conlkin stones him and covers up the loose puck.
-Crosby attacks the net, lifts his right leg, moves to the back hand and also goes glove-side. Lehtonen just gets a piece of the puck and knocks it away
-Recchi?!? Yeah right. He comes down the middle fakes a move then... what? He switches to the backhand and lifts it past Conklin. Where did that come from? Thrashers 1-0.
-It's up to Malkin now. He glides in on the net, gets Lehtonen to drop, but can't lift it over his right leg. End of shootout Thrashers 1, Penguins 0. End of game. Thrashers 3, Penguins 2.
-Where in the world did Recchi pull that move out of? Anytime he was wearing a Penguins jersey and he had opportunities on the shootout, he would come down and whip that weak, little wrister that hasn't been effective since Smash Mouth was still popular. Now all of the sudden he decides to be Jussi Jokinen in the shootout?
-We don't know if the scouting report on Lehtonen said he had a weak glove hand, but you would think after the first two shooters in the shootout went there unsuccessfully, Crosby would've chosen another way to attack Lehtonen.
-Why didn't Jarkko Ruutu get an opportunity before Malkin? Malkin is now 3-for-17 (18%) in his career in the shootout. Ruutu is 4-for-9 (44%).
-Niclas Havelid had six blocked shots.
-Atlanta controlled the faceoff battle, 34-23.
-The Thrashers out-shot the Penguins 14-6 in the third period.
-Have you ever heard of a larger man named Toby? Toby Enstrom is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. Former Penguins center Toby Petersen is 5-foot-10, 197 pounds. Toby Maguire is 5-foot-9. Toby Keith is 6-foot-3, but his music is about as enjoyable as pounding roofing nails into your ear so we'll leave him out of our argument.
-Our point is, you don't really run into too many big Toby's out there. Zdeno Chara or Andy Sutton would never be named Toby.
-Glass is half-full: The Penguins got five out of a possible six points on this road trip.
-Glass is half-empty: Mark Recchi scored the winning shootout goal.
-Ty Conklin made 36 saves. He deserved a better fate.
ON THE SCENE
EN reader and temporary correspondent Justin Kelly of Birmingham, Ala. was at the game and filed this report:
"I have just returned home after the defeat at the hand of the Recching Ball.
As soon as Recchi stepped over the boards for his shootout attempt, I don't think there was a Penguins fan in the world who had any doubt about what was going to happen. I leaned over to my wife and said, 'This has revenge goal written all over it.'
It also doesn't help that I leaned over to my wife before Letang took his shot and explained that he had not missed a shootout attempt all year. I felt like Bob Errey jinxing just about every streak the Penguins have.
The elementary school chorus (that sang the national anthem) was good, but they were no Jeff Jimerson.
The Thrashers did this thing with the players when they announced the starting lineups, they had each player skate out with a girl from one of the local leagues. The oldest of the girls was maybe 10 or 11, and most of them were '5-ish.' Anyway, two of the girls fell that skated out with the Penguins so Whitney and Colby had to basically pick them up. I am blaming these girls for the loss. They obviously tired out Whit and Colby. I have Surprisingly, none of the Thrashers' girls fell. This was not a good omen.
As far as my reactions to the game.
-Our power play was atrocious, we only had a few reasonable chances on it, but nothing sustained. They just need to go back to shooting the puck on net and going for the garbage goals.
-It was very apparent that we miss Christiansen and Kennedy. Get healthy guys. The second and third lines are just not the same without them.
-Daryl Sydor is just a giant liability on the ice, his ridiculous turnover lead to the penalty he took and the resulting goal by Kovalchuk. He was just awful. The rest of the defense wasn't a lot better, but his play definitely stood out.
-Conklin made a number of giant saves to keep us in the lead for most of the game. The power-play goal was an awesome goal by Kovalchuk and there was not a lot he could have done on that garbage goal the Thrashers scored to tie it up at 2.
-And finally, I think my wife made the observation of the night. Keep in mind she is not a hockey fan and only goes to games when I make her. About halfway through the game she leans to me and says, 'Does number 18 know how to play hockey, he just kind of skates around looking lost on the ice.'
I'll just leave it at that. Sorry, I couldn't bring home a winner."
EN-Justin also sent us a few pictures:
EN-Quality work by Justin. Since he was there in person and we weren't, we're going to blame those girls for this loss too. And was Justin's better half talking about Adam Hall or Marian Hossa? They both wear No. 18.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Don't get into a fight with Ryan Malone.
-Mark Letestu scored the only goal for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 2-1 shootout loss to Philadelphia.
-Martin Houle made 32 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 4-1 defeat of Dayton.
-Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha each had a goal and an assist for the Rangers in a 4-1 win against the Canadiens.
-A shootout goal by Zach Parise gave the Devils a 3-2 win at Buffalo. The Sabres have lost nine consecutive games.
-The Islanders recalled forward Jeff Tambellini from Bridgeport of the AHL.
-We're little late with this, but Flyers forward Simon Gagne has returned to the lineup after missing 26 games with a concussion.
In a meeting of the league's two best teams, Daniel Alfredsson's two goals helped the Senators edge the Red Wings, 3-2.
-TSN is reporting Ottawa's Dany Heatley suffered a separated shoulder last night and will miss 4-6 weeks.
-Aaron Ward's overtime goal gave the Bruins a 4-3 win at Philadelphia.
-At AOL, Greg Wyshynski says the NHL should've done more to hype the Red Wings-Senators match-up.
-With rumor of player movement hanging over the franchise, the Maple Leafs cancelled their team photo shoot.
-Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin shoved an official last night:
-Brad Richards and Nick Tarnasky each scored two goals for the Lightning in a 5-3 win at Florida.
-The Capitals recalled goaltender Brent Johnson from a conditioning stint in Hershey of the AHL. In his place, they sent down goaltender Fredric Cassivi. Johnson has been out of the lineup since injuring his knee in a 4-3 loss at Pittsburgh Dec. 27.
-Nikolai Zherdev's shootout goal gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 win against the Predators.
-Two goals by Marek Svatos, including the game-winner, helped the Avalanche in a 5-4 win at Carolina.
-The Canucks recalled forward Rick Rypien from Manitoba of the AHL. In his place, they demoted forward Mason Raymond.
-Patrick Marleau had a goal and an assist for the Sharks who edged the Maple Leafs, 3-2.
-Patrick O'Sullivan's shootout goal gave the Kings a 4-3 win against the Stars.
-Check out this sick save Jason Labarbera made on the Stars' Jeff Halpern yesterday:
-Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is chatty.
-Check out this big hit Coyotes defenseman Ed Jovanovski laid out on Vancouver's Jeff Cowan Friday:
-The NHL's television ratings are down in some parts of Canada.
-Will someone please sign Curtis Joseph? These rumors are getting old.