A lackluster effort by the Penguins leads to a 2-1 loss to Boston.
-Paul Steigerwald suggests Georges Laraque could tussle with Zdeno Chara again like they did in Boston back on Dec. 20. Because those two "fights" were so exciting:
-The Penguins official scratches were Kris Beech and Marc-Andre Fleury.
-The Bruins scratched Bobby Allen, Chuck Kobasew and Peter Schaefer.
-The Penguins will dress seven defensemen. Alex Goligoski will make his NHL debut. He will be the first player in Penguins history to wear No. 67.
-Bob Errey is doing the game from between the benches.
-Jeff Jimerson belts out a magnificent version of the national anthem. Jimerson is to national anthems what Jobu is to hitting curve balls:
19:55: Seemingly incensed that we would suggest he would take a day off, the Cotton Candy Guy hits our section early:
18:54: FSN Pittsburgh shows us the lines:
15:30: Sergei Gonchar holds the puck at the point but loses control of it. P.J. Axelsson grabs it and is off to the races. Gonchar is forced to try and hook him. The referee's hand goes up but Axelsson still has a clean chances on net. Rob Scuderi is able to get back and deflect the puck away before a shot can be fired. The Bruins get a power play.
13:53: Shorthanded, the Penguins generate a two-on-one against Aaron Ward. Ryan Malone brings the puck into the offensive zone and sends a cross-ice pass to Malkin. Ward pressures Malkin and forces him to fire a shot just wide.
10:18: Malkin brings the puck out of his zone and Marc Savard hacks his feet from underneath him. Two minutes.
8:04: Errey interviews Therrien coming out of a commercial stoppage. He sounds like has a cold or something. Get this man a Ricola.
7:02: Gonchar has the puck behind his own net and is pressured by Milan Lucic. Gonchar turns to clear it back the other way, but Glen Metropolit is there to intercept the puck. He works it to the front of the net and fires a shot high. Ty Conklin is there to block it away but gives up big rebound. Petteri Nokelainen jumps on it and fires it past Conklin glove-side. Bruins 1-0.
5:17: Georges Laraque all too casually pursues a puck in the corner and gets bumped off it (and to the ice) by Jeremy Reich. Reich turns and centers the puck while falling. Vladimir Sobotka, which sounds like the name of some cheap bottom-shelf brand of vodka, is able to out-hustle Nathan Smith, lunge and tip the puck past Conklin. It is his first career goal. He does a shot and pukes. Bruins 2-0.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 2, Penguins 0.
-That was about as brutal of a period the Penguins have played all season. The Bruins just plain out-worked them.
-Boston owned a 13-4 advantage in shots.
18:13: Zdeno Chara gets called for being a yeti or something.
18:08: Jordan Staal decides power-play opportunities aren't cool and boards Dennis Wideman. Two minutes. Four-on-four.
15:55: Gonchar and Ward go into the boards and pops Ward in the throat with part of his stick. Ward falls to the ice and appears to be struggling to breathe. A trainer comes out to attend to him as well as a few teammates. Chara and Ference help him to his feet and to the ramp way leading to the Bruins locker room. He struggles to stay on his feet and is helped to the locker room. Gonchar should've been given a penalty for that play.
14:53: Phil Kessel comes down the right side and sails a shot high on net. Conklin is able to trap it against his chest and freeze play. Christensen gets called for slashing. Gonchar comes on to the ice for the first time since injuring Ward. Chara and Marc Savard each appear to say something to him.
12:34: Malkin comes streaking down the left side and passes into the slot to Christensen. Christensen fires a shot, but Chara's big frame gets in the way. His skate pretty much just gets in the way of the puck and deflects it away. If that's any other "normal" sized defenseman, that shot is at least on net.
11:55: Savard gets called for holding. Rob Scuderi appeared to get away with the same penalty however.
8:34: Colby Armstrong knocks Chara off balance and sends him to the ice. David not impressed.
6:29: Wideman gets sent to the box for hooking.
3:20: David Krejci is called for hooking.
0:52: Christensen is nabbed for hooking. (Is there a hooking quota for each team tonight?) Dan Potash reports Ward will not return to the game due to a throat injury.
0:00: End of period. Bruins 2, Penguins 0.
-The Bruins will get 1:07 of power-play time on clean ice.
-Boston is out-shooting the Penguins, 18-11.
-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:
"Gary Roberts created the Bermuda Triangle."
"Gary Roberts invented weather."
-Mike Yeo. Start of Third Period. Excellence.
17:04: Brooks Orpik winds through the defense, gets through the neutral zone, comes down the left side and throws a wrister on net. Tim Thomas blocks it away.
15:09: Jordan Staal steals the puck and dishes it into the front of the net. Jeff Taffe takes it and sends a pass across the crease to Christensen who pushes a shot wide of the net.
15:02: Staal gets nailed for tripping Ference.
13:35: Malkin grabs a loose puck in the offensive zone. He tries to cut to the inside and Wideman tries to hip-check him. Malkin dodges most of the hit but is sent flying. The officials make a bad call by giving Wideman a kneeing penalty. Malone makes a stupid decision by trying to "defend" Malkin by starting a scrum with Wideman in the corner. We appreciate the idea of team toughness, but Malone has to be a little smarter in that situation. He could've been sent to the box and nullified the Penguins' power play.
12:13: The puck gets cleared into the Penguins end. Conklin comes out and makes a fantastic pass to the opposite blue line to Malkin. Malkin walks in and slides a backhanded pass to Christensen in the slot. Christensen has a wide open shot and inexplicably opts to send a pass to Whitney that doesn't even connect. Steigerwald exclaims "Why didn't he shoot it? My goodness gracious." Terrible decision by Christensen.
11:17: Going after a loose puck in the corner, Chara thumps Christensen with a big shoulder check that catches Christensen under the chin with his shoulder Christensen is shaken up and goes to the locker room.
11:13: Lots of "fans" begin to leave. Weak.
9:22: On a power play, Malkin sends a quick pass from the corner into the slot. Jeff Taffe is there to re-direct it, but his shot goes directly into the mid-section of Tim Thomas who eats it up. Christensen returns to the ice.
7:33: The Bruins seemed determined to give the Penguins every chance to get back into this game. Wideman takes an interference penalty.
6:58: Petr Sykora controls the puck behind the net and then dishes it to his left to Malkin. Malkin holds it, hesitates, waits for Chara to screen Thomas and sends a sick wrist shot to the far side of Thomas that beats him for a goal. The "Hey Song" is played. Bruins 2-1.
6:47: Phil Kessel grabs a loose puck in the neutral zone, comes into the offensive zone and whips a wrister on net that Conklin is forced to make a solid glove save on.
2:02: Gonchar tries to shoot a wrister from the point and Milan Lucic blocks it. The puck richocets out into the neutral zone and Lucic is off to the races. He actually generates a two-on-none with Metropolit. Lucic bears down on net and elects to leave a drop pass for Metropolit. Metropolit tries to effectively end the game, but a sprawling Conklin kicks it out with his right leg. That seriously might've been the best save of the Penguins' season.
1:30: Somehow the Penguins manage to yield another breakaway. Malkin tries to stickhandle through traffic and dishes a pass off to Kris Letang. Letang loses is and Kessel picks it up and is off to the races. He flies in and shoots glove side. Conklin again comes up huge and kicks the puck out with his left leg. Clutch.
1:00: Conklin leaves the net in favor of an extra attacker.
0:56: Sykora comes down the left side and fires a shot low that Thomas eats up. Michel Therrien calls a time out to organize and rest his team. We think he organized a Monopoly tournament as well.
0:51: Right off the faceoff, Chara trips Malone who in turn trips Axelsson. Apparently the officials felt the 303 penalties they've called on the Bruins already were enough and rule that only Malone's trip was worth of a penalty.
0:00: End of game. The puck bounces into the slot and Malkin fires a desperation shot as the horn sounds. Thomas knocks it out. Malone has a long conversation with the officials as each team leaves the ice. Bruins 2, Penguins 1.
-It's pretty simple to figure out what happened here. The Bruins out-worked the Penguins early for their two goals and then shut it down. They trapped, trapped, trapped. A colorblind person might've thought he was watching the New Jersey Devils circa 2000 out there if it weren't for the big "B" on the front of the Bruins' jerseys.
-The Bruins pretty much gave the Penguins every chance in the world to get back into the game by giving them eight power plays.
-Ty Conklin deserved a better fate. His two saves on breakaways with less than two minutes remaining was some of the most clutch goaltending we've seen by Penguins goaltender in five years.
-Evgeni Malkin led the Penguins in ice time with 27:48. That's like Playstation ice time.
-Dennis Wideman led all skaters in ice time with 30:41.
-The Bruins dominated the faceoff battle, 35-21.
-The also dominated the shot totals, 33-21.
-Glass is half-full: The Penguins were six-for-six on the penalty kill.
-Glass if half-empty: They were one-for-eight on the power play.
-Aaron Ward's injury was so serious, he actually went to a hospital for precautionary reasons.
FLEURY RETURNS, SORT OF
-Marc-Andre Fleury made his rehab debut with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last night. He made 30 saves in a 3-1 win at Norfolk. Tyler Kennedy scored a goal for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-Jonathan Bombulie of the Wilkes-Barre Citizen's voice has few more details on the game.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-The Penguins, like most people we suspect, don't care about Roger Clemens.
-Don't pre-order that Ondrej Nemec jersey just yet.
-Dan Onorato and Luke Ravenstahl aren't thrilled with the One Hill Coalition.
-Random YouTube find of the Day: Mario Lemieux scoring a power play goal against the Nordiques in 1989. It was his 56th goal of the season and it was only Feb. 9:
-Maxime Talbot digs Celine Dion:
-The one game the Penguins probably didn't want to go to overtime did. Brian Gionta's overtime goal gave the Devils a 3-2 win against the Senators. Martin Brodeur claimed his 30th win of the season. He has reached that mark for an NHL record 12th season.
-Not only are the crowds bad at the Prudential Center, the ice is too.
-Devils goon Cam Janssen wants to stay in New Jersey.
-Islanders forward Chris Simon practiced with his team. He is serving a 30-game suspension for stomping on Jarkko Ruutu's ankle. Simon and his "skills" are eligible to return to action next Thursday.
-Alex Kovalev's overtime goal gave the Canadiens a 2-1 win at Florida.
-Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the Sabres in a 1-0 shutout of the rival Maple Leafs.
-Shootout goals by Slava Kozlov and Eric Perrin gave the Thrashers a 3-2 win against the Capitals.
-Richard Zednik and his family issued a statement thanking a lot of people aiding in his recovery.
-The Lighting appears to have finally been sold.
-Tampa Bay forward Vaclav Propsal appears to dabble in proctology:
-Lightning captain Tim Taylor skated for the first time in five month since undergoing hip surgery.
-One person who benefited by the Hurricanes' decision to trade forward Cory Stillman was Andrew Ladd.
-Joe Corvo, the defenseman the Hurricanes recently acquired via trade, had some less than stellar things to say about Ottawa.
-The Capitals are doing a road trip with their fathers.
-The Panthers are expecting injured forward Rostislav Olesz to return to the lineup Friday.
-The Blackhawks got two goals from Dustin Byfuglien and routed the Blue Jackets, 7-2.
-Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock is in favor of mandating neck guards. His goaltending coach, Clint Malarchuk, says it should be up to the individual player.
-Could the next outdoor game take place in Chicago?
-Canucks defenseman Willie Mitchell is expected to return to the lineup tonight. He has missed ten games due to a stress fracture in his back.
-Markus Naslund established a franchise record with the Canucks by scoring 20 goals for the ninth consecutive season. No word yet on how soon before Alek Stojanov sets a similar record with the Penguins.
-Stars forward Mike Modano is still mad about the 2002 Olympics.
-Ted Montgomery lists the eight worst trades in NHL history.
-Cam Cole of the National Post says Peter Forsberg isn't worth the trouble.