An early lead for the Penguins disappears in a 3-2 loss in Colorado.
-The music FSN Pittsburgh plays during their report about Rick Tocchet's suspension is rather gloomy. It's like something you would hear played a death scene in a movie by M. Night Shyamalan.
-Dany Sabourin gets the start in net for the Penguins. His counterpart is... whoa... what do we have here? A Jose Theodore sighting? The last thing we remember about Theodore was Sidney Crosby sending his water bottle into the heavens during a shootout Crosby's rookie season:
-NORAD actually tracked that water bottle for a little while. It's true. You can look it up.
-Jarkko Ruutu is in the lineup in favor of Erik Christensen.
19:25: We're not yet two minutes into the game and we have two end-to-end attacks on each net. First Theodore stops Ryan Malone from in close then a shot by Joe Sakic sails just wide for the Pittsburgh net. This game is already more entertaining than Tuesday's snore-fest in Minnesota.
17:18: Crosby is sent off for roughing after he throws a punch to the head of Marek Svatos. For what it's worth, Marek Svatos is one of our favorite names in the NHL.
16:46: Jordan Staal is given a hooking penalty. The Avalanche isn't a team to put on a two-man power play.
14:46: The Penguins come up with a huge penalty kill and allow the talented Avalanche to only get one shot on goal.
9:39: Wow that was ugly. But it counts. Crosby fires a shot on net that Scott Hannan blocks with his leg. The puck ricochets off the backboards back to Crosby who centers it to the top of the crease. It hits off the skate of Brett Clark and bounces past Theodore right skate. Ugleeeee. Penguins 1-0.
6:26: Paul Steigerwald clarifies that Jaroslav Hlinka isn't related to Ivan Hlinka. Either way, despite the fact that we've never heard him speak, we're willing to believe Jaroslav speaks better English than Ivan.
6:25: Bob Errey breaks down Dany Sabourin's freaky baby mask. We realize that it's Sabourin's daughter on there and we think the world of him for showing love for his family. But still, it just makes us want to hide under the covers when we think about it. We know we're jerks for calling is eerie. We acknowledge that we're bad people for doing so. Please forgive our insecurities.
1:53: From the corner, Evgeni Malkin snaps a quick to Crosby in the slot. The Penguins captain drops to one knee and wrists a quick one-timer through traffic past Theodore's glove hand for a power-play goal. Penguins 2-0.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Avalanche 0.
FIRST INTERMISSION-Holy cow does that picture of Crosby at 15-years-old look young.
-Bob Errey says, "Scuderi, doesn't have much of a butt end." Heh, heh.
19:45: Off a turnover in the Colorado end, Ryan Malone slides a backhander on net that Theodore saves. Joe Sakic is called for a pretty weak holding call.
19:11: The power play doesn't last too long as Malkin is called for interference. Four-on-four.
18:15: Scott Hannan fires a big slapper on net, but Rob Scuderi shows a lot of guts and lays down to block it with his hand. He can be seen on the bench a little bit later flexing his fingers.
16:47: Playing the puck behind his own net, Kurt Sauer appears to clip Crosby in the neck or face with his stick. No call.
13:16: On a penalty kill, Ben Guite takes the puck in the neutral zone and drives towards the net one-on-one with Ryan Whitney. As Guite attempts to deke by Whitney, the Penguins defenseman holds his defensive position and fights Guite off the puck. As Sabourin covers the puck, Whitney and Guite crash into the boards fairly innocently. Whitney however goes the Penguins locker room with an apparent injury.
12:30: Off a turnover in the neutral zone, Sakic takes the puck and fires a wrister down low that Sabourin saves.
12:14: Jordan Staal and Adam Hall have a plum chance to put the game out of reach on a two-on-one against Kyle Cumiskey. Staal feeds the puck to Hall who holds it, hesitates and fires a shot that goes just wide of the net. That was a big opportunity they failed to cash in on.
11:24: Stastny brother highlights? Nothing can ruin this night.
10:11: The Penguins take a too many men on the ice penalty for the 392nd time this season.
9:34: If you've never seen Ryan Smyth play, you just realized why he's a big deal. Sakic snaps a shot from the point that Sabourin saves. Before he can freeze it, Smyth finds a way to keep it alive and springs it loose in the crease. John-Michael Liles is jumps in on the play and bangs home the loose puck. Smyth didn't get the goal, but he was the reason it was scored. With apologies to Tomas Holmstrom in Detroit, Smyth is the best at playing the power game in the crease. Penguins 2-1.
8:53: On a delayed penalty, some slick passing by the Avalanche leads to a tie game. Guite leaves a drop pass for Ian Laperriere in the crease. He feeds the puck to the right faceoff circle to Wojtek Wolski who fires a wrister on net. Sabourin makes the save initially with his blocker, but it pops up into the air over Sabourin and trickles in for a goal. Crosby appears to have complained about a non-call on a hold by Laperriere and is sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct. Avalanche 2, Penguins 2.
7:32: Shorthanded, Staal and Hall come down on a two-one chance. This time Staal keeps it and fires a high wrister that Theodore is able to trap and freeze.
6:36: Crosby goes all Earl Campbell on Tyler Arnason. While trying to maintain possession of the puck in the Colorado zone, Crosby sends Arnason to the ice with a forearm to the chest.
6:04: While getting checked against the glass behind the Penguins net by Brook Orpik, Svatos is able to drop a pass between his legs for Guite who is able to take it and push a wrap-around through the equipment of Sabourin. Avalanche 3-2.
5:48: The officials miss a pretty obvious call as Jarkko Ruutu takes out the skates of Wolski with his stick.
5:25: They sure as heck don't miss Mark Eaton hugging Ryan Smyth like a relative in the corner. Eaton gets two minutes. As we come back from commercial, Dan Potash tells us about Arnason's father Chuck Arnason who was a former Penguin. The best season of Chuck's career was a 26-goal, 58-point campaign in 1974-75 with the Penguins.
3:43: Liles tries to keep the puck in the Penguins' zone and backhands the puck right into Maxime Talbot's face. As he skates to the bench hunched over in pain, he actually plays the puck and tries to kick it into Colorado's zone. After he reaches the bench, he can be seen kneeling over in pain and being attended to by the Penguins trainer Chris Stewart.
3:26: Malone takes the puck in deep and attacks the Avalanche's net from along the goal line. As he approaches the net he gets tripped up by Liles and Theodore. Crosby tries to punch in the loose puck, but Theodore gets a little luck and punches it away with his blocker without looking.
1:51: A dump-in by Eaton takes an odd bounce into Colorado's crease. As Theodore tries to glove the puck and bobbles it, Crosby rushes him and stumbles to the ice. Brett Clark is sent to the box, but it's a weak call in our book. Crosby fell on his own. In odd sequence, Crosby goes to the bench to change sticks and is berated by an official. We assume the official liked "The Darjeeling Limited" and Crosby didn't.
1:01: Hannan tackles Petr Sykora behind the Avalanche net and nothing is called.
0:00: End of period. Avalanche 3, Penguins 2.
SECOND INTERMISSION-A piece on Jacques Plante makes us realize something. Two of his innovations as a goaltender have inadvertently led to two of the most horrible blights on Western Civilization. Plantes' introduction of the goaltender mask has brought an endless run of Friday the 13th movies and his ground-breaking ability to play the puck eventually brought us perhaps the greatest puck-handling goatlender of all time, Martin Brodeur.
17:50: Errey informs us Whitney will not return for the rest of the game due to an injury.
17:05: Crosby tries to split the defense but Clark and Sauer sandwich him in the slot and haul him down. Clark appears to get away with a hooking call.
11:59: Sauer steals the puck off Staal and literally lies on top of it for eight seconds. When a player sits on puck, that should be a delay of game penalty in our book. If the NHL wants an easy way to promote offense or speed up the game, this is a rule they can create that will accomplish both.
11:55: The puck squirts free and Malone comes down the left side and fires a shot low that Theodore kicks away. Smyth is sent to the box for interference. As we come back from commercial, Potash, Errey and Steigerwald each give some love to Le Colisee.
10:12: On the power play, Gary Roberts sends a cross-ice pass to Gonchar who then bombs a slapper from the point that Theodore knocks down and covers.
10:07: The absence of Whitney is obvious as Orpik gets some time on the power play and makes a brutal turnover that leads to a shorthanded opportunity for the Avalanche that effectively kills the penalty.
8:24: As we come back from commercial, we're greeted by some "Thank God I'm A Country Boy" at the Pepsi Center.
2:39: Smyth has a chance to put the game away for good as he pushes a loose puck on net but Sabourin kicks it away.
1:10: Sabourin leaves the net for an extra attacker.
0:32: The Avalanche clears the puck and the officials call icing. Michel Therrien calls a timeout to rest his team. The Penguins take a bit too long to rest up and the officials apparently were going to drop the puck without them. According to Errey, Malkin delayed the officials enough to allow the rest of his teammates to get into position.
0:07: The last chance for the Penguins to tie the game comes when Gonchar winds up for a big slap shot which is blocked by Laperriere and swept away by Guite.
0:00: End of game. Avalanche 3, Penguins 2.
-What tells us a Colorado-Pittsburgh Stanley Cup final would be good for the league? It would feature two of the most offensive-minded teams in the leagues. Plenty of star power would be on display with the likes of Crosby, Makin, Sakic and Smyth. And Denver and Pittsburgh are two of the healthiest television markets in the United States for the NHL.
-The boards at the Pepsi Center certainly do create some interesting bounces.
-They were psyched to see Crosby in Denver.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Defenseman Paul Coffey and locker room attendant Frank Sciulli will be inducted into the Penguins hall of fame Nov. 15.
-The Doctor was sick:
-How long will Malkin and Crosby play together?
-The Penguins' next opponent, the Islanders got a 28-save effort from Rick DiPietro and defeated the Lightning, 4-0. It was the 1,000th game in the career of Islanders forward Mike Sillinger.
-Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves and led the Rangers to a 2-0 win against the Capitals.
-An overtime goal by Marco Sturm gave the Bruins a 4-3 win against the Sabres.
-Saku Koivu had a goal and an assist in a 5-2 defeat of the Flyers. Flyers center Daniel Briere was booed throughout the game by the Montreal fans. Briere turned down a contract offer from the Canadiens in the offseason.
-Before the game, Koivu showed off his language skills.
-Former Penguins forward Randy Robitaille scored two goals and led the Senators to a 6-4 win against the Thrashers. Center Dean McAmmond played his first game since being injured in the preseason.
-Here's a clip of Tampa Bay goon Andre Roy sucker-punching New Jersey's David Clarkson:
-If that doesn't deserve at least 10 games, what does? Other than the lack of an injury, how is that any different than Todd Bertuzzi's punch on Steve Moore?
-The Hurricanes aren't happy with some diving calls that went against them.
-Two goals by the NHL's leading scorer, Henrik Zetterberg, helped give the Red Wings a 4-1 win against the Flames.
-Jay McKee scored his first goal in 34 games and gave the Blues a 3-2 win at Minnesota.
-Dan Ellis turned away 29 shots and gave the Predators its first road win of the season, a 3-0 defeat of the Canucks.
-Ross McKeon of Yahoo! says St. Paul, Minn. is the new "Hockeytown."
-Mathieu Schneider made his debut in a Ducks uniform a memorable one. He scored the only shootout goal in a 2-1 defeat of the Blue Jackets.
-Coyotes assistant coach Rick Tocchet, a former Penguins forward, has been approved for reinstatement by the league NHL Feb. 7, 2008.
-Oilers forward Fernando Pisani has begun skating for the first time since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.