Best offense a good defense

Nov. 18, 2007

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The Rangers get all of their goals from defensemen and beat the Penguins, 4-3, in overtime.

PREGAME

-Bob Errey will be doing the broadcast from in between the benches.

-Mark Recchi is back in the lineup. He'll be on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal.

-Kris Letang remains in the lineup.

-Colby Armstrong, Tyler Kennedy and Darryl Sydor are scratched.

-Marc-Andre Fleury is in net and he's wearing the old mask again.

-Pierre Champoux is one of the linesmen. Life is good.

FIRST PERIOD

19:24: The Penguins go for the kill quickly. Rob Scuderi shoots a puck on net and Henrik Lundqvist is there for the save. Sidney Crosby grabs the rebound and tries to shoot it past Lundqvist's stick-side but hits the post.

18:04: Brendan Shanahan fires a cross-ice pass to Paul Mara. Fleury reads the play and slides to his left side to make the easy save.

16:16: Errey tells us that the ice at Mellon Arena is bad tonight. An anonymous Penguin claims to have seen better ice outdoors.

15:00: Jaromir Jagr takes the puck and we hear the first sustained booing of him. We've said it a million times before and we'll say it again; Don't boo Jagr.

14:09: On a penalty kill, Crosby hacks the puck past Daniel Girardi and then glides through the neutral zone with it into the offensive zone. With Jagr playing defense as if Crosby had cooties, the Penguins captain easily backhands a pass across the crease to a streaking Maxime Talbot who extends himself and pokes the puck into the net. As a fu-manchu-less Talbot celebrates, Paul Teutul cries. Penguins 1-0.

13:30: Malkin steals the puck off Chris Drury in the neutral zone and falls to his knees. He's able to drop a pass for Recchi who fires a wrister on net. Lundqvist easily saves it. Malkin goes all Sinjin Smith and spikes the puck into the net with his hand. No goal.

11:09: On a delayed penalty, Malkin centers the puck from the corner to Petr Sykora whose shot is deflected by Marc Staal's stick. The puck richochets to the left side of the net where Crosby is able to sneak it by Lundqvist's left leg for a goal. Crosby celebrates with this weird leg lift almost as if his pants were crooked. Penguins 2-0.

7:14: Crosby takes the puck through the neutral zone and absolutely blows by Jason Strudwick as if he were standing still. From the left faceoff circle, Crosby fires a wrister at the five hole of Lundqvist who is able to squeeze the pads and prevent a goal.

7:06: Errey mentions that Sergei Gonchar would be a good candidate to vote for in the All-Star Game. The only problem Gonchar isn't on the ballot as a defenseman. He is on there as a write-in candidate however. How exactly are Jay Bouwmeester, Dan Boyle, whose barely played all season due to a wrist injury, Brian Campbell, Zdeno Chara, Tomas Kaberle, Andrei Markov, Bryan "Turnover" McCabe, Chris Phillips, Wade Redden, Henrik Tallinder, Kimmo Timonen and even Ryan Whitney on the Eastern Conference ballot at defense before Gonchar? Through Saturday, Gonchar and Sergei Zubov of Dallas led all defenseman in points with 18 points. Only Markov (6) had more goals than Gonchar who has 5. All the defenseman on that ballot are fine players, but how exactly was Gonchar left off that list?

5:05: FSN Pittsburgh with another fine stat: The players who have scored at least one goal in the most arenas since 1987-88:

PlayerArenasJaromir Jagr53Brendan Shanahan52Brett Hull52Joe Sakic52Teemu Selanne52Steve Yzerman52

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Rangers 0

FIRST INTERMISSION

-That may have been the best first period of the season for the Penguins. They played hand and with a sense of alertness that hasn't been there in the first period too often this season.

-The stock clip of the guy in the Bob Errey jersey giving the thumbs up in a concourse at Mellon Arena is replayed. We never noticed this but, national athem god Jeff Jimerson is in that clip. He's walking among the crowd with a look of confidence. He knows he could damage anyone's eardrums with a mere whisper from his thunderous vocal chords.

SECOND PERIOD

19:11: Brandon Dubinsky fires a puck from the left side high and Fleury is able to make the save. Dubinsky grabs the puck and feeds a puck from the right corner to Michal Roszival in the slot who one-times a shot by Fleury. It wasn't exactly the best rebound in the world by Fleury. Penguins 2-1.

15:55: On the penalty kill, Sean Avery comes down the right side and feeds Roszival in the slot who blasts a slapper by Fleury high on the gloves side. Penguins 2, Rangers 2.

13:24: Paul Steigerwald refers to Roszival as "Rosy."

9:03: Ryan Hollweg hits Letang in front of the team's benches and almost takes out Errey.

7:31: Ruutu hammers Dubinsky from behind near the boards. Dubinsky didn't that that was cool and decides to drop the gloves with Ruutu. For the most part it's a wrestling match with only one good hit, a right hand by Ruutu. Both players get sent to the box for fighting and Ruutu gets an extra two minutes for boarding. We didn't have a problem with that call. If Dubinsky is closer to the boards on that hit, we have another Patrice Bergeron-Randy Jones situation where Dubinsky potentially suffers a serious injury.

3:06: Scuderi hauls down Petr Prucha, two minutes.

1:25: Fedor Tyutin throws the puck on net from the top of the slot. Fleury kicks it out with his left leg and Prucha passes the rebound through Ryan Whitney's legs to Dan Girardi who punches the puck past Fleury. We'll blame that one on the Penguins' defense. Rangers 3-2.

0:00: End of period. Rangers 3, Penguins 2.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Paul "The Butcher" Alexander hacks... er... does the NHL highlights. Patrik Elias comes out Eeeliass. He actually pronounces Andrei Kastsitsyn's last name right, but decides to call him Nicholas Kastsitsyn. He gets Guillaume Latendresse's last name correct also but call him "Yal" Latendresse.

-We're actually willing to pay Rob King our own money to do the NHL highlights seven days a week.

-The obligatory Mike Yeo camera shot prior to the third period includes an interview with the man himself by Bob Errey.

THIRD PERIOD

12:25: Pretty much nothing of note has happened until this point in the third period.

8:19: Malkin goes to the box for hooking.

5:32: Petr "Garbage" Sykora gets a Michel Ouellet special to tie the game. Erik Christensen fires a shot that gets deflected and hits the boards behind the net. It caroms out in front of the net where Malkin kicks it back to Sykora who pokes it past a collection of bodies and Lundqvist for a goal. Penguins 3, Rangers 3.

4:05: FSN Pittsburgh is on the ball with the stats as always. Crosby and Malkin have tied the franchise record for longest concurrent point-scoring streaks at 13. Paul Coffey and Mario Lemieux had a 13-game streak back in 1990.

0:11: Malkin takes the puck into the offensive zone goes to the outside on Marc Staal and throws a backhander on Lundqivst. The Rangers goaltender bobbles it for a second but then freezes the puck.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Rangers 3.

OVERTIME

3:20: Mara flies down the right side and feeds a fantastic cross-ice pass to Jason Strudwick who gets by Gonchar and beats Fleury on the stick side. It is Strudwick's first point of the season. End of game. Rangers 4, Penguins 3.

POSTGAME

-The win gives the Rangers first place of the Atlantic Division.

-Marc Staal looks a lot more confident than he did at the beginning of the season.

-The Penguins totally screwed up by getting rid of Roszival. Time to fire Craig Patrick.

-Rangers coach Tom Renney thinks the Penguins goaltending is good.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-The Penguins probably shouldn't expect to reel off 16-consecutive games with a point again.

-In the AHL, Albany beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, 4-0.

-Adam Heinrich's overtime goal gave Wheeling a 3-2 win against Dayton.

Atlantic Division

-Martin Brodeur made 26 saves in a 6-2 defeat of the Flyers and finally got his 500th career win. Patrick Roy (551) is the only other netminder with over 500 career wins.

Northeast Division

-Seven different players scored for the Canadiens in a wild 7-4 defeat of the rival Bruins. In the third period, several fights broke out. At one point, Zdeno Chara tried to decapitate Alexei Kovalev with an elbow. You can view the video here.

-It shouldn't matter that Chara is almost seven feet tall in skates. If you apply the NHL's new rules regarding head shots, Chara should serve some sort of suspension. He went for Kovalev's head.

-The Habs had five players whose last names begin with "K" score for them. Kovalev, Kastsitsyn, Tom Kostopoulos, Mike Komisarek and Saku Koivu. Penguins general manager Ray Shero is currently organizing a Tyler Kennedy-Andrei Markov trade. We think.

-Vesa Toskala made 24 saves as the Maple Leafs shutout the powerful Senators, 3-0.

-Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference, a former Penguin, is out with a sprained knee.

-The Rochester Americans, the Sabres' AHL affiliate, might be getting booted out of Rochester, N.Y.

Southeast Division

-Rod Brind'Amour scored two goals and led the Hurricanes to a 2-1 defeat of the Panthers.

-With forward Erik Cole on injured reserve, the Hurricanes activated forward Andrew Ladd.

-Rumors concerning Panthers captain Olli Jokinen being traded are false according to Florida general manager Jacques Martin.

Central Division

-Patrick Sharps hat trick helped the Blackhawks defeat the Red Wings, 5-3. The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 against Detroit this season. Four of the Red Wing's losses this season have come at the hands of the Blackhawks.

-Chicago rookie forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews could be hitting a wall.

-The Blues are going to erect statues for hall-of-fame defenseman Al MacInnis and forward Bernie Federko.

-While looking up that Claude Lemieux/Joes Vs. Pros clip we posted the other day, we also found this gem: former Red Wings defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov planting Lemieux head first into the ice:

Pacific Division

-Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 28 saves and led the Ducks to their season-high fourth consecutive win, a 2-1 shootout win against the rival Sharks.

-Former Ducks goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was picked up off waivers by the Coyotes. His first game in a Phoenix uniform saw him make 28 saves and pick up a 1-0 win against the Kings. Bryzgalaov had been rumored to be going to Pittsburgh in a trade.

-Many have speculated that the Ducks dumped Bryzgalov, who may have been the best backup goaltender in the NHL, to make room for quasi-retired defenseman Scott Niedermayer under the salary cap. According to NHLNumbers.com, the Ducks are approximately $6.141 million under the cap after ditching Bryzgalov. Bringing Niedermayer back would cst them $6.75 million. Somewhere in there, they need to squeeze some more dollars if they want to bring back Niedermayer.

-At the end of overtime during a game last Tuesday, they always gentlemanly Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger jumped Los Angeles forward Michal Handzus for shooting the puck on net after time expired:

-First, you don't shoot the puck on net when play has stopped, that's one of those unwritten rules. But it's not like five or 10 seconds had expired and then Handzus wound up and fired a slapshot. He threw it on net as the buzzer sounded.

-We can appreciate Pronger sticking up for his goaltender, but the guy is a thug. Plain and simple. He's immensely talented, but he's a thug. Given that he has a history of doing things like this, he should've been suspended for a game or two for his assault on Handzus.

-The Stars put defenseman Mattias Norstrom on injured reserve due to a facial injury. Defenseman Mark Fistric was recalled from Iowa of the AHL to replace him.

Northwest Division

-Minnesota Wild defenseman Sean Hill has served a suspension for testing positive for steroids and could return today.

-Wild forward Mikko Koivu will be out a week due to a leg injury. Koivu suffered a cracked left fibula when Canucks defenseman Paul Bunyoned him with a stick:

-We understand Ohlund's reaction givent hat Koivu sort of tried to hit him in the head, but that's unacceptable. Ohlund was suspended four games by the league for the hack.

Smythe Division

-Over at Illegal Curve, Richard Pollock says the NHL's schedule is a joke.

-NHL Network will television some ECHL games.



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