Late heroics

Dec. 9, 2007

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-Kris Letang's second shootout goal in as many games, gives the Penguins a 2-1 win in Vancouver.

PREGAME

-Vancouver has a beautiful skyline.

-What's up with Dany Sabourin ducking his head into his shoulder pads like he's a frightened turtle?

-Swedish twins:

-Bob Errey says the only way you can distinguish the Sedin twin from one another on the bench is how they hold their sticks. Or you could look at their jersey numbers...

-While looking for a picture of the Sedin twins, we found this really weird picture of them with Donald Brashear posing without a shirt.

-EN Reader Mary Jones from Plum actually found the Jarkko Ruutu song Dan Potash was talking about prior to the game. You can listen to it here. For other Canucks related songs, check this site out: http://www.heavyeric.com/hockeyhyms.htm.

-Brooks Orpik and Adam Hall are scratched.

-Sabourin gets the start for Marc-Andre Fleury.

FIRST PERIOD

19:17: Willie Mitchell clips Sidney Crosby in the face and drops the Penguins captain. Mitchell whines that Crosby dove, but it's as blatant of a high-stick as you can get. Penguins on the power play.

18:25: Evgeni Malkin sends Christensen into the offensive zone with a pass. Christensen unleashes a hard wrister down low. Robert Luongo is able to pin it against his left leg with his glove and hang on to the puck. During the stoppage, officials add two minutes to Mitchell's penalty and give the Penguins four minutes of power play time.

15:17: The Canucks effectively kill the penalty and limit the Penguins to only one shot during the four minutes. The Penguins looked very sloppy with the man advantage having many turnovers.

14:56: FSN Pittsburgh gives us a peak at the line combinations:

Forwards

Malone-Crosby-Armstrong

Talbot-Malkin-Sykora

Roberts-Staal-Kennedy

Ruutu-Christensen-Laraque

Defensemen

Eaton-Gonchar

Scuderi-Whitney

Sydor-Letang

14:37: Maxime Talbot is sent off for hooking Aaron Miller. Replays show Miller falling to the ice a little to easily.

13:41: Taylor Pyatt is sent to the box for hooking Crosby and evens things up.

11:37: Sergei Gonchar blasts a slapper on net that Luongo knocks down with his chest and freezes. As Crosby skates to the goal, Alexandre Burrows jabs him in the back. Crosby flops to the ice. Malkin comes over and pushes Burrows and a scrum ensues. Malkin gets two for cross-checking. Give the officials credit, they're doing everything the can to keep this game in check.

8:59: Christensen chops a loose puck on net. Luongo makes the save and the rebound kicks out to his right. Malkin tries to punch in the rebound, but the Canucks goaltender recovers and makes a fine leg save. The Canucks faithful serenade him with chants of "Loouuuuuuu..."

6:42: A loose puck slides from behind the net into the slot. Petr Sykora finds it and snaps a quick shot. Luongo almost blindly snags it out of the air with his glove. Sykora simply stands there with a stunned look on face.

5:30: Dany Sabourin covers a loose puck in his crease and Markus Naslund sprays him with ice from his skates. Maxime Talbot takes exception and pushes Naslund a few times. Either that or he heard Naslund didn't like "Superbad." As we come back from commercial, we see Crosby and several of the Penguins goofing around in the practice playing "goalie" while wearing the equipment of Fleury or Sabourin. Are we the only ones who think Crosby pretending to be a goaltender, even if they're just screwing around, is an unnecessary risk? And we get a shot of Ty Conklin wolfing down what looks like an Airhead.

1:41: Sykora enters the offensive zone and leaves a drop pass just above the left faceoff circle. Malkin picks it up and lobs a pass over the sticks of Brendan Morrison and Alexander Edler right to the blade of Sykora who pounds it through the equipment of Luongo. Amazing pass by Malkin. Penguins 1-0.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canucks 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-Eric Holmquist, the guy who wrote the Ruutu song" looks a like Thomas F. Wilson (AKA, Biff from "Back to the Future.")

Speaking of Thomas F. Wilson:

-For some reason, we're going to give props to the kid in the Canucks jersey with the sign that read, "Sidney Who??? I'm Here for Ruutu."

-Potash introduces us to Penguins prospect Casey Pierro-Zabotel. You'll pardon us if we don't look forward to him making the NHL with the Penguins some day. His name is a pain in the butt to spell.

-Right before the period starts, Errey informs us that the NHL forbids players from wearing full face shields unless they have a facial injury to protect. Only this league would forbid players from protecting their faces to begin with.

SECOND PERIOD

13:48: FSN Pittsburgh busts out a pretty neat list; Goaltenders who have scored goals in the NHL:

Regular SeasonGoaltender, TeamYearBilly Smith, Islanders1979*-Ron Hextall, Flyers1987*-Chris Osgood, Red Wings1996Damian Rhodes, Senators1999Martin Brodeur, Senators2000*-Jose Theodore, Canadiens2001*-Evgeni Nabokov, Sharks2002Mika Noronen, Sabres2004Chris Mason, Predators2006

Playoffs

Goaltender, TeamYearRon Hextall, Flyers1989Martin Brodeur, Devils1997

*-Intentionally shot puck into the net. All other goaltenders listed were the last to touch it.

12:32: Ryan Malone elbows Luongo in the head and he falls to the ice. Sami Salo shoots the puck out of play. Two Canucks gang up on Malone and a scrum ensues. Armstrong is laying on the ice after apparently getting jumped. Malone gets two for goaltender interference and Sami Salo gets two for delay of game. Four-on-four.

11:36: Henrik Sedin sets up Edler for a one-timer. He blasts the puck low but Sabourin is able to kick it out.

8:05: Naslund tees one up from the point. Sabourin makes the initial save and the rebound kicks out to Daniel Sedin who lunges to get a shot off. Sabourin comes up big and knocks the shot away with his blocker.

7:22: We're all for throwback jerseys, but those six idiots wearing the old "squished caterpillar guts" Canucks jersey need stomped.

6:17: Burrows fires a shot on Sabourin who makes the save, and Malone thumps him behind the net. Steve Cooke takes exception, wrestles with Malone and the two drop the gloves. Errey points out that Cooke was the one who jumped Armstrong during a scrum earlier in the period. It's not much of a fight, but someone needs to tell Cooke, who wears a visor, to take his helmet off if he's going to drop the gloves. It's pretty gutless move to not remove your lid when you're wearing a visor and you get into a fight. Your opponent can really mess up his hand if he makes contact with your visor.

3:53: Alexander Edler does something you don't see every day. He knocks down Georges Laraque.

3:34: Seemingly incensed by the idea of being knocked over by someone named Alexander Edler, Laraque hammers Jeff Cowan in the corner with a legal body check and simply breaks him. Cowan gets up but before he can reach the bench he falls to his knees. The Canucks fans boo, but it's a legal hit.

1:15: Crosby trips up Brad Isbister who crashes into the Penguins net. Errey and Crosby both complain about it, but Crosby tripped him. Crosby could've picked up an unsportsmanlike penalty for slamming his stick along the boards. Canucks fans taunt Crosby, "Croozzz... Beeeee... Croozzz... Beeee..."

0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Canucks 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-The Penguins are out-shooting the Canucks, 27-20.

-It's the start of the third period and you know what that means. Face time for Mike Yeo.

-The Canucks will get 45 second of power play time on clean ice.

THIRD PERIOD

19:37: Shorthanded, Gonchar blasts a one-timer that forces Luongo to stretch out and nab with his glove hand.

17:41: Bob Errey makes a mention of Laraque's "good luck" fight with Raitis Ivanans:

-Is it us or does it seem Darren Pang would get excited over a box of raisins?

16:26: Paul Steigerwald uses a vulgarity on the air. He says, "Alek Stojanov."

16:20: Ryan Kesler takes the puck from Burrows, crosses the slot and uses Mark Eaton as a screen as he unleashes a simply spectacular wrist shot and beats Sabourin on the far side. The puck clanks off the post and goes in for a goal. Canucks 1, Penguins 1.

15:44: Erik Christensen steals the puck behind the net and feeds Ruutu in the slot. Ruutu's shot just sails wide. Huge opportunity for the Penguins.

15:29: Ruutu thumps Isbister to the ice in front of the teams' benches. As Ruutu "attempts" to leave the ice, he falls on top of Isbister. The Canucks forward socks Ruutu in the face then is jabbed in the head by Christensen. Isbister and Christensen each go off for roughing. Four-on-four.

14:05: Pinned against the boards, Malkin sends a pass to Ryan Whitney at the point. Whitney has a wide open shot, but sends a pass to Colby Armstrong just to the left of the crease. Armstrong tries to re-direct it in the net, but misses the puck.

13:57: Lukas Krajicek takes a high-sticking penalty.

10:50: WWGRD? Gary Roberts would take a hooking penalty. Replays show Mitchell getting away with a high stick on Sykora.

10:18: Daniel Sedin takes the puck, uses Rob Scuderi as a screen and fires a wicked wrister high on Sabourin. The Penguins goaltender is able to glove the puck.

4:28: From behind the net, Laraque sends a centering pass to a streaking Talbot in the crease. Talbot one-times it and it hits off the inside of the post. Steigerwald reacts as if he's vomiting and getting stabbed at the same time. The red light goes off. Officials will review the shot at the next stoppage.

3:27: Burrows hacks a bouncing puck on net and Sabourin swats it away.

3:17: Malkin goes one-on-one against Mattias Ohlund. The Penguins center gets knocked down but manages to force a backhander against the grain. Luongo makes a nice leg save and kicks the puck out. Fantastic end-to-end action.

0:00: End of period. Catch your breath. Canucks 1, Penguins 1.

-The officials finally have a chance to review Talbot's "goal." Replays show it disappearing under the cross bar, but you can never actually see it cross the goal line. It's a really freaky looking replay. No goal.

OVERTIME

3:45: Sykora grabs the puck at the top of the slot and bombs a slapper that actually knocks Roberto Luongo's stick out of his hand.

3:16: In the left faceoff circle, Kris Letang snipes a wrister through traffic that Luongo is able to absorb in his midsection.

2:29: Crosby chases a loose puck in the neutral zone and goes off on a breakaway. Aaron Miller has no other option than to basically tackle Crosby from behind and takes his legs out with his head. As Crosby gets upended, he manages to somehow get a shot off while falling backwards. It sails wide, but it's impressive enough that he was able to get a shot off. The officials award Crosby a penalty shot. Therrien calls a timeout to give Crosby a chance to catch his breath and/or to freeze Luongo. The Vancouver fans can be heard chanting "Crozzz... Beeee... Crozzz... Beee..." The Penguins captain takes the puck, lifts his right leg, stops just short of the crease, dekes to his left and fires a low shot that a sprawling Luongo is able to knock down and cover. Situations like this make you realize why you love hockey.

0:08: Malone tries a backhanded wrap-around that slides through the crease.

0:00: End of period. Canucks 1, Penguins 1.

SHOOTOUT

-Kesler is up first. He comes in with speed, lifts his left leg, tries to deke to the right, but can't get the puck past Sabourin's left leg.

-Christensen weaves down the middle and coolly dekes to the left and shoots high for a goal. Penguins 1-0.

-Brendan Morrison comes down the middle, dekes to the right and can't sneak the puck past Sabourin's blocker.

-Sykora can end it. He approaches the net and whips a wrister that misses to the right.

-Trevor Linden jumps onto the ice to applause. He briskly bears down on Sabourin and beats him blocker-side. Canucks 1, Penguins 1.

-Crosby gets another chance against Luongo. He charges down the middle and attacks the five-hole. Luongo closes the door.

-Pyatt approaches from the right and beats Sabourin, but rings it off the post.

-Ruutu can kill his old team. He tries to stickhandle and switch to the backhand, but the puck rolls off his blade.

-Naslund comes down into the crease but before he can even get a shot off, Sabourin poke checks the puck away.

-Malkin fires a wrister low and to the left, but Luongo kicks the puck away.

-Daniel Sedin goes with back kick, then dekes to the left. Sabourin sweeps his stick and knocks the puck away. The stick falls out of his hand and the Canucks bench complains claiming Sabourin threw his stick intentionally.

-Letang can't do it again can he? He picks the puck up, lifts his right leg, and coolly dekes to the right and juuuustt slides the puck under Luongo's glove. The Penguins jump off the bench and mob Letang. Jumping up and down chanting "heheheheheh." Therrien flashes his dirty joke smile. End of shootout. Penguins 2, Canucks 1. End of game. Penguins 2, Canucks 1.

POSTGAME

-Anyone who has read Empty Netters with any regularity knows we're not exactly fans of low-scoring games. We'll take a 6-5 game with defense that's sloppier than Heinz Field any day over a tight 2-1 game. But tonight wasn't the case. Each team had 30 shots and faced fantastic goaltending. This game had the feel of a playoff game. And you don't usually get that between two non-conference foes in December. There was end to end rushes, lots of clean, hard hitting, and tons of big-time goaltending. If you stayed up to watch this, you caught a special game.

-How intense was Crosby's penalty shot? You couldn't write a more dramatic script. It wasn't like this was a penalty shot between Blair Betts and Kevin Weekes. It was two Hart Trophy candidates going at it. The best versus the best in overtime.

-Thank goodness for the Penguins Luongo isn't in the Eastern Conference anymore.

-Hope you're not a fan of power plays. Both teams went a combined 0-for-10.

-What groin injury? Sergei Gonchar had 30:54 of ice time.

-Sidney Crosby has gone two games without a point. Ray Shero should've stuck him on waivers.

-What exactly have Jordan Staal or Gary Roberts done lately that would merit a spot in the starting lineup over Adam Hall?

-Shelly Anderson's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights:

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Sidney Crosby has a pair of mutant legs or something.

-Ray Shero says it's a win-win situation for the Penguins and Mark Recchi.

-James Mirtle racks up how Crosby has done in all 30 NHL cities.

-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail examines Crosby's first tour through Western Canada.

-Crosby talked about playing in the 2010 Olympics.

-Jeff Taffe, Ryan Stone and Dennis Bonvie scored goals for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 5-3 loss at Norfolk.

-The Wheeling Nailers got goals from Chris Snavely, Ned Havern and Kyle Rank but fell, 6-3, at Reading.

Atlantic Division

-Mike Sillinger's power-play goal with 27.7 second left in overtime gave the Islanders a 3-2 win in Tampa Bay.

-Islanders defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron and assistant coach Gerard Gallant got into a shouting match.

-Rangers defenseman Marek Malik ripped head coach Tom Renney for being benched in a 4-2 loss to the Thrashers Friday. We think Renney just doesn't like M&M's.

Northeast Division

-Alex Auld made 25 saves and won his first game in a Bruins jersey defeating the Maple Leafs, 2-1.

-Paul Gaustad had two goals for the Sabres in a 7-1 rout in San Jose.

Southeast Division

-Ray Whitney had two goals and Matt Cullen picked up three assists for the Hurricanes in a 5-1 rout of the Canadiens.

-Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists while Matt Green scored two goals as the Capitals doubled-up the Capitals, 6-3.

-Apparently FSN Pittsburgh isn't the only FSN affiliate that doesn't serve its viewers either (See Lange, Mike.) FSN South is not showing today's Hurricanes-Red Wings in lieu of showing a Boston College-Maryland men's basketball game. Can we blame Steve Tello for this one too?

-Did anyone catch Capitals goon Donald Brashear elbow Devils forward John Madden in the head Friday night? You can watch it at 0:22 of this video. Thank goodness someone with Brashear's "skills" is gainfully employed in the NHL. There are far too many players with actual skill such as Madden running around in the league without head injuries.

-Former NHL goaltender Fred Brathwaite left the Thrashers' AHL affiliate in Chicago to play in Russia.

Central Division

-Jordin Tootoo had a Gordie Howe hat trick for the Predators in a 4-2 win against the Ducks.

-Random YouTube find of the day. Blackhawks forward Tuomo Ruutu, brother of Penguins forward Jarkko Ruutu, challenging "Finnish Gaming Specialist Killi" (We couldn't make that one up folks) in Guitar Hero:

Northwest Division

-The other Nicklas Backstrom made 31 saves and led the Wild to a 2-1 win in Columbus.

-In a bit of irony, a former Flyers player delivered a cheap shot to a current Flyers player. Wild goon Todd Fedoruk checked Flyers forward Joffrey Lupul from behind into the boards last week:

-That's worth a two- or three-game suspension at least.

Pacific Division

-Fredrick Sjostrom had three assists for the Coyotes in a 4-2 win in Los Angeles.

-The Coyotes aren't leaving Phoenix... er... Glendale anytime soon.

Patrick Division

-If you feel like simulating the effect of pouring acid into your eyes, check out this image of the suit Don Cherry wore last night during "Coaches' Corner."

-Because it's been just about everywhere else, we'll post it too. The kid in the intermission of the Dallas-New Jersey game Friday:

(Kudos to Going Five Hole for spotting the video.)

-ESPN's David Amber lists the top ten rivalries in the NHL. Sidney Crosby versus Mike Richards checks in at No. 3. (Huh?)

-Random jersey of the day: The Algerian national team.



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