Drowning in the Atlantic

Dec. 22, 2007

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The Penguins' record against Atlantic Division foes falls to 4-10-1 after a 4-2 loss to the Islanders.

PREGAME

-Ryan Malone and Brooks Orpik are the Penguins' scratches.

-The Islanders scratched Bryan Berard and Marc-Andre Bergeron.

-Dany Sabourin is in net.

-Bob Errey is broadcasting the game from in between the benches. You would think they would do that more often with someone like Jay Caufield down there. Even with the annoying Pierre McGuire down there during NBC's broadcasts, the product for the viewer is almost always improved when someone is down there providing information.

-The "Night Before Christmas" video they played on the big screen before the game was lame.

FIRST PERIOD

19:16: One goal closer to the end of the world. Josef Vasicek drops a pass to Miroslav Satan. Ryan Whitney and Rob Scuderi allow him to walk in towards the goal and Satan picks his spot by sending a laser past Dany Sabourin's glove hand. Satan now has 665 career points. Islanders 1-0.

18:06: On a power play, Evgeni Malkin one-times a shot that is knocked down by Brendan Witt. In the crease, Jordan Staal kicks the puck to his stick but juussst misses being able to poke it in.

9:50: Being interviewed by Errey, Michel Therrien can be seen wearing a purple and pink tie with a blue striped shirt. Yeesh!

4:50: Mark Eaton takes the puck behind his own net and holds it there for 24 seconds. Sean Bergenheim holds him at bay for until Erik Christensen comes back to support him. There should be some sort of five-second rule or something similar to the 10-second rule in the NBA. That rule is in place to speed up the game. If the NHL wants a more entertaining product, something like a rule about holding the puck behind your own net would facilitate that.

1:10: Georges Laraque works the puck into the corner, and draws Bruno Gervais and Mike Sillinger onto him. He then flicks the puck to Gary Roberts behind the net. Roberts tries to jam it past Rick DiPietro who makes the initial save. The rebound kicks to the other side of the crease where Christensen is able to punch it in. It is the 900th career point for Roberts. Song 2 by Blur. Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

0:51: As Freddy Meyer takes a holding penalty, play stops. Roberts' milestone is acknowledged by public address announcer John Barbero. The Mellon Arena crowd offers an ovation of nearly a minute chanting "Gar-eee, Gar-eee!" Roberts acknowledges the crowd with a slight wave. Pittsburgh's economy improves 44 percent.

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

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The teams are tied in shots on goal, 10-10.

-Dan Potash stammers in Roberts' presence. We think we would too.

-Paul Steigerwald did some fantastic research and found out that Gordie Howe only had one "Gordie Howe Hat Trick."

-Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!!

-The Penguins will begin the second period with over a minute of power-play time on clean ice.

SECOND PERIOD

19:22: Errey tells us he's going to huff ammonia.

17:03: As Errey illustrates his substance abuse problem on live television, Steigerwald in a very "that looks cool" fashion, asks if that "smells like Windex."

15:41: Staal will never score an easier goal in his life. Killing a penalty, DiPietro leaves the crease to play a loose puck. Andy Sutton doesn't see him and attempts to clear it himself. DiPietro and Sutton collide and fall over. Staal is there all alone with the puck and an empty net. He slides it in for the easy goal. Penguins 2-1.

14:14: One thing that has surprised us with Kris Letang is how physical he can play. Despite being a smaller man, Letang (6-foot-0, 201) snuffs out Josef Vasicek (6-foot-5, 214 pounds) in the corner with a meaty check.

11:18: On a three-on-two, Tim Jackman backhands a pass to a former Penguin Andy Hilbert. He snaps a wrister that finds its way through Sabourin's equipment. It's a poor goal to give up. Islanders 2, Penguins 2.

6:43: Jarkko Ruutu fakes a shot getting DiPietro to fall to the ice and commit. Ruutu swoops behind the net and tries to score on a wrap-around. Mike Comrie's stick deflects the puck into the air. DiPietro stumbles to get into position, drops his stick and snags the puck out of the air with his blocker.

4:56: Roberts sets a pick on Bergenheim and catches him with a pretty good check. Bergenheim is slightly stunned and sits on his knees for a few seconds. A little later in the play, he sticks an elbow Roberts' face and gets two minutes. He shoves Roberts in the side of the head hoping to goad him into another penalty but Roberts isn't biting. Bergenheim complains to the officials and gets another two minutes. Assuming he was complaining about the pick by Roberts, Bergenheim has a legitimate gripe. Roberts should've gotten an interference penalty. If this is the "new" NHL, call the penalties.

0:57: Bergenheim's penalties expire with the Penguins getting only five shots on net.

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

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Penguins own a 21-16 advantage in shots.

-Errey interviews Mike Yeo. All is well in the world.

THIRD PERIOD

19:46: Errey calls out Barry Bonds.

17:09: On a give-and-go, Crosby centers a pass to Malkin who has a wide-open shot, but the pass is a little too far ahead of him. Malkin dives to get a shot off, but DiPietro is able to make an easy save.

16:19: Chris Campoli tries to hit Tyler Kennedy along the boards in the neutral zone. Kennedy tries to protect himself and clips Campoli in the face with his stick, cutting him. A trainer attend to Campoli and Kennedy gets a double minor.

15:59: Errey calls out Jordan Staal. Staal flings a puck out of play and nearly hits Errey. Errey says, "Staal's been having a hard time finding the net. There's no way he's going to hit me."

12:19: Kennedy's penalties expire without the Islanders doing any damage.

9:32: Blake Comeau, who was essentially called up from the AHL to replace the suspended Chris Simon, brings the puck into the zone and stop. Malkin is covering him and peels off. Comeau takes the free space, moves towards the net and fires a quick slapper that clinks off the far post and into the net. Hilbert helped matters by setting up a fantastic screen in front of Sabourin. It is Comeau's first career NHL goal. Islanders 3-2.

8:55: Trent Hunter centers a pass to the slot to Mike Sillinger. Sillinger's shot is blocked by Rob Scuderi but the puck almost immediately deflects back to Hunter who has an empty net to fire it into. Many "fans" leave their seats. Weak. Islanders 4-2.

5:27: Errey busts out some science on us and references lactic acid.

4:57: Bill Guerin gives the Penguins an opportunity to get back into the game by taking a hooking penalty.

2:57: Unofficially, the Penguins get only three shots on net with the man advantage.

1:48: What's wrong with this picture? The Penguins are down two goals with just under two minutes left and Jeff Taffe is on the ice.

0:54: Sabourin is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:32: In a development that pretty much sums up the night, the Penguins are whistled for too many men on the ice. And this isn't your pedestrian too many men on the ice. The Penguins had SEVEN men on the ice. That's awful. That equally pathetic for the coaches and the players. Amazingly, it seemed like the officials let the play go for approximately 15 seconds before blowing the whistle.

0:00: End of period. Islanders 4, Penguins 2.

POSTGAME

-The Penguins have had an awful two weeks. They've gone 2-3-0 their last five games and they've struggled to put in a solid 60 minutes. They were run over by the Flyers, 8-2 Dec. 11. Martin Gerber and the Senators shut them down, 4-1, Dec. 13. They barely beat the Islanders 3-2 last Saturday. They looked dead in a 4-0 loss to the Rangers Tuesday. And despite winning 5-4 in a shootout in Boston Thursday, they did blow a four-goal lead in that game. Maybe it's the injuries, but something's not clicking with this team right now.

-We really have no way of quantifying it, but the atmosphere at Mellon Arena is definitely deader this season with the student rushers mostly phased out in favor of full-season ticket customers. The Penguins didn't give anyone much to cheer about last night, but there was very little energy in the stands, and it's been like that most of the season.

-Additionally, if you're leaving a two-goal game with over nine minutes left, why are you even buying a ticket?

-Even if the crowd was dead, the franchise tied a recoud with its 30th consecutive regular season shutout.

-Best jerseys we saw: Mario Lemieux Team Canada, Paul Coffey Penguins, Michel Briere, Ray Bourque Bruins, and Pavel Bure Panthers.

-Given that yesterday's Daily Number in the Pennsylvania Lottery was 666, you would think Miroslav Satan would've turned the trick last night. As it is, he's stuck on 665.

-Ryan Whitney and Rob Scuderi were each a minus-3. Ick.

-You would think with one of the team's best penalty killing forward, Maxime Talbot on the shelf with an ankle injury, the Penguins would dress Brooks Orpik more given that he's easily the team's most physical defenseman.

-It's hard to give Sabourin any grief about last night. He didn't dominate, but he didn't lose this game on his own. Only the Islanders' second goal was a bad one.

-There's something obviously wrong with the power play. It went 1-for-6 and mounted very little of an attack during Bergenheim's double minor towards the end of the second period. Additionally, the only goal they scored with the man advantage was Staal's "gimme" early in the second period.

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Erik Christensen officially was given credit for the game-winning shootout goal Thursday in Boston.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins got a goal and an assist from Tim Brent in a 2-1 win against Manchester.

-Sean Collins scored the Wheeling Nailers' only goal in a 3-1 loss to Elmira.

Atlantic Division

-Brian Gionta and Patrik Elias each scored a goal and an assist for the Devils in a 3-1 win at Edmonton.

-The Flyers signed coach John Stevens to an extension.

Northeast Division

-Daniel Briere's first game in Buffalo since leaving as a free agent, saw the Sabres claim a 3-2 win against the Flyers.

Southeast Division

-Hurricanes forward Justin Williams will be out 4-6 months with a knee injury. It's a stunning blow to Carolina.

-With forward Chad LaRose on injured reserve, the Hurricanes recalled forward Brandon Nolan, the son of Islanders coach Ted Nolan, from Albany of the AHL. He is scheduled to make his NHL debut tonight.

-Don't Lightning forward Craig MacDonald about how cruddy your day is. He lost nine teeth (five cleanly, four shaved in half) and received about 50 stitches to his to his mouth and chin after taking a shot to the mouth Thursday.

Central Division

-A goal and an assist by Nikolai Zherdev lifted the Blue Jackets to a 2-1 win against the Kings.

-Defenseman Cam Barker, the third overall pick in the 2004 draft, was recalled from Rockford of the AHL by the Blackhawks.

-Blackhawks forward Martin Havlat, who is returning to Ottawa as an opposing player for the first time tonight, purchased a private box for tonight's game for his friends.

Northwest Division

-Wojtek Wolski's overtime goal gave the Avalanche a 4-3 win against the Rangers.

-After being sidelined for two months with an ankle injury, former Penguins center Wayne Primeau is ready to re-join the Flames.

Pacific Division

-Mike Ribeio had two goals, including one in overtime in the Stars' 3-2 win in Calgary.

-Stars goaltender Marty Turco and Mike Smith were making fun of Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo's pads.

Norris Division

-Should goons like Chris Simon be banned from the NHL?



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