Evgeni Malkin's first NHL hat trick leads the Penguins to a 6-2 rout of the Maple Leafs.
-Ty Conklin gets another start in net.
-Scott Clemmensen will be in between the pipes for Toronto.
-The Penguins are wearing white for some reason.
-Gary Roberts was the Penguins' only official scratch.
-The Maple Leafs scratched John Pohl, Anton Stralman and Kyle Wellwood.
18:40: Matt Stajan backhands a pass from behind the net into the crease. Darcy Tucker one-times it. Conklin makes the save initially but it squeaks through his equipment and trickles partially across the goal line. Erik Christensen jumps on it and pulls the puck out before it goes completely in. The officials wave it off.
18:25: A replay confirms Tucker's non-goal.
17:33: Bob Errey begins Jeff Taffe's Hart Trophy campaign as he mentions the Penguins are 5-1 with him in the lineup.
16:01: A highlight clip of Clemmensen getting a shutout against the Penguins nearly four years ago is replayed. Considering some of the Penguins included in that clip were Milan Kraft, Rico Fata and Konstantin Koltsov, that shutout should've had an asterisk attached to it.
12:09: Tyler Kennedy gets nabbed for slashing.
11:41: Paul Steigerwald explains that the reason the Penguins are wearing white was because the Maple Leafs wore white during a game against the Penguins in Toronto in December. The Penguins were "returning the favor" by doing this. Whatever that means.
10:02: As the penalty expires, Jason Blake brings the puck to the front of the net and tries to jam it in. Conklin sprawls to make the initial save. Alexei Ponikarovsky jabs at the rebound but Conklin covers it up.
9:26: Sundin swoops behind the net and backhands the puck towards the post. Blake charges at it and somehow pokes it through Conklin's equipment. Maple Leafs 1-0.
8:39: Petr Sykora goes to the box for hooking.
6:35: Errey mentions Jordan Staal's hat trick last season against Toronto. Why does that seems eons ago?
6:02: Steigerwald publicly thanks the father for Penguins assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher for impregnating Fletcher's mother.
5:03: Nikolai Antropov throws a low, heavy wrister on net. Conklin is able to eat it up.
3:36: Errey calls Gary Roberts a wimp for breaking his leg.
3:19: Evgeni Malkin drives to the net and is hauled down by Pavel Kubina. As play gets stopped, Kubina pins Malkin to the ice. Malkin tries to push him off and gets jabbed in the face a few times. Mark Bell and Colby Armstrong get involved in a tussle and we see Bell punch Armstrong in the face. Kubina and Bell each get two minutes. Getting punched in the face is apparently a new penalty in the NHL and Armstrong gets two minutes as well.
1:19: The power play ends with the Penguins failing to get a shot on net.
0:00: End of period. Maple Leafs 1, Penguin 0.
-The Penguins were out-shot 11-4. Argh.
19:47: Right off the faceoff circle, Crosby tries to send a lead pass through the defense for Evgeni Malkin. As Kubina breaks it up, Malkin dives for it, loses his glove and crashes pretty hard into the boads.
19:08: Errey references John LeClair suplexing Maklin in the preseason last season. We call party foul:
18:36: Petr Sykora fires a slap shot from the point. Clemmensen makes the initial save but gives up a juicy rebound. Christensen picks it up, sweeps behind the net and sneaks in a wrap-around just past Clemmensen's left foot and off the stick of Hall Gill. Maple Leafs 1, Penguins 1.
14:37: After getting thumped in the corner by Boyd Devereaux and injuring his shoulder, Darryl Sydor is able to get off the ice finally after having the puck stuck in his end for over a minute.
13:27: After getting dropped by a stiff shoulder check by Christensen, Stajan slashes him back. As play is stopped, Stajan pushes Christensen. Tucker tries to get Christensen to fight but Christensen isn't biting.
10:27: Ruutu and Tucker get tangled up down in the Penguins zone and put on quite a show. We'll let the video explain what happened:
(Kudos to The Pensblog for finding that video.)
Tucker can be seen with a scratch by his left eye and his face almost turns the same color as Violet in "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory:"
8:13: Steigerwald pretty much treats Tyler Kennedy like a six-year-old by referring to him as "Tyler the Tiger."
5:50: Someone at FSN goes all Bert Sugar on us as we get a punch count from the Ruutu-Tucker brawl. Ruutu threw 32 punches and landed 25. Tucker threw 25 and landed 10. Quality work.
5:38: Crosby flings a backhander on net. Clemmensen knocks it down but Malkin is there to backhand the rebound past his glove hand. Malkin celebrates with a pretty intense "air punch." Penguins 2-1.
2:28: Steigerwald calls the Ruutu-Tucker fight one of the best ever by anyone in a Penguins uniform.
2:10: Errey backs up our claim that "middleweights" usually produce the most entertaining fights.
1:31: Michel Therrien calls a timeout to rest his team following an icing call.
1:17: Tomas Kaberle spots Chad Kilger behind the Penguins' defense. He sends a torpedo pass and springs Kilger free. Kilger bears down on Conklin and shoots glove side but clinks it off the post.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Maple Leafs 1.
-Toronto owns a 20-15 advantage in shots.
-Former Penguins general manager Jack Riley is interviewed. That black and blue Penguins letterman jacket he wore was sweet.
-Life returns to normal as assistant coach Mike Yeo is interviewed.
19:41: Errey and Steigerwald make fun of Jarkko Ruutu's mother.
17:00: What a goal by Kennedy. Staal swats a loose puck towards Kennedy. Kennedy snaps a wrister on net and Clemmensen makes the initial save. He outworks Kaberle for the rebound, brings it across the slot, switches to the backhand and lifts it over Clemmensen for a goal. Penguins 3-1.
16:23: Before we can catch our breath. Crosby works the puck into the offensive zone, sweeps it through traffic and towards Malkin who is on the Clemmensen's door step and punches it by his left skate. Penguins 4-1.
16:12: What in the names of Philippe DeRouville is going on? A loose puck gets dumped into the Maple Leafs' zone and Andrew Wozniewski misplays it. Sykora picks it up, fires a shot, picks up the rebound and punches it by Clemmensen. Maple Leafs coach Paul Maurice looks like he wants to club someone with a brick because the Penguins have scored three goals in 48 seconds. The Penguins fans at Mellon Arena offer a standing ovation for almost two minutes. Maple Leafs fans are stunned. Penguins 5-1.
15:18: With Sykora on the bench, we see him adjusting his blade with out a glove on. While he is doing that, we can see him wearing a wedding ring during play. Cool.
14:36: On a power play, Sundin sweeps a puck from the slot to Blake on the left side of the net. Blake tries to slide it past Conklin but hits the far post.
14:18: Right off the faceoff, the two centermen, Ryan Malone and Mark Bell decide to drop them. After some hesitation, they grab at each other and throw a lot of wild punches with very few connecting and they fall to the ice. It's pretty entertaining despite the lack of connections.
13:14: A "U-S-A!" chant can be heard.
7:42: As we come back from commercial, we see Maxime Talbot looking like a French gangster munching on popcorn in the press box. He has his hair slicked back and is wearing a black suit.
7:07: On a power play, Sundin blasts a one-timer from the point. It hits Kubina in the skate and deflects past Conklin. While trying to figure out who the puck hit off for the goal, it's evident Errey is ready to go home when, in an indignant "who-the-heck-cares" fashion, says, "I don't know." Penguins 5-2.
5:29: Malkin has a chance at his first career hat trick. Ryan Whitney has a chance on the "back door" play but elects to pass to Malkin on the other side of the crease. Before Malkin can pull the trigger, the puck falls off his blade.
4:32: Whitney snaps a cross-ice pass to Malkin who goes to one knee and punches a one-timer past Clemmensen from the top of the left faceoff circle. As hats rain down on the ice, he holds his leg up in a "Captain Morgan" type of pose. As the hats are cleaned up, Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out. Penguins 6-2.
Have to love that big old dent in the roof in that video.
3:22: Wozniewski clips Adam Hall and draws blood. Four minutes.
1:11: Armstrong checks Kubina from behind along the boards and dislodges his helmet. No call.
0:00: End of game. Penguins 6, Maple Leafs 2.
-Following the game, Dan Potash interviewed Malkin and coaxed him into answering a question in English. Talking about his first NHL hat trick, Malkin said, "It's great. I'm happy. First hat trick is unbelievable."
-We have season tickets but didn't go to this game. We have three seats with four of our friends and we have a "lottery" to distribute them. Having sat through our share of 2-1 snore-fests this season, we have never hated our friends more.
-The three goal explosion in the third period wasn't a team record. The fastest three goals the Penguins have scored came in 10-4 romping of the Blues Nov. 22, 1972. Al McDonough, Ken Schinkel and Ron Schock turned the trick in 27 seconds.
-Sykora recorded a point for the first time in eight games.
-The Penguins enjoyed a healthy 38-26 advantage in faceoffs.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-Maxime Talbot is getting healthier.
-The NHL Network will rebroadcast the Winter Classic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
-Why do the Penguins stink against the Atlantic Division?
-Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News' Sabres Edge blog wonders where the next Winter Classic should be held.
-Flyers forward Simon Gagne, who's been recovering from a concussion he suffered in November, is scheduled to return to the lineup next week.
-You may not have noticed, but Rangers rookie defenseman Marc Staal, the brother of Penguins forward Jordan, is having a fine freshman campaign.
-Rick DiPietro got into a bit of hot water over a new set of pads.
-Tim Thomas made 31 saves and led the Bruins to a 2-0 shutout of the Capitals.
-Michael Ryder had two goals and an assist for the Canadiens in a 6-3 win against the Lightning.
-The Senators assigned forward Nick Foligno to Binghamton of the AHL.
-Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller discussed his AMP Energy drink commercial he did with Jean-Sebastien Aubin.
-Sabres defenseman Teppo Numminen is recovering from his heart ailment.
-If the award actually existed, Alexei Kovalev could be the NHL's comeback player of the season.
-Jassen Cullimore's overtime goal gave the Panthers a 4-3 road win against the Islanders.
-Through Wednesday, Lighting forward Brad Richards is a minus-23, worst in the NHL. James Mirtle wonders if the mark is really as bad as it looks.
-Alexander Radulov scored two goals and helped the Predators claim a 5-2 win against the Oilers.
-Two goals by Michael Peca lifted the Blue Jackets to a 4-3 win at Los Angeles.
-Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews will not need surgery on his knee.
-The Predators lowered ticket prices.
-Jarome Iginla scored two goals, including one in overtime and gave the Flames a 3-2 win at San Jose.
-Roberto Luongo made 27 saves and recorded his sixth shutout of the season for the Canucks in a 3-0 defeat of the Rangers.
-Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and two assist for the Wild in a 6-3 defeat of the Stars.
-Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth will be out two months with an ankle injury.
-Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray is still having problems with his shoulder.
-Martin Hanzal and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist for the Coyotes in a 4-2 win against the Blackhawks.
-Check out this pretty good tribute to the Winnipeg Jets:
-The NHL may allow the size of a goaltender's equipment to be determined by the size of the goaltender himself.