Crowning acheivement

Feb. 9, 2008

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Evgeni Malkin's three points lift the Penguins to a 4-2 win against the hapless Kings.

PREGAME

(Scroll down to read in chronological order.)

-If you're reading along, hit us up at srorabaugh@post-gazette.com.

-The players have come out warm up. Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski is wearing No. 67. He wanted either 66 or 68 but was told they were kind of off limits. We think.

-Should he play, Goligoski would be the first player in Penguins history wear No. 67.

-The Penguins have scratched Ryan Stone and Goligoski. No. 67 remains unclaimed officially.

-The Kings' scratches are Kevin Dallman, Scott Thornton and Brian Willsie.

-We really can't describe it other than to say it's cool, but the Penguins new pregame introduction is pretty cool.

-Wow! They pulled out all the stops for today's national anthem. They have a Marine Corp color guard on hand as well as Jeff Jimerson. Amazing stuff.

-Dany Sabourin is starting in net for the Penguins. Ty Conklin will get the start tomorrow against the Flyers.

-The Kings will go with Jason LaBarbera in net.

FIRST PERIOD

18:48: Erik Christensen has the puck down low behind the Kings net. He snaps a backhander out front to Jordan Staal who tries to bang it home. LaBarbera says no.

15:49: Patrick O'Sullivan takes a puck off the boards and fires a hard shot low from a bad angle. Sabourin kicks it out.

14:24: Christensen comes down the right side, pulls up and whips a hard wrister high that LaBarbera shrugs away with his shoulder.

13:02: Evgeni Malkin winds his way through traffic and fires a shot on net. LaBarbera knocks it down with his glove and covers it.

12:39: Georges Laraque and Raitis Ivanans decide to dance. Right off the faceoff they drop the gloves. Laraque controls it for the most part early on landings a few blows. Ivanans hugs him and holds on for a few seconds. As an official steps in to break it it up. Ivanans breaks and arm loose, lands a few punches and wrestles Laraque to the ice. These two fought pretty memorable bout last season when Laraque was with Phoenix:

12:29: Brooks Orpik dumps the puck in. Dustin Brown tries to take a run at him and gets stood up by a nice check.

10:42: Brad Stuart gets called for holding.

9:55: Sergei Gonchar blasts a one-timer from the point. LaBarbera knocks it away with his blocker.

9:16: During a rush near the Kings' net, Tom Preissing gets called for holding. The Penguins will get a five-on-three for 34 seconds.

8:51: Kris Letang works the pukc fom the corner towards the net. He shoots low and Labarbera kicks it out. The puck comes out to the slot where Malkin grabs it and fires high past LaBabera. The Penguins will still get a power play for over 1:30. Penguins 1-0.

7:20: From the point, Ryan Whitney tries to hit Colby Armstrong on the "back-door" play. Jack Johnson is there to break it up.

7:01: During a commerical time out, it is announced that Malkin's goal gets anyone with a ticket to today's game a hair cut at Supercuts. During this announcement they typically show someone with long hair or none at all because irony always sells. Well this time, they showed some guy who could probably be in a Pantera tribute band.

5:56: On a delayed penalty, Peter Harrold comes in from the point and snaps a quick one-timer on net. Sabourin kicks it out.

5:51: Rob Scuderi takes a holding penalty. Two minutes.

5:08: O'Sullivan sends a pass across the crease to Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri shoots low but Sabourin is able to slide into position and make the save.

4:37: Derek Armstrong shoots for the five-hole but Sabourin closes his legs and kicks it out.

2:50: Brian Boyle comes down the right side, fighting off a Penguin, and forces a backhander on net. Sabourin covers it up. Boyle is an absolute giant at 6-foot-6.

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

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Penguins own a 9-7 advantage in shots.

-Ryan Whitney logged a boat-load of playing time with 10:17. The next closest on either team was Jaroslav Modry with 8:47.

-Former Penguin John Cullen is being interviewed by Paul Steigerwald and Bob Errey before the game. Cullen now operates a Dodge dealership in Georgia.

SECOND PERIOD

19:06: What in the name of Laurie Boschman was that? Ryan Malone and Malkin come into the offensive zone on a give-and-go. Malone shoots the puck and it hits a Kings player's skate and flutters over LaBarbera. What a garbage goal. It counts either way. Penguins 2-0.

16:13: A skrimish ensues in front of the Penguins net. The puck comes out to the slot where a King grabs it and firs a shot into an net. Sabourin's out of place initially but recovers to make a nifty glove save.

14:40: Lubomir Visnovsky fires a quick slapper. Jarkko Ruutu gets down to block it. Chants of "Ruuuuu!" can be heard.

14:26: Ryan Whitney gets nabbed for tripping.

13:48: Harrold throws a puck on net from the point. It hits a body but Sabourin is able to locate it, knock it down and cover it.

9:14: LaBarbera covers a loose puck in the crease. Boyle tries to chokeslam Colby Armstrong. Undertaker not impressed.

8:45: Jack Johnson gets called for hooking.

8:19: It doesn't take long for the Penguins to cash in. Whitney controls th puck along the left boards, sneaks in a bit from the point and slides a pass across the crease to Malkin. Malkin hammers a one-timer that beats Labarbera. It is Malkin's 30th goal of the season. Penguins 3-0.

6:30: O'Sullivan jabs at Malkin with his stick. Malkin responds by shoving him to the ice. The officials respond by sticking Malkin in the penalty box for two minutes.

5:38: Anze Kopitar fires a low shot from the left faceoff circle. Sabourin kicks it out.

4:21: Trying to clearn the puck Maxime Talbot gets tripped up. An official raises his hand for the delayed penalty as the puck gets cleared. Malkin's penalty expires and he leaves the box. He picks up the loose puck and comes in on a one-on-one (sort of). He gets edged towards the boards but still fires a nice hard low shot that Labarbera is forced to kick out. Kyle Calder goes to the box for two minutes.

3:18: Malkin bombs a slapper from the right faceoff circle. LaBarbera spots it through traffic, knocks it down with a nice "thump!" and covers it up.

2:06: Scuderi gets away with a trip.

1:33: Off a faceoff, Whitney throws a wrister on net from the point. LaBarbera eats it up.

1:12: The collective presence of Cullen, Marc Bergevin and Dennis Owchar is aknowledged. All three are former Penguins.

0:12: The puck gets loose in the Penguins' crease. Ivanans has a wide open net to shoot at but Sabourin stones him.

0:02: Jeff Taffe brings the puck down the left side and gets stopped by LaBarbera. Christensen grabs the rebound and tries to punch it in with a backhand. LaBarbera stops him again but gives up another rebound. Jordan Staal is Johnny-on-the-spot and punches it in past a prone LaBarbera. Penguins 4-0.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Kings 0.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-If Kings coach Marc Crawford has any mercy, he'll pull LaBarbera and put in Dan Cloutier. The Kings defense has let LaBarbera down today.

-If nothing else, the prospect of Cloutier getting into a fight would be entertaining. Perhaps the Penguins can sign Tommy Salo before the third period.

-The Penguins own a 26-18 advantage in shots.

-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:

"Mario is the only king"

"Gary Roberts invented pants."

"Gary Roberts is the original lord of the dance."

"WWGRD?"

"Cotton Candy Man rules."

-LaBarbera will stay in the Kings' net.

THIRD PERIOD

18:06: The Kings finally strike. The puck gets played near the net. Derek Armstrong tips it up over Sabourin's left leg. It was a nifty job of deflecting a moving puck by Armstrong. Penguins 4-1.

16:48: Gonchar fires a slapper from the point. LaBarbera eats it up. but a few players crash on top of him. The officals blow the whistle late.

16:12: Colby Armstrong gets called for tripping.

15:55: Cammalleri snaps a one-timer off from in tight. Sabourin's in place to make the save.

14:23: EN readers have informed us that Errey proclaimed the game being over in the second intermission and that there was no Mike Yeo interview before the third period. Not good.

10:39: The Kings bring the puck into the offensive zone and their shot gets deflected into the seats. It's obvious the Kings are little bit more into this period than the previous two. They've controled play for the most part this period. Someone should've told them that there's three periods in most hockey games.

6:58: A Penguins player just left the ice. We couldn't make out who it was from our vantage point but it appeared to be a single digit uniform number.

6:13: Darryl Sydor was penalized for slashing.

3:48:
Petr Sykora takes the puck, spins and fires a shot on net. LaBarbera is able to knock it down and cover it up. Boyle gets called for hooking.

2:23: From the left faceoff circle, Christensen winds up and blasts a slapper. LaBarbera deflects it away with his shoulder.

1:23: Alexander Frolov steals the puck off Gonchar along the boars. He sends a pass into the slot to Boyle. Boyle fires it past Sabourin juuuuuust to make things a little interesting. Penguins 4-2.

0:56: LaBarbera is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:35: Malkin comes through the neutral zone and fires the puck at an empty cage. He hits the side of the net. He stinks.

0:25: Tom Preissing gets called for holding.

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

POSTGAME

-There's not much more you can say than a superior team beat a bad one today. The Kings stink. There's a reason they're the worst team in the league. The Penguins, even with all their injuries, are a far better team. Talent won out in this one.

-That said, the Kings pressed more in the third period and the Penguins appeared to be a bit relaxed with a four-goal lead.

-The Penguins better be ready for a tougher game tomorrow. The Flyers are a lot more skilled than the Kings and they like to rip people's heads off. Especially if those people are from the other side of the state.

-What else can you say about Malkin? Sidney Crosby's absence has allowed him to take this team over. With apologies to Alexander Ovechkin, you'll be pressed to find anyone playing better in the NHL right now.

-Gonchar led all players with 27:01 of ice time. Whitney finished with 25:06.

-Erik Christensen led all players with eight shots. Interesting.

-Whitney, Letang and Gonchar all had three blocked shots.

-The Penguins continued to struggle in faceoffs. The Kings won the faceoff battle, 37-22.

-Sabourin played strong. He probably deserved a shutout. His team let him down a bit on the two goals he allowed.

-No Cotton Candy Guy for the second game in a row. We hope he's OK.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.



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