Manning up

March 12, 2008

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With depleted lineup, the Penguins rout the Sabres, 7-3.

PREGAME

-Apologies for the delay. More wireless problems.

-There might be the most scratches ever in this game.

-The Penguins scratched Rob Scuderi, Marian Hossa, Maxime Talbot, Sidney Crosby and Dany Sabourin.

-Buffalo's scratches are Jaroslav Spacek, Tim Connolly, Michael Ryan, Dmitri Kalinin and Andrew Peters who is suspended for this game.

-The Penguins set a club record with their 35 sellout of the season. Ryan Malone spoke briefly to the fans prior to the game and thanked them.

-With some injuries on their blue line, the Sabres recalled defenseman Mike Weber from Rochester of the AHL. The Sabres made a classy gesture by putting Weber, a native of Western Pennsylvania, into the lineup in front of his hometown crowd.

-A small cheer could be heard when Weber's name was announced in the starting lineup.

-Petr Sykora being in the line-up tonight is a bit of surprise. He originally was supposed to be scratched to night due to a bad back.

-No Jeff Jimerson.

FIRST PERIOD

17:57: It's technically not a smashing, but Connor James went into the boards pretty hard chasing after a loose puck with Henrik Tallinder.

16:39: Steve Bernier snaps a shot off. Conklin gloves it.

16:30: Right off the faceoff Nolan Pratt has the puck stolen off him by Pascal Dupuis and it's passed up to Tyler Kennedy who's off to the races. He dekes to his right and juuuuusst sneaks it under Ryan Miller left leg. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

15:06: Jochen Hecht pounds a one-timer from the slot. Despite traffic. Conklin is able to eat it up.

13:44: James is nabbed for tripping.

13:28: Shorthanded, Malone tries to zip a pass into the crease for a re-directed shot by Jordan Staal, but the pass juuuust misses Staal's stick.

9:18: Evgeni Malkin works the puck up ice and is checked off it. Miller covers the loose puck in his crease.

6:28: Drew Stafford is called for roughing.

6:09: Darryl Sydor slides a puck in front of the blue line to Kris Letang who fires a one-timer just wide of the net.

4:50: Daniel Paille pushes the puck into the Penguins zone and throws it on net. Conklin squeezes his pads and stops the shot.

4:21: Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!!

4:09: Sykora is sent to the box for holding.

0:40: As the Penguins go in offsides, Ryan Stone and a Sabres defenseman exchange shoves.

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

FIRST INTERMISSION

-The Sabres own a 9-7 edge in shots.

-Our apologies if tonight's post isn't very good. The wireless connection keeps fading in and out and it's really making doing a live blog difficult. It's kind of like being a farmer without dirt. Or something.

SECOND PERIOD

18:24: Thomas Vanek works his way through traffic and fires a shot just wide of the net.

17:13: 17,132.

1726: It's a pretty ugly scene here at Nathan Paetsch is laying on the ice motionless. It was hard to tell initally what happened, but replays appear to show Georges Laraque perhaps catching him with an elbow or a shoulder to the chin. Play is stopped. A stretcher is brought out to assist him. He actually is able to get to his feet and is helped off the ice. A "27" with a "5:00" is up on the scoreboard so you know Laraque did something wrong. He is given an elbowing major and a game misconduct. Ryan Stone will serve Laraque's penalty. You know the NHL is going to examine this. We don't think Laraque did it intentionally, but he deserves a suspension. This wasn't the first time this week Paetsch took a bad hit. Rangers forwards Sean Avery rattled him Monday.

16:45: Dupuis comes up ice with the puck and tries to feed it to another Penguin in the slot. A Sabres defenseman gets down to block the pass and almost inadvertantly knocks it into his own net.

14:15: A pretty insane scramble takes place near the Sabres net. It's tough to describe what all went on during it. Let's just say Hal Gill almost scored.

13:34: Maxim Afinogenov is sent to the box for hooking.

13:25: From the point, Sydor controls the puck, winds up and throws a slapper on et that is re-directed by Jeff Taffe and past Miller. Penguins 2-0.

10:56: Perhaps the loudest cheer of the night is offered for an army seargant who is home on leave from Iraq.

9:20: Stafford throws a wrister on net from the right win. Conklin kicks it out.

7:55: Maxim Afinogenov comes up the middle and unleashes a nice wrist shot on net that Conklin absorbs.

6:21: Vanek gets away with a check from behind on Connor James in the corner.

4:59: Ales Kotalik pounds a one-timer from the left faceoff circle that Conklin calmly eats up again.

2:53: Weber drops his stick and Dupuis actually pushes it back to him with his own. We're officially putting Dupuis up for the Lady Byng.

2:36: Conklin tries to play a puck behind his own net but is tripped up by Vanek. Vanek is sent to the box.

1:52: The Penguins controls the puck around the perimeter. It gets worked around to Sergei Gonchar who lobs a wrister on net that Ryan Miller can't find in traffic. The Puck hits twine and everyone celebrates. Penguins 3-0.

0:17: On a rush up ice, Malkin brings it into the zone and dishes it off to... Brooks Orpik? We guess the options are kind of limited right now. Orpik's fires a shot low into the equipment of Miller who freezes the puck.

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

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Our apologies again for this not being a very good post tonight. We're having some pretty bad computer problems.

-The Penguins are out-shooting Buffalo, 21-19.

-We guess this isn't too bad. The Sabres are winning the faceoff battle by only a 26-20 advantage.

THIRD PERIOD

19:47: Almost as soon as the period gets going, we get a scrum in the corner. Tyler Kennedy, Jordan Staal, Pascal Dupuis scrap with just about every Sabre on the ice. Pratt is sent off for boarding.

19:04: Note to the Sabres: QUIT PUTTING THE PENGUINS ON THE POWER PLAY!!!! The puck gets worked into the slot where Malone grabs it. He taps a pass to the left of the net where Sykora pounds it into an empty cage. The Penguins are now 2-for-4 with the man advantage tonight. Penguins 4-0.

17:48: The "Millll-Errrr... Millllll-Errrr..." chants begin.

16:58: Weber throws throws the puck on net. Conklin stops it but can't control the rebound. Jochen Hecht grabs it, spins and beats Conklin with a backhander. When the goal is announced along with Weber's assist, a decent cheer could be heard. Penguins 4-1.

16:36: Another skirmish ensues and is broken up quickly.

15:24: As Miller covers up a loose puck in the crease, another scrum develops. Staal and Pratt are in each other's faces. The officials seemingly want to difuse this thing before it gets out of hand and send Hecht to the box for hooking.

14:49: Whoa where did that come from? Paille comes up the left wing and simply blows a slapper underneath Conklin's right arm pit. We guess it's OK to put the Penguins on the power play. It's a weak goal for Conklin to give up. Penguins 4-2.

13:11: A reader writes:

"Since you are at the game I wasn't sure if you had seen the A&L Motors updated commercial. They start it out the same, then give a classy tribute and thanks to Colby, and show some brief outtakes from the commercial shoot. I thought it was a pretty cool way to do it."

John Ladner

EN-If anyone has this on YouTube yet, can you send it our way? Thanks.

12:46: Staal blasts a slapper from the slot. Miller gets a shoulder on it and knocks it away.

12:13: Staal comes up ice, gets behind the Sabres defense, tries to deke to the back and but is hooked by Kotalik. Two minutes.

11:04: Note to the Sabres: QUIT PUTTING THE PENGUINS ON THE POWER PLAY! From the point, Sydor fires a slapper on net. Malkin is standing in the crease and tips it behind Miller. The Penguins are now 3-for-6 on the power play tonight. Penguins 5-2.

10:28: "Millll-Errrrrr... Millll-Errrrrr..."

9:57: OK this is getting bad. Chris Minard is scoring for heaven's sake. Staal controls a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and slides it across the slot to Minard who pokes it in. It's Minard's first career NHL goal. Miller is chased and is replaced by former Penguin Jocelyn Thibault. The goal horn seems like it's running out of juice as it faded in and out following the goal. Penguins 6-2. "

9:11: If you like defense, you may want to change the channel. Malkin turns the puck over in his own end to Paille. The puck ends up on the right side where Bernier is able to slide it back across the slot to a streaking Paille who sneaks it under Conklin. Kudos to Paille for hustling on the play. Penguins 6-3.

8:18: It's announced that Ryan Stone's assist on Minard's goal was his first career NHL point.

7:49: Steve Bernier appears to shoot a puck into the Penguins net and a Buffalo player raises his hands in celebration but it is deflected out. When play is stopped at 7:01, the officials hault play to examine the "goal." Seemingly a definitive replay can not show the puck actually crossing the goal line and it's confirmed as a non-goal.

6:37: Play resumes and the Penguins come right down the ice and score. Tyler Kennedy comes down the right side and centers the puck. Kris Letang takes it and fires a wrister that beats Thibault. Penguins 7-3.

6:27: What is this an All-Star game? The Sabres fire a slapper on net. Conklin stops it but a Buffalo player crashes the crease and kicks it in. The red lamp goes off but officials quickly wave it off.

4:10: Cotton Eyed Joe is busted out:

3:32: A puck is fed across the crease to Vanek who tries to jam it in on the right side. Conklin is able to keep it out with his right foot.

1:42: Dupuis makes a nice move by a Sabres defender and tries to jam it by Thibault. No dice.

0:28: "Nuh, nuh, nuh, nah, Nuh, nuh, nuh, nah. Hey, Hey, Hey, Gooood-Byeeee..."

0:11: The scattered fans still remaining in Mellon Arena take to their feet to offer a standing ovation.

0:00: End of game. Penguins 7, Sabres 3.

POSTGAME

-Well that was a butt-kicking. The Sabres made mistakes and the Penguins took advantage of them by dominating on the power play.

-This game really shows the organization depth the Penguins have in comparison to other teams. The Sabres have some injuries on the blueline and Paetsch's injury surely didn't help matters for them tonight, but the Penguins have been playing with an incomplete lineup all season. They have called up replacements from the AHL all season long and they're contending for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

-The Sabres have run into a bad patch of injuries with their defensemen and their hopes to even reach the playoffs are dying off with each game.

-The Penguins out shot Buffalo 36-32.

-Not surprisingly, the Penguins lost the faceoff battle, 42-30.

-Darryl Sydor's two points were a season high for him.

-Tyler Kennedy's goal and two assists matched a season high for him. he had a goal and two assists in a 3-2 road win against the Islanders Dec. 15.

-The only Penguins not to score a point tonight were Hal Gill, Georges Laraque, Connor James, Jarkko Ruutu, Brooks Oprik and Ty Conklin. Not bad.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Thank you to anyone that read along despite our technical issues. We felt like this was one of our worse efforts all season. Michel Therrien would've pulled us in favor of Dany Sabourin if he were in charge of the Post-Gazette's blogs.



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