RUUUUUUUUU!!!!

March 21, 2008

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(We can't think of a more proper headline.)

Doing a little bit of everything, Jarkko Ruutu leads the Penguins to a 4-2 win against the Lightning.

PREGAME

-Bob Errey does the game in between the benches. We hate to sound like a broken record, but why doesn't FSN Pittsburgh have someone down there permanently? It adds so much to the broadcast.

-The Penguins scratched Rob Scuderi, Georges Laraque, Sidney Crosby and Dany Sabourin.

-Tampa Bay's scratches were Jason Ward, Andre Roy and Paul Ranger.

FIRST PERIOD

17:50: Replays show Ryan Whitney getting away with a high stick on Mathieu Darche. It should've been a "four-minuter" (To borrow Bob Errey's version of the English language) since Darche had a bloody nose that a trainer had to take care of.

15:43: FSN Pittsburgh shows us the lines:

Malone-Malkin-Sykora

Dupuis-Staal-Hossa

Ruutu-Talbot-Kennedy

Minard-Taffe-James

14:46: Maxime Talbot tries to skate up the right wing and gets flattened by Alexandre Picard with a powerbomb.

13:00: Malone tries to split the Lightning defense and falls over. The puck slides into the Tampa Bay crease and Smith covers it up.

12:47: Errey compares Rob Scuderi's hand to a grenade.

9:49: Filip Kuba pounds a slapper from the point. Fleury knocks it away.

9:42: The Lighting gets away with a too many men on the ice play.

9:22: Michel Ouellet almost gets his revenge against his former team. Darche forces the puck into the slot. Ouellet gets on his Waste Management truck and tries to punch in the garbage goal. Fleury gets the stick down to keep it out.

9:20: Coming back from commercial, Bob Errey actually jabs Michel Therrien in the face with the microphone. Dan Potash wouldn't let such amateur antics happen. Ryan Whitney is sent to the box for holding. During the commercial break, a gift package to Nemacolin Woodlands was given to people in club seats because rich people need free stuff.

7:51: Andreas Karlsson snaps a rising wrister that Fleury snags with his glove.

5:40: Brooks Orpik blasts a slapper from the point. Smith makes the initial save with his right leg but gives up a rebound. Ruutu charges the net and pokes it up over Smith's leg. As Ruutu was scoring, Dan Boyle swings his stick wildy and chops Ruutu in the nose. Ruutu grabs his face. He has a bloody schnoz. Trainer Chris Stewart comes out to take care of Ruutu. Boyle gets two minutes for high-sticking. He would've gotten two more for drawing blood, but Phil Bourque explained on the post-game radio show, the officials ruled that Ruutu actually scored the goal before getting clipped in the face and that the extra two minutes was almost treated like a delayed penalty. The Penguins scored so the penalty wasn't called. Errey says, "Ruutu's a tough guy, but he's not a beaver. He wasn't trying to eat wood there." Uh... Ok. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

2:44: Petr Sykora fires a slapper on net. It gets deflected, but Smith is able to locate and cover the puck. During the commercial break, Sykora is asked those "get to know you" questions like "pop or soda?" (it was an enthusiastic "POP!" for Sykora by the way.) Sykora revealed that he liked "Youngblood" because former NHLer Steve Thomas was in it.

2:32: Errey explains why Boyle didn't get a "four-minuter."

0:00: End of period. Gonchar throws the puck on net right as time expires. The puck gets behind Smith and hits twine, but the horn had blown. Penguins 1, Lightning 0.

FIRST INTERMISSION

-Shots are tied, 8-8.

-The Lightning owned a 9-6 advantage in faceoffs.

-This "Hockey 101" segment Errey does between periods is running out of material. Basically Errey just compared all the current Penguins to the members of the Cup-winning teams. (Crosby-Lemieux, Malkin-Francis, Gonchar-Coffey, etc.)

SECOND PERIOD

19:11: Pascal Dupuis is sent off for hooking.

16:09: Ruutu slams Junior Lessard from behind into the boards face-first. Ruutu gets two minutes for boarding. Not a smart play.

15:42: Vincent Lecavalier slides the puck across the crease to Kuba. Kuba fires a shot that hits off Fleury's chest. The rebound gets played into the crease. Orpik kicks it right to the stick of Jussi Jokinen who passes it back to Lecavalier in the left faceoff circle. Lecavalier rifles a wrister into the net by a sprawling Fleury. "What's Up" By 4 Non Blondes is played. Lightning 1, Penguins 1.

13:09: Dupuis takes a pass from Jordan Staal in the slot. Dupuis fans a bit on the shot. The puck deflects off the skate of Mike Lundin and almost goes in.

9:55: Evgeni Malkin backhands the puck into the crease. Kuba slides to the ice to block it. Malkin regains control and goes upstairs with another backhander over a prone Smith. Malkin pounds the class in celebration. Penguin 2-1.

7:41: As Sykora blasts a one-timer just wide of the net, Paul Steigerwald apparently hits puberty:

7:16: The attendance is announced as 17,044 which is 88 short of being a complete standing-room only sellout. Some booing can actually be heard when the total is announced. It is the Penguins' 50th consecutive sellout.

3:31: In the offensive zone, Ryan Malone tries to slide a pass to the point but it's deflected back down the ice by Ouellet. Malone can be heard screaming something that rhymes with "duck."

1:25: Dupuis comes out of the corner with the puck, and whips a wrist shot on net. Smith eats it up.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2-1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Tampa Bay owns a 14-12 advantage in shots.

-The Lighting also controlled the faceoff circle, 17-10.

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

-Best text message we saw sent to the Jumbotron:

-I'm near the Cotton Candy Guy :)

-To be honest with you, we got up and walked around a bit during the intermission and didn't see all the text messages.

-Bob Errey interviews Mike Yeo.

-Before the third period starts, Talbot and Fleury can be seen doing this weird head-rub scrum thing in the tunnel leading to the locker room.

-Is it us, or does John Tortorella give you a little Dennis Miller?

THIRD PERIOD

19:25: Dupuis drives to the net with the puck. It gets poked away, but Jordan Staal jumps on it and pounds it by Smith. Penguins 3-1.

19:09: Just as everyone sits down after celebrating Staal's goal, Malkin glides down the left side and centers the puck. In one motion, Sykora whips it through Smith's five hole. Penguins 4-1.

18:47: Sykora gets nabbed for slashing.

18:09: Geez! Both teams have come out swinging this period. Lecavalier fakes a slapper from the point and moves the puck along to Jokinen along the goal line. Jokinen slides a pass across the slot that gets tipped and comes to Kuba. From a difficult angle, Kuba fires a laser by an out-of-place Fleury. Penguins 4-2.

16:21: Dupuis snaps a pass into the slot for Staal. Staal shoots low, but Smith is able to slide over and make a fine save.

14:19: Ruutu hauls down Lecavalier. Two minutes.

12:21: Marian Hossa and Talbot generate a shorthanded two-on-one against Picard. Hossa slides a pass across the slot and Talbot bangs a one-timer on net. Smith stacks his pads and makes a spectacular save.

10:46: Chris Minard fires a nice pass from the left boards to the other side of the net for Jeff Taffe. Taffe tries to re-direct, but Smith makes another fine save.

10:32: You know things are going your way when Connor James is putting people on their butts. James, who usually is on the receiving end of one nice check per game, puts Matt Smaby on his wallet behind the Lightning net.

9:15: Lecavalier controls the puck in the Penguins' zone and lays a "butt-check" on Staal. Basically, Staal came over to engage Lecavalier who stuck his rear end into Staal's mid-section and put him on his butt.

7:42: Sykora pounds a one-timer on net. Smith makes the save with a thick "thud."

6:56: Nick Tarnasky throws a puck on net. Fleury kicks it out.

6:41: It doesn't result in anything other than a power-play, but Jarkko Ruutu pulls of one of the most resourceful plays of the season. Lundin loses control of the puck at the point. Ruutu pokes it away from him but Lundin slashes the stick out of his hand. Ruutu doesn't care. He basically dribbles it up the ice with his feet and into the offensive zone. He sends a kick pass into the slot for Talbot who fires a backhander on net that Smith saves. Play is stopped. Ronaldo is stunned. Lundin gets a yellow card. A standing ovation and a chant of "Ruuuuuuuu!" is offered for Ruutu. A few "fans" leave.

fansleaving

3:42: Ruutu lobs a pass through the Lightning defense to Dupuis. Dupuis approaches the goal and rockets a wrister. Smith knocks it away.

1:08: Smith leaves the net for an extra attacker.

0:51: Shane O'Brien throws the puck on net from traffic. Fleury makes the initial save. Martin St. Louis grabs the rebound and flicks a backhander on net. Fleury eats that up. The Lightning call a time-out to get organized. Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out.

0:35: Kuba blasts a slap shot from the point. Fleury makes the save. Both teams battle for the rebound in a furious scrum. Fleury won't allow it over the goal line.

0:00: End of game. Malkin brings the puck up ice and dishes to Hossa. Hossa skates with it a bit long and shoots for one of us. The horn goes off and then the puck goes into the net. No goal. Penguin 4, Lightning 2.

POSTGAME

-This was a business-like win for the Penguins. The knew they had an inferior opponent coming into Mellon Arena, but they played about as complete of a game as they have all season. They played all 60 minutes.

-If Hossa had scored, Malkin would've recorded his 100th point of the season.

-If you overlook the first cruddy goal he gave up in the third period, Smith was solid.

-The Penguins out-shot the Penguins, 23-21.

-The Lightning won the faceoff battle, 26-19.

-Petr Sykora was 1-0 in faceoffs. Woo! We have the new Ron Francis!

-Jarkko Ruutu needed stitches after taking that stick in the face from Dan Boyle.

-Martin St. Louis played in his 600th career game.

-The Dupuis-Staal-Hossa line played pretty well. Stick Sidney Crosby on the third line we say.

-Jeff Halpern suffered an abdominal injury during the game.

-Our apologies to who ever left the pleasant note for us with that guy wearing the Canadian tuxedo who was sitting next to us. We're sorry we missed you.

-Best jerseys we saw:

Mario Lemieux early 1990s

lemieuxPens

Joe Mullen

mullen

Gilles Meloche

meloche

Francois Leroux

leroux

Mario Lemieux Laval Voisins

lemieuxLaval

Mario Lemieux Team Canada

lemieuxcanada

EN Shutterbug Lisa Bohm sent in a few game photos for us:

ruutu[1]

Ruutu's face.

ramo_waits[1]

Lightning goaltender Karri Ramo apparently still feeling sick from allowing seven goals to Buffalo the night before.

smith_no_more_dallas[1]

It's nice to see Smith not wearing his old Dallas equipment anymore.

human_bowling[1]

Human Bowling

malkin_goal[1]

Malkin's goal. Where's the puck?

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-What will the Penguins do when Rob Scuderi comes back?

-Should the Penguins break up Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play?

-The last piece of property needed for the new arena was purchased.

-The Penguins have a bunch of young guys or something. (Kudos to EN Reader Juile Pietsch of Enon Valley for forwarding that to us.)

-Random And Kind Of Lame But Were Using It Anyway Because The Hartford Whalers Are Involved Youtube Find Of The Day: Whalers forward Dean Evason scoring a goal against Tom Barrasso:

-Curtis Darling made 38 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 1-0 win at Trenton.

Atlantic Division

-Devils forward Patrik Elias is doubtful to play Friday against the Islanders and is questionable for Saturday's game against the Penguins.

Northeast Division

-Alex Kovalev had two goals and an assist and led the Canadiens to a 4-2 win at Boston. The Habs have won ten consecutive games against their alleged rivals.

-Check out the two nifty goals Kovalev scored last night:

-Check out this save by Habs goaltender Carey Price last night against Boston's Marco Sturm:

-Martin Gerber made 24 saves for the Senators who edged the Blues, 3-2.

-Buffalo defenseman Teppo Numminen has filed a grievance against the Sabres for suspending him.

-Bruins defenseman and former Penguin Andrew Ference gets grief on the ice for being a "tree hugger."

-Bruins forward Glen Murray, also a former Penguin, has been having trouble finding the net this season.

-It's been 24 years since the "Good Friday Brawl."

-The Senators assigned forward Nick Foligno to Binghamton of the AHL.

-If you're hard up for some Canadiens games televised in French, RDS, the French Canadien version of TSN, will offer broadcasts of the Habs' remaining games this season via the Web.

Southeast Division

-Shootout goals by Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal gave the Hurricanes a 2-1 win at Florida.

-Panthers forward Richard Zednik skated for the first time since suffering his neck injury.

-Lightning defenseman Paul Ranger will likely miss the rest of the season due to a shoulder injury.

-The Hurricanes activated defenseman Wade Brookbank from injured reserve and placed forward Matt Cullen on IR.

Central Division

-Pavel Datsyuk's two goals helped the Red Wings claim a 6-3 win at Nashville.

-If you didn't see the save Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulen made against the Capitals Wednesday, here you go:

Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart will miss the rest of the regular season and possibly some of the playoffs due to a broken finger. The Red Wings acquired Stuart from the Kings at the trade deadline.

-Blue Jackets forward Dan Fritsch will miss the rest of the season due to a hand injury.

-Former Blackhawks goaltender Tony Esposito was honored before Chicago's game Wednesday night. He gave an interview with the Blackhawks' broadcasters and well... it's safe to say "Tony O" may have been celebrating the night a little too much prior to appearing on camera:

-Joe Namath not impressed:

Sticking with the Suzy Kolber theme, does anyone remember when she used to host Fox's pregame show when the network covered the NHL?

-During the presentation for Esposito, a ceremonial faceoff between Capitals goaltender Olaf Kolzig and Blackhawks goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was held.

-The Blackhawks are trying to televise all 82 of their games next season.

-Predators coach Barry Trotz wants his first line to produce more.

Northwest Division

-Roberto Luongo made 33 saves for the Canucks in a 4-1 win at Edmonton.

-Miikka Kiprusoff made a whopping 15 saves and led the Flames to a 2-1 defeat of the Avalanche.

-If you didn't see Wild defenseman Kurtis Foster breaking his leg Wednesday, here you go:

Pacific Division

-Patrick O'Sullivan's shootout goal gave the Kings a 6-5 win at Phoenix.

-The NHL will not punish Sharks forward Torrey Mitchell for his role in Kurtis Foster's injury. That's an absolute joke if you ask us. Mitchell gave a slight nudge to Foster and sent him into the boards. At the very least, he should be fined.

-Has the Brad Richards deal killed the Stars' chemistry?

Smythe Division

-Should the NHL institute no-touch icing?



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