Dynamic duo

March 28, 2008

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On a night Sidney Crosby and Marian Hossa were finally united on a line, it was another pair - Georges Laraque and Jarkko Ruutu - who led the Penguins to a 3-1 defeat of the Islanders.

PREGAME

-The play Sidney Crosby suffered his ankle injury on is replayed. We call party foul.

-Crosby's returning to the line up or something.

-FSN Pittsburgh is really pushing this Steel City Line name. Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald say it about 49 times before the game and they actually had a graphic that said "Steel City Line" on the screen before the game.

-Rob King gives us some NHL notes from what appears to be FSN Pittsburgh's basement.

-Marc-Andre Fleury and Wade Dubielewicz are the starting goaltenders.

-The Penguins scratched Jeff Taffe, Chris Minard and Dany Sabourin.

-New York's scratches were Bruno Gervais, Andy Hilbert, Ruslan Fedotenko, Brendan Witt, Frans Nielsen, Mike Comrie and Rick DiPietro.

FIRST PERIOD

19:45: Evgeni Malkin slides a pass into the crease for Ryan Malone who's cruising down the slot. Josef Vasicek has Malone's stick tied up with his own and Malone crashes into Wade Dubielewicz and the net. The net is dislodged and play stops. This gives Steigerwald an opportunity to tell us about the Islanders' backup goaltender Mike Mole. Mole is sitting in the ramp to the visitors' locker room and can be seen peering through hole in the glass for the photographer. Errey quips, "He's looking through the Mole Hole!"

19:28: Bill Guerin has an opportunity to fire one from the slot, but Brooks Orpik gets down to make a block. Orpik's block attempt is so well executed that Guerin can't even get a shot on net.

19:03: Josef Vasicek glides into the offensive zone and drops a pass for Sean Bergenheim. Bergenheim pounds a slapper from the point and Fleury eats it up.

18:25: Kyle Okposo circles off the right boards and throws a wrister on net. Fleury absorbs it. FSN Pittsburgh shows us tonight's lines:

Forwards

Dupuis-Crosby-Hossa

Malone-Malkin-Sykora

Whitney-Staal-Kennedy

Ruutu-Talbot-Laraque

Defenseman

Orpik-Gonchar

Scuderi-Sydor

Gill-Letang

16:50: Bergenheim throws a soft wrister from the slot on net. Fleury deflects it away with his stick.

15:54: On a delayed penalty, Okposo tries to body Hal Gill off the puck. Okposo learns the hard way that's not the best course of action. He limps off the ice as a result of the collision.

15:50: Richard Park is called for tripping Crosby during the faceoff.

15:49: The Penguins' power play has a new look. Ryan Malone, Crosby and Hossa play forward while Malkin and Sergei Gonchar man the points.

15:22: Crosby blasts a one-timer from the point. Dubielewicz kicks it out.

14:46: The Islanders clear the puck. Fleury plays it in front of the goal line and gets tripped up by Jeremy Colliton. No call.

13:19: The puck is dumped into the Islanders' zone. Bryan Berard has trouble handling it. Malkin takes control of it. Berard dives to clear it and appears to knock out Malkin's skates. Officials rule he touched the puck first so there wasn't a call.

13:07: Jarkko Ruutu plays a puck back around the boards. Malkin takes control of it, swoops behing the net, finds a screen and fires a wrister that hits twine. Georges Laraque set up a nice screen on the play. He simply nudged Aaron Johnson (6-foot-2, 211 pounds), who's hardly a small guy, with a shoulder and sent him to the ice. Perhaps the least likely of players to combine on assists, Ruutu and Laraque are credited with helpers. Steigerwald calls Malkin "Gene, Gene, The Scoring Machine." The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

12:20: Gonchar blasts a one-timer from the point. Dubielewicz gloves it. Public address announcer John Barbero announces Segei Gonchar is appearing in his 900th career game.

12:08: Kennedy throws a puck on net. Dubielewicz scoops it up. Ryan Whitney digs for. He gets shove and his stick strikes Dubielewicz in the neck. A small scrum ensues.

11:50: Laraque tries to jam one in on a backhanded wraparound. Dubielewicz says no.

10:38: Crosby comes flying down the right wing and shuffles a backhander on net. Dubielewicz knocks it away with his blocker.

9:02: Malone blasts a puck that ricochets out of the corner. It hits the back of Malkin's leg and hobbles him a bit.

6:34: Tyler Kennedy steals a puck off Freddy Meyer behind the Islanders' net. He feeds it to Whitney who's charging in. He shoots one from along the goal line but Dubielewicz is up to the task. During the commercial break, the A&L Motors Penguins commercial with Colby Armstrong is played. We have an idea why they have updated it yet. They can't afford to since all those checks from former Steelers running back Verron Haynes bounced.

3:59: Rob Scuderi tosses a puck on net from the point. Dubielewicz gloves it easily.

3:29: Vasicek charges towards the net fighting off a stick check from Sykora. He simply throws a backhander that squeaks through Fleury's equipment and trickles into the net. It's a clunker of a goal for Fleury to give up. Islanders 1, Penguins 1.

2:35: Pascal Dupuis throws a sneaky backhander on net. Dubielewicz kicks it out.

1:54: Maxime Talbot crunches Tim Jackman into the boards with a nice check along the boards.

0:46: Malkin dishes a nifty pass from the boards into the slot. Dupuis has a chance with a one-timer but fans on the shot. Dubielewicz kicks it out.

0:12: Vasicek plays the puck from behind the Penguins' net to Bill Guerin. His one-timer clinks off the post.

0:10: Vasicek feeds another pass from behind the net. This time Bergenheim fires a shot from the slot and Fleury kicks it out.

0:04: Rob Davison throws it on net from the point and Fleury gobbles it up. The Penguins were a little lucky to not give up a goal in that 15-second span the Islanders controlled play.

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

-The Penguins owned an 11-10 edge in shots.

-The Islanders controlled the faceoffs, 13-9.

-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:

"I love Jeff Jimerson"

"Gary Roberts had Davidson in his bracket."

-Crosby had 6:28 of ice time that period.

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

SECOND PERIOD

19:22: Hossa is nabbed for roughing.

18:04: Blake Comeau winds up and blasts a slapper. Scuderi shows a lot of guts and blocks the shot.

17:35: Sean Bergenheim is able to work the puck through traffic and get a shot off in traffic. Fleury knocks it away.

17:01: Malone is able to Murphy Dump the puck into the offensive zone. Hossa races down the slot and grabs the puck. Radek Martinek makes a fine play and is able to chase down Hossa and forces him to peel away from the goal.

16:23: Crosby undresses Meyer with a nice move. He gets behind him, switches to the backhand and has Dubielewicz dead to rights. Crosby tries to shoot with a backhander, but Davison makes a fine play and ties Crosby's stick up.

14:33: Ruutu is called for roughing.

11:55: Bringing the puck up ice, Hossa gets dumped by a nice hip check by Davison.

11:45: Hossa tries a wraparound but the puck slides right through the crease.

11:37: Hossa limps to the bench in discomfort.

11:25: On a delayed penalty, Dubielewicz grabs the puck and freezes play. And a near-line brawl breaks out. Malkin gives Hunter a pot shot to the face. Darryl Sydor and Jeff Tambellini have each other tied up. Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan of all people get into a "fight." Basically they spin around and try to rip each other's jersey off. Hossa leaves the ice. Errey speculates Hossa may have re-aggravated his knee that he injured in his first game Feb. 28 in Boston. Replays of Davison's check on Hossa are shown and Errey suggests it was a dirty hit. If that's Brook Orpik hitting Bill Guerin, Errey's calling Orpik or Guerin a helicopter pilot or something else stupid. Hunter, Satan and Tambellini go the penalty box. Malkin and Sykora also get penalties. The Penguins will get a two-minute power play.

11:13: Somewhat ironically, a graphic shows that Sykora and Malkin, both of whom are in the box, are the Penguins leading power-play goal scorers.

9:46: Crosby zips a pass across the slot through traffic. Whitney takes it and has a clear shot on net but fires it into the E balcony. Whitney jerks his head back in disgust.

9:17: Dupuis grabs a loose puck, brings it to the goal line and fires from a bad angle. Dubielewicz covers it up. Coming back from commercial, we see that Hossa has returned to the bench.

8:27: Aaron Johnson, a defenseman, decides he's Bobby Orr or something as he flies into the crease and hip checks Fleury. Two minutes.

8:03: Malone tries to jam a puck by Dubielewicz. No dice.

7:04: Crosby fires a one-timer. The puck gets deflected and skids across the crease. Malkin tries to go down to one knee and direct the puck on net but it "clacks" on the outside of the post.

6:03: The Penguins are called for too many men on the ice for the 43,904th time this season.

4:48: Note to Wade Dubielewicz: JARKKO RUUTU DOES THE SAME MOVE ON THE BREAKAWAY EVERY TI... err... wait! He did something else! On the power play, Park makes a bad pass to Satan that escapes the offensive zone. Ruutu chases it down and is off to the races. He streaks down the left side, approaches the net and jams up Dubielewicz with a quick deke to the right. Ruutu then takes the puck behind the net and forces the puck by Dubielewicz's left skate. It's a brilliant move by Ruutu. 17,000-plus all chant "Ruuuuuuuuuu!" Penguins 2-1.

3:24: What in the name of Alex Hicks is going on? Is it reverse night? Georges Laraque and Jarkko Ruutu are scoring while Petr Sykora and now Darryl Sydor are fighting. Tim Jackman and Sydor decide to drop the gloves. Jackman controlled the fight for the most part. He didn't really land much in terms of punches, but it's safe to say Sydor (6-foot-1, 211 pounds) hung on to the slightly larger Jackman (6-foot-4, 210 pounds) for dear life. Errey says Jackman slashed Malkin and that's why Sydor invited him to dance. Malkin gets two minutes for roughing.

sydor_fights

(Kudos to EN reader Lisa Bohm for the photo.)

1:24: Jordan Staal steals a puck off Park. He dishes it to Ruutu at the point. Ruutu blasts a one-timer that rings off the post.

1:10: Davison (roughing) and Ruutu (holding) get two minutes.

1:01: Gonchar lobs a puck on net from the point. Dubielewicz says no.

0:26: Kris Letang gets a shot off from the left faceoff circle. Dubielewicz kicks it out.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 2, Islanders 1.

SECOND INTERMISSION

-The Penguins are out-shooting New York, 22-15.

-New York is dominating the faceoffs, 25-14.

-If it's not for Dubielewicz, it's a 9-1 game.

-Dan Potash interviews Ruutu during the intermission. Potash thanks him for his time. Ruutu says, "Thanks Potash."

-Potash tells us a bit about the movie they were filming there last night. Potash then segue ways the conversation back to Steigerwald:

Potash: "Steigy, you've got a little experience acting, do you not?"

Steigerwald: "Yes, I was in... uh... 'Sudden Death...' which... I suppose you could say was one of the worst movies ever made. But we liked to make it. And anyway, it was a lot of fun. And uh... my favorite scene in it was when Iceburgh was involved in a fight down in the bowels of the arena. But, yes Danny, I was."

Errey: "I'd like to see Dan Potash! In a fight! With Iceburgh!"

Steigerwald: "Well Dan's from Beverly Hills isn't he?!?! He's the guy who should be the movies..."

Potash: "Don't underestimate the 90210. Ever."

-We don't care if he calls Tyler Kennedy "Tyler The Tiger" from here on out until the end of existence. Paul Steigerwald can darn well say what ever he wants in our book after being man enough to acknowledge his role in that pile of excrement Howard Baldwin unleashed in the Civic Arena that was called a movie.

-Although, Steigerwald didn't mention anything about when he dropped that S-bomb during the movie. Hmm...

-Crosby is up to 13:47 of ice time through two periods.

THIRD PERIOD

18:54: Okposo fires a sneaky wrister through traffic on net. Fleury traps it against his chest.

16:40: Laraque drops a pass for Talbot who fires a rising shot on net. Dubielewicz traps it against his shoulder. Ruutu and Laraque congregate in front of the Islanders' cage and have a discussion about the Rock of Gibraltar with several New York players. We think.

16:23: Bergenheim accidently collides with Hossa at the Penguins' blue line and drops him with a check from behind. Hossa grabs his face. Brooks Orpik goes all Tyler Durden and tries to kill Bergenheim. Crosby rips Martinek's jersey and shoulder pads off. Trainer Chris Stewart comes out to attend to Hossa. Replays show Bergenheim actually trying to avoid Hossa, but he caught him in a way that sent the Penguins forward to the ice in a really awkward fashion. Thankfully his head didn't get hit or strike the ice. Hossa's been batted around quite a bit during this game and he's fallen to the ice in some less than ideal ways. He gets up and heads to the locker room. He will not return to the game. Bergenheim, Guerin and Orpik all go off for roughing. Bergenheim leaves the ice for a cut on his hand.

hossa_down_and_out

(Lisa Bohm)

13:20: Hal Gill flicks the puck away from Martinek up ice. Ruutu grabs it and chips it into center ice and springs... Georges Laraque?!? On a breakaway?!?! Laraque actually looses the puck for a moment but is able to still beat Dubielewicz blocker side. Dubielewicz seemingly grabs his head in disbelief. Laraque jumps into the glass to celebrate. Strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

12:44: Malkin comes streaking up ice and zips a wrister on net. Dubielwicz gloves it.

12:24: Bergenheim tries to get one in on the wrap around. As he heads to the bench, Bergenheim is bumped by Malone.

11:59: Okposo creakse something out of nothing. He out-races Gill for a puck along the boards, brings it to the slot and unleashes a slapper that Fleury is forced to kick out.

10:38: Errey announces that Hossa has a vaguely-worded "upper-body injury" and he will not return.

9:07: Malkin steals the puck off Comeau and charges up ice. Martinek makes a nice play and rubs him out of the play with a nice body check.

8:20: Martinek takes a quick slap shot. Talbot drops to the ice and blocks it. Gutsy play.

6:32: Malkin drops a pass for Gonchar who throws a shot on net. Dubielewicz knocks it away.

5:39: Ruutu tries to avoid a check by Aaron Johnson and goes flying in the air. He goads Johnson into dropping his gloves. Johnson only gets two minutes for tripping.

3:40: Cotton-Eyed Joe is busted out.

1:10: Martinek fires a rising wrister on net. Fleury snares it. Ted Nolan calls a time out. Dubielewicz is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:54: Does Fleury think he's Martin Brodeur or something? He gathers a loose puck behind the net and tries to fling it down ice to the empty cage. Unfortunately the only thing it hits is the backside of Brook Orpik and slides into the crease. Satan dives and tries to sweep it in. Fleury is able to knock it away. Stupid play.

0:33: From the Penguins end of the ice, Malkin tries to shoot for one of us but ices the puck.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Islanders 1.

POSTGAME

-Are we alone in thinking Jarkko Ruutu could be a 20-goal scorer if he played on a second line regularly and held back a bit in his antagonist role? He certainly has the skills to be a 20-goal guy.

-Okposo is going to be a good player some day.

-The three stars were 3.) Malkin 2.) Laraque 1.) Ruutu.

-Marc-Andre Fleury has a six-game winning streak. It's the longest streak of his career.

-James Mirtle tore up Pittsburgh last night.

-The Penguins out-shot New York, 29-28. That number seemed kind of low for the Penguins to us.

-New York controlled the faceoffs, 33-21.

-EN shutterbug Lisa Bohm sent us a few more photos:

goal_celebration

sid_sign

talking_it_over

-Best jerseys we saw:

Luc Robitaille

robitaille

Georges Laraque Coyotes

laraque

-Gutsiest jersey purchase we saw:

Marian Hossa

hossa

(That guy's either really rich or really optimistic.)

-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Ryan Whitney needs more consistency.

Atlantic Division

-Chris Drury recorded three assists for the Rangers who edged the rival Devils, 3-2.

-First the Devils robbed NHL fans for over a decade by killing entertaining hockey. Now they have jacked some French bank or something.

-Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist and Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur aren't exactly going to be hanging out playing Scattegories anytime soon.

Northeast Division

-Phil Kessel and Peter Schaefer each had a goal and two assists for the Bruins in a 4-2 defeat of the Maple Leafs. The loss officially eliminated the Maple Leafs from playoff contention. 1967 lasts one more year.

-Shootout goals by Jason Pominville and Derek Roy gave the Sabres a 4-3 win at Ottawa.

-Bruins forward Chuck Kobasew will miss 4-to-8 weeks due to a broken leg.

-Senators defenseman Wade Redden is dealing with a knee injury.

-Does Patrick Roy deserve to have his number retired by the Canadiens?

Southeast Division

-Tomas Fleischmann's overtime goal gave the Capitals a 4-3 win at Tampa Bay. Alexander Ovechkin did not score a point.

-Two goals by Bobby Holik helped lead the Thrashers to a 3-2 win at Florida. Former Penguins forward Mark Recchi scored his first goal in over a month for Atlanta. The loss officially eliminated the Panthers from the playoff race.

-Hurricanes forward Patrick Eaves will miss 3-to-4 weeks due to a shoulder injury.

Central Division

-Red Wings forward Darren McCarty will make his long-awaited return to the NHL tonight. Detroit forward Tomas Holmstrom is still dealing with a groin injury.

Northwest Division

-Canucks forward Brendan Morrison will miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury.

-Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo left the team to be with his wife who is expected to give birth today.

-The know how to give real names to lines out in Colorado. Check out the Peter, Paul and Milan line.

Pacific Division

-Joe Thornton had two goals, including one in overtime, and gave the Sharks a 3-2 win against the Stars.

-Anze Kopitar had a goal and two assists while Erik Ersberg made 38 saves for the Kings in a 4-0 shutout of the Coyotes.

-Ducks goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere pronounced himself ready to play San Jose tonight. He has missed three games due to a back injury.

-Even if his goal total has gone down, Sharks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff has improved this season.

Campbell Conference

-Old blueprints for the Stanley Cup were found.



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