Atlantic conquest

March 3, 2008

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Sidney Crosby records two goals and an assist in a 4-2 win against the rival Flyers and helps the Penguins claim the Atlantic Division title.

PREGAME

-Before the game, the Penguins give out awards.

-Ryan Whitney gets the "good guy" award from the Pittsburgh media. Basically whoever is the most cooperative with the media wins this. Shockingly, Tom Barrasso never won it.

-Ty Conklin was publicly announced as the team's Masterston Trophy nominee. This honor was officially given out a few weeks ago. Every team nominates a player for the trophy. Many people essentially say it's a comeback player trophy but that's not an entirely accurate description. It can go to a player who's overcome an illness or injury, but it can also go to a player who basically stuck with the sport and succeeded despite adversity. Conklin "came back" from being a mediocre player to nearly being the team's MVP.

-Evgeni Malkin wins the "three stars" award. Whoever had the most three stars honors at home games during the season wins that one. Oddly enough, the Penguins had this streak where Mario Lemieux or one of the team's other star players (Mark Recchi, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr, etc.) won the award pretty much every year from 1985 to 1999. Then Jean-Sebastien Aubin claimed it in 2000. Weird.

-Even weirder to us is that fact that the Penguins Booster Club gave this one out. It's not really weird that the club gave it out, it's weird that the team has a booster club. Is this like high school sports? Do they sell ads to the players' family members for the team's yearbook with messages like "Go Evgeni! Score a bunch of goals! Love Uncle Vladimir and Aunt Melinda!!!"

-Georges Laraque wins the Edward J. DeBartolo Community Service Award.

-In a monumental upset, Kris Letang claims the Michel Briere award as the team's rookie of the year. We had Jonathan Filewich in our pool.

-Ryan Malone gets the Players' Player award. Good choice.

-Malkin claims the MVP award. A lot of people would consider giving that to Ty Conklin, but Malkin's body of work for the whole season out-weighs the two-plus months Conklin carried the team.

-Bob Errey and Paul Steigerwald mention that Sidney Crosby didn't claim an award for but there's a real big award he'd like to hold up at the end of the season. We assume they mean the All Valley Karate Championship:

-With public address announcer John Barbero down at ice level getting his Rod Roddy on with the tuxedo and everything for the awards ceremony, someone else had to handle the starting lineup call prior to the game. It was weird hearing someone else's voice booming down from the loudspeakers.

-Adam Hall played his first game since Jan. 19. He wore No. 28. We kept on thinking Nils Ekman was back with the Penguins when we saw Hall last night.

-We got nachos:

nachos

-We used that free T-shirt that was given away at the game which was sponsored by that other media company in town to wipe up the cheese on us.

-Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Biron start in net.

-The Penguins scratched Darryl Sydor, Kris Beech, Jeff Taffe and Dany Sabourin.

-Sydor hasn't been scratched since Dec. 11.

-Philadelphia's scratches were Derian Hatcher, Scottie Upshall, Steve Downie, Denis Tolpeko and Ryan Parent.

-Sarah Marince sings the national anthem. A few of you have questioned us for never giving her props when she gets the call and crying when Jeff Jimerson isn't there to create sounds so beautiful human words can't describe them. Don't get us wrong, Marince is a fine singer. But she's not Jimerson.

-Look at it this way. If the Penguins got rid of Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin and replaced them with Pavol Demitra, you'd be kind of mad. Demitra's a fine player, but he's not Crosby or Malkin. Apply that thinking to Marince-Jimerson, and you know how we feel.

FIRST PERIOD

18:14: Malone delivers the first shot on net of the game. Malkin leaves a drop pass for him. Malone takes it and fires a wrister on net. Biron shuffles it away with a stick save.

17:38: Riley Cote and Laraque decide to fight right of the faceoff. Cote decides getting his head ripped off once this season by Laraque wasn't enough. These two fought back on Jan. 24. They survey each other for a bit circling on another. They each grab a hold of the other's collar and spin while wildy firing punches. Laraque lands two lefts. One launches Cote's helmet into orbit. It allegedly came down in the rubble of old St. Francis Hopsital. It's easily the most entertaining fight of Laraque's Penguins career. Say what you will about Cote (6-foot-2, 216 pounds) but you have to give him credit for having guts to take on a much larger player in Laraque (6-foot-3, 243 pounds) on a consistent basis. This was Laraque first fight in nearly a month. He last dropped the gloves on March 6 against Florida's Wade Belak.

(Thank goodness the NHL finds ways to regularly employ player like Cote or even Laraque for that matter, who don't even touch the puck in warm-ups.)

100_1580[1]

(Kudos to Cara Cassella.)

fight

(Kudos to Lisa Bohm.)

15:52: FSN Pittsburgh gives us the lines:

Forwards

Talbot-Crosby-Hossa

Malone-Malkin-Sykora

Dupuis-Staal-Kennedy

Ruutu-Hall-Laraque

Defensemen

Orpik-Gonchar

Scuderi-Whitney

Gill-Letang

14:07: Malkin uses Kimmo Timonen as a screen and throws a wrister on net. Biron knocks the puck down and covers it. Gary Roberts' beat down of Ben Eager from earlier this season:

12:20: Petr Sykora beats Biron to a puck played behind the Flyers' net. He plays it out into the slot for Malkin. Before Malkin can fire on an empty net, Jason Smith makes a fine play and tips the puck away.

11:44: Sergei Gonchar plays a bouncing puck out of his zone. But as he does so, Sami Kapanen slashes his glove off. Somehow there wasn't a call. The only slashing call more obvious than that one was Adam Graves' on Mario Lemieux.

11:02: The Flyers strike first. Vaclav Prospal fires a wrister on net. Fleury tips it away with his stick. Daniel Briere scoops it up, circles around the boards and sends a fine cross-ice pass to Scott Hartnell who buries the puck in the net by Fleury's glove side. Flyers 1-0.

10:01: Ah... Flyers hockey. Cup-less since Agatha Christie was alive. Fleury scoops up a bouncing puck in his crease. Jeff Carter hits an off-balance Hal Gill on top of him. Malkin and Sykora surround Carter and show him where the Atlantic Division banner is going to hang. We think. Fleury is stunned for a bit. He gets up and throws the puck into the glass in anger. Carter gets two minutes for roughing. The Penguins put the Super-Duper-Mega-Ultra-Awesome-Humungo-Women-Will-Want-Them power play of Malkin, Crosby, Gonchar, Malone and Marian Hossa on the ice.

9:36: Crosby ropes a pass along the blue line to Gonchar. Gonchar simply lobs a shot on net. Malone sets a nice screen with Braydon Coburn and the puck totally fools Biron beating him by the glove side. The "Hey Song" is played. Flyers 1, Penguins 1.

9:11: Ah... Flyers hockey. Cup-less since before Apple was incorporated. Crosby brings the puck up ice, cuts inside Hartnell who looks like he's skating with bricks tied to his skates. Crosby and Maxime Talbot each try to jam in the puck. Biron covers it up as a scrum forms around him. With Crosby on his knees, Hartnell responds to the undressing Crosby gave him by giving the Penguins captain a forearm shiver to the head. Bobby Clarke is probably somewhere not wearing pants. Somehow, no penalties are called. If this is the NFL, that's a 15-yarder and a $10,000 fine for Hartnell. Granted, Crosby tried to sell it a bit with his reaction, but that's a shot to the head, plain and simple. And the league is allegedly trying to crack down on that. If the NHL's discipline czar, Colin Campbell, is serious about that edict, he'll fine him at least. It doesn't matter if Crosby was fine or not. Hartnell's intent was the same as Steve Downie's when he tried to decapitate Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in the preseason. During the commercial break, the A&L Motors commercial is played.

8:23: Gill is nabbed for tripping. Letang and Patrick Thorensen exchange their feelings on Francisco Franco's reign in Spain. We think.

6:47: Coburn throws the puck on net from the point. It hits a body in front of the net. Jeff Carter settles the puck and bangs it home past Fleury. Orpik gives Joffrey Lupul a shove in front of the net. They drop the gloves. It's not much of a fight though. Orpik basically sumo wrestles him to the ice. Flyers 2, Penguins 1.

orpik-lupul_fight

(Kudos to Lisa Bohm.)

5:54: Ah... Flyers hockey. Cup-less since Viking 2 went into orbit around Mars. Talbot dekes his way towards the net and tries to jam the puck by Biron. Lasse Kukkonen gives Crosby a jab to the shoulder and tries to drop the gloves with Crosby. The officials quick step in and break up the scrum. Each player gets two minutes for roughing. Four-on-four. During the commercial stoppage, the Kiss Cam is busted out pretty early.

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(Kudos to Cara Cassella.)

2:38: Ruutu knocks Kukkonen to the ice with a check to the corner.

2:30: Going to his bench, Ruutu can be seen jabbering to the Flyers' bench telling them his recipe for spiked watermelon. We think.

1:07: Briere sends another nice pass into the slot for Hartnell. Hartnell shoots low. Fleury is able to trap it in his five hole and puts a hand behind his butt to make sure the puck doesn't sneak by him. Gill and Prospal exchange shoves in the crease.

0:53: Hall gets away with a charge on Coburn.

0:04: Smith blasts a loose puck from the slot. Fleury kicks it aside.

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

SECOND INTERMISSION

-Shots and faceoffs are tied, 8-8 and 10-10 respectively.

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

-By the way, we can't believe we haven't brought this up until now, but Debbie Flaherty from Day Automotive Group is easy on the eyes.

SECOND PERIOD

17:51: Jordan Staal forces the puck from the corner into the crease and tries to jam it by Biron who says no.

17:44: Gonchar comes up from the point and sticks Hartnell into the Get Go sign on the boards.

17:33: The puck gets cleared behind the Penguins net. Gonchar goes back to play it. Hartnell chases after him with revenge in his heart. Gonchar plays the puck and sneakily jabs the butt-end of his stick into Hartnell's teeth. Hartnell falls to the ice dazed. Fans cheer which is really classless. You don't cheer when a player gets injured, no matter who it is or what they've done during the game. Gonchar got away with one there. And again, if the NHL is serious about eliminating head shots, Gonchar deserves a fine or suspension for that. It might seem satisfying considering it was a Flyer, but if that was Kimmo Timonen bloodying Ryan Malone, you'd be up in arms.

17:24: Someone shoots the puck on net. Biron appears to glove it. We'd be able to tell you who it was, but FSN Pittsburgh decided to show Hartnell's bloody face. Hartnell skates to the bench. He's got a bloody nose and lip. He yells something off the bench about the Cook Islands. We think. A trainer attends to him.

16:49: During a stoppage, you can clearly see someone wearing a PensBlog t-shirt. Also, 17,132. It's the first time in franchise history, every home game was sold out.

16:06: Flying down ice in his walker, 86-year-old Jim Dowd throws a wrister on ice. Fleury gloves it easily. Dowd charges to the net and jabs at Brook Orpik with his stick. He wants Orpik to quit walking on his lawn.

15:58: Steigerwald mentions that Mellon Arena has an intimacy which most newer NHL arenas don't. Unfortunately, Mellon Arena has that intimacy in the in the men's room as well in the form of trough urinals.

15:32: Hall dishes the puck to Jordan Staal just inside the blueline. Staal throws it on net. Hall tries to tip it. Biron stands his ground, knocks the puck down and covers it.

15:22: Talbot charges to the net from the corner and tries to force the puck by Biron. No dice.

15:06: Thoresen dekes by Ryan Whitney like a pylon. He approaches the net and tries to go five hole. Fleury kicks it out.

13:53: Ah... Flyers hockey. Cup-less since before the Seveso disaster. Crosby and Malkin come up ice on a two-on-one. They pass it a bit too much before Crosby throws a shot on net. Malkin tries to poke it in before Braydon Coburn "Turkey Jones'" him to the ice. Gill sweeps the puck on net with a backhander. Biron is prone but is able to grab the puck. Hartnell tries to take another cheap shot at Crosby's blind side. Crosby spots him at the last minute and fights him off. Malkin jumps on Hartnell and socks him in the head. Letang and Prospal get tied up. Somehow, Hall Gill (6-foot-7, 250 pounds) and Daniel Briere (5-foot-10, 179 pounds) tangle with each other. Coburn goes to the box for putting a figure-four leg lock on Malkin as Errey put it. Ric Flair not impressed. Hartnell is sent off for roughing. His brilliance gives the Penguins a two-man advantage. The announcement of Hartnell's penalty leads the crowd to offer a prolonged applause. Gill and Briere's "scuffle" may have been the biggest mismatch in history since the Autobots tried to defend their ship from the Decepticons in "The Transformers: The Movie":

13:34: With acres of open ice, Gonchar easily sends a cross ice pass from the left point to the right corner. Crosby drops to one knee and one-times the puck into an open net. Way to go Scott Hartnell. The Penguins will still get 1:41 of power play time. Penguins 2, Flyers 1975.

11:55: Whitney takes a pass from Gonchar. He sneaks in from the point and fires a shot on net. Timonen shows some guts and dives to block the shot.

11:32: Ah... Flyers hockey. Cup-less since Hua Guofeng took over China. Brooks Orpik chases after puck dumped into the Penguins' zone. Hartnell comes after and kicks his feet out. Orpik falls on the puck. Hartnell jabs Orpik in the face while trying to dig the puck out. Orpik gets up. He punches Hartnell in the shoulder and shoves him. Hartnell drops his gloves and his stick and punches Orpik in the face with is bare fist. Somehow, Orpik gets two minutes for delay of game while Hartnell gets two minutes for roughing. So basically Orpik got two minutes for getting tripped up and falling on the puck while Hartnell got two minutes for tripping, elbowing, spearing, dropping his gloves and throwing a punch. Seems fair to us. Four-on-four hockey.

9:39: With Gonchar pinned deep, Mike Richards and Lupul charge up ice against Gill on a two-on-one. Gonchar flies back down the ice and takes away the pass to Lupul. Richards elects to wind up and fire a slapper. Fleury makes the save. The rebound caroms behind the net. Richards goes back for it and is hooked by Gill. Two minutes. During the stoppage, some guy who looked like James Cosmo (the guy who played Renton's dad in "Trainspotting") wins a phone from Val Porter.

7:45: Mike Knuble brings the puck into the offensive zone. Malkin tries to stand him up with a check. Everyone seems like their about to cheer before they realize Malkin actually got run over in the deal.

7:02: Jim Dowd is called for using too much Fixodent. Or hooking Crosby. You decide which truth is funnier. Replays show Staal getting away with holding Briere's stick.

6:08: Richards brings the puck up ice and sneaks a wrister on net. Fleury kicks it out.

5:36: Umberger comes up ice and sends a nice pass in to the slot. Sami Kapanen tries to re-direct it on net, but Fleury makes a nice save.

5:27: Malkin collects the rebound and brings it up ice. He passes to Ryan Whitney in the neutral zone. Whitney stops just inside the blue line. Just before he gets popped by Kapanen along the boards. He forwards the puck for Malkin who takes it and finds the net via Biron's five hole. Whitney says something to Kapanen about the proper way to fold a flag (we think) and goes over to celebrate with his teammates. Penguins 3, Flyers, 1975.

geno_goal

(Kudos to Lisa Bohm.)

4:52: Jarkko Ruutu and Briere get tangles up in the boards. Briere chokeslams Ruutu. Briere goes off for roughing while Ruutu is called for interference. Four-on-four.

4:03: Malkin tries to deke by Randy Jones. Jones simply tackles him. No call.

3:56: Jones takes a baseball swing at Malkin. No call.

1:07: Hossa takes a loose puck to the left of the net. Biron comes out to cut down the angle. Hossa refuses to fires a shot and passes the puck away to Letang at the point. That was so frustrating to see in person. Just shoot the puck. You might get a rebound. Every shot doesn't have to end up on "On The Fly." Worst case, Biron covers the puck and you get a faceoff in the offensive zone.

0:48: Crosby cuts through the Philadelphia defense and zips a shot on net. Biron makes the save. Talbot chops at the rebound but Biron holds his ground.

0:35: Laraque shows why he gets less than 10 minutes a game when he trips up Umberger near the boards. He gets two minutes for roughing. Not a good penalty to take with less than a minute in the period.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Flyers 1975.

SECOND INTERMISSON

-The Penguins are out-shooting the Flyers, 23-17

-Philadelphia controls the faceoffs, 20-17.

-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:

"Gary Roberts > Rocky"

"Atlantic Division Champs in 1 period"

-Someone actually sent a text message picture to the Jumbotron as well. That was kind of slick.

-Mike Yeo is interviewed. EN friend Eric Mocadlo sent us a text message wondering where Yeo's eyebrows are. Good question.

-The Flyers will get 1:24 of power-play time on clean ice.

THIRD PERIOD

18:36: Steigerwald mentions that Mark Eaton could return during the playoffs from his knee injury. Seriously, their options on defense better be re-calling Alaine Nasreddine, signing Josef Melichar or having us come out of retirement from our dek hockey career if they want to bring back Eaton. That's such a tough injury to come back from

17:05: Hossa is called for hooking Thoresen who went down a bit too easily on the play.

16:14: Steigerwald compares Gill and Rob Scuderi to seaweed. Even this guy scratched his head at that one.

Head Scratch

15:41: Lupul fires a wrister from the right faceoff circle. Fleury kicks it out. Gonchar makes a bad clear attempt and essentially passes it to Coburn at the top of the slot. Coborn one-times the puck. Fleury makes a pretty glove save to keep the Penguins up.

12:52: Laraque brings the puck up ice and dishes a nice pass into the slot for Malone. Malone tries to punch it in but Coburn blocks it. Smith hauls down Malone. Two minutes.

11:20: Jeff Carter comes down the right side and throws a wrister on net shorthanded. Fleury knocks it away.

11:00: Sykora zips a pass through the crease to Letang. Letang has trouble handling the puck, hesitates then shoots. Biron stops and covers the puck.

10:54: Whitney throws a pass along the blue line for Gonchar. Gonchar ropes a wrister through traffic on net. Despite a nice screen by Hall, Biron kicks it out with a "thunk."

9:55: Tyler Kennedy, who we've barely notice until this point, comes from behind the net, turns and fires a shot on net. Biron covers it. Ruutu and Staal jab at it and knock it in the net. Fans cheer. The goal horn blows. Officials wave it off. No goal. A scrum ensues behind the net. Kennedy loses his lid. Ruutu and Hartnell go to the box. More four-on-four. Hartnell should have his mail forwarded to the penalty box.

8:39: Richards brings the puck up the middle of the ice. He dishes it under Gill's stick to Lupul who punches a one-timer on net. Fleury eats it up. A few "fans" leave. It's a one-goal game against your team's biggest rival. Why even buy a ticket?

8:18: Life returns to normal as Gonchar is sent off the ice for hooking Briere. It will be four-on-three for 23 seconds.

7:56: Richards sends a cross ice pass to Briere who blasts a one-timer. Fleury is able to slide over and make a fine save.

5:38: Errey professes his love for Fleury's old yellow pads. He described the white pads as funny looking.

5:12: A "GO-HOME! FLY-ERS!" chant starts. That might be a little early to start that.

4:08: Hossa makes a fine defensive play and stands up Lupul at the blue line.

4:01: A bad line change by the Penguins leads to a scoring chance for the Flyers. Timonen rockets a pass to the Penguins blue line for Richards. From the right faceoff circle he blasts a slapper. Fleury cuts down the angle and deflects the puck into the corner. Big save.

3:38: Carter fires a wrister from the right side. Fleury absorbs it.

3:07: Ruutu runs over a Briere in front of the team's benches. Briere limps off the ice and Ruutu discusses Boba Fett's true motivations in life with the Flyers bench. We think.

2:48: Crosby charges to the net with the puck. Mike Knuble hauls him down. Two minutes.

2:41: Richards clips Crosby in the face with his stick. No call.

1:34: At the point, Gonchar winds up fires a slap-pass to Crosby. Crosby makes an amazing play to score. He touches the puck with the blade of his stick behind his back and re-directs it though his leg behind Biron. Just sick. There's only two people in Mellon Arena that could make that play and the other one is hanging up in a suite drinking wine. Either Mad Dog or a Chateau d' Yquem. One or the other. Either way, you need to drink to that goal. Penguins 4, Flyers 1975.

1:22: Now's the time. "GO-HOME! FLY-ERS!"

1:14: Biron is pulled for an extra attacker.

0:36: Scuderi blindly blackhands a loose puck from behind his own net. It trickles towards an open net. It misses by a few feet for one of us. Richards touches the puck for an icing call. The Flyers call a time out. "Cotton-Eyed Joe" is busted out.

0:25: "GO-HOME! FLY-ERS!"

0:00: End of period. Division champs. Penguins 4, Flyers 1975.

POSTGAME

-Following the conclusion of the game, John Barbero read off the final score a little differently saying, "Final score of the game: Philadelphia 2, YOUR ATLANTIC DIVISION CHAMPION PENGUINS 4!"

-During the quality highlight video detailing the season they showed following the game, the goal Capitals forward Nicklas Backstrom "scored" for the Penguins is included. Quality.

-Nice touch.

-While interviewing Crosby, Dan Potash says, "Atlantic Division Champion Pittsburgh Pirates." Somehow his jaw doesn't fall off by putting the words, "champions" and "Pirates" in the same sentence. We broke a finger just typing it.

-While he's being interviewed, a kid can be heard yelling, "Sid! Can I have your autograph!" Someone off camera yells "Heyo!" The kid shuts up.

-Throughout the ceremony, the players throw t-shirts into the stands.

-Hal Gill is up first. All Steigerwald and Errey talk about is how big his pants are.

-Eaton gives his away while wearing a black suit and pink shirt. Sharp.

-Rob Scuderi gives his jersey but seemingly refuses to sign it for some poor old lady.

-Pascal Dupuis takes his off. Under his jersey he's wearing a black shirt that has "Talbot No. 1 Fan" spelled out on the back in white tape.

-Gary Roberts gives his No. 10 away. He shakes hands with the kid who gets his jersey. The kid's hand turns to dust.

-A cute little girl in pigtails and a pink jersey gets Jordan Staal's. This girl is so small her dad has to carry her.

-Ryan Malone has to direct the kid who won his jersey to the table to sign it.

-Sykora's jersey goes to some guy who's wearing a Vegas gold shirt and brown pants. Party foul!

-Hossa's gives his jersey away. That'll be collectible come July 1.

-Ryan Whitney hands his jersey to a teenage girl who runs by him and scores a goal top shelf from the crease.

-Some poor kid gets a Kris Beech jersey. We feel so bad for him.

-Talbot poses with the girl that gets his.

-Laraque's goes to some guy wearing a Steeler hat. Party foul!

-Crosby can be seen giving out sticks to kids near the ramp. The father of the one girl he wants to give it too is too short for Crosby to hand to over the glass. He points to her and a team employee ensure she gets the stick.

-Adam Hall's No. 28 goes to a red-headed lady who looks disappointed that the number wasn't retired in honor of Michal Rozsival.

-Marc-Andre Fleury's goes to a woman wearing a Duquesne sweater your mom would wear.

-Another red-headed lady gets Dany Sabourin's jersey.

-The guy who gets Conklin's jersey bosses him around and tells him where to sign it.

-Another red-head, (this one's an eight-year old boy) gets Ruutu's jersey. Except for the red-hair, this kid looked like a young Ruutu. He may have even been paler than Ruutu.

-Jeff Taffe give his to an older lady. Taffe's wearing a suit since he didn't dress. With his balding hair and five o'clock shadow, Taffe looks like that guy in your office who hates work so bad, he just doesn't care what he does. He just wants fired.

-Ruutu apparently is writing an autobiography or something on his jersey and holds Taffe up.

-Ruutu touches the kid's red hair and rubs it as if it were some exotic substance.

-Orpik looks as if he wants to stab the kid that gets his jersey.

-The guy that gets Kennedy's seems a little too comfortable touching Kennedy's shoulders.

-Gonchar gives his jersey over to a young lady. He has his left wrist taped up like a shot-putter.

-The guy that gets Letang's jersey act like a wisenheimer and gives Letang his junky free t-shirt they were giving out at the game. Letang kind of looked mad about it.

-Malkin comes over shakes and slaps the hand of the guy who gets his No. 71 as if he were trying to sell him a car.

-Crosby's jersey giveaway is fairly no-descript. He leaves the ice and signs a handful of things for people near the ramp to the team's locker room.

-The last team to win the Atlantic Division title other than the Devils or Flyers was the 1994 Rangers. That team eventually won the Stanley Cup.

-The last time the Penguins won a division title, they claimed the Northeast Division crown in 1998.

-Kevin Constantine was in his first year the last time the Penguins won a division title. That's a long time ago.

-The Penguins regular season sellout streak has reached 54 games.

-Marian Hossa played in his 700th career regular season game. Something tells us he won't be playing his 702nd in a Penguins uniform.

-The Penguins' power play went 4-for-6. We guess loading up all the talent on one unit worked for one game at least.

-The shots were even, 29-29.

-The Flyers controlled the faceoffs, 30-24.

-The only player to get less playing time than Tyler Kennedy (3:44) was Georges Laraque (3:38).

-Did Hartnell do crystal meth before the game or something? He just was out of his mind the first two periods.

-And when did he become "Scott Hart-NELL?" Steigerwald and Errey kept stressing the "NELL" in his name. We always thought it was "Hart-nul."

-Best sign we saw at the game: "Ruutu Loves Downie Softness."

-Best jerseys we saw:

bourque

Phil Bourque

jagr

Jaromir Jagr

leclair

John LeClair Flyers

sabourin

-Dany Sabourin. Did he get this on clearance or something?

-Most out of place jersey we saw:

iginla

-Jarome Iginla.

-EN Shutterbug No. 2 Cara Cassella of Edinburg, Pa. sent us a few shots.

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-Dave Molinari's recap.

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights.

EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS

Penguins

-Evgeni Malkin said Alexander Ovechkin deserves the Hart Trophy.

-The Penguins and Flyers could sort of play nine straight games if they meet in the playoffs. Gene Collier suspects those could be physical contests. Just a hunch.

-The Penguins aren't just the worst faceoff team among playoff teams. They're the worst in the league.

-Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins goaltender John Curry and defenseman Alex Goligoski were named to the AHL's all-rookie team.

-Tim Brent and Ryan Stone each had two assists for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 4-3 shootout loss to Albany.

-Due to the loss, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton failed to clinch a playoff spot.

-Sean Collins scored two goals, including on in overtime, and gave the Wheeling Nailers a 3-2 win against Dayton.

-Someone must've run into a batch of these "Legends of Hockey" Videos. There's been a bunch posted on YouTube lately. Here's one about former Penguins forward Bryan Trottier:

Atlantic Division

-Zach Parise's shootout goal gave the Devils a 3-2 win against the Bruins.

Northeast Division

-Bruins defenseman Andrew Alberts was cleared to play. He has been out of the lineup since Nov. 26 when (Surprise!) Flyers forward Scott Hartnell rammed his head into the boards.

-Boston forward Marc Savard will probably miss the rest of the regular season due to a back injury.

-Mats Sundin will skip the Maple Leafs' final games of the season due to a groin injury.

-What should Sabres coach Lindy Ruff do with Teppo Numminen?

-Another Sabres defenseman, Jaroslav Spacek, is coming back from injury.

-They're choking in Ottawa.

-Boston's loss last night kept the Sabres alive.

-Montreal goaltender Carey Price was named the NHL's rookie of the month for March.

Southeast Division

-Chad LaRose's first career hat trick helped the Hurricanes rout the Lightning, 6-2.

-Olli Jokinen is still committed to the Panthers.

-Capitals defenseman Shaone Morrisonn is dealing with an "upper-body injury."

-Panthers forward Chad Kilger could retire. He was acquired from Toronto at the trade deadline and has yet to play with Florida.

-Carolina forward Matt Cullen was activated from injured reserve.

-Colby Armstrong isn't taking losing well in Atlanta.

-The Thrashers assigned former Penguins defenseman Joel Kwiatkowski to Chicago of the AHL.

Central Division

-Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks who routed the rival Red Wings 6-2. The win kept Chicago's dim playoff hopes alive.

-All of Chicago's games will be televised next season.

-The toughest guy with the Blue Jackets might be an arena attendant.

-David Vyborny's days are coming to an end in Columbus.

-The Predators need two wins to get into the playoffs.

Northwest Division

-Minnesota coach Jacques Lemaire is one win away from 500 in his career.

-Avalanche forward David Jones was excited to play in Vancouver Tuesday night.

Pacific Division

-Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will not get a chance to break the single-season wins record.

-Coyotes rookie Kyle Turris is scheduled to make his NHL debut tonight.

-The loss of defenseman Sergei Zubov has really hurt the Stars.

Smythe Division

-The NHL's draft lottery will be televised Monday, 8 p.m. on Versus and NHL Network in the United States. So like 34 people will be able to watch it.



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