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May 9, 2008

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Two goals by Evgeni Malkin lead the Penguins to a 4-2 win against the rival Flyers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final.

PREGAME

Want to know why this is a hockey town?

rain

People would rather sit in the rain with a few other thousand fans than in the relative dry warmth of their homes.

And people still hang on to their Zarley Zalapski jerseys:

zalapski

This is a hockey town.

-Some other jerseys we've seen:

-Rick Tocchet No. 92:

tocchet

(We cut off the "92." Sorry.)

-Ron Francis:

francis

-Luc Robitaille:

robitaille

-Tom Barrasso:

barrasso

-R.J. Umberger:

umberger

(This guy was part of about four or five other Umbergers. They must've been friends or relatives.)

-Shawn McEachern:

mceachern

(We apparently took this picture in a coal mine.)

-The Penguins' scratches are Dany Sabourin, Darryl Sydor, Kris Beech, Maxime Talbot, and Jeff Taffe.

-Philadelphia scratched Steve Downie, Riley Cote, Kimmo Timonen, Ryan Parent and Denis Tolpeko.

-Jaroslav Modry will take Timonen's place in the lineup.

-A video is projected onto the ice:

ice

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

-A video of the fans outside is shown. By the looks of things, the Penguins handed out those white towels to them as well. Classy move by the franchise to do that. Those aren't even paying customers, but the team is giving them a freebie regardless.

-The Pens come onto the ice ala the Miami Hurricanes.

smoke

-Jeff Jimerson sings the national anthem.

white

-This place is white.

FIRST PERIOD

19:54: Off the faceoff, the puck gets played into the Penguins' crease. Marc-Andre Fleury covers it. Hal Gil gives Joffrey Lupul a gentle tap to get out of his crease.

18:38: Ryan Whitney throws the puck out of play from his own end and is sent off for delay of game. Scottie Upshall gives Evgeni Malkin a jab after the whistle.

18:43: Rob Scuderi plays the puck out of the zone and essentially kills Whitney's penalty.

16:00: Malkin drives through the Flyers' defense and flicks a backhander on net. Martin Biron makes the save. Petr Sykora is there for the rebound but swats it wide.

13:41: Malkin steals a puck off a Flyer at the Penguins' blue line and works it through the neutral zone. He dishes it to Ryan Malone on the left wing. Malone is able to feather a cross-ice pass through the Flyers to Sykora. Sykora takes the puck on the forehand, moves to the backhand and lifts it over Biron for a goal. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.

12:31: "Let's Go Pens! Let's Go Pens!"

11:41: Mike Richards comes down the left side and blasts a slapper on net. Fleury flicks it away out of play.

11:30: Richards drives behind the net and tries to pke in a wraparound. Gill appears to tip it with stick. The puck deflects off Fleury and goes into the net. An official waves it off for some reason. They go to a brief replay to confirm it was a goal. Flyers 1, Penguins 1.

10:25: Malkin steals the puck off Biron behind the net and dishes it to Sykora. Sykora shoots on net but Biron is able to recover and make the save. Malone digs in for a rebound but a group of Flyers hold him off. Versus apparently reminds us for the 4,394th time that R.J. Umberger is from Pittsburgh.

9:33: Tyler Kennedy rifles a pass from the corner into the crease but no one is there to get a stick on it.

8:38: Marian Hossa drops a Flyer by the net with a nice shoulder check.

7:10: The Flyers drive the puck towards the net. A scramble ensues with bodies falling everywhere. Richards is able to locate the puck and lift it over a prone Fleury. Flyers 2-1.

6:30: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"

5:49: Hossa steals a clearing attempt in the corner by Biron. As soon as he touched it, Hossa centers the puck into the slot where Crosby re-directs it by Biron. What an amazing goal. That may have been the most spectacular goal the Penguins have scored this postseason. Flyers 2, Penguins 2.

5:24: Umberger steals the puck of Sykora at the Penguins' blue line and goes in alone on net. He shoots five hole but Fleury kicks it out. Joffrey Lupul grabs the rebound and fires a shot. Fleury denies that as well.

5:11: A scrum ensues near the Flyers net. Jordan Staal and Derian Hatcher are giving each other the business.

4:04: If you have Brooks Orpik in your playoff pool, we're sorry to disappoint you. His wrister from the point was easily snagged by Biron.

1:51: As he chases after Braydon Coburn for a puck in the corner, Jarkko Ruutu is cheered on by countless "Ruuuuuu's!"

0:14: Sykora grabs a puck at the point and throws it on net. Malkin tries to re-direct it but no dice.

0:07: Ryan Whitney snaps a pass from his own blue line to the Flyers'. Malkin takes it and comes down the right side. He rockets a wrister that burns Biron on his stick side. Sick shot. Penguins 3-2.

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

-The Flyers have a 12-11 advantage in shots.

-The also have a 12-7 lead in faceoffs.

-Umberger, who we hear is from Plum, has assists on both of the Flyers' goals.

-Best text message sent to the Jumbotron:

"Gary Roberts does not pay his bills. No one will send him one."

-A pair of readers write:

"Whats up from Beijing. Thats right, we are listening to the game over the Internet from Beijing Jiatong University as part of a study abroad trip through Duquesne University. So you can now say that EN has world-wide appeal."

Dan and Jen

beijing

EN-Any time someone takes a picture of your blog, you feel good about yourself. Thanks Dan and Jen!

SECOND PERIOD

19:03: 17,132.

16:25: Orpik drops Scott Hartnell behind the net with a check into the boards. Orpik is sent off for holding. That seemed like an iffy call to us.

15:27: Hossa steals a puck at the point and dishes to Malkin. Malkin works it up ice, holds off a Flyer and gets a shot on net. Biron makes the save. Richards appears to run over Malkin behind the net.

15:10: Just as he sends a pass from behind his own blue, Gonchar gets run over by Richards. Malkin takes the puck and blows a slapper by Biron as if he weren't even in net. It looked so easy. It's a short-handed goal. Richards is on one knee in the Penguins' zone looking dejected. The arena is shaking. Penguins 4-2.

14:56: Jeff Carter is sent off for hooking. Four on four.

14:24: Orpik's penalty expires. The Penguins will get a power play for almost a minute and a half.

11:30: From the right boards, Kennedy throws a puck on net. Biron kicks it out with a "thud."

11:20: According to Versus, R.J. Umberger is from Pittsburgh.

-A reader writes about Malkin's second goal:

Gosh, it looks like the last Iceland attempt in Mighty Ducks 2 vs Julie Gaffner...

Except it went in...

Incredible!

-S. Vallecalle, Paris, France

EN-Gunnar Staal is no Evgeni Malkin and Martin Biron is no Julie "The Cat" Gaffney.

9:48: Orpik ropes a wrister on net. Biron gloves it.

7:02: Just as we received an e-mail telling us the Penguins need to get more physical, Malkin levels Coburn in the slot with a nice body check.

6:29: Hossa gets a chance in the slot. He fires a wrister that Biron kicks out. Hossa gathers the rebound, works to the left and fires. Biron knocks it away with a fine stick save.

5:44: "Marrrrr-Teeeeeee... Marrrrrr-Teeeeeee..."

4:31: Kris Letang and Whitney almost run each over over playing a puck behind their net.

3:37: As the puck goes out of play, Orpik throws Hartnell to the ice like a rag doll.

2:22: A puck gets played into the Penguins' crease. Fleury covers it. It's fair to say he hasn't tested a great deal tonight.

1:33: Coburn gets dropped again. This time Ryan Malone runs him into the boards.

0:38: Staal pushes a one-handed shot just wide of the net.

0:00: End of period. Penguins 4, Flyers 2.

-The Flyers have a 19-17 advantage in shots.

-The Penguins lead in faceoffs, 20-18.

-Best text message sent to the Jumbotron:

"Ben Franklin is a Pens fan."

-Richards has been credited with six hits.

-Directly behind the Flyers' bench, someone is wearing a Krzysztof Oliwa jersey.

THIRD PERIOD

18:15: Malkin drops Hartnell with a check at the point.

17:01: Good Omen Of The Night: The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins beat the Philadelphia Phantoms, 3-1, and eliminated them from the AHL playoffs. (Kudos to EN readers Mario Lopez and Patrick Templeton for the heads up.)

16:37: Jeff Carter whips a nice wrister from the point. Fleury is able to snag it with a very nice glove save.

14:10: Hartnell comes down the left side and fires a shot on net. Fleury doesn't glove it cleanly and it trickles through the crease.

12:40: During a television timeout, two banners reading "Gary Roberts for President" are shown. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton score is shown and is greeted with applause.

12:01: Jeff Carter manages to accomplish the impossible and make Whitney look tough. Whitney shoved Carter to the ice with one hand.

8:54: Gill touches the puck for an icing call. Penguins fans offer their team a cheer for playing some stiff defense.

8:28: Whitney is nabbed for tripping. Fans complain, but it was the right call. The Flyers need a goal here.

8:10: Malone charges up ice with the puck spins and fires just wide.

7:19: Scuderi gets clipped in the face with a high stick. We assume nothing was called because the offending Flyer was following through on a dump-in.

5:12: Coburn appears to get away with a high stick on Marian Hossa.

4:48: Orpik smashes Vaclav Prospal into the boards.

4:37: Carter has a chance in the slot. He dekes to his backhand but loses control of the puck.

3:41: Jaroslav Modry fires a loose puck on net. Fleury locates it in traffic and snags it with a glove. "Fler-Eee! Flerr-Eee!"

2:35: Go-Home-Fly-Ers! Go-Home Fly-Ers!"

1:40: Pascal Dupuis comes up ice and fires slapper. He whiffs on the shot.

1:29: Scottie Upshall enters the zone offsides. Letang gives him a bit of bump Upshall responds with a cross check to the side. Malkin jumps Upshall and all heck breaks loose. Whitney and Knuble emerge from the pile trying to get at one another. The officials hold them off. Malone and Hatcher are exchanging shoves. Officials break up the scrum. Malkin is escorted off the ice to a thunderous applause. "Geee-Noo! Geee-Noo!" The Penguins end up with a two-minute power play. Brilliant job by the Flyers to kill any chance they had of tying this game. There's a reason they haven't won the Cup since 1975.

0:54: Biron leaves the net for an extra attacker.

0:42: After kicking out two shots, Fleury gloves a third.

0:27: A Penguins send the puck wide of an empty cage.

0:04: Coburn is sent off for hooking. Biron returns to the cage.

0:00: End of game. "Song 2" by Blur is played. Penguins 4, Flyers 2.

POSTGAME

-Everything that was ugly and nasty during the regular season between these two teams transformed into some pretty wonderful hockey this night. Most of the chippiness was replaced by good clean, strong hitting. Most of the energy normally reserved for scrums or fights was diverted towards end-to-end rushes. What we saw this night was hockey the way it was meant to be played. It was entertaining, fast-paced, hard-hitting and clean for the most part.

-Apparently at the end of the game, Malkin lost a gold chain with a cross on it but it was later recovered.

-Orpik was credited with six hits while Malkin and Malone each had five.

-Richards finished with six.

-The Penguins dispensed ice time fairly evenly. Gonchar led the team with 22:44. Georges Laraque brought up the rear at 7:01.

-There was no Cotton Candy Guy sightning. We assumed he worked the Pirates game.

-The Pirates should just shut down for a month and wait until the Penguins are done. They're totally screwing up our ability to use video of the Cotton Candy Guy.

-There was a fireworks presentation after the game outside.

-A reader writes:

-Malkin described taking a slap shot on his short-handed goal as a "last minute decision."

"Not only did the Baby Penguins win 3-1 tonight, but during the intermissions, they were nice enough to show the NHL Penguins game on the big screens. The 6,021 in attendance tonight were privileged enough to watch both Sykora's goal in the first period and Malkin's cannon blast shortie in the second."

David from Wilkes-Barre

EN-It's nice to know the NHL Penguins and the AHL Penguins are both class organization. The each treat their fans well.

-We spotted a Ty Conklin Wilkes-Barre/Scranton jersey on our way down to the press conferences:

conklin

-As if we need to mention it, "R.J. Umberger is from Pittsburgh" is the new "The Staals are brothers."

-After Orpik's holding call in the second period, EN reader Tony Lepore tells us Orpik could be heard on the telecast telling the official, "Jason Smith does that on EVERY play."

-Game Summary.

-Event Summary.

-Highlights:







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