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The Penguins drop two games in consecutive days to Stanley Cup contenders.
Sunday -- Sharks 2, Penguins 1
-We knew this wouldn't be a good day when We walked into Mellon Arena and it looked like a piece of road kill was dragged across the ice.
(Kudos to EN Reader Lisa Bohm for some quality photos.)
-We personally blame those Pizza Hut logos for causing that mess that delayed the game almost 20 minutes.
-We also blame Ed Rendell. He should give the Penguins a slots license so they can buy a new Zamboni.
-This was clearly the worst death of a machine since Optimus Prime bit it in "Transformers: The Movie."
-The Penguins scratched Marc-Andre Fleury, Connor James and Nathan Smith.
-San Jose's scratches were Rob Davison, Kyle McLaren and Sandis Ozolinsh.
-Erik Christensen will dress for the Penguins. He had been out of the lineup since Feb. 13 with a shoulder injury.
-Jeff Jimerson sings the national anthem. Our day is set.
-Ty Conklin surprisingly gets the start a day after having a less than stellar game against Ottawa.
-This goal scored by Stephanie Lemieux, Mario Lemieux's daughter, was shown quite a bit:
-Georges Laraque was honored for his work with the Boys & Girls Club of America.
-Apparently the same guys who service the Zamboni's at Mellon Arena, operate FSN Pittsburgh's game graphics as there isn't game clock on screen. So pardon us as we kind of fly blind here time-wise.
-Conklin covers a puck that slide into his crease. Steve Bernier skates up to him and sprays the Penguins goaltender with ice. Ryan Whitney takes exception to that and a skirmish develops behind the Penguins net. The Sharks defenseman join in the fray and as a result, the faceoff comes out of the Penguins zone.
-The game clock shows up.
17:00: Brooks Orpik slams Jeremy Roenick against the boards with a check.
15:58: Jarkko Ruutu gets called for interference. He tries to take a Shark with him by attempting to provoke a few of them. None of the Sharks bite and as a result, Ruutu gets a 10-minute misconduct. Tyler Kennedy will serve Ruutu's minor.
14:09: Bernier makes a backhanded no-look pass across the crease to Patrick Marleau who seemingly has an empty net to score in. Conklin is able to slide over and amazingly gets a piece of it with his glove knocking it out. Big-time save.
10:18: Orpik is sent off for hooking.
8:20: Killing Orpik's penalty, Malkin drives the puck into the offensive zone. It goes behind the cage and Evgeni Nabokov tries to play it. Malkin intercepts it and he controls the puck sliding back to the neutral zone to Sergei Gonchar. We don't do justice to the play by merely describing it, but it was a fantastic play that might not show up in a game summary, but it helps you win games.
6:44: Doug Murray nudges Malkin away from the puck and gets away with a bit of interference.
6:30: The Penguins get a break when the Sharks are called for icing. The officials rule that Orpik touched it first when it was clear Bernier made contact first. Bernier reacts by speaking some French.
5:08: Ryan Whitney is called for hooking.
2:25: Colby Armstrong comes down the left side and centers the pass to Jordan Staal. Staal moves from the backhand to the forehand and shoot blocker-side. Nabokov kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 0, Sharks 0.
-The Sharks out-shot the Penguins 14-4.
-The Penguins were lucky to be tied after that period.
-Best text messages sent to the Jumbotron:
"Roenick was the man in Sega NHL 93"
"If Malkin was the Russian in Rocky IV, Malkin would've won"
"I <3 Tugnutt"
15:46: Rob Scuderi goes to the locker room with what appears to be an equipment issue.
15:22: Christian Ehrhoff is nabbed for interference on Tyler Kennedy.
12:59: Armstrong knocks Cheechoo to the ice with a pretty nice shoulder check.
10:07: Ryan Whitney is called for hooking. Scuderi comes back to the game.
9:56: Joe Thornton fires a slapper from the near boards. Conklin knocks it down and covers it.
6:54: Malkin flips the puck in the air to get by Ehrhoff. The puck gets a little too far ahead of him so he dives and gets a fine-looking shot on net. Nabokov is there to kick it out though.
6:21: Maxime Talbot races down the left side and whips a wrister on net that Nabokov eats up.
5:30: Matt Carle is called for interference.
5:20: Malkin shoots a wrister from the left faceoff circle. Nabokov makes a kick save but Petr Sykora gets the rebound. He beats Nabokov, but the puck hits the far post. No goal.
4:44: Ryan Malone fires a shot from the slot. Nabokov kicks it out.
4:05: Patrick Rissmiller comes down the right side and shoots five hole. Conklin covers it up.
2:59: Thornton makes a nifty feed from behind the net to Milan Michalek in the slot. Michalek shoots into Conlkin's mid-section however. Conklin covers it up after a small rush in the crease.
0:08: Malkin zips a pass from the point into the slot to Sykora. Sykora is handcuffed a bit but he's able to get a shot on net. Nabokov is forced to make a nice save with his left leg.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 0, Sharks 0.
-The Sharks are out-shooting the Penguins 21-14.
-Mike Yeo gets the microphone before the third period. What else could you want?
-Coming on to the ice prior to the start of the third period, Evgeni Nabokov actually started stretching in the wrong net.
16:50: Thornton dishes a pass to Jonathan Cheechoo at the Penguins' blue-line. Cheechoo basically skates around Whitney and is able to slide the puck past Conklin's right skate. Van Halen's "Jamie's Cryin'" is played. Sharks 1-0.
10:13: Letang whips a wrister on net from the left faceoff circle. Nabokov kicks it out and the referees blow their whistle. Jody Shelley is called for hooking.
9:58: Gonchar faces a shot from the point and slides a pass to the left of the net where Christensen slams it home past Nabokov. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1, Sharks 1.
3:54: Cheechoo takes a dumb penalty as he hold Scuderi while going into the corner.
3:34: Gonchar slides a pass from the point to Malkin who blasts a one-timer. Nabokov eats it up.
2:48: Gonchar firs a slapper from the point. Nabokov kicks it out.
2:38: Malkin trips Torrey Mitchell. Two minutes. Four-on-four.
1:49: Staal works in traffic and snaps quick shot on net that Nabokov is forced to make a nice save on.
0:41: Ehrhoff fires a slapper from the point. Conklin gloves it.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Sharks 1.
4:14: Cheechoo brings the puck up ice and fires a slapper on net. No dice. Conklin gloves it.
3:12: Roenick sends a pass across the slot to Michalek. Michalek moves in a bit on net and fires a shot. Conklin knocks it away.
0:51: Rissmiller brings the puck into the offensive zone and drops it off at the point for Ehrhoff. He fires a slapper that Conklin absorbs.
-Christensen is up first. He comes, moves to the fore and lifts a shot over Nabokov's left leg. Penguins 1-0.
-Pavelski comes flying in and burns Conklin blocker-side. Conlkin utters something in French. Penguins 1, Sharks 1.
-Letang does a similar move as Christensen except he's right-handed and he does this little leg kick. He comes in and has Nobokov beat, but he can't lift it enough to go in. Penguins 1, Sharks 1.
-Cheechoo fakes going to the glove side, freezes Conklin and burns him five-hole. Sharks 2, Penguins 1.
-Ruutu approaches the net and pulls off nearly the same exact move he does in every breakaway/shootout/penalty shot situation. He comes in slowly and just very smoothly moves to the backhand beating Nabokov. Penguins 2, Sharks 2.
-Roenick? Uh OK. He comes in and blows the puck by Conklin blocker side. End of shootout. Sharks 3, Penguins 2. End of Game. Sharks 2, Penguins 1.
-This was a brutal game to watch as a hockey fan. The Sharks are essentially the Bruins in Teal. Basically, the play a slow stagnant defensive style which is disappointing considering the offensive talent they have at their disposal.
-Ty Conklin took responsibility for the loss following the game.
-Is it us, or does Nabokov look like a short fat guy playing goal with how his pads fit him?
-Lineman David Brisebois worked both games this weekend.
-Brooks Oprik had four blocked shots.
-The Penguins were out-shot, 37-21.
-We were surprised to see so many Sharks fans in attendance. When you consider that the San Jose market is still relatively new and that it's on the other side of the country, we were a bit stunned to see so much teal.
-Best Jerseys We Saw:
-Jeff Odgers Sharks (You've got to be a hardcore fan to own that.)
-Jeremy Roenick Team USA
Saturday -- Senators 4, Penguins 3
-Ray Emery gets the start in net for Ottawa.
-Ty Conklin is in goal for the Penguins.
-The Penguins scratched Erik Christensen, Marc-Andre Fleury and Nathan Smith.
-Ottawa's scratches were Cody Bass, Dean McAmmond and Chris Neil.
-Another game, another instance of where the Cotton Candy Guy hits up or section before the game even begins.
-An opera singer delivers both anthems. While we were a little devastated by the fact that there was no Jeff Jimerson. But we were kind of happy by the fact that no one booed "O" Canada.
19:29: Jordan Staal tries to jam the puck in net on a wrap-around, but he's denied.
18:53: Sergei Gonchar springs Colby Armstrong on a breakaway with a torpedo pass. Armstrong fights off Chris Phillips from behind, moves to the backhand and is denied by Emery's left leg. Phillips is called for hooking.
18:28: Mike Fisher brings the puck up ice shorthanded. He flings a backhander on ice that Conklin easily traps and covers up.
18:13: Whoa! Petr Sykora hustles down the left side, enters the offensive zone, winds up and blasts a shot that rings in off the post and beats Emery on the short side. It's Sykora's 20th goal of the season. The "Hey Song" is played. Penguins 1-0.
17:57: This game is getting off to an awful start for the Senators. Nick Foligno is called for hooking.
17:28: "Emmmmm-Reeeeeeeeee! Emmmmmm-Reeeeeeee!"
16:07: Christoph Schubert gets away with a slash on Jordan Staal.
15:22: The Penguins get their third power-play opportunity already or there third "two-minuter" according to Bob Errey. Dany Heatley goes to the box for high-sticking.
15:03: Gonchar slides a pass from the corner into the slot to Petr Sykora. Sykora rings a wrister off the post.
14:02: Sykora must have a have made a bet with someone or something. He's shooting at just about every chance he can get. Malkin sends a pass to the left boards and Sykora one-times it. Emery eats it up.
13:52: Chris Minard gets away with a trip on Phillips.
12:21: FSN Pittsburgh shows us the revamped lines. We see Ryan Malone is back on the top line:
12:07: Malkin and Sykora come in on a two-on-one against Phillips. Crossing the blueline, Malkin dishes it to Sykora. Sykora holds it and dishes it back to Malkin who tries to re-direct the puck past Emery. Emery comes up with a huge save.
11:32: Cory Stillman gets a nice pass in the slot and snaps a wrist shot on net. Conlkin flops and makes a nice save deflecting the puck away.
9:39: Schubert rams Jeff Taffe from behind into the boards near the benches. Two minutes. During the commercial break, Sergei Gonchar's 600th career point is acknowledged with a video that shows him scoring his first point as a member of the Capitals. He wore No. 17 when he was initially with the Capitals.
8:56: As Commodore and Fisher team up to give a version of the Hart Foundation's "Hart Attack" to Ryan Malone.
7:50: Gonchar lobs a shot from the point. As Emery makes the save, Phillips accidentally pops him in the head with his own stick.
6:45: Today's obligatory smashing of Connor James is brought to you by Andrej Meszaros
6:40: Fisher rings a post off the post.
4:14: Conlkin's confidence in his stick-handling gets him into some trouble once again. He tries to play the puck behind his own net while being surrounded by two Senators. Daniel Alfredsson takes it off him and dishes it into the slot to Andrej Meszaros who rockets a wrister on net. Conklin miraculously recovers and makes a lucky glove save. Fans applaud, but they should be booing him. It was a stupid decision by Conklin that even led to the opportunity for Ottawa.
3:46: Ryan Whitney fires a slapper from the point. Emery makes the initial save and gives up a rebound. It bounces around before Staal is able to get a shot off while falling. Emery is in place to eat it up.
3:39: A puck gets deflected behind the Ottawa defense. Malkin grabs it, and tries to shoot low. Emery is able to stop him.
2:26: Rob Scuderi can be seen limping off the ice.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 1, Senators 0.
-The Penguins should've at least had a 2-0 lead after that period. They had four power plays and generally dominated play. What tells us this could come back and bite them in the butt?
-Penguins dominated the shot totals, 17-8.
-Pierre McGuire introduces his bald annoying head into the broadcast. Vomit.
19:26: Emrey plays a loose puck in his own end but Malkin steals it. Malkin loops behind the Ottawa net and feeds a pass into the slot for Petr Sykora. Sykora has a scoring opportunity, but fans on the shot.
16:03: Spezza enters the zone and throws a slapper on net. Conklin easily eats it up.
15:51: Talbot brings the puck up ice and dishes it off to Armstrong in the neutral zone. Armstrong dances around Mike Commodore, moves in on net and burns Emery on the glove-side with a slapper. Penguins 2-0.
15:28: "Emmmm-Reeeee! Emmmm-Reeeeee!"
12:23: Chris Minard muscles Phillips off the puck in the corner. Talbot takes the puck and dishes it to Georges Laraque behind the net. Laraque then feeds it to Minard in the slot and he fires a shot on net. Emery is able to come up with a big save.
10:28: McGuire basically calls Magnitogorsk, Russia a dump.
9:40: Alfredsson turns the puck over at the Penguins' blue line. Darryl Sydor snaps it up to Jordan Staal and sends him on a two-on-none against Emery. Staal bears down on net and shoots low. Emery's right leg kicks it out. The pucks comes out to Taffe who pulls it back away from the crease and lifts his shot beating a prone Emery. There's no way the Penguins lose this game right? Penguins 3-0.
9:09: Errey says, "This is the worst game I've seen the Ottawa Senators play." The jinx is on now.
7:13: Brooks Orpik tries to line up Antoine Vermette along the boards but only gets his stick. The puck goes behind the net where Conklin tries to play it but Vermette knocks it down with his hand. It deflects into the crease where Vermette tries to make a play on it with out his stick. A few Penguins follow him and the puck gets kicked around. Chris Kelly throws it into the crease and it deflects off Conklin's stick and Cory Stillman is there to clean up the garbage and roofs a shot off Conlkin's left leg. A brief review confirms the goal. Tom Petty's "Don't Do Me Like That" is played. Penguins 3-1.
5:40: Christoph Schubert is sent to the box for not having the "er" on the end of his first name. Or holding.
4:31: Kennedy takes the pass in the slot, turns and fires a wrister on net. Emery is able to kick it out.
2:46: Whoa. What? Dany Heatley comes into the offensive zone, moves into the slot and throws a backhander on net. Rob Scuderi blocks the initial shot, but Heatley jumps on the rebound and throws a backhander by Conklin stick-side. Penguins 3-2.
1:49: Malkin drives towards the net and gets Daniel Alfredsson to grab a hold of him. Two minutes.
0:51: Malkin drives towards the net again in a one-on-three. He gets by the first defender "stabs" a shot on net.
0:00: End of period. Penguin 3, Senators 2.
-The Penguins own a 24-19 advantage in shots.
-Armstrong is interviewed before the third period. He has an ugly scab on his nose.
-Paul "The Butcher" Alexander identifies Zach Parise as Travis Zajac.
-We don't know if it was one of those pieces of stock footage they use for the fan shots, but there was some guy wearing an Eric Lindros Quebec Nordiques jersey in the crowd.
-Andre "Lightning" Savard is woken up for an interview before the third period.
-Best text message sent to the Jumbotron: "Party Like Laraque Star."
18:49: Rob Scuderi goes of for hooking. Amazingly, this is Ottawa's first power-play opportunity of the game.
13:51: Ugh. How do you leave an absolute sniper like Dany Heatley along in the slot? Randy Robitaille dishes a nice feed to Heatley who blows a wrister by a helpless Conklin. Scuderi is out of position on the play. Simply terrible defense. Penguins 3, Senators 3.
11:47: Staal winds around Meszaros at the blueline and dishes the puck to Armstrong across the slot. Armstrong has a clean lane to the net, but completely misses with his shot.
11:38: Coming back from commercial, FSN Pittsburgh shows a list illustrating that Malkin has 41 points since Jan. 1, the most in the NHL during that span. While that list is being displayed, Malkin, Malone and Sykora do this group head-butt thing on their bench.
10:23: Steigerwald says, "(Anton) Volchenkov is one solid dude." Gnarly.
9:13: Heatley tries to jam a puck by Conklin. No dice.
5:45: Laraque appears to get away with a hook on Kelly in the neutral zone. McGuire remarks, "That's a tough skating match-up for Georges Laraque right now. Of all the players on the ice right now for Ottawa (Kelly's) very quick." Let's be honest here. Anyone not named Derian Hatcher is a tough skating match-up for Laraque.
2:50: Without his stick, Volchenkov basically hugs Malone along the glass. No call.
2:34: Whitney trips Stillman behind the Penguins net. No call. Apparently the officials have left the game already.
1:33: Gonchar fires a pass from his own end to neutral ice. Kennedy picks it up, enters the offensive zone and whips a wrister on net. Emery kicks it out.
0:00: End of period. Penguins 3, Senators 3.
-At the start of the extra period, these two bald idiots got up and left:
That is just so mind-numbingly dumbfounding to us. Why even buy a ticket if you're going to leave right when overtime starts.
2:30: A mad scramble ensues in Conklin's crease. A Senator directs the puck towards the net but Conklin is able to trap it with his right leg.
1:19: Off a faceoff, Gonchar rockets a one-timer on net. Emery slides over and gloves it.
0:58: Malone rips a shot from the right side. It beats Emery but it rattles off the cross-bar and post.
0:41: Malkin and Malone generate a two-on-one against Meszaros. Malkin elects to keep the puck but blows a shot totally over the net.
0:03: Daniel Alfredsson brings the puck up ice, loses control, regains it, moves it across the slot and slide a backhander by Conklin. End of game. Senators 4, Penguins 3.
-That might've been the low point of the season. Sure they've had game where they've had their butts kicked from beginning to end. They've had other games where they've let leads slip away (the Feb. 4 overtime loss at New Jersey comes to mind.) But when you consider what this game meant in the standings, how badly the Penguins were dominating the Senators in the first period, all the opportunities the Penguins had early on and how shaky Ray Emery seemed early on, this was easily the Penguins worst loss of the season.
-Conklin did not play well to be kind.
-Give credit to Emery. He's an easy guy to pick on given his baggage. But he was able to shake off that goal by Sykora and play a solid game.
-Gonchar and Phillips each played 29:08.
-We're still convinced the Penguins could need for a faceoff specialist at the trading deadline. They were beaten 32-25 against Ottawa.
-Surprisingly, the Penguins out-shot the Senators, 35-28.
-Best Jerseys we saw:
-Noah Welch (We guess this guy didn't like the Gary Roberts trade whatsoever.)
-Ron Francis Whalers
Now were fairly certain by the time Ron Francis left Hartford in 1991, the Whalers had not yet adopted that tar-stain blue into their threads. But given the relative lack of acknowledgement the NHL has for the Whalers' existence, we'll accept any Whalers love even if it's chronologically inconsistent.
EN Reader Nick Coletti spotted this Ken Wregget jersey on television:
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-The Penguins have lots of goaltenders.
-Nathan Smith was sent to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
-We shot some video. If. You. Like. Wooden. Mumbling. Speech. Go. Ahead. And. Watch. It.
Jean-Michel Daoust and Dave Gove scored goals for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a 3-2 loss at Hershey.
-Joe Guenther had two goals for the Wheeling Nailers in a 5-4 loss to Reading.
-John Madden's overtime goal gave the Devils a 2-1 win at Washington. Martin Brodeur made 37 saves in the win that put New Jersey in first place in the Eastern Conference for the first time since the 2001 season.
-Scott Gomez had a goal and two assists for the Rangers in a 5-0 win against the Panthers. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves to get the shutout.
-Flyers forward Mike Richards will be out at least three weeks due to a hamstring tear.
-Rangers defenseman Paul Mara will miss two weeks due to facial injuries.
-Jaromir Jagr is not expected to leave the Rangers.
-Maple Leafs center Mats Sundin will not waive his no-trade clause.
-Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron skated for the first time in four months.
-A couple former Penguins, Mark Recchi and Johan Hedberg, are among a group of Thrashers players drawing interest as trade bait.
-The Red Wings signed forward Darren McCarty.
-Miikka Kiprusoff made 38 saves in a 2-1 win at Minnesota. The win puts Calgary in first place in the Northwest Division.
-Mathieu Garon made 27 saves for the Oilers in a 3-2 defeat of the Avalanche. It was Joe Sakic's first game back from a groin injury that held him out of 38 games.
-Avalanche forward Ryan Smyth no longer has a mullet.
-Teemu Selanne had a hat trick and two assists for the Ducks in a 6-3 defeat of the Blackhawks.
-Seemingly not satisfied with going after skaters like Steve Moore, Ducks thug Todd Bertuzzi tried to take out Blackhawks goaltender Patrick Lalime yesterday:
-Ilya Bryzgalov made 35 saves and led the Coyotes to a 2-0 shutout of the Blues.
-Stars defenseman Sergei Zubov, a former Penguin, will be out an additional 4-to-6 weeks due to a foot injury.
-Dallas activated defenseman Philippe Boucher from injured reserve. He has missed 38 games due to a shoulder injury.
-Who deserves the Jack Adams Award?
-Are there too many numbers retired in the NHL?
First Published February 25, 2008 6:05 pm