Missing the point
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The Penguins make a comeback, but still fall to the Canadiens in a shootout, 4-3.
-We're greeted with the Nickeback version of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting." Eh, no thanks.
-In the locker room, we see Ryan Malone and his ink.
-No Gary Roberts. He's has the Black Plague or something.
-Tyler Kennedy was called up from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to take his place.
19:31: As Adam Hall goes to the box for hooking, we get a peek at the lines for tonight:
That second line is somewhat interesting. You have three guys who can score, but not really create scoring opportunities. A rough game for Recchi Thursday bumps him to the third line.
18:20: Malone steals the puck and is tripped up by Mark Streit who gets two minutes. Four-on-four.
12:47: At the end of a pretty long shift, Brooks Orpik makes a pretty weak clearing attempt after intercepting a pass from Andrei Kastsitsyn. The puck comes to Mathieu Dandenault who fires a quick wrister from the right faceoff circle past Marc-Andre Fleury. Canadiens 1-0.
10:25: Racing for a loose puck, Evgeni Malkin is pinned against the boards by Dandenault. That probably could've been an interference call.
9:18: As we see Jordan Staal in the box for an elbowing penalty, replays show Crosby getting away with a pretty obvious slash on Kastsitsyn.
9:07: That didn't take long. It takes the Canadiens all of 10 seconds to score on the power play. From the right boards, Saku Koivu sends a pass into the slot and it's redirected on net by Christopher Higgins. Fleury makes the save and the rebounds bounces out and hits Sergei Gonchar's skate. Markov is Johnny-on-the-spot and beats everyone to the loose puck and backhands the puck high over Fleury's glove. It's a bad rebound by Fleury and a terrible job by the Penguins defense in clearing the rebound. Canadiens 2-0.
8:56: Kennedy, seemingly running on adrenaline, absolutely dumps Roman Hamrlik in the neutral zone with a big check along the boards.
0:01: Mike Komisarek fires a slapper from the left boards. Fleury makes the save but again gives up a juicy rebound. Ryan Whitney clears it away before a Hab can touch it.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 2, Penguins 0
-Wow was that an awful period for Pittsburgh. The Canadiens out-shot the Penguins 14-6 that period.
-Perhaps our imagination is rather limited, but never in our life did we ever think we'd hear Jarkko Ruutu singing "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting."
19:11: On a three-on-two, Michael Ryder, one of the Canadiens' best shooters, uses Mark Eaton as a screen and unleashes a mean wrister from the right faceoff circle and beats Fleury high on the glove side. It's another bad goal for Fleury to give up and Therrien has seen enough. He pulls Fleury in place of Dany Sabourin. Therrien looks as if he could snap. Canadiens 3-0.
18:23: Malone tries to goad Komisarek into a fight but the Montreal blueliner doesn't engage him. Apparently Malone can only fight defensemen he can call "Commie." He fought Carolina's Mike Commodore just over a week ago.
18:11: Malkin brings the puck into the Montreal zone and is hit from behind by Alexei Kovalev. As Malkin goes down in a heap, Kovalev appears to be somewhat concerned for Malkin and extends a hand towards him. As he does that, Sidney Crosby jumps Kovalev and pulls his jersey over his head. It's weird to see two of the most beloved one-time Penguins players engaged in a tussle. Kovalev get penalized for roughing and boarding while Crosby is penalized for roughing. Kastsitsyn, who's name we're getting tired of having to look up, serves one of Kovalev's penalties. Malkin appears to be fine.
16:57: Malkin brings the puck into the zone along the right boards. He center a pass to hall who then sends a pass to Sykora along the left side. Sykora knocks the puck out of mid-air and fires it through Price's five-hole. Canadiens 3-1.
15:14: From the corner, Ryan Whitney makes a brutal turnover. Kyle Chipcura steals it but thankfully for the Penguins fires it high of the Penguins' net.
13:53: Kennedy generates his first scoring opportunity in a Penguins uniform. From the left side, he sends a fantastic pass across the slot to a streaking Hall who can't get the shot on target and hits the side of the net.
11: 44: Malkin brings the puck into the offensive zone along the right side. He slides a pass to Crosby in the crease who then slides it back. As Malone drives to the net, Malkin sends the puck back to Crosby who snaps it through traffic and past Price. Malone made the whole play by getting in Price's grill. Canadiens 3-2.
11:20: Hall absolutely plants Chipcura into the back of the Canadiens' net with a nice body check.
11:18: Recchi gets run over in the corner by Steve Begin.
8:23: Colby Armstrong and Hamrlik race for a loose puck in the Canadiens' end. As Hamrlik touches up for the icing, Armstrong checks Hamrlik in the corner. The Habs defenseman doesn't appreciate the contact and jabs Armstrong in the back. Armstrong turns around and a scrum ensues. As things are broken up, Hamrlik gives Armstrong a love-tap along the bench and words are exchanged.
8:04: During a stoppage at mid-ice, Armstrong and Francois Bouillon exchange pleasantries and each seem like they want to drop the gloves. Neither does, but Armstrong can be seen mentioning something about ducks. We think.
7:17: On a powerplay, Streit blast a slapper from the point, but Jordan Staal makes a gutsy move and slides out to block it with his legs.
5:36: Malkin comes in from the left side all alone on net. He fires a shot on Price's glove-side but it's denied. Malkin loses his balance and crashes into Price and dislodges the net.
5:12: Hall clips Begin in the face and gets away with a penalty.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 3, Penguins 2.
-The Penguins out-shot Montreal 10-7 in the second period.
-What the heck is up with Sykora's hair?
-We get the seemingly obligatory Mike Yeo shot before the third period from FSN Pittsburgh.
19:22: Michael Ryder's a Newfie http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfie? Awesome.
18:13: From the "We Bet He's Been Waiting To Use That One All Game File" Bob Errey says "(Guillaume) Latendresse was trying to un-dress two Penguin defenders."
17:12: After forgetting to record the game on our DVR, we had to tape it in the office on a VCR tape. (It's something your parents used in the 1980's kids.) The tape only had so much space on it and pretty much quit at this point. This forced us to take notes as we watched the game so our details may be a little sketchy for the rest of the game. If you're unfamiliar with VCR's, here's a refresher:
13:09: In a shocking development, Gonchar gets whistled for hooking for the approximately the 94th time this season
8:30: A slapper by Ruutu hits the post.
5:38: Komisarek interferes with Recchi. No call.
5:21: FSN Pittsburgh explains who Frank Selke was.
4:11: Montreal gets called for too many men on the ice.
3:49: Gonchar comes into the zone with speed, but Recchi is offside by a few feet and kills the play.
2:19: Recchi takes the puck and drives down the crease towards net. The puck bounces to the right and is picked up by Crosby who is hauled down by Begin. Begin is given two minutes for slashing. This will give the Penguins a brief two-man advantage for eight seconds. Therrien makes the surprising decision to pull Sabourin for the extra attacker with over two minutes left in regulation.
2:05: As the Canadiens kill the first penalty, Price freezed the puck. Surely Therrien would return Sabourin at this point right? No. He makes the bold move of keeping the extra attacker out there. Either that or he's crazy. A Post-Gazette co-worker, who will remain anonymous, says they need to fire Therrien.
1:52: Malkin send a pass into the slot to Whitney and he fires a shot by Price. The unnamed PG co-worker immediately nominates Therrien for the Jack Adams Award. Canadiens 3, Penguins 3.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 3, Penguins 3.
4:45: Malone takes a hooking penalty. Rough time to take that.
3:28: Smolinski deflects a shot on net but Sabourin is able to stop the puck and freeze it.
3:04: Sabourin wants this game. A slapper by Streit is eaten up by the Penguins backup netminder.
2:45: The Penguins kill Malone's penalty and dodge a major bullet.
1:16: The Penguins are sleep-walking again. A Chipcura shot is stopped by Sabourin and deflects into the crease just in front of the crease. Both Crosby and Gonchar basically just stand there and stare at the puck before Sabourin leaps out and covers it.
0:01: A loose puck bounces right out to Higgins who tries to end the game with a big slapper. But as he takes his shot his stick breaks and the period ends.
0:00: End of period. Canadiens 3, Penguins 3.
-Who else but Erik Christensen? Mr. Automatic gets things off to a bad start however as he dekes to the left and completely misses the cage with his shot.
-The dangerous Kovalev comes in on net and fires a wrister high that Sabourin coolly gloves.
-Sykora comes in slowly and fires a wrister high that completely misses the net.
-Saku Koivu attacks the net with speed, tries to sneak it in with a deke to the left but Sabourin's right leg keeps it out of the net which is dislodged. Just to be safe, Sabourin throws the puck out of the crease.
-Crosby shoots low, but Price's right leg easily denies him.
-Tomas Plekanec tries to go with a backhander and fires wide of the net.
-Ruutu goes with a leg kick and fires with the backhand but misses wide of the net.
-Streit tries to go five-hole but Sabourin's stick keeps the puck out.
-Malkin comes slowly and seemingly runs out of space as he fires a weak shot right into Price.
-Higgins also goes with the leg kick and fires a wrister high. Sabourin makes another glove save.
-Gonchar goes wide and out-dekes himself. The puck slides off his stick and he fails to get a shot off even.
-Katsitsyn, who's name we hate spelling, tries to deke to the left and is again denied by Sabourin's right leg.
-Whitney comes in with speed and fires a wrist shot glove side that misses the net.
-It's hard to believe the slick-shooting Ryder hasn't gotten an opportunity until now. He dekes to the left and has Sabourin beat, but misses the net with his shot.
-Recchi lifts his leg and snaps a wrist shot but misses to the left.
-We had a feeling as soon as the flashed up on the screen that Markov had never even been involved in a shootout he would end this. He comes down the middle of the crease and sneaks a backhanded shot through Sabourin's five-hole. Canadiens 1-0. End of game. Canadiens 4, Penguins 3.
-You have to feel for Sabourin. He came into the game and gave the Penguins every opportunity to win the game and ended up with the overtime loss on his record.
-How does Jordan Staal not get consideration for the shootout before Gonchar, Whitney and Recchi?
-Why do the Penguins have trouble playing complete games? They played OK for about a period and a half Thursday against Toronto then the roof caved in. Last night they played like they were sleeping for the first period and really didn't get started until Kovalev hit Malkin from behind.
-Kennedy looked impressive He only made one bad play (a turnover in his own end) and brought a lot of energy and played physical. Granted a lot of that might have been adrenaline given that it was his NHL debut, but he looked like he belonged in the NHL.
OBSERVATIONS FROM D-6
An EN reader went to last night's game and offered a few observations:
"I've attended two games this year and both were against Montreal. Memo to self: Don't go to any more games against Montreal. They've ruined both of my Pens games this season. I also went to this gem a few years back.
--I saw a lot of people in the crowd singing "O Canada" while wearing Pens jerseys. Good to see we're out of that little funk of booing the anthem. On that note, if he got some new attire, Jeff Jimerson may be greater than Lyndon Slewidge, Ottawa's national anthem singer.
--A lady a few seats down from me asked her daughter, "Now which number is Sidney Crosby?" You only get one guess as to which jersey was being worn by 75 percent of the people in front of us.
--Former Pirates' General Manager Dave Littlefield sighting. He was in section D5. It appeared that his view would've been somewhat obstructed by a pillar. After agreeing to absorb all of Matt Morris's salary, the San Francisco Giants should've upgraded him to the Igloo Club for life. He was with his son. The guy next to his son was wearing a Jason Bay T-shirt/jersey. Apparently that guy shops at a store that still had jerseys of a .247 hitter. All the Matt Kata (.250) jerseys must have sold out.
--I hope the announcers gave Malone a lot of credit for the Malkin-to-Sid-to-Malkin-to-Sid goal. He brought the defender down with him to provide a two-body screen on Price. Great work.
--Worst place to park: The Marriot. It was about 45 minutes to get out. Parking a few blocks further on Fifth or Forbes is the best way to get out of the Arena and through the tunnels.
THURSDAY'S ASSAULT IN THE NHL BROUGHT TO YOU BY PHILADELPHIA
This hit on Boston's Patrice Bergeron by Philadelphia's Randy Jones isn't anything like the headshots delivered by Steve Downie or Jessie Boulerice, but it's still dirty. Unlike Downie and Boulerice, Jones didn't try to intentionally injure Bergeron, but he deserves at least a 10-game suspension in our book.
That said, does Bergeron not owe it to himself to go into the corner in a safer position?
Thankfully Bergeron, who was released from the hospital today, "only" suffered a concussion and a broken nose. You never want to see any player get injured like that, but Bergeron's a spectacularly entertaining player. Hopefully he's able to return to the ice soon.
Kukla's Korner did a pretty good job of recapping yesterday's events following the hit.
The Flyers won the game, 2-1.
EMPTY NETTER ASSISTS
-You're not a captain just because you have a "C" on your jersey.
-In the AHL, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton lost 4-2 to Binghampton.
-In the ECHL, Martin Houle made 34 saves and led Wheeling to a 5-1 defeat of Dayton.
-Random YouTube find: Don Cherry saying Jaromir "Yager" doesn't know how to play hockey:
-The Devils opened up their new arena, the Prudential Center, with a 4-1 loss to the Senators.
-The Rangers' offensive struggles continued in a 4-1 loss to Toronto.
-The Sabres are looking at free agent defenseman Nolan Pratt.
-Alexei Kovalev played in his 1,000th career game Friday.
-The Maple Leafs make a boatload of money.
-Rod Brind'Amour's third career hat trick led the Hurricanes to an 8-3 thumping of the Islanders.
-A battle of two former Penguins goaltenders saw Johan Hedberg's Thrashers edge Patrick Lalime's Blackhawks, 3-2.
-The Capitals signed forward Alexander Semin to a two-year extension.
-Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is kind of bent out of shape over all the Penguins fans that showed up in Washington last week.
-Lightning defenseman Dan Boyle is expected to return to the lineup next week.
-The Blue Jackets are a truly a boring Ken Hitchcock team. They limited the talented Sharks to 17 shots and grinded out a ho-hum 2-1 win.
-If you need further proof of Hitchcock's influence on this team, the Blue Jackets became the first team in NHL history to record four shutouts in October.
-Panthers goaltender Tomas Vokoun returned to Nashville for the first time as a visiting player in a 4-3 loss to the Predators.
-Two goals by Brad Boyes helped give the Blues a 4-3 win against the Capitals.
-Wild forward Marian Gaborik and goaltender Niklas Backstrom each suffered groin injuries in practice.
- Despite being bumped down to the fourth line, Stars center Mike Modano picked up two points in a 5-3 win against Phoenix. Modano's is now two points away from tying Phil Housley record for points by an American-born player of 1,232.
-The Kings moved into a tie for first place after a 4-1 defeat of the Oilers.
-Damien Cox of the Toronto Star wonders if the Ducks are heading down the same road the Hurricanes took last season.
-The Flames think the officials cost them a 3-2 loss to Colorado Friday.
-Canucks forward Markus Naslund, a former Penguin, says we shouldn't expect his buddy Peter Forsberg to come to a decision on returning to the NHL anytime soon.
-Oilers forward Dustin Penner wants his ice.
-Allan Muir says shootout goals should count in the stats.
-An amateur player from Connecticut died after being struck in the chest with a puck during a game Saturday.
First Published October 28, 2007 6:50 pm