NHL

Penguins v Lightning – Live at the CONSOL Energy Center

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Well, it is that time again… time for another fun filled edition of “Live at the… ” Let’s hope that tonight we have something a little more exciting to talk about… I found it necessary to tip more than a few adult beverages after what we were treated too on Wednesday night. That was one of the more epic collapses of the Crosby era and one that was very reminiscent of the performance that pushed former Penguins’ head coach Michel Therrien to deliver his still epic rant about the team’s defense. The interesting thing about Therrien’s rant is that it was delivered roughly six years ago and it seemingly addressed the exact situation of Wednesday night. For those of you out there who haven’t heard the rant… here it is for your review.

Back then this team needed a kick in the pants and Therrien delivered it with words and actions. He called the team out and worked them hard in practice. He eventually got the team playing good team defense and set them on a path towards destiny. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if a similar kick in the pants in on the way. In fact, aside from an uncomfortable look on his face, it seemed as if Dan Bylsma had just watched another hockey game.

Yes, he did admit that his team made mistakes, but he didn’t call anyone out. He didn’t put any additional mustard on his words. It didn’t seem as he had any intention of changing anything. That has sort of been his MO all season long… “we are delivering the plan, but it isn’t being executed.”

Though Therrien was sort of rigid when it came to changing the “plan” he sort of evolved a bit over his time in Pittsburgh. That same metamorphosis has got to happen with Bylsma. He has got to find the right buttons to push and the right adjustments to make. Will he adjust? I guess we will find out… He will get his first opportunity tonight as the Penguins square off with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

He did one good thing thus far on the night, he has Marc Andre Fleury in goal. Marc needed a start and with Brent Johnson looking like a mere mortal again, tonight was the right time. It will be interesting to see how MAF performs in this game, but probably even more so to how the team plays in front of him.

The two teams have hit the ice and we are underway here… as usual, I will be bringing you a collection of thoughts, observations, analysis and hullabaloo. Stay tuned for more throughout…

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It was nice to hear the CEC crowd show their support for Marc Andre Fleury prior to the opening face-off. They broke out in a Fleury chant… a nice way to boost him up early…

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Surprisingly there have been only 5 total shots in the game thus far. Quite a departure from the shooting gallery that we had in here on Wednesday evening…

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Vinny again makes my entire evening by playing some Rollins! Always awesome to hear “Fool” played for all to hear…

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MAF just earned himself another Fleury chant with a big save from his side… though he has faced only 3 shots on the evening, he has stopped them all. Plus he got over a big hurdle by making the first stop of the night. He hasn’t necessarily been great at doing that this season.

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The Penguins missed out on their first power play opportunity. Interestingly enough they utilized Crosby and Malkin for only a minute or so of the advantage. They followed up by taking a penalty of their own. The PK did the job and Craig Adams was clearly smelling blood in the water… he got a couple cracks short handed and came close to beating Mike Smith.

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One period in the books here in Pittsburgh and we are still scoreless… The Penguins have the advantage in shots 6-3 and neither team has had a ton of great chances…

In will say that for a game that is featuring players like Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, St. Louis and Lecavalier, this game is damn boring thus far…

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I have to admit that it is hard not to get pumped up when you head the engines revving at the beginning of Motley Crue’s “Kick Start My Heart!” Vin has been playing it to start the second period for a couple of games now… great stuff…

* * * * *

Marc Andre Fleury just made a huge stop on Marty St. Louis, who had gotten in behind the defense. The play looked almost identical to the one in which St. Louis scored on Fleury back in October. This time MAF didn’t go for the poke check and was able to get himself in position to make the save. Nice confidence boost for MAF…

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18,275 in the house to take this one in tonight…

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Kris Letang whistled for boarding… however, Steven Stamkos just wiped the PP out with a penalty of his own. Guilty of hooking…

* * * * *

Another lost opportunity as Tyler Kennedy was called for hooking just :31 seconds later…

* * * * *

The teams will play 4 on 4 for another :46 seconds and then the Lightning will have themselves a brief power play.

* * * * *

Kris Letang turned what looked like a broken play into gold… he kept the puck in at the point and glided into shooting position. He released the puck and Pascal Dupuis tipped it past Mike Smith…

Seconds later, the Pens were again cycling down low Mike Rupp found himself alone in front of the Smith and shoveled a nifty pass across to Alex Goligoski who was streaking in from the point. Go Go took the pass and fired it into an empty net…

2-0 Penguins…

* * * * *

Just seconds after making the nice pass that set up the Penguins second goal, Mike Rupp was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct…

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I just received a DM from @Wranglersm telling me that Steigy and Errey have given credit to Dana Tyrell on several occasions this evening. Tyrell is a scratch.

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Sean Bergenheim was just whistled for high sticking… Penguins go to work for 4:00 minutes. Will the PP take advantage?

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We are through two and the Penguins have managed to hold on to their two goal lead… we have seen this picture before though. Will they be able to do what they weren’t able too on Wednesday evening? We shall find out…

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Though the Penguins finally got on the board during the second period, the game has been a very tight one. The two teams have combined for only 21 shots thus far, with the Penguins leading the way 12-9.

Evgeni Malkin is one of three Penguins with 2 shots on goal this evening.

Though Marc Andre Fleury has only faced 9 shots on goal, he has done a nice job of making the stops. It has been a great night for him to this point…this is the kind of performance he has needed. Would be nice to see the boys close it out for him… with him doing his part of course…

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The third period is underway…

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Brooks Orpik just inadvertently got the stick up into the face of a Lightning player… It was a 4:00 job, but Ryan Malone helped them out by taking a penalty of his own.

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Sidney Crosby just made a pretty pass to a streaking teammate coming down the slot… unfortunately that teammate was Chris Conner… he sort of bobbled the pass before getting in too close and pushing it into Mike Smith.

* * * * *

Mattias Ritola just drew a tripping call… he felt Pascal Dupuis’ stick get into his feet and went to the ice. Unfortunately that put the Penguins down by two men and the Lightning quickly responded with their first goal of the evening. Steven Stamkos played catch with Marty St. Louis before ripping a shot over Fleury’s shoulder.

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On the following face-off tempers flared after the Lightning crashed the Penguins goal. Fleury kept the puck out, but Stamkos chopped at him. Michalek gave Stamkos a shot to the chops that knocked him down and then all heck broke loose.

Matt Cooke was issued a boarding call again putting the Pens down by two men…

On the ensuing power play sparked by a handful of huge Fleury saves, the Penguins got the kill…

With 11:22 remaining, the Penguins are still holding onto a 2-1 lead…

* * * * *

Max Talbot just relived his Cup clinching goal… he took a puck through the neutral zone, came in two on one with Craig Adams and fired a shot to the far corner over Mike Smith’s glove hand…

Some insurance for the Penguins and MAF… 3-1

* * * * *

The Penguins are looking at 3:30 remaining in the game… will they do it? We shall see!

* * * * *

Crosby might have just iced it. Pascal Dupuis made a great play in the neutral zone to create a turnover and threw the puck up to Crosby who was sort of behind the defense… Sid looked pass for a minute, but quickly decided to shoot. He put it past Smith short side…

4-1…

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About Brian Metzer

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Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Brian Metzer has been covering the Pittsburgh Penguins and National Hockey League since 2004. He is the host of Penguins Live Weekly, a show that airs Saturday mornings on 105.9 the X and iHeart Radio. He serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, and is the NHL and Penguins correspondent for the Beaver County Times. Metzer is also a contributing writer for NHL.com and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Walshy

    November 12, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    As much as MAF has made some saves, he is sliding around everywhere out there… It is head in the hands stuff to watch…