Penguins

Live at Mellon Arena – Pens v Leafs

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The warm-ups are in the books and the two teams are back in the rooms making their last minute preparations.

The starting goaltenders are indeed Marc Andre Fleury and J.S. Giguere.

It will be interesting to see how Fleury responds to back to back games, as he is typically spelled by Brent Johnson in these situations.

I am expecting him to have a nice performance, following up on his strong outing yesterday afternoon in which he shut the door on the Flyers after allowing a suspect goal to start the game.

Giguere has posted a 1-2-0 record over his last three against the Penguins, but his team has been on a roll as of late. Having an early lead could go a long way towards pushing Giguere to a victory.

Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar both missed the pre-game skate and will again be held out of the line-up. I have no problem with that decision, as both players are vital to the Penguins playoff hopes and need to be as close to 100% as possible before the Playoffs begin.

We are 4:00 minutes from facing this one off. I am live at Mellon Arena and will be bringing you all of the action… more as it happens…

* * * * *

Aaaaand they’re off!

The Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Alexei Ponikarovsky line started the game, but weren’t able to penetrate the offensive zone.

* * * * *

The Leafs look a lot faster than the last time I watched them play in person… they definitely have some hop in their skates this afternoon…

Thus far, the game doesn’t have much flow to it… however, the Leafs just got themselves on the board. The great Richard Wallin, not necessarily known for his blazing speed or great hands, got in behind the Penguins defense and made a nice back hand move… Fleury was able to kick it away, but slid out of position and left the rebound sitting right in his crease. Colton Orr crashed the net and knocked it home.

Hey Giggy, there’s your early lead… you can thank me later!

1-0 Leafs…

* * * * *

The Penguins spent the last two minutes working the puck in and around the Leafs zone. They weren’t getting a ton of scoring chances… that is until Mike Rupp worked his tail off in behind the net and pushed the puck, from his stomach, to Tyler Kennedy. Kennedy was breaking down the slot and he chipped the pass in behind Giguere before the Leafs goaltender seemed to realize that he was there.

Tied up 1-1…

* * * * *

With Craig Adams assist on Tyler Kennedy’s goal, he has hit the 100 career point plateau. Congrats Craig!

* * * * *

The Leafs are coming on a bit. Mikhail Grabovski just had himself a glowing opportunity in front of Fleury, but he was defended and his shot went wide of the far post.

Moments later, Chris Kunitz came close to getting himself a breakaway, but the puck was bouncing and he couldn’t get a handle on it.

* * * * *

Ruslan Fedontenko takes the first penalty of the game, as he was called for hooking. Leafs on the power play…

* * * * *

Here comes a two man advantage for the Leafs. Mark Eaton was called for interfering with Grabovski as he was cutting towards the boards. Leafs will have :45 to work with…

* * * * *

The Penguins killers did a nice job of supporting one another and got the kill. Alex Goligoski looks to be struggling a bit though, as he had several opportunities to help on a short handed break into the zone, but could not get a handle on the puck. He then got spun around and downed himself right inside the Penguins blue line and it almost sprung John Mitchell for a scoring opportunity.

Mitchell got the puck to a Kaberle, who was streaking into the zone, Kaberle fed a Leaf at the goal mouth, but Fleury kicked the puck away.

* * * * *

Fleury just made a great stop on Nik Kulemin, who again got behind the Penguins defense. He spread out in the splits and kicked the puck away. Kaberle quickly put  the puck back on net, but Marc knocked that one away as well.

* * * * *

One period in the books here in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins and Leafs have skated to a 1-1 tie through one frame. That is about how the game has been played as well… fairly evenly. The Penguins have a one shot edge 10-9, but the chances have been pretty even… maybe even a bit slanted towards the Leafs when you consider the odd man breaks that they had.

The Penguins have been the more physical team thus far and are outhitting the Leafs 9-1. They also have a strong edge in the face-off circle where they have won 64% of their draws.

Kris Letang looks to be picking up where he left off yesterday afternoon and already has 3 shots on goal for the day. We will see if he logs anywhere near as much ice as he did yesterday. He has posted 6:14 thus far… he was on the ice for the Leafs goal, which is one that he and Brooks Orpik probably want back, but overall their performance has been ok thus far.

The Poni/Caputi watch shakes out as such: Caputi has notched 6:02 of ice, while Poni has played 4:24 and notched a shot on goal.

Stay tuned for more as it happens…

* * * * *

Second period underway…

* * * * *

Ruslan Fedotenko just got whacked in the grill with a stick as he was falling to the ice. It didn’t look and he laid on the ice in a heap for several minutes. He is up and skating and just returned to the bench…

* * * * *

One moment Marc Andre Fleury is making a huge stop on former Penguin Wayne Primeau in front of the goal, the next he is allowing another suspect one from outside the circles. Phil Kessel just let a wrister float in from the top of the right circle that hit Marc and fluttered through him and in.

I have said this to several of you out there, but I really think they should check out his prescription… it seems that he is beat more often than not from outside the circles. Maybe and just maybe, he isn’t seeing the puck the way he should be? Could he be the Penguins Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn?

2-1 Leafs…

* * * * *

Sidney Crosby just stood right in between Luke Schenn and Francois Beauchemin, screened Giguere as Brooks Orpik launched a slapper from the point. The shot hit Giggy and fell at the feet of all three men. The two Leafs defenders looked like they stopped as Crosby found the loose puck and banged it home for his 46th goal.

2-2

* * * * *

Oops he did it again… Sidney Crosby just collected a pass in the slot … had time to gather it in and lashed it far post on Giguere. That makes two goals in a row in which he was allowed to stand in the slot and create a goal by the Toronto defense. This time it was Kaberle and Schenn…

3-2 Penguins…

* * * * *

The Penguins defense just returned the favor… first they got themselves whistled for a penalty, which gave the Leafs an advantage on the delayed call… then they left John Mitchell alone in the high slot to receive a pass in which he lashed far post on Fleury.

3 up…

* * * * *

The Penguins got themselves a power play when the Leafs’ Christian Hanson was called for roughing. They weren’t able to get set up in the zone as early as they would have liked, but Sidney Crosby came close to putting them ahead again. He got a break down the left wing boards, faked a shot before putting the puck on Giggy, who was able to get enough of it to send it wide.

The Birds then got another great opportunity when Chris Kunitz broke down the right wing boards before finding Bill Guerin in the slot for a one timer that Giggy was able to kick away with his toe.

* * * * *

Crosby must have eaten a bowl of Wheaties during the time out that Dan Bylsma called earlier. He has been flying ever since… scoring two goals and coming close to a few more. He just created another break into the zone with Talbot and Kennedy. They weren’t able to score, but he has Giguere looking to glove the puck at every opportunity.

Talbot took some punishment from the Leafs as the whistle blew on the play. Two Leafs gobbled him up and Giguere gave him a hard slash across the legs…

* * * * *

The second period is in the books and the Penguins will start the third down a man. They were issued a late too many men on the ice penalty…

The teams spent the period exchanging chances, with the Penguins actually having a significant lead in shots… outshooting the Leafs 16-10 in the period to push the game totals to 26-13.

The game is knotted at 3-3 and I would hold each team’s defense responsible for that…the Phil Kessel goal aside… that one was on Fleury. On each of the other 5 goals scored in this game defensemen were in position to make the play and did not.

The Penguins still hold an edge in the face-off circle winning 54% of their draws… They were not as physical though… the Leafs outhit them in the period and have closed that gap to one… Pens still leading 14-13.

Stay tuned for more as it happens…

* * * * *

Brooks Orpik has two assists on the day and has set a career high for points in a season… he is sitting at 23. His previous high was 19 points set last season…

* * * * *

The third period is underway and the the teams have been up and down the ice what seems to be 45 times already. The Penguins have had two mini breakaways… one of which Matt Cooke shot wide of the net, the other Jordan Staal forced a pass to Craig Adams who wasn’t expecting it at all.

* * * * *

The tempers are starting to flare a bit and Marc Andre Fleury was just called for interfering with Colton Orr. Always blows my mind how the officials sort things out… there could be guys grappling all over the ice, but one guy comes away with a penalty.

Ice crew needs to remind Luca Caputi to take his things at the end of the game, he has moved into Fleury’s crease and has been living there all game.

* * * * *

Tyler Bozak just put the Leafs ahead 4-3 with some hard work in front of the net. He was getting knocked around, but kept coming back for more and eventually got his twig on a rebound, scoring the go ahead goal.

* * * * *

Those tempers are again flaring up… this time there was a bit of scrum in the corner… Brooks Orpik looked like he wanted to end Dion Phaneuf’s life after taking a glove/stick to the chops.

Freddy Sjostrom, who has been known to burn the Penguins during shoot outs, was issued a hooking penalty moments before the Brooks/Dion incident…

* * * * *

The Penguins could not get much going during their power play and came away empty handed. It was good to Crosby let a shot from the point fly…he has been sort of forcing passes lately. It looks like his two goal performance has him feeling confident in his shot again…

* * * * *

Jordan Staal just powered through the Leafs defense, but he couldn’t get the puck under control in the left wing corner. The play went back the other way…

* * * * *

The Penguins are running out of time here… 4:30 on the clock. I will be heading down to the rooms shortly. Look for more post game…

Comments

About Brian Metzer

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 and co-host of PensWeek on the Penguins Radio Network, serves as the Pittsburgh Penguins correspondent for NHL Network Radio on SiriusXM, does similar work for TSN 1050 in Toronto, is a contributing writer for NHL.com, the Beaver County Times and is the primary contributor for this site www.fromthepoint.com.

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48 Comments

  1. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    UMMM Gonch is more than Sick, if he isn’t playing again

  2. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    MAF is starting, you dont think that 62 starts already is too many for a GT that has been far too streaky when we have a perfectly good GT backing him up?

    PS these 4pm games are much much more reasonalble….. or is this 5pm?

  3. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    was that a bad rebound on that save?

  4. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Hey Brooks take your own advice Please & Sid & fellow linmates Get the Hell back

  5. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    No it was a Great Save Orpik & Letang on the Rush & No forward covered for them

  6. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Orpik thinking he is Gonch from what I can gather….

  7. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    TK with the Goal Good work by Rupp & Adams

  8. Staal11fan

    March 28, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Leafs look hungrier in that period, hopefully the Pens can pick it up in the second..

  9. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Leafs definitely had the better of the chances… the defense has got to do a better job of keeping the Leafs forwards in front of them. It could easily have been 3-1 Leafs on breakaways alone.

    Thanks for chatting the game up here gang! I am trying to put the old band together here in the comments section and it is great to see all of you!

  10. Heath

    March 28, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    We’re getting the band back together? I’m in. I for one, think Fleury should always be playing back to backs. He’s young and there is no reason for him not to be on the ice. Look at Brodeur, if that tubby can play every night so can the flower ;)

  11. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Agreed Heath!! No reason Fleury can’t be playing them all…

  12. Heath

    March 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    I’m no Fleury (heck, I’m no Dany Sabourin) but 2 weeks ago I played 4 games in net in 5 days and was no worse for wear… Nice to see Crosby get the goal.

  13. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    What the heck were Schenn and Beauchemin doing on the Crosby goal?

    That one earned profanities from the Leafs’ management box which I sit next too…

  14. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    However there is something to be said for your inability to make it to the Arena on consecutive days Heath… OH SNAP!

  15. Heath

    March 28, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Low blow, Metz ;) If I were dressing to play, I’d make it!

  16. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I keed… I keed! You know that…

    Crosby again seemed to have his invisibility cloak in full effect as the Leafs defense just allowed him to stand in the slot, gather in a pass and lash it past their goaltender…

    Schenn and Kaberle this time…

  17. Staal11fan

    March 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Think Bylsma read them the riot act?

  18. Staal11fan

    March 28, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    defense is too slow for this hungry team

  19. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 5:40 pm

    UMMM no the Defense Just SUCKS !!! OUTLOUD !!!!

    & the rest of the team isn’t much Better

    They Play like This against the Devils or Craps they will get their Asses Kicked

  20. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    No Metz every team’s D does the Same thing, Coaching has Made them Robots, MUST BLOCK SHOT !! MUST BLOCK PASS !!!

    Meantime there are guys wide iopen in front of the Net

    Here’s a Concept let the Goalies do the job they are paid to do stop the shots & worry about guys wide open in front of the net

  21. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Agreed Eric… they really need to focus on the man a ton more. On Crosby’s first goal, Beauchy or Schenn should have knocked him down and taken a penalty… Take your chances on a kill rather than give up a gimme. Not sure what the heck they were thinking…

    The Mitchell goal was just the Leafs forwards outworking the Pens D. Once they got the puck flying around the boards and set up that pass to the high slot, the goose was cooked…

  22. bmetzer

    March 28, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    Do you guys like the “Two Minutes With” idea??

  23. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Yeah it’s cool !

  24. Rival

    March 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    Lots of standing around watching tonight for both teams… it seems like the only time tonight that the Pens worry being aggressive defensively is when the are short handed.

    If the Pens weren’t standing around, they were chasing around… That part of the early 2nd when the Pens were running around, McKee and Gogo were both in the same corner TWICE.

  25. Rival

    March 28, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    the “Two Minutes With” is good… I like the couple minute video segments from the scrums that the Pens put on their website, so more of those types of things are always good.

  26. Staal11fan

    March 28, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    Yeah, not bad….maybe ask some of the guys what they’re going to miss at the old barn or what they are looking forward to in the new barn.
    I’ll hang up and listen to your reply…..Luv Da Show!!!

  27. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    GUTLESS, HEARTLESS, BRAINLESS TEAM !!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    You know I leave the PC for a couple of minutes and the leafs get the lead, I cant be stuck to the PC at work. Im a personal trainer for christ sake!

  29. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Anyone notice How When Staal is the 2nd Line Center He & His Linemates are INVISIBLE?? Nice 4 mill a year 3rd line C

  30. Heath

    March 28, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Staal at 4mil is a steal, in my opinion.

  31. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Well you Would, Add up the 8.7 to Sid & Geno each & you Have 21.4 mill a year tied up at C

    That is why you have to signBargain basement Wingers like Guerin The Cadaver & Tank & Satan

  32. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Oh Goody YEO YEO the Ruiner of the PP is drawing up a play OY VEY !

  33. Rival

    March 28, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    why would Toronto take that time out? Crosby was at the end of his shift, and now he gets a breather.

  34. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Letang can’t one time a Puck & they put him out there, Great Coaching from the 3 STOOGES

  35. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Eric, I have noticed you are not a big fan of the coaching staff are you… he he he

  36. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Oh Goody now we get to see Blowsma Choose 5 Hole Guerin for the SO !!!

    GOODY !!!

    He isn’t any better in game coach than MT

    The one thing he had going for him last Season is that he wasn’t MT

  37. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    I Like Tony Granato But I Despise Yeo’s Existence & Bylsma is wearing thin on me

  38. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Walshy as a Coach you have to Put your Players in a Situation where they can succeed !! They Know that Letang can’t 1 time a puck, So why put him out there, The PP is Get a Shot from CP 60 Ft away

  39. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Hmmm

    Sid just stepping up a little bit here? lol

  40. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Pascal For the WINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  41. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Duper, when you are hot, your hot….

  42. Jmw66

    March 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Nothing like winning the hard way….

  43. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Well at least they didn’t use 5 Hole Guerin

  44. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    Flyers up 2-0 after 1 period

  45. Walshy

    March 28, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    cant believe we are wanting Philly to win…

  46. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Yep Walshy is it hurting my Soul !!! hahaha

  47. Eric

    March 28, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    3-0 Flyers woo! Suck it Marty!

  48. OneSmugPug

    March 29, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Just breezing through the comments, thought I would add one myself. The issues with the Pens have ranged from defensive to offensive blame. I see it a tad different. The Pens largest issue is putting together 60 minutes of solid hockey. If the expectations are for wins, then the team needs to play to their ability for a full game, and not fall into complacency. Every game they have played we have seen that greatness, but then it goes away after 1 goal or one swinging play. Too many games are spent pushing for that late goal. Granted, The Pens are charmed to get it more often than not, but not always. In the playoffs, this type of play is just a deathwish. That being said, Matt Cooke on a 2 game goal scoring streak, Dupuis just playing out of his skull.

    Let’s Go Pens!