Penguins

Live at Mellon Arena… Pens v Stars

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Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, I am still getting things situated here at From the Point, but I will be working on my first live blog here at my new home. I hope that you guys will follow it as you did previously.

The warm-ups are in the books and we are about 15 minutes from game time.

There is a definite playoff vibe going around Pittsburgh, it always does at this time of year. I really think that it has something to do with the changing temps, the melting snow and the fact that there aren’t many games left on the schedule.

-Something about the entire thing just gets me fired up! Probably because the National Hockey League playoffs are amongst the best in any sport. I personally feel that the Stanley Cup Championship is the toughest to win in all of sport and moving closer to that time of year is always special…especially if your team is in the running!

As for today’s game, the Penguins meet the Dallas Stars. They have been very effective against the Stars on home ice, having gone 39-19-6 and lead the all-time series 62-56-12. However, do not let those records fool you, as the Stars are in the hunt for a playoff spot and find themselves sitting just 4 points out the eighth and final spot.

The Penguins have been anxious for this game, as it will give them their first look at their complete team. Alexei Ponikarovsky is slated to make his debut after dealing with some visa issues that kept him out of the last game in New York. The big question surr0unding Poni is who he will play with. Most feel that he is destined to play with Evgeni Malkin, but injuries may change those plans. It will be interesting to watch Dan Bylsma tinker with this line-up which includes all of his new toys.

Marc Andre Fleury is looking to redeem himself for a less than sparkling performance in New York earlier in the week. I think we can cut him some slack though, as he hadn’t played a meaningful minute of hockey for close to two weeks.

Kari Lehtonen will be between the pipes for the Stars. It will be great to see him playing in front of this team.

The Penguins unveiled a new intro today as well… it was set to a Dallas motif. I am sure it will eventually be available on Pens TV and is a must watch!

Stay tuned for more as it happens… Live from Mellon Arena…

* * * * *

Aaaaand their off!

Alexei Ponikarovsky just got a big welcome to Pittsburgh from Nicklas Grossman. He hit him awkwardly and sent him flying towards the boards near the blue line. Luckily the Penguins new acquisition was able to shake it off…

* * * * *

The Penguins are on the board. They just worked a great break out play from their own zone, in which both defensemen and two forwards touched the puck. Jordon Leopold danced around behind his own net, created some room before dumping the puck back around to Sergei Gonchar. Gonchar made a break out pass to Matt Cooke along the left wing boards, he quickly turned it to Jordan Staal, sending him on a short break away. Staal quickly fired a shot past the stick side of Lehtonen…

1-0 Penguins…

* * * * *

The Penguins are employing a line of Evgeni Malkin, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Alexei Ponikarovsky. It looks like they might need a little bit of time to feel each other out, but they don’t look uncomfortable on the ice together.

* * * * *

If you are watching at home, apparently the sun was known to have been moving into a position that would interfere with the FSN signal for a short period of time. Very strange, but Seth from Empty Netters just pointed that out to me…

* * * * *

The Penguins got the first power play of the game. Nicklas Grossman was the guilty party… They paraded out a unit featuring Malkin, Crosby, Poni, Gonchar and Go Go. Ponikarovsky doesn’t look as if he will be too reluctant to go to the front of the net. He was stationed right in front of Lehtonen and got a nice scoring chance off of a pass from Crosby.

* * * * *

The Stars got the kill…

* * * * *

Max Talbot just showed off his dangle jangle near the right wing boards. He dangled with the puck before moving into a shooting position and putting a nice shot on Lehtonen from the high circle.

* * * * *

Mike Ribiero just got the equalizer for the Stars. He went to the net and made a nice play on a rebound before dumping the puck behind Fleury. Brandon Segal put a shot on net, Fleury was down, but got his right pad on it. The puck came right to Ribiero who turned the puck from his backhand to forehand and scored the goal. Stephane Robidas gets the second assist.

1-1 Tied up…

* * * * *

Jordan Leopold is being partnered with Mark Eaton on the Penguins PK. They are killing a hooking penalty to Tyler Kennedy. Leopold has really impressed me this afternoon. He is showing off his mobility, his vision and is looking like he could really end up being a nice acquisition. I never knew he had such great wheels…

* * * * *

Max Talbot was just whistled for interference. Most in the building clearly didn’t agree with the call, based on the boos that rained down on the official. However, the Penguins find themselves back down a man…

* * * * *

Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang were the combo being used to star off this PK. As I said, it is going to be interesting watching how Dan Bylsma juggles this line-up in each situation as it comes up.

* * * * *

Leopold skated with Alex Goligoski on the second PK unit this time around.

* * * * *

The first period is in the books and the Penguins find themselves tied with the Stars 1-1. The Penguins do lead in the shot department 10-8 and attempted 22 total shots in the period. Their new look line-up looks as if they are still adjusting to each other, but for the most part they played a good period.

Jordan Leopold has been very impressive thus far today. He is showing off his skating ability, ability to move the puck and is delivering a sound defensive game in his own zone. I am sorry to keep talking about it, but I really always just thought of him as an offensive defenseman.

Alexei Ponikarovsky has been used in a couple of different situations…even strength with Malkin and Fedotenko, and the power play with Crosby and Malkin. He has not been given the opportunity to kill any penalties as of yet. I am curious to see that part of his game, as some, including Dan Bylsma have praised that area of his game.

Marc Andre Fleury sort of took himself out of position on the Stars goal, but has thus far redeemed himself for his performance in New York on Thursday night. Nice to see the rust being shaken from his game.

Kari Lehtonen also seemed to slip up a bit on the goal he allowed. He seemed to be caught off guard by Jordan Staal’s shot. However, he has settled in and has made some saves to keep this game tied at 1-1.

The game hasn’t been the most physical, though the Penguins lead 16-10 in the hits department.

Stay tuned for more as it happens!

* * * * *

The dreaded Ribeiro to Segal connection just struck again. They were sprung by a nice hail Mary pass from Brendan Morrow to Segal. Segal quickly threw the puck across to Ribs who carried it into the zone before making a cross ice pass that Segal tipped home. Brooks Orpik was the man back trying to defend.

2-1 Stars…

It didn’t take the Stars long to push themselves to a 3-1 lead, as Loui Eriksson directed a Brad Richards pass from the goal line. He got the puck in the right wing corner took one step out from the line and made the dish.

3-1 Stars…

* * * * *

I can barely keep up with the action, as Sidney Crosby found a streaking Chris Kunitz, who lashed an accurate wrist shot past Lehtonen, off of the far post and in.

3-2 Stars…

* * * * *

The Penguins are about to go back on the power play, as Mike Ribeiro was called for holding.

The Penguins are employing Malkin, Crosby, Kunitz, Gonchar and Go Go on this power play…

* * * * *

The Penguins just honored Dallas forward and American born forward Mike Modano for becoming the all-time leading NHL scorer amongst American born players. He received a warm ovation from the Penguins faithful and acknowledged it with a wave…

* * * * *

Kris Letang just made a great play in stealing the puck from Brad Richards in the neutral zone and breaking down the right wing board. He slid down, made the pass across to a breaking Pascal Dupuis who tipped the puck off of the post an in. Great goal for Dupuis, who was clearly pumped after scoring it! He came to the front of the net and with a huge fist pump, expletive and hug for Tanger!

3-3 tied up…

* * * * *

With 5:58 remaining in the period, these two teams are tied at 3. The game has started to get some up and down action going, though it still isn’t the prettiest game I have ever watched.  The Penguins are leading 19-16 in shots and probably could have had a couple more goals thus far.

* * * * *

Brooks Orpik just laid a huge hit on Brandon Segal near the left wing boards. Both players went flying, with Segal ending up on his wallet.

* * * * *

Sidney Crosby does it again…he has shown a knack for scoring Mario-like bank shot goals and he has just done it again. He had an opportunity to put a shot on goal from the right hash, but fanned on it. He stayed with the play and carried the puck around the net, throwing it into the goal mouth where it deflected off of Trevor Daley and into the net behind Lehtonen.

4-3 Penguins…

* * * * *

Steve Ott and Craig Adams just threw down in what could be one of the best hockey fights of the day. Ott skated towards Adams, who was in front of the Stars goal and Adams threw his hands towards Ott’s face. It looked as if they had some bad blood brewing. They locked up and were throwing some hay-makers for the better part of a minute. Each landing some huge blows late in the fight…

* * * * *

The Penguins find themselves back in the box, as Jordan Staal was whistled for hooking. Cooke, Talbot, Gonchar and Eaton are killing this one. Unfortunately, Sergei Gonchar was just whistled for a penalty of his own — high sticking. These penalties will carry over and the Penguins will have to kill a two man advantage that will last for :56 seconds.

* * * * *

Two periods in the book and the Penguins are leading 4-3 on the scoreboard and are still outshooting the Stars 24-17. They have shown some signs of greatness today, but they are definitely not where they need to be heading into the playoffs. Don’t get me wrong, they are getting there, but as a group… goaltending including, they have some work to do.

It is tough to complain though, as they are leading this game and came back from a two-goal deficit against a team that can do a decent job of shutting their opponents down.

Ponikarovsky played a bit more than he did in the first period, but he is sitting at -2 for the day. A number that he probably isn’t thrilled with.

* * * * *

The Penguins were able to kill off the first part of the two man advantage and pick up their fifth goal of the game in the process. Sidney Crosby was out with Jordan Staal on the PK and they snagged a puck and were off on a two on one. Crosby came through the neutral zone with speed and fired a shot over the left shoulder of Lehtonen for the shorty.

5-3 Penguins…

* * * * *

Trevor Daley got whistled for high sticking Sergei Gonchar moments after the Penguins goal. Gonchar had himself a short break away out of the box, but wasn’t able to score. The Penguins went on the PP, but weren’t able to capitalize.

5-3 Penguins…

* * * * *

I still love the fact that Metallica sort for feels like the house band at Mellon Arena…

* * * * *

Kris Letang is now headed to the box for cross-checking. These boys have got to tighten up in the discipline department if they want to continue to be successful. You just cannot give a team six power plays.

Bylsma again using Crosby and Staal together on the PK… I like what those two have done together, albeit in short shifts.

* * * * *

The Penguins are now playing some Russian Roulette… another penalty. This time it is Ruslan Fedonteko for interference. Seventh power play for the Stars…

* * * * *

Trevor Daley is having a tough day. He had an “own goal” earlier this afternoon and was almost beat shorthanded. He had a pass go through his legs at the point and was almost beaten by a streaking Jordan Staal, but was able to hold him off and turn the puck back up ice.

* * * * *

Marc Andre Fleury just made one of those huge late game saves that we have gotten so accustomed to seeing from him. He has been knocked down in his crease and was laying on his back trying to get up. The player that upended him grabbed the puck and tried to tuck it inside the post, but Fleury was able to get his mitt on it to keep his team ahead by two.

* * * * *

Poni gets on the board during the power play…

The Penguins were working on the PP thanks to a Brenden Morrow penalty and Poni was in his usual locale in front of the net. Go Go passed to Gonchar, who fired a shot towards the net. The puck deflected off of Poni and Lehtonen before going off of the back boards. It popped right back to Poni and he chipped it over Lehtonen and into the net.

6-3 Penguins…

* * * * *

Mike Rupp and Krys Barch threw down off of the following face-off. It wasn’t near as spirited as the fight we saw earlier in the game.

* * * * *

James Neal puts the Penguins back on the power play off of the next face-off… two for tripping.

* * * * *

We have 2:32 remaining in the period. I am on my way down to the rooms for post game… stay tuned for the update with quotes and notes…

Comments

About Brian Metzer

Profile photo of 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 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.

8 Comments

  1. Lloyd

    March 6, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Looks good B!!!

  2. Profile photo of Brian Metzer

    Brian Metzer

    March 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Thanks Lloyd! I appreciate it!

  3. Lloyd

    March 6, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    That was a great fight. I thought Adams would have a tough time with Ott but he held his own.

    The Pens look like they are going to make there playoff push like they do at this time every year. Letang and Kunitz stepping it up. Leopold looks like a steal!!!

    Good reads!!! Where’s Walshy???

  4. OMGitsJen

    March 6, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    Congrats on your site here, Brian. It looks great. I look forward to using you as a play-by-play for when I have to work during games lol! Best of luck, guy!

  5. Profile photo of Brian Metzer

    Brian Metzer

    March 6, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    I appreciate all of the kind words guys…

    @OMGitsJen – Thank you! I will be here!

    @Lloyd, it was a great fight! Adams is a lot tougher than anyone gives him credit for.

    As for Walshy, he has been around! He posted a couple of comments already and will probably be passing through shortly!

  6. Trevor66

    March 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Looks good Brian.

    The Pens really picked it up after they were down 3-1. Good to see Poni get one today as well. Sad that Malkin couldn’t keep his streak going.

    Crosby looks lke he is getting stronger as well.

  7. powerhouse

    March 6, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Fun game. Always nice when Pens score five unanswered goals! Good luck with the new site Brian!

  8. powerhouse

    March 6, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    Nice game. Then again when the Pens storm back and get five unanswered goals it’s always nice! Like the site Brian, good luck!