NHL

Penguins v Islanders – Live at the CONSOL Energy Center

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Greetings from the CONSOL Energy Center… as usual I am live and screaming from my press row perch and hoping to provide you with thoughts, observations and analysis of the first victory in the building. Unfortunately I haven’t been able follow through on that three previous times, but we will give it go…

As we all found out yesterday, Brent Johnson will get the call this evening and could be in line for back to back starts. Dan Bylsma has been pushing a ton of different buttons over the past couple of days as he tries to get his squad on track and that was again he case this morning.

Though Bylsma didn’t confirm that Mike Comrie will be re-inserted into the line-up this evening, he did have him skating with the second line during this morning’s skate. Added Comrie back into the second line mix pushed Mark Letestu down to the fourth line. It will be interesting to see if that remains the case this evening.

The power play will also be adjusted again. This time Kris Letang will get the chance to slide into the quarterback role. Alex Goligoski and Paul Martin have previously been tried in role and the staff wasn’t satisfied with the results. Will Letang be the answer? Bylsma and company are hoping so, but only if he can consistently get pucks to the net.

If you believe what is being said over the past couple of days, there is not a lot of panic about the fact that the team has yet to pick up a victory in their new home. Unfortunately, Bylsma’s actions tell another story. The constant tinkering with the lines, line-up and goaltending certainly looks to be, at least partially driven by panic. We will see if picking up a victory in the new barn changes all of that… if and when it comes! I am kidding of course… it will indeed come.

As I mentioned above, I am live at the CONSOL Energy Center and will be bringing you all of the action, observations, hijinx and chicanery. More as it happens!

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Here is a brief video of the Penguins during the warm-up…

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Mike Comrie is taking part in the warm-up…

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We are underway here… I have had a couple of internet problems that have precluded updates to this point. There hasn’t been much to report aside from an Eric Godard/Trevor Gillies fight…

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Kris Letang had a nice scoring opportunity off of a rebound, but couldn’t bury it… he looked to shoot five hole, but DiPietro closed it up…

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The Penguins will be the first ones to the penalty box this evening as Matt Cooke is headed in for goaltender interference…

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Crosby and Malkin just broke into the zone and tried to work a give and go… unfortunately the Islanders had other plans and broke up Malkin’s return pass.

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Mike Comrie and Evgeni Malkin created a turnover in front of the Islander net… Comrie slid the puck into Malkin’s wheelhouse, but DiPietro again pinched his pads to keep the puck out of the net.

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We are about to get a look at the (again) new look power play… Nino Niederreiter guilty of a trip…

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How is Alex Goligoski still playing on the power play? He again passed up a great shooting opportunity after struggling to take the pass… Rather than fire it, he tried a no look drop pass to no one that the Islanders cleared easily…

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Mere moments after the first power play expired the Penguins find themselves going on an extended 4:00 minute advantage. The guilty party? Niederreiter again…

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Wow… this is painful… the crowd just answered a call for a “Lets Go Pens” chant by chanting “Shoot the Puck..”

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Boos are raining down during each stoppage in play. The crowd is getting fired up, but in the wrong way…

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Stan Savran just shouted out… “Where is Mike Yeo when you need him.”

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The first period of hockey I just witnessed might be the most frustrating thing that I have ever seen. The birds had what could be called a 6 minute power play to end the period and could barely get set up in the zone. When they did, they overpassed the puck and passed up shooting opportunities.

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My twitter feed is full of folks complaining about the fact that the fans in the CEC booed the team during the first period. I can’t say that I blame them… I sort of wish that I could have starting booing myself. As I mentioned above, the period as a whole was one of the most frustrating things that I have ever seen. I never have a problem with booing when it is warranted. Those same fans will be cheering like madmen when the boys finally break through… you buy a ticket and you earn the right to cheer or boo at will. That’s how it works…

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Evgeni Malkin was leading both teams in shots with 3 during the first stanza… he came into the evening leading the league in the category as well with 20.

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Another standing room only sell out for the Penguins… 18,195

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Evgeni Malkin came very close to giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead, but his redirection went off of the left post… the birds were still able to take that 1-0 lead moments later when Mike Rupp buried a Paul Martin rebound with a slick back hand…

1-0 Pens…

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Eric tangradi might have just picked up his first NHL goal. Yes… I believe he did. He picked up a loose puck to the right of the cage and threw it to the net… it caught the skate of an Islander player and deflected behind DiPietro. The youngster went nuts once it hit pay dirt. Amazing what can happen when you put the puck towards the goal.

2-0 Pens…

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Kris Letang just got tossed for laying a huge hit on Blake Comeau. In real time it looked like he might have gotten his shoulder into Comeau’s head… however when looked at in replay the hit was all shoulder on shoulder. It was not a hit to the head at all, but Letang was given a five minute major and ejected…

Josh Bailey immediately jumped Letang and earned a penalty for his efforts… I am all for enforcing the shot to the head rule, but this one was not a good call.

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Speaking of Comeau and Bailey, they just teamed up to get the first Islander goal of the evening. Comeau knocked a pass towards the goal and Bailey put home the rebound with a nifty backhand, forehand move…

2-1 Pens…

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The Islanders  have just tied this one up… Blake Comeau tried to get a pass out into the slot to Zenon Konopka. ZK couldn’t take the pass and had it glance off of his stick and to Radek Martinek, who made no mistake in quickly one timing it past Brent Johnson.

2-2 tied up…

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The power play is still looking like a huge Achilles heal here for the Birds… they got themselves a two man advantage and couldn’t get a shot to the net. They were attempting a ton of them, but most were blocked by Islanders who had taken the shooting lanes away… very tough to watch. Many around me in the box could be heard grumbling things like “embarrassing” and “can you believe it?” It is stunning that they can’t create something while on a two man advantage featuring Crosby and Malkin…

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The Baaaaaaazooooooka Blast is pretty lame… just saying… I am all for new initiatives, but these kinds of gimmicks are being received well by the Pens faithful. A lot of these things are what you see in non-traditional hockey markets. That isn’t needed here in my humble opinion.

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Though the referees assisted by delivering a 5 minute power play to the Isles, the Birds have managed to blow another lead on home ice. Will they be able to overcome it and regain the lead? Time will tell…

The Islanders have been very sloppy with the puck breaking out of their own zone. The Penguins have secured a number of turnovers, but haven’t been able to make the Isles pay for them. That is probably what is going to be needed to secure a victory here tonight… a goal off of a turnover.

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The third period is underway and the Penguins already managed to miss out on another power play opportunity. They had trouble penetrating the zone and now find themselves down a man. Matt Cooke is the guilty party… 2 for interference…

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Matt Cooke was just issued his second goalie interference call of the game… Rick DiPietro went down as if he was shot and stayed down for an extended period of time… not saying that Cooke didn’t make contact with him, but he did sell the call. He has earned the ire of the group now and is being booed each time the puck comes near him…

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Bylsma was hoping that Johnny would be the guy who could get them the big save late in the game and that is exactly what they got tonight. Johnson has been excellent. He made a huge stop on a shot from point blank range to keep this game tied…

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We are sitting at 6:50 remaining in regulation time here at the CEC… dare I say overtime could be on the horizon… neither side has gotten much going during this period. I smell shootout actually, as that seems to pop up more often than not when these two teams meet…

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Another round of boos for DiPietro… it doesn’t matter if he makes a save, covers the puck, skates behind his net… this crowd is letting him have it..

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I will be heading down to the rooms shortly… look for more post game.

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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.

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3 Comments

  1. Walshy

    October 15, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    dude the one time you get this up and going and I have to blow you off today due to ‘party’ commitments… sorry.

  2. Profile photo of Brian Metzer

    Brian Metzer

    October 15, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    No worries! I have been here for all home games! Live blog for all games that i attend… Have an aperitif for me!

  3. Devin Stallbaumer

    October 29, 2010 at 4:45 pm

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