NHL

Penguins v Leafs – Live at the CONSOL Energy Center

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I am live at the CONSOL Energy Center for this evening’s match-up between the Penguins and Leafs. The two teams are underway and have been exchanging trips up and down the ice. Neither side has had much to show for it to this point…

…until that is… Luke Schenn put a puck through traffic and towards the Penguins net. Colton Orr was parked in front of the cage and got a twig on it deflecting it past Marc Andre Fleury. That makes three home games in a row in which the Penguins have given up the first goal. That hasn’t necessarily been a recipe for success, as they have posted a 0-2-0 record in the CONSOL Energy Center…

As has been the case thus far during this young hockey season, I will be sharing thoughts, news, notes and hijinx from in the building. Not quite what I would call a live blog, but it will in fact be updated throughout! Share your thoughts below…

More as it happens…

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As speculated earlier, Mike Comrie was a healthy scratch this evening. His roster spot is being filled by Eric Godard…

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Ben Lovejoy just looked like an AHL defenseman in allowing a bouncing puck to give him a million headaches. As he was trying to get a handle on the puck, Colby Armstrong got around him and was essentially in alone on Marc Andre Fleury. Luckily for all involved, the puck was sort of bouncing on Army as well…

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The Penguins have gotten themselves a 4:00 minute power play on a Luke Schenn high sticking call… if only they could decline! The Power play hasn’t been their most effective tool thus far on the year. They have yet to get set up in the early moments and have actually allowed the Leafs two different odd man breaks.

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After what seemed like 14 minutes of passing the puck around, someone decided to shoot the puck. Evgeni Malkin let a rocket fly from the left point that went into traffic in front of Jonas Gustavsson and Chris Kunitz knocked it in behind the Monster… this one is all knotted at 1-1.

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The Penguins just played a great Bill Guerin “Thank You” montage on the jumbotron… as I mentioned earlier today, Billy G is in the house taking this one in. He is sitting in Mario Lemieux’s box… he stood up and gave the crowd a wave and a thumbs up… he earned what might be his last standing ovation in the building…

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Evgeni Malkin is really looking to shoot the puck this season… that can only be a good thing. He just let another one fly from the high slot after taking a drop pass from Mark Letestu. Unfortunately he caught the Monster in the chest, but it was another nice attempt…

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Eric Tangradi and Pascal Dupuis just switched places… Tangradi took a shift with Sidney Crosby, while Dupuis is out there with Malkin.

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Max Talbot has pushed the Penguins ahead to a 2-1 lead… his line did a great job on the forecheck and forced a Leafs turnover near the right face-off dot. Tyler Kennedy got his stick on a clearly attempt and pushed it back into the corner. The puck worked its way around behind the Leafs’ net before Cooke pushed it to the left of the goal mouth. Talbot crashed the net and the Toronto defender getting his stick on the loose puck and pushing it behind Gustavsson for the goal…

2-1…

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The first period is in the books and the Penguins have themselves a lead. Though that is by no means a victory, it is nice to head into the first intermission ahead by one. It will be interesting to see how they play with the lead tonight, as they were guilty of letting one slip away from them last Saturday evening against the Montreal Canadiens.

It has been a fun evening on press row as two of my favorite hockey people are milling around… Brian Burke and Cliff Fletcher. Those two men, along with Dave Nonis, are the architects of the Leafs rebuilding plan. After watching one period of their handy work live in person, I am not ashamed to say that it seems to be going pretty well thus far. It does look as if there is a bit of work to be done, but they have themselves the makings of a good team. Their forwards all have speed and can skate well, which has translated into a number of odd man situations. They haven’t been able to finish many of them, but at the same time it is nice to see them getting those chances. As they mature, those chances will become goals.

The defense looks solid and though they have made a couple of mistakes in front of the goaltender. The Monster has been good in the cage thus far, though he has surrendered two goals on seven shots. I don’t think you can really blame him for either as they came with traffic in front of him.

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The Leafs will get their first crack on the power play after a monster shift by Malkin, Tangradi and Letestu. They worked the puck around the zone, used their defense, and came close to getting a goal as Tangradi got a crack to the left of the net. Unfortunately, Tangradi was called for high sticking and the Leafs went to work on the power play…

… moments into their advantage, Tomas Kaberle fed a cross ice pass to Clarke MacArthur, who one timed it into the top of the net…

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18,112 in the house to see this one tonight…

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In the blink of an eye, the Penguins find themselves down 3-2. The great Mike Zigomanis won a face-off deep in their zone back to Luke Schenn. Shenn slid it across to Francois Beauchemin, who fired a shot to the far post and through a couple of bodies. I am sure that is one that MAF would love to have back, but there are no do overs…

* * * * *

Deryk Engelland tried to get the spark back for the Penguins as he took on heavy weight Colton Orr in a throwdown. The two traded shots for a bit, with each landing a few… the fight abruptly ended as Engelland caught Orr with a blast right on the chin that seemed to stun him and knock him to the ice. I wouldn’t say that he was out cold, but the punch did some damage…

* * * * *

Jonus Gustavsson made the best save in CONSOL Energy Center history… albeit a brief history… the Monster robbed Pascal Dupuis, who put a one timer right on the post from a sharp right angle. The Monster slid side to side and got his pad on a shot that would have surely beaten many other goaltenders… great save…

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Wheels could be coming off here in Pittsburgh as Clarke MacArthur picked up his second goal of the game. The Leafs broke into the zone, three different players touched the puck before the drop pass came to MacArthur, who one timed it to the far post beating Fleury…

4-2…

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Evgeni Malkin has a chance to turn this evening around for his team… he was just pulled down on a break away and will have a penalty shot opportunity against Gustavsson….

…can he do it? We shall see. Hopefully he comes in with speed! Something that he normally doesn’t do…

* * * * *

Well… he didn’t score. Truthfully I am not sure what he was doing… he glided out to his far right before cutting in at the snails pace and losing the puck. He gathered it in and tried to shoot and went way wide. Not the most impressive penalty shot I have ever seen…

* * * * *

Sidney Crosby gets his first… Ben Lovejoy dropped the puck down to him as he was cutting across the goal mouth… he quickly went to his backhand and wrapped the puck around Gustavsson and into the net.

4-3…

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The late Crosby goal has sparked a building that didn’t have much to cheer about mere moments ago. The place went bonkers and got another jolt with 10 seconds left as Malkin almost tied things up. Will that MO carry over into the third period? We shall see…but the Birds did themselves a big favor by getting that third one out of the way…

* * * * *

Geno Malkin has picked up 4 more shots tonight… he was amongst the league leaders in the category coming into the game … off the top of my head I believe that it puts him at 17…

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The third period is underway and the Penguins are swarming around the Toronto zone… however they just can’t seem to get things in sync. One too many passes here, one bad pass there and they are coming away with no shots on goal.

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The Penguins just got the opportunity that they have been waiting for… a power play opportunity. The Leafs were guilty of delay of game… just the kind of call that can come back to be a dagger in the heart. Clarke MacArthur, who has had a great game to this point, accidentally shot the puck over the glass…

Geno, Martin, Crosby, Kunitz and Go Go…

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The power play came up lame again… they had their chances, but just couldn’t close the deal…

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Alex Goligoski still refuses to shoot the puck on the power play or anywhere else for that matter… very disappointing…

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Crosby and Malkin are skating together in hopes of generating the tying goal. They are flying all over the ice, but just can’t seem to get it going with their linemates. Crosby laid a pass across on a platter for Eric Tangradi, who had an empty net… the youngster didn’t manage a shot.

You cannot say that the Birds haven’t had their chances here, but it just isn’t working right now…

* * * * *

The Penguins just took a penalty of their own, thus giving the Leafs a chance to seal this one. Kris Letang guilty of tripping…

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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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