Sunday, November 23, 2008

Penguins 5, Sabres 2 - 11-15-08

PREGAME-Greetings from an absolutely ugly day in Pittsburgh. It's raining, winding, cloudy. It might be a great day for hockey, but it's just not a great day period.-Mellon Arena with a cab drive attempting to break the sound barrier on Washington Place:-A Jordan Staal Peterborough Petes jersey:(He just started walking when we decided to take the picture.)-We think these are supposed to be "jerseys" for fans to wear tonight in honor of the team pulling out their blue jerseys. They're free so who's complaining:The ice:-Forward Paul Bissonnette was demoted to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton today. He had not played since a 2-1 loss in San Jose Oct. 28. It's the right move for him. We're not sure how much potential he has as an NHL player, but he's not going to reach it sitting next to us in the press box. He'll get playing time in the AHL.-A few jerseys we've seen:-There are quite a few Sabres fans in the house:-A Gilbert Perreault jersey:-We nearly passed out when we saw this Uwe Krupp Nordiques jersey:-Petr Nedved:-Ulf Samuelsson:-A Gilles Meloche California Golden Seals jersey:(This guy sits towards C-9 and he almost always has either a Meloche Golden Seals or Penguins jersey on.)-We understand this is a Mario Lemieux Team Canada jersey but on a night when the team wears blue, why would you wear red?-As you can imagine, quite a few people are wearing their blue Penguins jerseys:-Santa Claus is early and he's a Yinzer:-Warm ups:-Cotton candy heeeee!!!! Cotton candy heeee!!! -Here's why we need a new arena in Pittsburgh. Check out this bottle neck near B-28:-Buffalo's scratches are Ales Kotalik, Tim Connolly and Nathan Paetsch.-Paetsch probably doesn't have good memories of his last visit to Mellon Arena, assuming he had any at all after he was elbowed in the head by Georges Laraque: -The Penguins' on scratch is Darryl Sydor.-Ryan Miller and Marc-Andre Fleury are the starting goaltenders.-A very cool presentation set to The Who's "Baba O'Riley" is played to acknowledge the blue jerseys: -No Jeff Jimerson = No photo of the national anthem.-We would say about 50 percent of the arena is in powder blue. The other 50 percent is a little bit of everything else.(You can't really tell from that photo.)-Does anyone else feel a little off about this game from the Penguins' point of view? They're coming off two emotional, roller coaster wins against rivals (if you consider Detroit a rival now) and Buffalo is coming off a butt-kicking at home to the lowly Blue Jackets. They'll want to rebound. This just seems right for a Sabres win to us.FIRST PERIOD19:32: Miroslav Satan chops a loose puck along the boards on net. Miller fights it off.19:11: Maxime Talbot snaps a wrister off from the right wing that misses the net.18:38: The Sabres have a chance at a breakaway but Rob Scuderi is able to chase down the puck and prevent the scoring chance.17:34: Adam Mair absolutely runs over Petr Sykora in the corner. Nice check. It takes Sykora a few moments to recover to his feet.15:18: Evgeni Malkin sneaks in and snaps a wrister on net. Miller kicks it out.14:50: Jason Pominville slides a puck into the slot. A teammate tips it a bit. Fleury is able to make the save.13:42: Adam Peters steals a puck in the neutral zone, works it into the Penguins' zone and tosses a wrister on net. Fleury knocks it away.13:19: "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"13:01: Tyler Kennedy tees up a slapper from the right point that Miller knocks away with ease.11:46: Mair brings the puck into the offensive zone, slides it back to Andrej Sekera. From the right point, Sekera tosses it on net. Fleury makes the sto but but gives up a rebound. Pominville is there on the doorstop to swat it in for a goal. Fleury needed to do a better job on that rebound and his defense needed to account for Pominville. A sloppy goal to give up all around. A healthy group of Sabres fans cheer. That was the first stoppage of the game. Sekera and Mair get assists. Sabres 1-0.10:34: Kennedy blasts another slapper. A Sabres defense shows some guts and blocks it.10:20: Derek Roy is nabbed for holding. Satan, Sidney Crosby, Malkin, Talbot and Alex Goligoski take the ice.9:17: Crosby chops a puck on net from the corner. Talbot appears to re-direct it on net with his skate. Miller covers it.8:20: Roy's penalty expires without much of an attack from the Penguins.7:34: The great Mike Zigomanis takes a pass in the slot and rips a wrister that Craig Rivet blocks. The puck deflects into the netting and halts play.7:20: Eric Godard swats a loose puck on net. Fortunately for the Sabres, It was Eric Godard shooting and the puck misses the net.6:43: Malkin hauls down Jochen Hecht behind the net. Two minutes. Jordan Staal, Mark Eaton, Brooks Oprik and the great Mike Zigomanis take the ice for the penalty kill.5:20: Jaroslav Spacek blasts a slapper from the left point. Fleury has a clear lane to see it and eats it up.4:51: Roy slides a pass across the crease to Spacek who whips a one-timer on net from in tight. Fleury is able to slide over and make a fantastic save.4:43: Malkin's penalty ends.4:36: Brooks Orpik dumps uber-pest Patrick Kaleta behind the Penguins net. Two minutes. Orpik says something to Kaleta about the Lofthouse Colliery disaster. We think. Staal, Eaton, Hal Gill and the great Mike Zigomanis are on for the kill.2:43: Drew Stafford tosses a puck in the crease. It hits off a skate and comes right to Maxim Afinogenov. Afinogenov whips it on net but Fleury is able to slide over again and make another great save. Afinogenov looks up into the air in disgust seemingly.2:36: Orpik's penalty expires.1:43: Ruslan Fedotenko slaps a puck on net. A Sabres player deflects out of play.1:38: Toni Lydman dumps Tyler Kennedy behind the Sabres net. Two minutes. Malkin, Goligoski, Satan, Crosby and Sykora take the ice.0:56: Satan snaps a wrister on net. Miller kicks itout.0:41: Crosby pokes a puck into the crease. Miller covers it.0:06: Kris Letang tees up a slapper at the right point. It hits a body in the slot and scoots out to Kennedy on the other side. Kennedy almost immediately shoots. Miller is able to kick it out.0:00: End of period. Joe Satriani's "Crowd Chant" brings in the intermission. Sabres 1, Penguins 0. FIRST INTERMISSION-The Sabres didn't do a lot to take a lead that period, but thankfully for them the Penguins did even less.-Buffalo has an 11-6 lead in shots.-Andrew Peters of all people leads the game in shots with three. Huh?-Kennedy and Satan lead the Penguins with two.-The Penguins have a 9-7 edge in faceoffs.-Paul Gaustad is 4-for-5.-Rivet leads the game with 8:10 of ice time.-Staal leads the Penguins with 7:22.-Lydman and Eaton lead the game with two blocked shots each.-The Penguins have a whopping three shots on the power play tonight. That dwarfs the two power-play shots the Penguins had Thursday against the Flyers.-The Penguins will have a 21-second power play to begin the period.SECOND PERIOD19:43: Goligoski fires a slapper from the left point a Sabres player deflects away.18:43: Fleury is called for slashing. Matt Cooke will serve the penalty, Gill, Staal, the great Mike ZIgomanis and Eaton are on for the kill.18:11: Staal carries the puck up ice and tosses a wrister on net. Miller traps it in his mid-section and freezes play. Talbot, Pascal Dupuis, Gil and Rob Scuderi are on for the kill.17:11: A light "Let's-Go Sab-res!" chant is drowned out by "LET'S GO PENS! LET'S GO PENS!"16:43: Fleury's penalty ends.16:22: Pominville enters the offensive zone and blasts a slapper that Fleury gloves.15:02: Malkin steals a pass in the offensive zone, turns and whips a wrister on net. Miller fights it off.14:24: Miller covers a loose puck in the crease and ends a pretty mad rush by the Penguins in his end.14:11: Roy takes a pass in the slot then dishes it to Stafford on the left wing. Stafford shoots a rising wrister that Fleury traps against his chest.13:10: Fleury corrals a loose puck behind the net. Someone behind the net yells, "SHOOT IT FLEURY!"12:24: Goligoski whips a puck on net from the left poitn. It dribbles in on the net. Miller attempts to cover it while fighting off Talbot. Officials blow a quick whistle to halt play. The puck comes loose before a Penguins player knocks it into an empty net. The goal horn goes off for a moment. Fans cheer but it's not a goal.12:21: Right off the faceoff, Cooke is called for slashing after he knocks away Rivet's stick. He puts up quite a protest. Orpik, Eaton, Staal and the great Mike Zigomanis take the ice. Things pretty much took an 180 degree turn for the Penguins there.10:21: Cooke's penalty expires.9:58: Cooke chases a puck into the corner. A Sabres player follows him and hits him high with an elbow. The puck comes loose. Malkin tees up a slapper from the left point that someone blocks. Play is halted. That was a crazy little sequence there. Crosby fights off a Sabres player with a cross check after the whistle. Attendance is announced as 17,132. That's the 75th consecutive sellout for the team. Stafford is called for elbowing. Malkin, Goligoski, Crosby take the ice with Kennedy and Staal. Hmmm... 9:10: Kennedy and Staal are replaced by Sykora and Fedotenko.8:53: Goligoski fires a shot from the left point. Miller saves it. Goligoski gets it back and slides the puck to Malkin at the right point. Malkin blasts a slapper. It hits something in the crease, changes direction and fools Miller a bit. He's out of place as the puck trickles by him. Crosby is there to make sure it goes in. Malkin gets credit for the goal. The "Hey Song" is played. Goligoski and Fedotenko get assists. Malkin extends his scoring streak to 13 games. Penguins 1, Sabres 1. 7:51: Dupuis steals a puck in the neutral zone, works it up ice and whirps a wrister on net that is deflected away.7:10: Talbot directs a puck on net that Miller has a tough time with. Satan tries to follow up on the rebound bout can collect it cleanly.6:01: Fedotenko snaps a wrister in the slot wide of the net.4:35: Cooke tries to lineup a Sabres player behind the Buffalo net but appears to get the worse of the collision.4:07: On a delayed penalty, Staal clangs a wrister off the cross bar. Gaustad is called for hooking. Crosby, Goligoski, Malkin, Fedotenko and Satan are on for the man advantage. 2:21: Miller covers a loose puck in the crease. Satan gives Rivet a bit of nudge. Rivet responds with a cross check.2:07: Another Penguins power play expires without much of an attack.1:33: Staal takes a nice pass from Cooke in the slot and whips a wrister on net. A Sabres defender deflects it out of play.1:18: The ever dangerous Rob Scuderi bombs a slapper from the right point. Miller fights it off with his right shoulder.1:10: Kennedy is nabbed for holding Roy. Orpik, Eaton, Staal and the great Mike Zigomanis are on for the kill.0:45: Wow what a pass. Clarke MacArthur controls the puck along the goal line and slides a perfect pass to Thomas Vanek on the right side of the net. Vanek directs it into the empty net immediately for a slick goal. That said, Mark Eaton lost his coverage on Vanek. MacArthur and Roy get assists. Another healthy cheer from Sabres fans is offered. Sabres 2-1.0:34: Kaleta is called for holding. Goligoski, Malkin, Crosby, Staal and Sykora are on for the power play.0:08: Goligoski slides a puck into the slot for Sykora who whiffs on a shot.0:04: The puck bounces out to Malkin at the right point who has a chance to blast it but he can't collect it cleanly and it clears the zone. Malkin slams his stick on the ice in frustration.0:00: End of period. "Crowd Chant" Sabres 2, Penguins 1. SECOND INTERMISSION-The Penguins played a little better that period but they still seemed a little out of it.-Buffalo has a 17-16 edge in shots.-Vanek, Pominville, Sekera, Peters, Malkin and Satan all lead the game with three shots.-The Penguins have a 19-18 edge in faceoffs.-The not-so-great Mike Zigomanis is a mere 3-for-7.-Crosby is 8-for-15.-Gaustad is 7-for-4.-Rivet leads the game with 16:24 of ice time.-Goligoski leads the Penguins with 15:17.-Rivet also leads the game with four blocked shots.-A new game at intermission was introduced. It was essentially roller derby on ice with goaltenders. The dark blue goaltender won. -The Penguins will have 1:25 of power-play time on fresh ice.THIRD PERIOD20:00: Staal, Sykora, Crosby, Malkin and Goligoski start the period.18:54: A clear by the Sabres brings out some boos.18:35: Kaleta's penalty expires. Another weak effort on the power play.17:10: Malkin grabs a puck behind the Sabres' net. He dishes it to Fedotenko who then dishes it to Godard in the slot. Godard pops a puck on net that Miller nabs with his glove. Nice play. Too bad Eric Godard was the shooter.14:58: Kennedy fires a quick wrister from in tight. Miller fights it off.14:39: Eaton appears to get away with a bit of a trip by the Penguins' net.13:03: Vanek tries for a wraparound. Fleury holds it out. Vanek falls but still jabs for a rebound. Fleury holds his ground.12:43: Vanek dishes a nice pass to a teammate in the slot. The Sabres player attempt to re-direct it but pushes the puck wide. That was a nice try.12:30: Cooke mashes Spacek to the ice in the corner.12:24: Sabres coach Lindy Ruff calls a time out to organize a *** tournament. We think.10:40: Malkin chops a shot in the crease that gets blocked and sails into the air.10:24: Crosby dishes a puck into the slot for Fedotenko. Fedotenko snaps a wrister on net that Miller is able to cover.9:29: Crosby does an "in-and-out" move on Henrik Tallinder. Tallinder trips him up with his leg. The official puts his hand up. Tallinder points at Crosby and we assume he accuses the Penguins' captain of a dive. No dice. Two minutes. Crosby, Staal, Goligoski, Malkin and Satan are on for the power play. The Penguins need to do something with this. 9:01: Malkin sends a cross-ice pass to Satan. Satan tries to one-time it but doesn't quite hit the puck right as it bounces up on him. Miller gloves it.8:55: Miller eats up a one-timer by Malkin from the point. Staal is there to create traffic. Miller doesn't appreciate it and gives Staal a jab to the mid-section with his stick. No penalty. Staal is stunned for a few moments.8:17: Malkin controls the puck at the top of the slot and fakes a slapper. He gets two Sabres to commit then slides it to Crosby on the right wing. Crosby then slides it to Goligoski on the left wing. The rookie defenseman then burns an out-of-place Miller on the stick side. Pretty play. "Hey Song." Malkin and Crosby get assists. Penguins 2, Sabres 2. 7:18: Pominville takes a wild swing at a puck at the left point and knocks Malkin's stick out of his hand.6:20: Fedotenko tries to pursue a rebound off a blocked shot but gets dumped by Lydman.5:59: Roy surges by Letang and generates a breakaway. Roy dekes to the forehand but can't beat Fleury who makes a save with his right toe. Big save there.5:48: Crosby works through some checks and whips a backhander from the slot that misses the net.4:59: Teppo Numminen fires a slapper from the right point that misses the mark.4:33: Wow what a passing play. Kennedy slides the puck around the boards to Cooke behind the net. Cooke then dishes a spectacular pass to the slot wear Staal jumps on it and blows it by Miller. We were about to ask where Staal has been this game but nevermind. "Hey Song." Kennedy and Cooke get assists. Penguins 3-2. 4:09: You can hear some "Millll...Errrrrr... Milll....Errrrr..." chants.3:31: Malkin steals the puck in the Penguins zone and works it up ice generating a three-on-two with Sykora and Fedotenko. He allows Sykora to skate towards the net dragging a defender with him then slides it to Fedotenko who pounds it by Miller. Another fine passing play. Penguins 4-2. 2:33: "Mill...Errrrr... Mill....Errrrr" chants are countered with "LET'S-GO BUFF-A-LO!2:00: Vanek zips a puck into the crease. Fleury fights it off while dealing with a Sabres player who attempts to dig at a rebound. Fleury is cheered with "FLERRR-EEEE! FLEERRR-EEE! chants.0:50: Miller has been pulled for an extra attacker.0:23: Malkin works the puck up ice and dishes a backhanded pass to Staal at the blue line. Afinogenov dives to knock the puck away but Staal gets by and coolly slides the puck into the cage for one of us. "Hey Song." Penguins 5-2. 0:00: End of game. The "Woo-Hoo!" song is played. Penguins 5, Sabres 2. POSTGAME-Following the announcement of the three stars, Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" plays the Penguins' faithful off to the streets of Pittsburgh: -The one good thing about the Penguins' inability to play a complete game is that if they start off poorly, chances are they won't finish poorly. They can play well for 40 minutes and follow it up with a bad third period. But they can also do the opposite. The Penguins were really flat the first two periods and even the first 10 minutes of the third then really turned it on.-If you didn't watch this game, you might have assumed it was a ho-hum contest by the score which the Penguins won with ease. That was hardly the case. -Like we said earlier, we were going to ask where Jordan Staal had been this game, then he has the audacity to score the game-winner with less than five minutes left. Jerk.-He has eight points (seven goals, one assist) in his past six games. -Crosby had nine points (three goals, six assists) in his past six games.-Malkin has a measly 27 points (six goals, 21 assists) in his 13-game scoring streak.-Malkin passed up Washington's Alexander Semin for the league lead in scoring. Malkin has 30 points to Semin's 27. Semin did not play tonight for Washington which fell in a shootout to New Jersey, 6-5.-The Sabres finished with a 25-23 edge in shots.-Pominville and Malkin led the game with four shots.-The Penguins had a 30-27 advantage in faceoffs.-Malkin was 5-for-6.-Rivet led the game with 23:37 of ice time.-Malkin was second with 23:28.-Rivet was tops in the game with five blocked shots.-Lydman, Eaton and Orpik all had four blocked shots.-Malkin moved passed Aleksey Morozov for 31st place on the franchise scoring list. Malkin has 221 career points to Morozov's 319. Malkin now has the second-most points among Russian-born players with the Penguins. He trails Alex Kovalev 347.-Staal moved passed Michel Ouellet for 90th place on the team's scoring list. He now has 81 points to Ouellet's 80.-A good sign hanging in the North F balcony said "The Pens are mightier than the swords"-The Penguins are 2-0-0 against the Sabres in their blue uniforms in the 2008 calendar year. We sense a trend.-The Penguins are 6-0-0 so far in November with six games left to go in the month. We can't immediately recall them ever going undefeated in a month other than April where you only play a handful of games.-Game summary.-Event summary.

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