MALKIN TO PLAY IN 500TH NHL GAME
They grow up so fast.
After Sidney Crosby played in his 500th NHL game on Dec. 5 against San Jose, Pittsburgh's other superstar center Evgeni Malkin is set to reach the milestone tonight when the Penguins host the Sabres. Congratulations to Geno! Even though it was almost 10 years ago (wow), it seems like just yesterday that Pittsburgh selected the young Russian second overall in 2004...
He looks so young here! (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).
Malkin played his first NHL game for Pittsburgh on Oct. 18, 2006 against the New Jersey Devils, and scored his first NHL goal in that game against legendary Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur. Malkin went on to tally in each of his first six contests, becoming the first NHL player in 89 years to accomplish the feat. And the rest, as they say, has been history. Or I guess you could say he's been making history from the start.
Watch the one that started it all below (I didn't realize it had been such a controversial play, as Marty was not pleased). In the game recap from that night, this is how Malkin described the play: "(Mark) Recchi gave me a great pass right on the stick and I gave him a pass. I just went to the net and shot the puck."
Said his teammate Crosby, who gave the pumped-up Malkin a big celebratory hug afterward, "It was good for him to get the first goal, there was a lot of buildup for this and, hopefully, he'll get a lot more." That was an understatement...
And talking about his first game as a whole, Malkin said, "In the future, I think it is going to be easier." He certainly makes it look easy, that's for sure.
VERIZON GAME DAY REPORT
Katie O. has all the news out of Pittsburgh going into tonight's game vs. Buffalo...
Today's locker room chats are with...
And Rob Scuderi
--Sam Kasan & Michelle Crechiolo
--Sam Kasan & Addison Smith
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Head coach Dan Bylsma confirmed that Gibbons will be inserted into the lineup. Marc-Andre Fleury is in goal. The rest of the lineup is a game-time decision.
"I think it's tough for anyone who's injured, but especially being a call-up and a guy who doesn't have much experience at this level," Gibbons said of being forced to watch the last few games. "While you're up here you want to play. So it will be good to get back tonight and hopefully be ready to go."
Tonight Malkin will play his 500th career NHL game
This is what two Olympic teammates looks like
Scuderi with the Jordan tongue
Gibbons looks like he may return to the lineup, and skate with the two Olympians above
Jokinen looks determined, or possibly day dreaming
--Sam Kasan & Addison Smith
MORNING SKATE INFO
All the Pens healthy players are on the ice for the morning skate, as well as injured Brian Gibbons (lower-body). Though it looks like Gibbons may get back in the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury. He was removed from IR on Saturday, and skated with Kunitz and Crosby in line rushes. The Pens used the following workflow...
PP1: Malkin, Letang up top. Crosby, Neal and Kunitz down low.
PP2: Niskanen, Martin up top. Gibbons, Jokinen and Sutter down low.
If you're coming to tonight's game the fan guide is here. For a scouting report on the Sabres check out Michelle's video below...
START THE DAY
Good morning hockey fans! Tonight the Pens host the Buffalo Sabres before they head out west for the first-ever Moms Trip. Here are some game notes to get you ready for the action...
- The Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres (TV: NBC Sports Network; Radio: 105.9 the X) at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Pittsburgh is 7-2-1 in its last 10 games.
- The Penguins are 15-4-1 in their last 20 games.
- The Penguins are 14-1 in their last 15 home games at CONSOL Energy Center.
- Pittsburgh has gone 10-4 in its last 14 overall meetings against Buffalo dating back to Feb. 1, 2010, and 17-7 in the past 24 meetings.
- The Penguins have scored at least one power-play goal in six of their last seven games against the Sabres. During that span they are 9-for-25 (36%).
- Here at CONSOL Energy Center, the Penguins have won six of the last nine games between these two teams.
- The Penguins have been perfect on the penalty kill against the Sabres in eight straight games here in Pittsburgh (18-for-18 during span). Buffalo’s last man-advantage tally here in Pittsburgh came when Jason Pominville tallied in the third period of the Penguins’ 5-4 victory on Feb. 1, 2010 at Mellon Arena. Since that goal, the Penguins have killed off 19 straight Buffalo power plays at Mellon Arena and CONSOL Energy Center.
Stick tap: Pens PR
Today we will open the day with a Buffalo band, since the Pens are playing the Sabres. We'll go with the Goo Goo Dolls, probably the most famous band to hail from the area (at least that I know of, but I plead ignorance here). The Goo Goo Dolls usually remind me of middle school dances and corny pop music. But they did have one really awesome song, "Ain't that Unusual" from the Angus soundtrack (honestly, how many great songs have come from that soundtrack. Classic).