0:00: That's game! The Penguins stop the Thrashers on their heels with a 3-2 victory, extending their winning streak to eight games! The Penguins outshot the Thrashers 28, 22.
1:21: Kris Letang
tees off a shot on Pavelec, but the goaltender is in great position and turns it aside.
Crosby wheels past two Atlanta defenseman and whips a shot at Pavelec, but it's turned aside. Thought we were going to have goal No. 4 there.
Aside from Crosby's performance, this game is wide open. The next goal will be huge.
HUGE save by Fleury! He played the angle and aggressively came out to smother a good Thrashers scoring chance.
Derek Engelland just sent two hard blasts toward the net on his last shift. Both were near misses.
Malkin sends a shot toward the net that barely misses. Nice chance for Geno.
Pavelec finds the puck through a backup of traffic and gloves it for a whistle.
Big hit by Rupp on Byfulgien! Rupp has been making his presence known to the hulking Thrashers defenseman tonight.
For those of you that have checked out the Boy Scouts hat story that's right before the Second Period Notes, here's the follow-up to that awesome story
Nice block by TK. A Thrashers defenseman had a wide-open lane to the net until the Penguins forward sacrificed his body to dispel the danger.
They're off and at 'em for what should shape up be a battle!
Crosby's been outstanding tonight, but the Thrashers are within one goal of tying it up.
Ever wonder what happens to the caps that fans throw on the ice after a hat trick occurs? Here's your answer
SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Crosby's second-period natural hat trick was the first of his career
- Max Talbot has thrown a team-leading five hits
- Paul Martin
leads the Pens with three blocked shots
That's it for the second, where Crosby just absolutely dominated. Pittsburgh leads Atlanta, 3-2, and holds the advantage in shots, 20-17.
The Thrashers tally as both teams get back to even strength. Nik Antropov catches a centering pass from behind the net in his skates, and quickly gets it to his stick to whip it past Fleury for the score. Penguins 3, Thrashers 2
But now Enstrom is getting sent to the sin bin for hooking. We're playing 4-on-4 hockey for 1:02.
4:42: Kris Letang
is heading to the box for interference, and the Pens are heading to their second penalty kill of the night.
The fans quickly threw their hats to the ice in celebration of Crosby's trick.
That was a natural hat trick, by the way - meaning Crosby scored all three goals in a row, without any other player getting on the board.
Wow. Sometimes I'm at a loss for words when Sidney Crosby
is on the ice. He just potted his third goal of the night to get the hat trick. Sid slid behind both Thrashers defenseman and got his stick on a Brooks Orpik
shot from the point to direct it past Pavelec. Penguins 3, Thrashers 1
A Thrashers dump-in hits the boards funny and bounces straight to Fleury, who decides to play it safe and hold onto it.
What an opportune line change by the Pens and great vision by Asham. Crosby had just stepped onto the ice when Asham intercepted that pass.
Asham blocks a shot with his skate, pulls a David Beckham-like move to kick it to his stick to make the pass to a wide-open Crosby all alone at the Thrashers blue line, who backhands it through Pavelec's five-hole for the goal! Second of the night for the Penguins captain! Penguins 2, Thrashers 1
Tobias Enstrom finds an open lane to blast a shot at Fleury, whose glove snaps out and snags it.
18:34: Matt Cooke
nearly scores on a wraparound, but the Thrashers clear.19:11:
In a great display of mobility, Martin carries in deep and sends a pass out front, but no Penguin can get a handle on it.
The middle frame is off and running!
SECOND PERIOD FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Letang leads the Penguins with three shots on goal
- Crosby has won 6-of-8 faceoffs for a 75-percent success rate
- The Penguins captain now has 27 points (13G-14A) over his 14-game scoring streak0:00:
The first period ends with the two teams deadlocked, 1-1, on goals from Bryan Little and Sidney Crosby
. Pittsburgh holds the advantage in shots, 10-8.
Engelland's cross-ice pass to Goligoski nearly makes it through traffic. The Pens have had the Thrashers back on their heels these past few shifts.
: Rupp's getting into it with 'Big Buff'! Luckily the two players are comparable in size, as Rupp, who stands at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds is a good match for Byfulgien, who weighs in at 6-foot-5, 265 pounds.
And the Thrashers have escaped the penalty unscathed.
Malkin sends a nice set-up pass to Martin, whose blast is absorbed by a Thrasher.7:06:
Some pretty tic-tac-toe passing by Letang, Orpik and Malkin on that shift, and the Thrashers are getting a penalty. Atlanta captain Andrew Ladd is getting two for tripping.8:13:
Dupuis' centering pass slides harmlessly into the corner.
Just got super hungry looking at these two pictures...nom. 9:13:
I feel like I say this in every blog, but that was a great last shift by the line of Conner, Letestu and Kennedy. They always seem to manage to get a cycle going and work the puck down low. Nice work by those guys.
On that last goal, Kunitz and Crosby were the only two Penguins in a sea of white jerseys. They outworked all five Thrashers skaters to get that scoring opportunity.
But don't worry, Sidney Crosby
's 14-game scoring streak is still going strong! Chris Kunitz
slid the puck across the slot to Crosby, who roofed a chip shot past two Atlanta defenders and Pavelec. Penguins 1, Thrashers 113:39:
And that ends it. The Pens' streak of 32-straight penalty kills has ended with Bryan Little's tally. Johnny Oduya ripped a shot from the point which deflected to Little on the back door, who stuffed it in the net. Thrashers 1, Penguins 0
Malkin is getting a pair for high-sticking. The Pens PK is being tested early.
Not to be outdone, Fleury makes almost the exact same save on Rich Peverley almost immediately after. This is shaping up to be a goaltenders duel...
Pavelec robs Kennedy! Conner sent a beautiful drop pass to a crashing TK, who quickly wrists it but Pavelec whips the glove up just in time.
Dustin Byfulgien's cannon from the point is easily stopped by Fleury.17:28:
Agghhh! Alex Goligoski's backhand shot knicks the post and goes wide.18:09:
Less than two minutes in and we're dropping the gloves, with Asham and Chris Thorburn facing off! We'll award Asham the decision as he knocks Thorburn's helmet off.
Our director of content Sam Kasan just informed me that Thrashers goaltender Ondrej Pavelec hails from the same city (Kladno, Czech Republic) as former Pen Jaromir Jagr.
Aaand we're off!
7:04 PM: Arron Asham
is back in the lineup for tonight's game. Here are the combinations the Pens will be using:
gets the start in net.7:00 PM:
Who's ready for some hockey?! I know I am...I'm no physics major but I'm excited to see what happens when two red-hot teams collide.
Here's a little ditty in honor of our guests the Atlanta Thrashers...