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Pens-Bolts Game 1: In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

The horn sounds! The Pens take Game 1, 3-0, and take a 1-0 lead in the series!

Kunitz gets the empty-netter! Penguins 3, Lightning 0

Roloson is out of the net!

Martin's clearing attempt off the boards took a wierd bounce and shot toward Fleury's feet. But Flower froze the puck beneath his pads.

Good thing the Pens used that timeout, because right off the faceoff, they took another icing. At least the troops are a little bit rested.

The Penguins used their timeout.

Stamkos just had a beautiful shot from his favorite spot on the ice - the left faceoff circle - but his rocket hit the side of the net!

Despite Conner's best efforts, the Penguins get whistled for icing.


5:35: St. Louis finds some open space in the slot with a puck coming his way, but he loses his footing as he's taking the shot. The puck sails up and over the net.

7:22: Kunitz dashes down the ice and gets a mini breakaway, but his backhander goes just wide!

8:47: Bolts are back to full strength.

10:19: Now it's a 5-on-4 Pens advantage for 1:30.

10:49: Lundin hi-sticks Tanger, and Pens will have a 5-on-3 advantage for 25 seconds!!!

11:28: Check out the Nemacolin Big Five pumper video shown in the arena:

12:21: And the Pens are heading to the PP as Sean Bergenheim gets two for tripping! The momentum is ALL Pittsburgh right now!!!

13:37: Nineteen seconds later, Arron Asham wraps around the net. The puck hits the back of the net, but he's able to recover it and snipe it into the back of the net! Penguins 2, Lightning 0

13:56: Neal turns and rips a shot from above the circles and makes an absolutely beautiful shot-pass to a wide-open Kovalev on the back door, who taps it in for the score! Penguins 1, Lightning 0

14:51: Hedman knocks down Conner from behind, but there's no call on the play. Quite a size differential between the two

16:33: HUGE shift by the Kunitz-Staal-Kennedy line with help from Letang and Orpik! They got about eight chances just now, I kid you not. Great play by all five Pens.

18:13: Pens have began the period controlling the puck down the length of the ice.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. Third period underway!


- Pens outshot the Bolts 18-7 that period
- Letang leads with 17:46 of ice time
- Bolts have blocked 17 shots while the Pens have blocked seven
- Staal leads the Pens with four shots

0:00: The first 40 minutes are in the books. Pens and Bolts are still scoreless, with Pittsburgh outshooting Tampa Bay 28-21.

0:08: Fourth icing in less than two minutes by the Bolts.

0:31: And Tampa Bay ices the puck for a third time in the last minute and a half, forcing Boucher to use his timeout.

1:06: Bolts whistled for icing, again. The Pens have been keeping them rimmed in their own zone, are making them play dump and chase hockey and are beating them to the loose pucks.

2:18: Letang lays a big hit on Hall as he tries to dump the puck into the Pens D zone. He ends up icing it and the faceoff heads back down in front of Roloson.

4:50: Letestu steals a puck from Stamkos on the half wall and breaks Neal out of the zone, who's able to wheel down get a shot off.

5:35: Right now Orpik is leading all skaters with five hits. He's certainly set a physical tone for the Pens tonight.

9:13: Both teams are back to full strength.

9:51: Now the Pens have Dupuis and Staal up top and Martin and Michalek on the back end with 37 seconds left on the 4-on-4. Bolts are playing St. Louis and Lecavalier with Ohlund and Clark.

10:58: Pens have Kunitz, TK, Letang and Orpik on the ice. Bolts have elected to put Gagne, Stamkos, Hedman and Brewer on the ice.

11:14: We're heading to 4-on-4 hockey as Kovy and Malone get coincidentals for roughing. 

13:16: Bolts head coach Guy Boucher elects to put his big guns on the ice at once - Lecavalier, Stamkos and St. Louis - after the Pens are whistled for a second icing. But the Pens are able to safely clear the puck out of their zone.

14:44: Bolts back to full strength.

15:18: The crowd is on their feet waving their towels for the Pens because of their work on that PP!

16:28: Michalek just lined up a shot in the slot that bounced off the back boards right to Staal. His shot skitters under Roloson and through the crease, but TK can't get a handle on it! What a gorgeous chance for the Pens!

16:47: Steve Downie is in the box for hooking Neal. Neal's been drawing penalties left and right so far this game. Pens on the PP!

17:45: The line of Rupp, Adams and Asham was just wreaking havoc in the Bolts D zone, throwing bodies around like nobody's business.

18:30: The attendance at tonight's game is 18,390 - the largest crowd ever to take in a game at CONSOL Energy Center!

18:48: The Pens are back to full strength.

19:21: Stamkos dishes the puck to Eric Brewer, who rips a shot on goal. The rebound pops out to a wide-open Lecavalier on the doorstep, who gets a crack at it. But Fleury denies him!!! The Flower blooms come April!

19:45: The Bolts started the period with about a minute left on their power play.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. The second period is underway!


While we wait for the second period to start, here's the Pens vs. Lightning in-game pumper video to keep that adrenaline flowing. Enjoy!

- The Pens have held Stamkos and Lecavalier without a shot, while St. Louis has only one
- Orpik and Dupuis each have four hits
- Orpik really came to play tonight. He's playing out of his mind
- Fleury came to play as well. He's standing on his head
- Letang leads the Pens with 9:36 of ice time

0:00: That'll do it for a hard-fought first. The first 20 minutes of Round 1, Game 1 are in the books. The score is tied 0-0 and the Bolts hold a 14-10 advantage in shots.

0:58: Pens are heading to the kill, as Lovejoy gets a pair for hooking Stamkos. The Bolts' dynamic PP will go to work to finish the period.

1:43: Letang with some great D on Stamkos, stepping up and blocking a shot before clearing the puck out of the zone.

2:34: Bolts back to full strength.

3:09: TK rings a shot off the post!!!

3:35: The second PP unit is Kunitz, Letestu and TK up top with Martin and Niskanen on the points.

3:59: Pens start with Kovy, Staal and Neal up top and Letang and Michalek manning the points on the first PP unit.

4:34: Pittsburgh native and former Pen Ryan Malone heads to the sin bin for cross-checking. Pens are back on the Power Ball Power Play!

6:33: Bolts back to full strength.

8:08: Pens back to the PP!

8:36: With 26 seconds left in TK's penalty and 12 seconds left in Kubina's, Moore gets two for hooking. The Pens will be on the PP again shortly.

9:03: Moore gets some open ice in front of the net and rips a shot at Flower. He thinks he's scored, raising his arms to the sky in celebration, but Fleury somehow stops it from crossing the goal line! He then rolls over and denies the rebound opportunity by making a sick save with his pads while sprawling flat on his back!!! He is then is finally able to cover for the whistle. The "Fleury! Fleury!" chants start up again, turbo-charged.

10:10: And 14 seconds later, TK's getting sent to the box for hooking. We're going to 4-on-4 hockey for 1:46.

10:24: Pavel Kubina takes out James Neal away from the play, and that's going to give the Pens their first PP of the game!!!

11:01: St. Louis wheels down the ice, but a little tag-team work between Michalek and Neal - Z with the poke check, Neal with the backchecking pressure - knocks the puck right off St. Louis' stick.

12:18: Dominic Moore goes to do battle with Maxime Talbot in the corner. Moore goes for the hit, but Talbot shrugs him off and the Bolts forward falls to the ice. They didn't name a tiger after Max for nothing, folks.

13:18: Adam Hall and Nate Thompson combine for a solid scoring opportunity on Flower, but once again he's up to the task.

13:58: TK then proceeds to carry the puck down the ice on the ensuing faceoff and is able to whip a shot at Roloson, who holds on for the whistle.

14:26: Martin St. Louis hands off a puck to Victor Hedman on the blue line, who tees off a shot at "Flower." The rebound jumps right to St. Louis, but Fleury says not today and makes the save!

14:59: Mike Lundin's shot weaves its way through traffic, but Fleury makes the initial stop and then gloves the rebound after it pops into the air. And such a save warranted a "Fleury! Fleury" chant from the crowd.

17:37: The Bolts are wheeling and dealing in front of the Pens net, but Pittsburgh is eventually able to clear and the faceoff heads in front of Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson after Tampa Bay ices the puck.

18:31: Brooks Orpik absolutely crushes Steven Stamkos in the corner of the Pens zone! Welcome to the playoffs No. 91!!!

19:36: I cannot explain to you all how unbelievable the atmosphere is in CONSOL Energy Center right now. The fans were defeaning during the player introductions, and once the national anthem began, the entire crowd joined in and sang along. It was amazing. To top it off, the only color I see in the crowd right now is WHITE! The forecasters were right! Pens fans never cease to amaze me.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on. 2011 NHL playoffs underway.


7:02 PM: As if "Right Now" wasn't enough to get your blood flowing, the Pens' official 2011 playoff in-arena video intro should be more than enough. The arena is absolutely electric right now!!!

7:00 PM: Pens' lines:



Fleury gets the nod between the pipes.

6:30 PM: Before the first-ever playoff game at CONSOL Energy Center begins, you should definitely browse through today's Penguins Report. It's chock-full of photos from the day's happenings, interviews with the Penguins & both coaches and other fantastic videos, among other things.

I decided to pull a quote from one of the players from this morning – in this case, Jordan Staal – and highlight it for you guys.


6:20 PM: Over the past couple of days, I've compiled a plethora of information on the Tampa Bay Lightning. Here's the links if you want to get versed before the game begins:
Also, don't forget you can visit Playoff Central for an archive of all of our Stanley Cup Playoffs coverage!

6:15 PM: The most wonderful time of the year is finally upon us, as we're approaching puck drop for Game 1 of the STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS!!!

The team has been through a grueling six months filled with highs and lows to get to this point. An 82-game schedule filled with games, practices, meetings, video sessions, hard hits, blood, sweat and tears wears on the guys both mentally and physically, especially as the season winds down – because everyone is ready for this fantastic journey to start.

While the Penguins put forth an outstanding effort during the regular season – earning 49 wins (tied for second-most in franchise history) and 106 points playing half of the season without two of their superstars in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin – the second that hard, black rubber disc hits the ice at 7:08 p.m., it's anybody's game. All that matters now is which team can battle harder, sacrifice more, play with more desperation and ultimately find a way to win four games out of a possible seven. Did I mention this was the most wonderful time of the year?

With so much on the line, we've got to start the blog off with a pump-up song to get the adrenaline pumping. We'll kick off the playoffs with a classic. Listen to it and get your blood flowing, because IT'S A HOCKEY NIGHT IN PITTSBURGH!!!

NOTE: While I was searching for a suitable version of "Right Now," I found this awesome mashup of Van Halen and Eminem's "Lose Yourself." I couldn't post it here, but you should definitely look it up if you feel so inclined. It's pretty awesome.
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