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Pens-'Canes In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins


0:00: That'll do it! Pens have won four straight games with their 4-2 victory over Carolina, where they outshot the 'Canes 52-18!

0:49: Pens back to full strength!!!

1:02: Bylsma opts to use his timeout to give his PKers a rest.

2:49: Pens to their second PK of the period as Neal is whistled for slashing.

5:07: Fleury plays a puck behind the net which is picked up by D-man Gleason and dished to Ruutu - who slams it home. Pens 4, Canes 2

7:20: Pens back to full strength. 'Canes had a few good chances; Pens had a couple quality shorthanded chances.

9:20: 'Canes head to the PP as Picard gets a pair for hooking. Pens to the PK.

9:50: Pens get another odd-man rush with Neal hustling out of the zone, Despres streaking up the other side and Malkin trailing. Peters has to come up with a big save on the play.

11:55: TK starts a quick transition play by hitting Staalsy with a pass as he's breaking out of the zone. Staal goes down the side of the ice and beats Peters against the grain!!! 'Canes elect to use their timeout right after that goal. Pens 4, 'Canes 1

13:28: The Hurricanes have had just one shot so far this period. As assistant to the general manager Tom Fitzgerald said to me in a phone interview on Monday, "The best defense is offense." Very, very true.

14:56: Yet another reason why Pens fans are the best: they donated $30,400 for the family of Officer John David Dryer, who served with the East Washington Police Department and was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, Dec. 18. You guys are AMAZING.

17:32: TK and Dupuis bear down on Peters 2-on-1. TK passes to Dupuis who makes Peters commit before roofing a forehand wrister over the prone 'Canes netminder! Nice bank pass off the boards by Michalek to start the play. Pens 3, 'Canes 1

18:42: Neal dishes to Malkin from behind the net, who sends a cross-ice pass right to the blade of Sullivan...who one-times it into the cage. PP goal for Pittsburgh and 7th of the season for Sully! Pens 2, 'Canes 1

19:22: LaRose back in the box, this time for interference. Pens get an early PP to start the final frame! #LetsDoThis

20:00: Puck drops to start the third. Game on!

- 37 shots is the largest combined total between two periods for Pittsburgh in the last two seasons
- They allowed just three shots in the second - the lowest total they've surrendered all season
- Neal now has 21 goals on the season - just one behind leader Marian Gaborik (NYR), who is not playing tonight
- With his assist on Neal's goal, Malkin has also extended his point streak to eight games

0:00: First 40 minutes in the books. Pens and 'Canes tied 1-1 with Neal scoring Pittsburgh's goal. Pens outshooting 'Canes by a whopping 37-10.

0:28: Despres back on the bench for Pitt.

1:36: 'Canes back to full strength but Pens still controlling play in the O-zone.

3:36: Spacek goes down after absorbing a Sullivan blast and is slow to get up. Away from the play, Allen gets a pair for interference. Pens to the PP!

4:10: Despres goes down the runway after taking a hi-stick to the face. We'll keep you posted on his status.

4:43: The Kunitz-Malkin-Neal line is playing OUTSTANDING. They're almost impossible to contain when they play like they are right now.

7:35: A good keep by Michalek on the blue line results in Neal getting a shot from his favorite spot - the circle - that hits Peter and then the red painted metal!

10:41: With the goal, Neal's point streak is now extended to eight games - a new season-long stretch for him. He's now got goals in four straight games, a new career-long stretch for the 24-year-old.

11:50: The Pens finally crack Peters! Kunitz broke through a pair of defenders flanking him on either side and managed to throw a shot on goal from behind the goal line. The puck goes off the body of a crashing Neal and into a wide-open cage with Peters out of position! Pens 1, 'Canes 1

13:03: I will say that the Pens are outshooting the 'Canes 25-7 right now. Carolina has yet to record a shot on goal this period.

14:50: Not much to report right now. Lots of back-and-forth action between the teams but no one's really been able to get anything going.

17:45: Sorry guys, forgot to note that the 'Canes are back to full strength.

19:15: Pens just came at Peters hard that shift, and all you kept hearing was the thud of a puck hitting a pad. The 25-year-old is looking great in his season debut.

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Pens have 1:20 left on their power play. Game on!

- Carolina is 6-4-2 when leading after one period
- Orpik is having a strong period. He's got four hits
- Niskanen leads the Pens with 8:21 minutes played

0:00: That'll do it for the first. The 'Canes hold a 1-0 lead thanks to Tim Brent's redirect while the Pens are outshooting them 16-7.

0:40: Chad LaRose to the box for roughing. 'Canes are tied for first in the NHL with seven shorthanded goals...

4:07: Orpik headmans a dead-on stretch pass to Staal, who nearly gets a breakaway but can't keep the puck on his stick as he's swarmed by a couple of 'Canes.

6:18: 'Canes are 8-5-3 when scoring first while the Pens are 6-8-1 when their opponent strikes first.

9:37: It'll be the 'Canes that strike first as they dump a puck in, Michalek's clearing pass is picked off by Tim Gleason, who sends a perfect pass to the stick of Tim Brent. Brent re-directs the puck past Fleury for the score. 'Canes 1, Pens 0

11:50: Pens coming on hard these last few shifts and are getting some solid chances because of it.

14:35: Exciting couple of back-and-forth chances just now. Eric Staal set up Drayson Bowman from behind the net with a perfect feed that Fleury stopped; then TK carried in, got a shot and his rebound trickled past Peters and into the blue paint...where a 'Canes D-man swept it out of danger.

15:47: Solid shift just now by the Kunitz-Malkin-Neal line. Nice puck management by all three of those players and the defensemen to work the rubber disc in the 'Canes zone.

18:31: Staal collects a pass from linemate Kennedy in the neutral zone and carries in for a shot that rings off the crossbar!!! #soclose

20:00: It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh! Puck drops. Game on!

7:00 PM:
Pens scratch Engelland and MacIntyre. 'Canes scratch Joni Pitkanen, Derek Joslin and Patrick Dwyer. The official lines:



Fleury between the pipes. Justin Peters in goal for Carolina.

6:31 PM:
A big congratulations is in order for Penguins center Jordan Staal, as tonight he'll become the seventh-youngest player (23 years, 108 days) since the Expansion Era (1967-68) to reach 400 games played.

When asked what areas he'd like to improve on, Staalsy responded...

6:30 PM:
Welcome back everybody! It's time to finish off the last of those Christmas cookies, put down that eggnog and prepare to get back down to business as the Penguins will be hosting the Carolina Hurricanes for their first game out of the holiday break in just a short while.

Apart from Marc-Andre Fleury starting between the pipes, the rest of Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma's lineup is a game time decision. Hurricanes head coach Kirk Muller wouldn't even go that far, choosing not to divulge any of his roster for tonight's contest. Stay tuned to the blog for the official scratches/line combos.


(FYI - to fans attending tonight's game, police officers from various municipalities will be collecting donations for the family of fallen officer John David Dryer. Officers will be taking donations at all three gates starting at 6 p.m.

Officer Dryer, who served with the East Washington Police Department, was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, Dec. 18. For more details, click here).


I've heard this song on the radio a few times and thoroughly enjoyed it. And since we're playing Carolina tonight, it's pretty fitting. Hopefully the beat wakes you up...Blast it loud if you need a little pick-me-up...I know I did! (My mind is still on vacation...)

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