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Pens-Coyotes In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins


0:00: Pens hold on for the 2-1 victory and their sixth-straight win!!! Fleury with 36 saves and Michalek and Kunitz score the Pittsburgh goals.

0:40: Orpik and Doan head to the box with 40.4 seconds left to play. We'll go 4-on-4 for the rest of the game.

1:16: Phoenix pulls Smith as they have an offensive zone faceoff.

4:36: Pens manage to keep the 'Yotes off the board with the man-advantage.

6:36: After Fleury makes a save with his helmet, Mikkel Boedker gets the rebound and tries to wrap it around a sprawled 'Flower,' but his shot slides through the crease! The net gets dislodged and Niskanen goes to the box for hooking. Critical PK for the Pens here.

9:28: Fleury just looks incredibly confident between the pipes with the way he's challenging shooters and shots. He's made 32 saves so far tonight.

13:55: Ray Whitney gets two point-blank chances from the slot, but Fleury denies him on both and says "Not this time, Whitney!" (OK, I don't think he really said that but you get the idea).

18:33: Vrbata hustles to the corner of the Pens zone and retrieves a puck that he sends to Ray Whitney, who's wide open in front of the net. The Wizard roofs one over Fleury's shoulder to make this a one-goal game. PENS 2, COYOTES 1

19:22: Sullivan intercepts a pass and embarks on a mini breakaway, but his shot goes just high and wide!

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

(Getty Images)

Though neither team got in the board this period, play certainly intensifed in the second. There were a plethora of saves on both sides, a big hit and a net-front melee. Fleury was fantastic for the Penguins, producing 15 saves -- including one on Martin Hanzal with 7:21 left in the period, where he traveled a huge distance out of his net to make a sliding stop on the Phoenix forward's breakaway. He's full of confidence between the pipes, and it's showing. Smith also came up with some big stops, especially on the power play -- and antagonized Matt Cooke after the Pens forward was taken out and slid into the net.

- Malkin’s assist on Kunitz’s goal puts him one point away from 500 in his career
- Malkin will become the 9th player in team history to reach 500 points, and he will tie Syl Apps for 8th place on the team’s all-time point list
- Neal leads the Pens with six shots. He's knocking at the door for a goal
- Kunitz has five hits while Orpik and Strait have four

0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Pens have held onto their 2-0 lead while the Coyotes have outshot them 27-23.

5:48: The Coyotes go back to full strength. Pens had a lot of chances on that power play, forcing Smith to come up with big save after big save, but just couldn't convert.

     "fleury came far out of the net to make a save. he looked like a soccer goalie! lovin it. #pens winning 2 - 0 over Phoenix"


7:21: Hanzal gets a turnover just inside the Pens blue line and has a shorthanded breakaway. But Fleury comes way out to challenge him and the risk pays off, as the sliding 'Flower' stacks the pads, stops Hanzal and allows his team to clear it out!!! UNBELIEVABLE.

8:14: Antoine Vermette takes out Matt Cooke in front of the Phoenix net, causing Cooke to fall into goalie Mike Smith. Smith doesn't like it and begins giving Cooke a facewash as he's on the ground. Everyone on the ice (besides Fleury) rush into the fray and cause a huge pileup in the blue paint.

When it's all said and done and all of the penalties are handed out, the Pens get a two-minute power play.

Note: the crowd began chanting Fleury's name again, this time to try and encourage him to join the ruckus. But he didn't answer the call.

9:08: A mad scramble ensues in front of the Pens net that forces Fleury to come up with some magnificent saves! The entire arena stands up and begins chanting for their netminder's efforts!

     "You should always keep yoru head up when Brooksie is near. He never blinks, so he will always see you. Always. #Pens"

10:41: Brooks Orpik crushes Martin Hanzal off a neutral zone faceoff, sending the 'Yotes forward flying along with his stick. Big hit by No. 44!

11:45: Make that 52-of-53 power plays killed by the Pens vs. the West as Sullivan is released.

13:45: Sullivan goes to the box for holding. Coyotes possess the NHL's worst power play (13.5 percent) while the Pens have the league's No. 1-ranked home PK unit. They also have a 98.1 percent success rate this season in 16 games vs. the West, killing off 51-of-52 power plays.

14:29: And Fleury comes up with another series of saves shortly after his team spends some time in the offensive zone.

17:53: Fleury's had to come up with a pair of deceptively hard stops in these first couple of minutes. Coyotes definitely looking a lot more alive in this frame.

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

(Getty Images)

The period started off slow, with neither team able to really establish any momentum. But Pittsburgh began tilting the ice in their favor after the first half, and former Coyote Zbynek Michalek got the Pens on the board first with a big goal at the 11:44 mark. Just three minutes and one second later, Chris Kunitz scored his 19th of the season to give the Pens a 2-0 lead entering the first intermission.

- That was Michalek's second goal of the season. His other one came Oct. 17 vs. Winnipeg.
- Coyotes have been outscored 12-2 in the first period of their last 7 games

0:00: Horn sounds and the first period comes to an end. Pens hold a 2-0 lead off goals from MICHALEK! and Kunitz, while the 'Yotes have a 12-11 edge in shots.

0:32: Pens ice the puck with just over half a minute left to play and Bylsma uses his timeout, as it comes on the end of a long shift.

1:27: A big shift by Malkin's line gets the crowd roaring.

4:00: Hanzal spins and sweeps a rebound toward the cage that rings off the post!!! The initial shot came from Michal Rozsival.

     "kunitz has been heating up recently, i wouldnt be surprised if he hit 30 goals too"

5:15: Malkin breaks the puck out of his zone and draws three Coyotes defenders, so he tosses a pass up to Chris Kunitz. Kunitz goes on a 2-on-1 rush with Matt Niskanen and opts to shoot, beating Smith to give the Pens a two-goal lead! PENS 2, COYOTES 0

     "Goal video for Michalek was Braveheart. Glorious! "Michalek"!!!!!"

5:46: Michalek spent five seasons in Phoenix from 2005-10. In 393 games with the Coyotes, he posted 113 points (26G-87A) and later served as an assistant captain.

8:16: Staal backhands a pass into the slot, where Michalek retrieves it and fires a shot through a sea of white jerseys past Smith for the score!!! The Pens game entertainment team is clutch in putting up the Brave Heart "Michalek" video after Z's goal! PENS 1, COYOTES 0

11:15: Both players are released from the box and we're back to even strength.

13:17: We're going to play 4-on-4 hockey for the next two minutes as Martin Hanzal gets two for tripping and Kunitz gets a pair for goalie interference.

14:08: Staal gets his stick in a lane to intercept a pass, sending the Pens on an odd-man rush. Once they gain the zone, Sullivan tries a couple of times to get a pass to the center but his attempts keep getting blocked. Finally one gets through to Dupuis, but Smith makes a big stop!

17:17: Really strong shift by Tyler Kennedy just now, his first one since Feb. 5. He and linemates Cooke and Vitale created a multitude of scoring chances and kept the puck hemmed in the O-zone.

19:09: Coyotes get an early chance when All-Star D-man Keith Yandle skates the puck up ice and whips a shot at Fleury, who kicks it away with his toe. Taylor Pyatt gets the rebound, but Fleury is able to cover.

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

     "It's nice to hear that Tyler Kennedy is back in the #Pens lineup today!!! #welcomeback #TKalltheway"


7:00 PM:
Pens scratch Tangradi, Jeffrey, Letang, Engelland and Johnson. Kennedy is in. Pens' lines for tonight:



Fleury between the pipes. Mike Smith will start in goal for Phoenix.

And before we begin, here's the in-game intro that plays prior to each home game to get you sufficiently pumped up. We want it now!!!

6:45 PM:
It's official. Tyler Kennedy makes his return to the lineup tonight vs. Phoenix after missing 11 games with a high-ankle sprain!

(Getty Images)

6:30 PM:
Good evening from CONSOL Energy Center! The Penguins are back home in their own barn after a two-game, five-day road trip in which they gained all four points by defeating both Dallas and Colorado. Pittsburgh has actually won five in a row and will look to extend that streak to six games tonight against the Phoenix Coyotes. The Pens have been rolling at home, going 9-1 in their last 10 tilts here, and hopefully that success keeps going tonight.

The Pens recalled defenseman Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this morning and he will play tonight, as Deryk Engelland is day-to-day with a lower-body injury and Kris Letang is being reevaluated by doctors for the symptoms he is experiencing after the hit he took against Dallas on Feb. 29.

Forward Tyler Kennedy is a game-time decision for tonight's contest. He has missed 11 games with a high-ankle sprain suffered Feb. 5 vs. New Jersey and has been practicing with the team since last Wednesday. For all the rest of the game-day coverage (and there was plenty!), check out today's Penguins Report.


The Pens recently came out with two new commercial spots, one focused on the team (click here to watch) and the other centered on the fans (click here to watch). They're definitely worth checking out.

The song that's played in both of them is AWOLNATION's "Sail," which I hadn't heard until I watched the spots. It's a solid choice for the commercials and it's one of those songs that's hard to get out of your head. I've been playing it on repeat all day, so I figured, why not start the blog with it. Hopefully you enjoy it too!

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