That is the end of the post-game Fan Appreciation Night at CONSOL Energy Center. The Penguins finished the home regular season with an impressive win against a solid New Jersey side. The next time the Penguins play at home, the playoffs will be in town, roll on next week!
10:18 PM: By far, by far, the biggest cheer of the night is reserved for No. 87 Sidney Crosby as he walks out onto the ice to give his jersey away.
10:17: The two Russians, Kovalev and Malkin go one after the other, before a certain someone takes to the ice...
10:15 PM: Just to let you know every player is having a photo taken with the fan who has won their shirt and then signs the shirt for them.
10:13 PM: "The man with the mean mohawk" a.k.a Craig Adams gives a grin as he poses for a photo with the lucky young lady who got his game shirt.
10:11 PM: A huge roar erupts around the arena as Matt Cooke appears from the bench. Great moment.
10:10 PM: Potash makes Jordan Staal pose for the cameras in the white-out t-shirts the players have been throwing into the crowd. Impressive model work from Staalsy as he urges the fans to go out and buy the white-out shirts to create that great playoff atmosphere at CONSOL Energy Center.
10:09 PM: Dupuis and Kunitz are both given great receptions as they come onto the ice.
10:08 PM: Evgeni Malkin is looking very dapper in a grey suit, Penguin fans give "Geno" one of the biggest cheers of the night when he appears on the big screen.
10:07 PM: The first player to give his shirt away is No. 1 Brent Johnson, ROOT Sports' Dan Potash is announcing the shirt give aways.
10:05 PM: The players have arrived on the ice, each of them are picking up bundles of Penguin white-out t-shirts and are throwing them into the crowd.
10:04 PM: CONSOL Energy Center is still full as fans wait to see the Penguin players return.
10:00 PM: A black carpet has also been rolled out onto the ice for the players to skate across and meet the 29 lucky lads and lasses' who have been picked at random to recieve a game worn jersey.
Now as promised the post-game festivities. PensTV's Katie O'Malleyis currently on the ice giving away a three-year lease on a car! Wow!
THIRD PERIOD NOTES - Kunitz scores his 23rd goal of the season and finished with a team-high four shots. - Pascal Dupuis scored a shorthanded goal with 1:01 remaining just when the Pens needed it. - The Penguins outshot the Devils 27-24. - The Pens finish the home regular season with a 25-14-2 record.
0:00: The Penguins win by a final score of 4-2. Penguins 4, Devils 2
1:01: That is game, set and match! Dupuis steals the puck after good work from Craig Adams and just as Devils goaltender Hedberg is heading to the bench Dupuis flicks a wrist shot towards the net, Hedberg throws himself and his stick in a desperate attempt to stop the puck going into the net, but fails. Shorthanded goal for Dupuis and his second goal of the game. Penguins 4, Devils 2
1:41: A grandstand finish awaits us, as Jordan Staal is given a two-minute penalty for tripping. Pens on the PK!
1:55: TK tries to reach a loose puck but it just evades him as a goal looked certain.
3:20: "Let's go Pens!" is the chant ringing out around the arena. The Penguins are holding firm and Mike Rupp and Craig Adams just put in a high-energy shift.
6:10: The New Jersey Devils, who remember have nothing to lose as they are already out of the playoff picture, are having a real go at the Penguins here. They are throwing the proverbial "kitchen sink" towards Fleury's goal, but he is standing strong.
7:26: "Sandstorm" from Darude is blasting out loud inside the CONSOL Energy Center. The fans are trying to lift the Penguins for the final stages of this close encounter.
8:15: Kennedy drills a wrist shot just over the net as the Penguins search for that all important fourth goal.
10:29: A crescendo of cheers and applause are heard around the arena as the scoreboard shows Tampa Bay lost 4-2 against the Buffalo Sabres, putting the Pens in the driving seat for fourth spot in the East.
11:30: There has been a slight slowdown in the pace of play as both teams recharge their batteries.
Check out that cheeky nipper on the right! Kunitz certainly has many reasons to smile right now.
14:31: The Penguins get the puck away after being under intense pressure. The biscuit breaks to Kunitz who absolutely abliterates the puck, but his shot flies just past Hedberg's left goal post.
15:28: Rolston finally gets his goal in his personal duel against Fleury, after rifling a low slap shot past Flower. Penguins 3, Devils 2
16:18: What a perfect way to celebrate the birth of his baby daughter Payton Marie Kunitz this morning! The goal was Kunitz's 23rd of the season.
18:29: Superb trickery from Tyler Kennedy as he cuts through the Devils defense like a knife through butter. He passes the puck off to Chris Kunitz who dispatches the puck past Hedberg. Penguins 3, Devils 1.
19:45: Max Talbot wastes no time in taking the game to the Devils, he drives straight to the net and Hedberg makes a foot save to deny the Penguins No. 25.
20:00: The puck drops and the third and final period begins.
Quick reminder: Don't forget to stay on the blog even after the game has finished, when the Penguins players will be coming back out onto the Ice to give away their game worn jerseys to 29 lucky geezers and geezeetes.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES - Chris Kunitz has a team high three-shots for the Penguins. - Pascal Dupuis netted his 15th goal of the season. - The Penguins solid defensive display has been anchored by the dependable duo of Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang, who have recorded 14:36 and 13:04 minutes on the ice respectively. - The Pens are out shooting the Devils 19-14 - Penguins just have the edge in hits too by a tally of 13-12
0:00: The buzzer sounds to end the second period. The Penguins were pegged back to 1-1 but responded almost immediately through Dupuis, to make it 2-1 to the Pens going into the third.
Look at that lovely smile...
3:49: The Pens regain the lead! Max Talbot drives to the net and smashes a shot which Hedberg saves, but Pascal Dupuis is waiting to collect the rebound and hammer home the puck for his 15th goal of the season. Penguins 2, Devils 1
4:52: Rod Pelley pushes the puck towards David Steckel who smashes the puck into the net. Penguins 1, Devils 1
6:30: Michalek throws himself head first onto the ice to try and block a shot. See what he had to say about blocking in today's Penguins Report.
7:30: Conner and Talbot are again a thorn in the side of the Devils defensemen, they are charging around the offensive zone and are not giving the Devils players a moment of peace.
9:25: Brooks Orpik truly is a beast! He clatters yet another Devils forward into the boards.
11:38: Flower makes a neat glove save from Rolston's wrister. Rolston looks to the sky in despair. Fleury is in top form tonight, as he has been for the majority of the season.
12:01: Dan Bylsma calls a time out for the Penguins.
12:10: Good work from Lovejoy again behind the net. He hustles Rolston into giving the puck away. The Pens are looking aggressive and tenacious on defense tonight.
13:15: Devils defenseman Anssi Salmela hits a rasping slap shot from the blue line which Fleury gathers in.
16:10: Conner and Talbot chip away at the Devils defensemen behind the net, as they try to create some offense for the Pens.
17:16: Fleury comes out and narrows the angle before making a glove save to deny the on-rushing Travis Zajac.
18:40: Devils back to full strength. A small ripple of applause is heard around the arena as the scoreboard shows Tampa Bay is losing to Buffalo 3-1.
19:30: Pens still on the PP.
20:00: We are off and running in the second period at a packed CONSOL Energy Center.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES - All eight shots came from different players. - Brooks Orpik leads the team with two hits and time on the ice with 5:28 of playing time. - Jordan Staal recorded his 11th goal of the season - Craig Adams is 2-for-2 on the face-off
0:00: That will do it for the first period. The Penguins lead 1-0 thanks to Jordan Staal's goal with 2:23 left in the first. The Pens also out shoot the Devils 8-5.
0:35:Jordan Staal nearly gets his second power-play goal of the night as the puck just fizzes past him in the crease.
1:00: Pens on the PP! Again!
2:23: Power-play goal! Jordan Staal takes the puck past Fraser and drives to the net. Staal then expertly lifts the puck over Hedberg and into the net. James Neal made the pass to set Staal free. Penguins 1, Devils 0
2:54: Pens on the PP! Palmieri sent to the box for a pair.
5:59: Neal has a wrister which flies into a Devils player and away, Pens pushing hard to find the power-play goal.
6:38: Pens on the PP! Salmela is given 2 minutes for tripping.
6:55: Kris Letang swooped around the net and tried to squeeze the puck over Hedberg in net. The puck dropped down and a mad scramble occured in front of the net, the Devils managed to clear the puck.
8:25: "Papa" Kunitz nearly had a goal to celebrate the birth of his baby daughter, but Hedberg deflected his wrister away from danger.
10:46: Pens back to full strength.
12:09: Pens manage to clear the puck and Fleury then makes a good save after a slap shot from the blue line from Rolston.
13:36: Pens on the PK. Talbot sent to the box for 2 minutes for high sticking.
14:11: Conner drives down the left wing with the puck and whips the biscuit across the front of the net, but just out of the reach of the on-rushing Max Talbot.
16:14: Mike Rupp gets the puck but only manages to flick it towards the net and Johan Hedberg gathers the puck.
17:30: Great work from Lovejoy as he cuts in at the last moment to stop the Devils from getting a shot on net.
18:06: Kovalchuk fires the puck just past Fleury's post
19:16: Orpik drills a Devils forward into the boards, game on!
6:45 PM: Tonight the Penguins will play their final regular-season home game against the New Jersey Devils. They face the Devils for the sixth and final time with a record of 3-1-1 going into the contest. The Penguins have won both previous encounters against the Devils at CONSOL Energy Center. The Pens were victorious in the most recent match-up, beating the Devils in a shootout on March 25.
That night Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur battled it out for a 0-0 tie, the Penguins' first 0-0 tie in over eight years, in an epic goaltending battle. The Penguins are still seeking the Eastern Conference and Atlantic Division crown, as they are just three points behind the Philadelphia Flyers with three games remaining. However, the Tampa Bay Lightning are hot on the heels of the fourth-place Penguins, as the 'Bolts are one place and one point behind them in the standings. With the Penguins still pushing to go top of their conference and with the need to consolidate the fourth spot in the East, tonight's game is of huge importance.
Another interesting note is that tonight is Fan Appreciation Night at CONSOL Energy Center with the special "shirts off our back" promotion taking place after the game. Twenty-nine lucky Penguin fans will be chosen at random to go down onto the ice after the game to receive game worn jerseys from the players. More on that coming up later.
So as the curtain comes down on the Penguins' first-ever regular-season at CONSOL Energy Center, I thought a song which would sum up the mood nicely would be the aptly named "An End has a Start" from UK band "The Editors." The band are from my native-land, England, and are absolutely "different gravy" as we would say. They were formed in England's second-largest city, Birmingham, and surged onto the indie-rock and roll scene in 2005 with their Platinum selling album "The Back Room."
As the band point out in the song "even an end has a start." So as the home regular season schedule comes to an end, the home playoff schedule is just about to start.