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Pens-Jets In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins


0:00: That'll do it! Pens come away with an 8-4 win. Neal with a hat trick and a career-best 4-point game. Malkin with two goals and three assists. Kennedy with two goals. Crosby with four assists.

1:08: Little to the box. Pens will finish this one on the PP.

6:33: Sullivan to Staal to Dupuis, who unleashes a bomb from the top of the circles that blows by Mason! That extends Dupuis' career-high point streak to 7 games (6G-3A). It's his 21st goal, marking a new personal best for him. PENS 8, JETS 4

8:16: Adams' stick breaks as he winds up for a slap shot near the point. Jets head back the other way but Adams follows with a hustling backcheck and sweeps the puck off a Jets player's stick with his glove! Huge effort by 27.

12:05: Kennedy gets a step on the last Jets D-man back (Enstrom) and creates some space in the slot, but his shot goes just wide!

16:00: James Neal assisted on Malkin's goal for his fourth point of the night in addition to his hat trick. That's a new single-game career high for Neal.

17:53: Malkin just gave a prime example of why you should always get pucks to the net no matter what the angle is. He just swept a backhander from behind the goal line (just outside the goalie trapezoid line) that banked off Mason and into the cage! PENS 7, JETS 4

20:00: Puck drops and the third period is underway.

(Getty Images)

This one's getting crazy, folks. The two teams combined for six goals in the second period to make this one 6-4 in favor of Pittsburgh heading into the third period.

Lots of Pens are having huge nights offensively...

- James Neal has scored three goals for his second career hat trick. His first came on Dec. 23, 2008 vs. Toronto.
- Neal now has 35 goals and 71 points on the season.
- Evgeni Malkin scored his team-leading 42nd goal in the period. He has three assists to go with it for a four-point effort thus far.
- Malkin now has 92 total points this season. It's his third career 90-plus point season.
- Malkin is now eight points ahead of Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos in the NHL scoring race. The Lightning do not play tonight.
- Kennedy has two goals tonight, his first two-goal game this season. His last came Feb. 23, 2011 vs. San Jose. He has never recorded a hat trick in his NHL career.

0:00: Horn sounds and the Pens enter the second intermission with a 6-4 lead. Pittsburgh has a 28-22 edge in shots.

     "Say bye bye to your hats, folks! @jneal_18 with a freaking rockettttttt! This game is a mess. And it's awesome! #goalsongoals #pens"

2:00: That's Neal's second career hat trick. His first came on Dec. 23, 2008 vs. Toronto. Malkin gets his third assist of the night and fourth point of the game.

2:57: Neal is feelin' it right now. Credit to Orpik for breaking the puck out of the zone with speed and getting a pass over to a breaking Neal. Then Neal actually dropped to a trailing Malkin, who gave it right back to his linemate. Neal then wired a shot with surgeon-like precision into the far corner of the net for the hat trick! PENS 6, JETS 4

3:21: Sorry for being late on this, but the Jets pulled Pavelec with 6:15 left to play in this period. Chris Mason is now in goal.

5:21: Stapleton slams one home in mid-fall to make this a one-goal game. PENS 5, JETS 4

7:05: The goal was Malkin's 200th in the NHL. The video board recognizes the feat during the TV timeout and the crowd gives Geno a goosebump-inducing standing ovation. He raises his stick in salute from the bench to the fans.

8:29: Glass hooks Neal as he enters the zone and the Pens go to work on the delayed penalty call. There were so many pretty passes on that play I don't know where to start, but I'll do my best. Letang carried in and dropped a pass to Martin, who hit Crosby in the slot. He faked a slapper but instead dished to Geno. Malkin has four white jerseys around him, but has time to wind up and slap one past Pavelec for the goal! A thunderous chant of "MVP! MVP!" breaks out in CONSOL. PENS 5, JETS 3

11:01: Enstrom falls to the ice right as Dupuis gets a go-ahead pass and the Pens winger is off on a breakaway! He dekes to his backhand and tries to lift one over Pavelec, but the goalie gets a glove on it.

13:05: Crosby feathers a perfect pass between the legs of Mark Stuart behind the net to Kennedy in front of the net. He stuffs it home for his second of the game! PENS 4, JETS 3

13:41: The Pens game entertainment staff just showed Malkin's parents on the video board. Needless to say, the crowd loved it.

16:05: The Jets catch the Pens on a line change and Ladd and Little go down on a 2-on-1 rush with Letang. Little gets the pass and snaps it past Thiessen for his second goal of the evening. PENS 3, JETS 3

16:57: One of the Jets just saved a sure goal for the Pens. Pavelec was down and out and the puck was centimeters from crossing the goal line, but forward Ben Maxwell - recalled today for injured forward Nik Antropov - had the wherewithal to get in the blue paint and sweep it out.

     "looks like paulie made @jneal_18 breakfast today #pens

18:45: Monstrous effort by Malkin to stickhandle to the front of the net and make Pavelec get out of position to make a save. The puck pops out to Neal at the side of the net, who sneaks it through Pavelec and the post for the score! PENS 3, JETS 2

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

(Getty Images)

The name of the game (well, the first period) was special teams. After each team scored a pair of early even-strength goals (Kennedy at the 2:04 mark; Slater at the 3:35 mark), the game turned into a lot of 5-on-4 play. Winnipeg killed off a penalty to Dustin Byfuglien, then Evgeni Malkin got a double minor for high sticking right after. Little scored for the Jets on that power play; then when Enstrom went off for holding with just under 5 minutes left in the period, the Pens put on a clinic to tie it at 2-2. Letang, Malkin, Crosby and Neal combined for an absolutely gorgeous goal (see the 3:18 entry of the first period for the description).

- Crosby has assisted on both Pens goals. He now has 7 assists through his first 4 games back.
- Malkin's assist on Neal's goal extended his point streak to 5 games.
- Malkin has three goals and five helpers in that span.
- Neal's PP goal was his 15th, tying him for the league lead with Philly's Scott Hartnell

     "Dear @NHL: Is it possible to rename the "Assist" to the "AsSIDst" ? Thank you for your time #Pens @pghpenguins"


0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens and Jets are tied 2-2 heading into the first intermission. Pittsburgh has a slight edge (13-12) in shots.

     "That pass by Sidney Crosby was just sublime. #pens"


     "That goal was sickening, unreal passing #pens"


     "That was the most ridiculous power play I have seen all season. #pens"

     "Neal from Malkin and Crosby. I've dreamt of this day #Pens"


3:18: No words can describe how sick this Pens goal was. It starts with Letang at the center of the point, who gives a pass to Crosby near the halfwall. He's covered but makes a sick behind-the-back pass to Malkin at the side of the net. Malkin pushes a perfect pass across the crease to Neal, who lops the puck into the wide-open cage before Pavelec even knows what happened. That's how a power play should look, like a work of art. PENS 2, JETS 2

4:42: Pens using five forwards on the 5-on-4 advantage. Sullivan, Crosby, Malkin, Neal and Kunitz.

4:56: As Malkin exits the box, he beelines to the corner of the opposing zone and wins a battle there, powering his way to the front of the net and getting hauled down in the process. He draws a penalty and the Pens head to the PP!

6:00: Unreal sliding pad save by Thiessen on Kane at the backdoor!!!

7:09: With 2:41 left on Geno's penalty, Bryan Little beats Thiessen from the left circle with a scorching wrister. It takes the 41 seconds off Malkin's first minor, so Pens remain on the PK for another two full minutes. JETS 2, PENS 1

8:10: Staal skates to the net and unleashes a wrister that rings off the inside of the post. It looked so much like a goal that the horn went off, but play continues as it did not go in.

8:28: Four seconds before Byfuglien is released, Malkin catches Mark Stuart in the face with a stick as they race for a puck and draws blood. That means Geno will be in the box for four minutes. Pens to the PK.

10:24: Sid drives hard down the center of the ice to the net and is high sticked by Dustin Byfuglien on the way. He's caught by the ref and heads to the box. Pens to the PP!

10:44: Thiessen calmly gloves a shot by Evander Kane. He's looking great so far. Very confident and poised between the pipes.

13:53: A good shift by Malkin's line to generate a few decent scoring chances.

16:25: Tanner Glass slides a pass into the slot that deflects off Jim Slater's skate and into the net. After a brief review, it is determined that Slater did not use a distinct kicking motion and the call on the ice stands. PENS 1, JETS 1

     "#Crosby is handing out assists like candy!!! Woohooo #Pens @pghpenguins"

17:56: Crosby battles hard for a puck behind the Winnipeg net and is able to feed Kennedy with a pass in the circle. It barely touches TK's stick before he whips a wrister past Pavelec for the score! Kennedy slams his stick on the ice afterward in triumph. It's his first goal since Jan. 13. PENS 1, JETS 0

20:00: It's a hockey night in Pittsburgh. Puck drops to start the first. Game on! Welcome back to Pittsburgh, Sid. The crowd gave him an earsplitting ovation when he stepped on the ice for the pregame intros.

(Getty Images)

7:00 PM:
Pens scratch Vitale, Park, Jeffrey, Lovejoy and Johnson. Official line combos...



Thiessen in goal. Ondrej Pavelec gets the start for Winnipeg.

6:30 PM:
We've talked a lot about how the Winnipeg Jets are a desperate squad that's battling to make the postseason. But if you want to know more specifics about how the team looks heading into tonight's game, like which players are performing well, here's the scouting report. Or you can watch the abbreviated version below:

6:25 PM:
Brad Thiessen will start in goal tonight for Pittsburgh. He's 2-0 so far in his NHL career and has stopped 44-of-48 shots in those games. For the rest of the game day updates, visit the Penguins Report or watch Steve Mears' Verizon Game Day Report below.

6:15 PM:
Good evening everyone! The Pens are in the midst of warmups preparing to host the Winnipeg Jets here at CONSOL Energy Center. It's going to be one heck of a battle, as the Jets are scratching and clawing for a playoff spot. They're four points behind the Washington Capitals for eighth place and every game heading into the final few weeks of the regular season are basically must-wins for them. In addition, the Pens are still feeling the sting of Sunday's loss with 0.9 seconds left in overtime to the Flyers – and there's no better way to rebound from that than with a win.

And of course, tonight marks Sidney Crosby's first game back in Pittsburgh since Dec. 5 vs. Boston. It's been about 3 1/2 months (106 days) and 43 games since Pens fans last saw their captain in action in this building, and he'll make his long-awaited return tonight after playing three contests on the road. Crosby said following today's morning skate that he's feeling great and ready to go for tonight. "I feel really good," he said. "Really happy the way things have gone. So no setbacks."

It would be hard for Crosby to replicate his first return to the CONSOL Energy Center ice after an extended absence due to injury (two goals, two assists on Nov. 24 vs. NY Islanders), but it's still going to be quite a sight to see No. 87 in action in front of the home crowd tonight. With that being said, I'm going to kick off tonight's blog with the Welcome Back Sid tribute the game entertainment crew showed on the video board last fall.

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