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Pens-Leafs In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins
     "How can anyone watch a game like the #Pens and Leafs tonight and not come away a hockey fan?"


Letang is stopped...

Grabovski is stopped...

Malkin SCORES...

Kadri is stopped...

Kunitz is (barely) stopped...

And Kessel is STOPPED!!! PENS WIN!!!


0:00: And we're going to the shootout...

0:22: Another wow. Connolly had a point-blank chance from the slot but somehow Fleury got his shoulder on it and saved the goal!

1:06: WOW. Phil Kessel had a WIDE-OPEN NET with Fleury down, and he whiffed!!! Kessel had the game on his stick right there! Huge break for Pittsburgh!

5:00: Puck drops. Game on!!! Teams skate 4-on-4 per NHL rules.

0:00: And we're going to overtime thanks to that ridiculawesome goal! This is the fifth time in the last six games that the Pens have stretched beyond regulation.

0:06: From the middle of the point, Sully dishes one to Neal in his favorite the circle to the side of the net. He instantly winds up and shoots and his blast deflects off Geno and in the cage with 06.6 seconds left!!! The play is under review but it's a good goal! Talk about coming up clutch! PENS 4, LEAFS 4

0:43: The Pens pull Fleury for the extra attacker...

3:05: Pens activating their defense. Letang joining/leading the rush to go for that tying goal.

     "5 to go in third. Time for #GenoMagic @pghpenguins #letsgopens"

4:59: And build off it they did! Vitale buzzes around the net and is able to stuff a rebound home past Gustavsson! Crowd is going nuts now! LEAFS 4, PENS 3

5:27: An incredibly exciting power play expires without a Pens goal. They can build off that.

7:27: Most insane sequence just occured. Bozak had a breakaway but Fleury sprinted out to challenge him and made a sliding pokecheck that forced the Leafs forward to leap over him and lose the puck. Then Lombardi came in to collect the garbage, but Letang made an incredible sliding block to keep it out of the open net!!! And at the end, Lombardi ends up getting a penalty for hooking! Pens to their first PP of the night.

     "Sully!!!! What a shot!!!! #Pens

11:27: Impressive individual effort by Sullivan results in a goal for him. He stick checks Jake Gardiner at the blue line, who falls and allows Sullivan to go off to the races. He uses his speed to wheel down the ice, winds up and blasts a slap shot near side past Gustavsson. LEAFS 4, PENS 2

13:23: And just 22 seconds later, MacArthur solves Fleury to give the Leafs a two-goal lead. LEAFS 4, PENS 1

13:45: Bozak carries down the ice and rips a slapshot from the circle that goes top shelf, far side past Fleury. Another absolute snipe and a power-play tally for Toronto. LEAFS 3, PENS 1

14:41: Cooke gets called for tripping and the Pens head to their third PK of the evening against what's been an incredibly tough Leafs squad...

16:30: Pretty quick start to the period. We've been more or less back-and-forth the first few minutes here.

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

NOTE: Sam Kasan has the latest on Sidney Crosby right here. Check it out.

- Malkin has one period left to extend his point streak vs. Toronto to 11 games
- Grabovski has 2 goals on 7 shots on his 28th birthday
- Cooke's tally was his first since Dec. 10 at NYI

0:00: Pens end the period with a strong shift. They've cut Toronto's lead to 2-1 thanks to Cooke's deflection on Martin's shot. Leafs have a 27-17 edge in shots.

     Great redirect by Cooke. #Pens

3:53: Park carries out from behind the net and slides a pass down to Martin on the point. He winds up and blasts a shot that's deflected into the net by Cooke! And just like that, the Pens are back in it. LEAFS 2, PENS 1

5:21: Schenn dipped low to get open by the hash marks and he receives a pass with Fleury down. But somehow, the D-man's shot misses the net!

7:13: Grabovski and Kulemin sneak behind the Pens D for a 2-on-0 rush. Instead of going for the hat trick, Grabovski dishes to his linemate -- who's stopped by Fleury. Huge save by Flower there.

10:05: After some sustained pressure by the Pens, any momentum they had is killed when Grabovski gets the puck by the circles and absolutely snipes a shot top shelf, far side past Fleury for his second of the night. Bylsma uses his timeout after the tally. LEAFS 2, PENS 0

13:07: Grabovski has been knocking at the door all night and finally gets one past Fleury. Phaneuf carried behind the net and found the Leafs winger in front, who tapped the puck past Flower's outstretched pad. LEAFS 1, PENS 0

14:07: Leafs coach Ron Wilson needs to use his timeout after his team ices the puck after a long shift. Most of that shift had actually been spent controlling play in the Pens zone. Pittsburgh was doing a bit of running around, but luckily they were finally able to clear.

17:08: Grabovski breaks behind the Pens D with speed and gets a mini breakaway on Fleury, who manages to get a piece of the shot and deflect it out of danger! Grabovski seems to have Fleury's number tonight...

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

     "I feel a Malkin to Nealer connection coming early in the 2nd! @pghpenguins: Which Penguin is going to break tonight's tie? #Pens #Leafs"

- Pens have won the first game following the All-Star break in four straight seasons.
- They are 6-2-1 in their last nine such games
- The Pens are wearing their whites because the Leafs asked to wear their blues and Pittsburgh obliged.

     "@rkells6: “@jamesmack17 Marc-Andre Fleury is playing #dynamite” He is #dynamite"

0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens and Leafs are scoreless with Toronto holding a 14-6 edge in shots.

0:21: Fleury goes to play a puck behind the net but it somehow ends up in front of the wide-open cage. Incredibly aware defensive play by Malkin to get back and tie up Kulemin, who was ready to pounce, and avert a sure goal.

1:34: We're back to 5-on-5 play.

2:47: Huge series of saves by Flower just could call it a "Fleury" of saves. The Leafs bombarded him pretty hard just now and the Pens don't like it, so an altercation brews around the blue paint. Cooke sticks up for his goalie and he and Phaneuf go at it by the net. They'll both go to the box. We're 4-on-4 for the next 42 seconds.

4:05: Pens to the PK again as Kennedy goes off for high sticking.

     "@pghpenguins watching fleury from behind the net; he makes goaltending look so easy!"

4:43: Clarke MacArthur won a battle behind Pittsburgh's net to feed Grabovski in front, whose point-blank attempt is thwarted by Fleury! Unreal save by the Flower. Crowd erupts afterward.

8:28: Neal's released and the Pens are back to full strength!

10:28: Neal gets called for cross-checking as he hustles to the net off an O-zone faceoff. Pens to the PK against the NHL's fifth-ranked PP.

11:10: Fleury makes a big stop on Lupul's one-timer from the slot on a 2-on-1 rush. Leafs outshooting the Pens 5-2 right now.

14:18: Another somewhat lucky break for the Pens as it seems Phil Kessel is off to the races, but he goes way offsides trying to catch the stretch pass from his D-man. Both teams have had good and bad moments these first few minutes.

15:43: Neal fires a shot between Dion Phaneuf's legs that goes off his skate and skitters out of play. Gustavsson had no idea where that one was. I think the break is hardest for goalies to adjust to, for sure.

18:15: Tyler Bozak thinks he makes it 1-0 for Toronto just 1:45 into the game, but the goal is waved off due to goaltender interference. Big break for the Pens there.

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

7:00 PM:
Pens scratch Ben Lovejoy and Arron Asham. Colin McDonald is in. He missed the morning skate because he wasn't able to get to Pittsburgh in time after being recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (and playing in the AHL All-Star Game last night). 

6:30 PM:
The Pittsburgh Penguins released a statement a little over an hour ago about the status of captain Sidney Crosby, which you can read by clicking here. And right now, Crosby and general manager Ray Shero are addressing the media in a conference room here at CONSOL Energy Center. Our own Sam Kasan is there and he'll have all the coverage you could possibly want here at once it's over.

The puck will drop in half an hour between the Pens and Leafs to kick start the post-All-Star break portion of the season. The two teams will meet again 24 (and a half) hours later in Toronto for the usual home-and-home, back-to-back series.

With only five points separating the two clubs in the Eastern Conference standings, there will be four big points on the line over the next two days (okay, maybe six points with OT and shootouts). But everything starts tonight as the Pens try to extend their winning streak to eight games.

Everything you need to watch for tonight is documented here. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury will go head-to-head with Jonas Gustavsson, who has won seven of his last 10 starts. For full details on this morning's developments, check out the Pens Report.

It's been over a week since the team played here in Pittsburgh, and it's nice to have them back (although they'll be on the road for a while after tonight). Regardless, they were all scattered their separate ways for quite a while and it's a good feeling to see them back on the ice. So I'm going to kick off the blog with P. Diddy's "Coming Home" featuring Skylar Grey. Enjoy.

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