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Pens-Oilers In-Game Blog

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sullivan's attempt is turned aside by Dubnyk.

Linus Omark also starts down on the other end. He flips the puck and misses the net.

James Neal keeps the Pens alive!! He started in the Pens zone to gather speed. Sent a low shot through Dubnyk's five hole.

Ales Hemsky shoots and scores. Another upstairs score for the Oilers.

Letang stopped in his attempt.

Young gun Jordan Eberle up first. Roofs a beauty of a goal past Johnny.


0:00: Pens heading to their second shootout in three games.

0:17: Pretty sure Letang hasn't left the ice once this period.

1:01: Whoa! Petry fired a shot off the goal post that looked like it was in but it somehow stayed out!

3:34: Letang having a huge game tonight. Ales Hemsky had been dipsy-doodling with the puck and Tanger made him pay by forcing the turnover and overtaking him with speed.

4:25: Oilers kill off the five-minute major to Ryan Smyth, which had been served by Taylor Hall.

4:50: Nealer hits the post!!!

5:00: Extra period begins. Pens will begin with a 4-on-3 advantage as Smyth still has about 40 minutes left on his penalty.


0:00: That'll do it for regulation. Both teams earn at least a point as we go to overtime.

1:50: Beautiful sliding pokecheck by Tanger to thwart a mini shorthanded breakaway by Belanger!! Good job by Staalsy getting back on the play as well.

4:32: Ryan Smyth clips Kunitz in the head with his gloves and his stick, drawing blood from the Pens winger. Smyth gets a five-minute major for elbowing and a game misconduct. Pens on the PP for the rest of the game. No matter what. A goal won't cancel the penalty out.

4:55: From the corner, Hall sends a no-look pass between his legs to the front of the net, where it deflects off Niskanen's skate. RNH finds it and somehow puts it past Johnny to make this a tie game. First NHL goal in his first NHL game. Pens 1, Oilers 1

8:30: We're aaalll back to full strength.

9:17: Oilers down a man again for the next 28 seconds.

10:48: Pens now have a 4-on-3 power play as Cam Barker heads to the box. Tanger with a huge shift just now before the penalty was called. Joined the rush on two separate occasions, displaying both speed and some sick mitts.

11:37: We're going 4-on-4 for the next two minutes as Engelland and Belanger get coincidentals. Engeo protecting his goalie on the play.

12:48: James Neal has been a force tonight. Not only does he hound the puck relentlessly on the forecheck and in the offensive zone, but he backchecks just as diligently. Really like his play.

14:11: The Oilers score!! the form of Magnus Paajarvi! He crashes the net hard and rolls right into the cage like a human bowling ball, knocking it off its moorings.

16:30: Sutton's out of the box. Pens can't really get anything cookin' on that man-advantage.

18:30: Andy Sutton gets a pair when he tries to clear the puck, but misfires and shoots it over the glass and out of play. Automatic delay of game penalty. Pens get their sixth PP chance!

20:00: Here we go!



- Pens 5-for-5 on the PK
- Park an astounding 6-of-8 in the faceoff dot in his season debut
- TK has four shots on goal (and another 2 attempts blocked...probably by Ladislav Smid, who has 5 painful-looking blocks for the Oilers)
- Michalek leads with 5:05 shorthanded minutes

0:00: Hall with a scorcher from the side of the net after Pens get back to full strength with seconds remaining! Period ends with Pittsburgh holding onto their 1-0 lead. They also have a 21-18 advantage in shots.

0:54: Now Oilers have the man-advantage for the next 45 seconds.

2:08: Staalsy gets whistled for hooking when he has to race back and take the puck off Eric Belanger's stick, who was on a mini-breakaway. We're going 4-on-4 for 1:15.

2:54: Ryan Jones -- who's got flow to rival Kris Letang's -- gets a pair for goaltender interference. Pens get a late PP opportunity.

3:04: Whoa! Oilers coming on HARD right now!! Their young guns (RNH, Taylor Hall, Eberle) just got a bunch of good cracks at the goal, but Johnny came up with some big saves.

5:28: Johnny squares up to a blast from Jordan Eberle that rolls up underneath his mask and shakes him up for a second. But he's a warrior, of course. Johnny's challenging the Oilers' shots perfectly so far tonight.

7:46: Oilers back to full strength.

8:27: Letestu had Dubnyk flat on his stomach with an open net waiting for him, but the Pens center can't get it up and the Oilers goalie gets a glove on it.

8:49: Feeling for Edmonton blueliner Ladislav Smid right now. He just made two huge shot blocks that last shift. Did not look very enjoyable.

9:25: Pens' first PP unit tonight has consistently been Kunitz, Neal and TK with Letang and Sulivan on the points.

9:46: Oilers D-man Tom Gilbert just got two for hooking. Sully kept his legs moving and drew the penalty. Eighth penalty of the game. Let's do this...

13:19: Random observation. I love how the players have their numbers prominently displayed on the front of their helmets. Hugely helpful in determining identity.

15:15: RNH is released from his first-ever penalty in the big leagues. Oilers back to full strength.

17:15: RNH (or Bernard Nugent-Hopkins/Ted Nugent-Hopkins as Sam calls him) takes out Craig Adams at the blue line and goes off for tripping. Pens on the PP!

18:40: TK already has four shots tonight. He's a sneaky shooter.

20:00: Puck drops. Game on!



- Letang now has four points through three games, which leads the Pens and is second (tied) in the league
- He also leads the Pens with 9:08 minutes
- Park and Vitale are dominating on faceoffs. Both won 4 and lost just 1

0:00: That'll do it for a penalty-filled period. Letang's PP goal gives the Pens a 1-0 lead, while the Oilers have a 13-9 advantage in shots.

0:30: Oilers back to full strength. Dubnyk freezes the puck for the first time in a while.

2:31: And we've got ANOTHER penalty!! My former classmate at Michigan State, Jeff Petry, gets sent to the sin bin for interfering with Vitale. Pens on the PP now.

2:48: Pens back to full strength. Johnny is B'in good so far tonight. Looks super sharp. He's made 13 saves already this period.

4:12: Letestu is out and there's 1:29 left on Duper's minor.

4:47: And it looks like I'm going to keep blogging about penalties. Duper gets two for hooking. Oilers will have a 5-on-3 advantage for 31 seconds. A couple of big scoring chances for Ales Hemsky right before that happened. He actually drew the call on Duper.

6:16: Feels like all that I've blogged this period are penalties. Pens on their third PK of the night when Letestu gets whistled for cross-checking.

8:44: Pens asserting themselves physically out there this last minute or so. After Nealer blasted someone down in the offensive zone, Tanger sends Jordan Eberle flying with a big check.

9:34: The penalty expires with Johnny absorbing a blast from RNH to help his team improve to 2-for-2 on the PK tonight. That's saying a lot because the Oilers' PP is pretty sick with the talent they have in their forward lineup.

11:37: An the Pens are heading right back to the PK, with Lovejoy going to the box this time for cross-checking.

13:03: Pens back to full strength. Johnny had to come up with a few big saves on that PK. Nice work by No. 1.

15:02: Vitale gets whistled for holding RNH (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins), the first-overall pick in this summer's draft who's making his NHL debut tonight. Pens on the PK.

16:47: Kunitz doin' work and establishing that tenacious net-front presence as always, providing enough of a distraction in front of Dubnyk for Letang to find the back of the net from the point! Pens 1, Oilers 0

17:27: Ouch. Oilers get whistled for too many men on the ice. Linus Omark will take one for the team and serve the penalty. Pens on the PP!

18:04: Dubnyk has already had to freeze the puck a couple of times these past two minutes. Definitely an imposing netminder at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds.

20:00: And they're off! Crowd sounds rowdy at the Rexall Place tonight. Already starting "Let's Go Oilers" chants.


9:00 PM:
Malkin, Asham and Orpik are the official scratches. MacIntyre and Park are in. Here are the line combos:



Brent Johnson gets the call between the pipes. Devan Dubnyk starting in goal for Edmonton.

8:51 PM:
This just in: Evgeni Malkin will not play in tonight's game due to a lower-body injury. Head coach Dan Bylsma will update Geno's status after the game.

7:20 PM:
Bylsma said apart from Brent Johnson getting the nod between the pipes, the rest of his lineup will be a game-time decision, including whether Evgeni Malkin plays tonight. Malkin saw limited ice time in the third period of Saturday's game, with Bylsma saying after the game that Geno was "a little sore."

Here's the full transcript of coach's remarks:

On if Evgeni Malkin will play tonight:
Right now for the lineup, Brent Johnson will be going in and everything else will be game-time as far as we have some bumps and bruises. We’ll see how that shakes out after warmups.

On if Malkin is dealing with lingering effects from his knee injury:
It’s not the surgery of the knee. Evgeni is just sore. Bumps and bruises. A lot of hockey. It’s not due to the surgery of the knee.

On if anybody else is up in the air for tonight due to being bumped up:
There’s a couple banged-up guys, so we’ll see.

On Saturday’s game being chippy:
I think the pace and the rigors of the regular season, the amount of hockey we’ve played and the traveling we’ve done here – it’s a different level than training camp. We’re just a little banged up.

On if the proper calls were made for Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke:
I’ve had a chance to see the replay of Evgeni Malkin’s penalty and I think it’s tough to really actually see much of what really happens. Obviously the finish is high and we get an elbowing call, which is probably an appropriate call. As far as the hit, it’s tough to see what it really looked like from the angle that the TV provided. The other hit was a hard hit on a guy right in his chest. It’s a pretty hard hit. A pretty good hit, I think.

On if Matt Cooke will be a game-time decision:
I think Matt’s fine for the game, yeah.

On if it’s a no-brainer to give Johnson some work due to their busy schedule:
Absolutely. Given the travel and given the situation of three games in four nights, Johnny was going to play one of these games for sure. This is his chance to get in there and start the season.

7:00 PM:
Head coach Dan Bylsma is expected to address the media here shortly to provide some pregame updates. We'll have a full transcript and video up here as soon as he is finished.

6:30 PM:
Welcome to the third and final blog of the Penguins' season-opening trip to Western Canada! The Penguins have already spoiled two season/home openers for Western Conference opponents Vancouver and Calgary, and they're looking to finish it off by raining on Edmonton's parade tonight at Rexall Place as the Oilers open the 2011-12 campaign.

Because this is the second game in as many days for the Penguins, the team did not hold an official morning skate -- but some players chose to take the ice anyway. Those players were Sidney Crosby, Dustin Jeffrey, Richard Park, Brent Johnson, Steve MacIntyre and Brooks Orpik.

Pens captain Crosby spoke to the media before the game — and PensTV was on hand to capture it all:

Or if you'd rather watch as writer extraordinaire Sam Kasan gives you the deets on tonight's matchup, that's definitely encouraged!!!

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