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Pens-Panthers In-Game Blog

by Tony Jovenitti / Pittsburgh Penguins

Pens win 2-1!

- Kris Letang is up first, and he tried to go five-hole, but hit Clemmensen's pads.
- Santorelli came in hard at Fleury, but he made an INCREDIBLE poke-check save!
- Kovalev is up next, and he deked backhand to forehand, hit the post and it went in! Pens have the advantage!
- Bergfors got stonewalled by Fleury!
- Neal's up next, and he blasted a shot past Clemmensen to win the game!


0:00: And once again, we're headed to a shootout. It seems like we've done this before.

Staal had some time and space to tee up a shot, but Clemmensen scooped up the puck!

Weiss was streaking down the left side and sent a rocket towards Fleury, but Flower made the save!

Orpik tried to sneak a puck around the net past Clemmensen, but the fresh goalie did a nice job of extending this game.

Peculiarly, the Panthers have changed goalies! Scott Clemmensen is in net for Florida.


And for the fourth-straight game, the Penguins are headed to overtime. The Panthers are outshooting the Pens 36-24.

Booth tried a tight-angled shot with the clock winding down, but Fleury stood tall.

After an icing call on Florida, the Panthers called a timeout.

Dupuis had a mini-breakaway, but his shot sailed just wide!

Kennedy tried to bury the puck from the side of the cage, but Vokoun hugged the post tight and froze the puck.

Craig Adams sent a shot toward Vokoun from the right circle. Vokoun had trouble with the rebound, but the Pens couldn't capitalize.


We're back to even strength.

The post hasn't been kind to the Pens today. Neal's shot through traffic bounced off the iron!

And now the Pens are heading to the power play as Booth hooks Niskanen!

8:18: The Panthers get a 3-on-1 opportunity, but Kunitz backchecks hard and lays his body on the ice to block the shot. Florida recovers the rebound and gets a couple of cracks on Fleury, but he makes the saves.

11:07: Niskanen sent a slap shot into the crease from the left point, and Comrie couldn't quite corral the puck for a rebound chance.


The Pens did a great job killing the penalty, thanks to a combination of shot blocking, Letang's defense in front of the net, and - of course - Flower's overall awesomeness.

The Pens will go on the PK, as Kovalev is in the box for hooking.

Kennedy just got two nice chances! Kris Letang led a rush up the ice and dished a pass to Kennedy, who ripped a shot from the right circle. Vokoun made the save, but the shot bounced off the glass and over into the slot. Kennedy's second chance rang off the post! 

Jordan Staal worked around several defenders to get the puck to the crease. Chris Kunitz had a great chance on the doorstep, but the Panthers did a good job of denying him the shot.



Brad Thiessen is backing up Fleury this afternoon (left); Craig Adams (right)

- Despite missing some time, Maxime Talbot leads the Pens with two shots.
- Orpik has now dished out four hits.
- Asham and Letang lead the team with two blocks each.

0:00: That's the end of the second period, as the Pens and Panthers are all knotted up, 1-1. The Panthers are still outshooting the Pens 24-13.

Fleury isn't rattled! After a turnover, Niclas Bergfors had a chance on the doorstep, but Fleury made the initial save. Stephen Weiss swooped in for the rebound chance, but Flower got his glove on it to keep this game tied.

And the Penguins strike back! Ben Lovejoy found the puck on the low right side. He switched to his forehand and roofed a shot past Vokoun. That's Lovejoy's third-career goal, and his first came against none other than the Florida Panthers. Penguins 1, Panthers 1

Regardless of that last goal, Marc-Andre Fleury just broke the Penguins shutout streak by going 150:14 without allowing a goal. The last goal he gave up was a Mike Richards goal late in the first period of Thursday's 2-1 shootout win in Philly.

And I apologize for jinxing it. Ryan Carter just deflected a shot from Sulzer that bounced through traffic and into the net. Panthers 1, Penguins 0

Steve Bernier took a slapper from the right side, and once again Flower made the save. Fleury's on an unprecedented streak right now. Details at the break.

The Panthers just had two great chances with cross-crease passes, but neither connected with a stick for a shot.


Talbot's back on the ice, and he just had a breakaway chance! Vokoun made the save as Talbot made a few nice stickhandling moves.

We're back to even strength.

The Penguins led a three-on-two rush, where Niskanen ripped a slapper that Vokoun kicked to the corner. But Ryan Carter took a cross-checking penalty on the play. The Penguins are on the Powerball Power Play!


Mike Santorelli received a pass in the crease, and tried to re-direct it into the cage, but Fleury got his toe over just in time.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation holds a charity auction at every game.

Alexander Sulzer got a wrister through traffic, but Fleury gloved it down.

The Penguins are bringing the pressure to start this period, as they have had a few nice chances in the crease.

Maxime Talbot went hard into the boards and had to be helped down the runway.

Puck = dropped.


Brooks Orpik took nine shifts for a total of 5:56 of ice time and registered one hit.
- The Pens' five shots are evenly distributed between Michalek, Staal, Talbot, Kennedy and Kovalev.
- Michalek leads the Pens with 8:13 of ice time.

Chris Conner has taken over the puck-retrieval duties during warmups (left); a bird's-eye view (right)

Arron Asham (left); there's no shortage of signs on the boards (right)

That's the end of the first period! We're still scoreless here, and the Panthers are outshooting the Penguins 11-5.

James Neal got tripped up at the blue line, which led to a three-on-one for the Panthers. Michalek was the only Penguin defender on the backcheck, but he managed to wreak enough havoc so that the Panthers messed up a pass and couldn't get a shot off.

Michalek just barely overshot a home run pass to Mike Comrie, who had beat the Panthers defense and had a clear path up the ice.

We're back to even strength.

Niskanen's out of the box.

With the four-on-four winding down, Chris Conner grabbed his own rebound in the slot and nearly beat Vokoun top-shelf, but it bounced to the corner.

Mike Comrie (left) is playing his second game since returning from IR; Max Talbot (right)

The Panthers' power-play was short-lived as Repik will head to the box to serve a too-many men on the ice penalty. It's four-on-four for 1:11.

The Penguins will head to the PK, as Matt Niskanen will sit in the sin bin for hooking.

What a save by Fleury! The Panthers had a two-on-one, and Patrick Rissmiller shook the defenseman to get a pass through to Repik on the right side. Repik had a beautiful chance on Fleury, but the Penguins' MVP stoned him from point-blank range!

Garrison ripped a shot as he was breaking down the left side. It flubbed through the air, but Fleury managed to get a glove on it. The Panthers almost got the rebound, but the Pens' defense sent it the other way, and Zbynek Michalek got a nice shot on Vokoun.

Off of a Panthers turnover, Tyler Kennedy took a long slap shot, which deflected off of Vokoun's stick and into the netting.

The Panthers may have been eliminated from postseason contention, but they're not giving up. Florida has come out of the gates strong.

Darcy Hordichuk had two great chances on the doorstep, but Fleury brilliantly made the pad save. Hordichuk managed to poke the puck back into the crease, but Flower covered it for the first whistle of the game.

Jason Garrison took a slapper from the left point, which Fleury kicked out to his right. The Panthers almost had a juicy rebound, but Paul Martin kept the puck out of danger.

And Brooks Orpik just delivered his first big hit of the game, as he checked Michal Repik into the boards.

David Booth took a sharp-angled shot, which Fleury kept out of the net. Yet, nobody was quite sure where the puck was, until it squirted out toward the boards.

"It's A Great Day for Hockey!"


1:09 PM: Fleury is in net for the Pens, while Engelland, Letestu, Jeffrey, Tangradi, Godard and Brent Johnson are scratched. Tomas Vokoun is in net for Florida.

1:00 PM: It's time for the team awards ceremony!

Mike Rupp won the Baz Bastien Memorial "Good Guy" Award, which is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

The NHL Masterton Nominee is Deryk Engelland!

Marc- Andre Fleury won the A.T. Coggiano Memorial Booster Club Award, and he received a healthy roar from the crowd!

The Rookie of the Year award goes to Mark Letestu, who is not in uniform today, but he received a nice cheer anyway. 

The winner of the Player's Player Award is Brooks Orpik!

The Edward J. DeBartolo "Community Service" Award is a tie between Maxime Talbot and Mike Rupp!

And it's already quite a return for Brooks Orpik, as he took home the Defensive Player of the Year Award!

And the Pittsburgh Penguins' Most Valuable Player Award goes to....drumroll....(during the suspense, the crowd chanted "Fleury! Fleury!)...and the crowd was right! Fleury is this year's MVP!

Click here for a full list of awards and more details.

12:38 PM: The Penguins and Panthers have taken the ice for warm-ups. Brooks Orpik is wearing the "A" once again, joining the two other alternate captains, Jordan Staal and Chris Kunitz.

11:28 AM:
We need to give a shoutout to all of our Penguins Cup champions. All three Pittsburgh-area champions (Mars, Bishop Canevin and Upper St. Clair) defeated their Flyers Cup counterparts in the state championships in Philadelphia yesterday. It's been a great week for all forms of Penguins against the Flyers. Hopefully, the Pens can keep it going Tuesday night when the Flyers come to town.

11:10 AM: Head coach Dan Bylsma just chatted with the media. We'll get you a full transcript shortly See below for Bylsma's words of wisdom. Bylsma said that Orpik will be paried with Kris Letang, while Deryk Engelland will be scratched. Also, he's impressed with Crosby's progress, but there is still no timetable whatsoever.

Coachspeak with Dan Bylsma...

On if he was here early enough to see Crosby skate longer than normal:
I was here. I was on the ice. I left before he got finished. So he tired me out.

On his observations:
I was pretty impressed by the video the other day.

On if he expects Crosby to get clearance to practice soon:
That conversation has not been broached, and I don’t have expectations for it right now. Obviously, I’m encouraged to watch him on the ice and watch him skate and go through the paces that he’s going through, so those are encouraging signs to see him to be able to do that.

On if he has to temper any optimism for himself or his players:
Sid’s been around a lot for three weeks, four weeks, being a part of it. He’s in every day, he’s talking to our players. So he has been with our team for a while now. And again, there’s been no expectations talked about, there’s been no timetable talked about when it’s possible for him to even return with the team. Whatever optimism there is, it’s maybe been created by the buzz by the media.

On if Crosby is optimistic:
He is talking with the doctors and having those conversations with them. The doctors are controlling his workout schedule, and I don’t even know how long he went on the ice today. That’s something (that), if he is, he’s talking with the doctors about (it) and talking with them, not our training staff and not me.

On how comfortable his team is playing close games:
I think our team has developed that. It wasn’t necessarily that way in the first 15 games of the season. There were some times where we let leads slip and came unraveled – like the Boston game, more than once. I think we’ve developed that. It’s part of our identity as a team, we know we can play in these types of games. We want the games to be like that, we know they’re going to being like that and we anticipate them being like that. And we’re comfortable playing those types of games. A lot of it is our penalty kill, a lot of it’s our defense and a lot of it’s our goaltending. But we know that the game is going to be that way and we’re comfortable in those situations, and we’ve been able to find ways to be successful amongst those tight games against the clock and against good teams.

10:44 AM: The Penguins take on the revamped Florida Panthers today, but before the puck drops, there are several exciting things happening. First, Sidney Crosby skated for about 45 minutes this morning. Second, Brooks Orpik will return to the Pens lineup after missing about a month with a broken finger.

Also, today the Penguins will be giving out the team awards prior to faceoff. We'll keep you informed on who won which awards and whether they gave an acceptance speech or if the organist played a song to force them off the ice.

10:30 AM:
Playoffs!? You wanna talk about playoffs!?

With Carolina’s 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay last night, the Penguins officially clinched a berth in the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs!

I’d hate to steal a page from Sam Kasan’s “Book of Blogging,” but this occasion calls for a song. I could have searched near and far for the perfect music video to accompany the Penguins’ fifth-straight playoff appearance, but I could never elegantly dissect a song like Sam, and we have the perfect video right here thanks to our friends over at PensTV, appropriately titled “A Great Day for Hockey.”

This montage is from the 2008-09 season, and it features the classic song “What A Wonderful World” as covered by Pittsburgh’s own The Clarks. Not only should this video stir up some fond memories, as it was the team’s anthem throughout their long 2009 playoff run to win the franchise’s third Stanley Cup, but you’ll also notice a few other things.

First, the video features some highlights from the Penguins' first Winter Classic in Buffalo, which foreshadowed the awesome primetime game that was held at Heinz Field this year. Second, the video ends with some great clips from the Pens-Flyers rivalry, which should get you pumped up for Tuesday night’s game. And finally, there are some nifty premonitions about CONSOL Energy Center, including Mario Lemieux’s announcement that the Penguins will remain in Pittsburgh and the groundbreaking ceremony for this spiffy new arena we now call home. Enjoy!

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