PENS 4, PANTHERS 1
That'll do it! Pens snap their six-game losing streak with a feel-good 4-1 win over Florida!!! 4:17:
Kunitz banks a pass from his own zone off the boards to Neal, who carries in with Malkin trailing behind him but No. 18 opts to shoot. Good life decision as the puck tickles the twine for the score! PENS 4, PANTHERS 17:03:
Scary good shift there for Florida's top line -- capped off by Fleischmann having a wide open on the back door, but somehow fanning on the shot. Actually, give credit to Park for hounding him just enough to make him miss.9:29:
Weiss tries to bank one from behind the goal line much like Malkin did minutes earlier, but Fleury is able to smother it for the whistle. Not much else to report these last few minutes.13:05:
Garrison tees one off from the point that Repik beautifully re-directs from the side of the cage. PENS 3, PANTHERS 116:12:
Panthers successfully thwart that Pens PP as Repik is released from the box.18:21:
And now the Pens get their 4th PP of the night as Repik goes off for interference.19:24:
Orpik hounds Weiss behind the net, who loses both an edge and the puck and subsequently allows the Pens to transition into a 4-on-2 rush! And in a tic-tac-toe passing play, it goes Dupuis to Orpik to Kennedy, who slams it home! PENS 3, PANTHERS 020:00:
Puck drops to start the third...let's do this!
- Neal now has 7 shots (plus 2 posts) through 2 periods
- He also ranks 2nd on the team with 16:14 minutes of ice time
- Pens are 12-0-2 on the season when leading after 2 periods
Great way to end the period as Geno ups the Pens' lead to 2-0 (Sully got the other goal). Shots 32-17 in favor of Pittsburgh.0:34
: Malkin swoops low into his zone to collect a loose puck and is off on a 2-on-1 with Kunitz! He rips a slapper at Clemmensen and the rebound pops behind the net. Geno turns and sweeps it back to the cage from behind the goal line and it goes off the Panthers goalie and in! 34.8 seconds left! PENS 2, PANTHERS 03:49:
Fleury stones a wide-open Weiss on the doorstep, turns aside a Garrison blast from the circle then saves a Versteeg chance on the other doorstep! A series of big saves by the Flower!8:48:
Panthers back to full strength. Pens PP is looking good but I think they could use a little more traffic in front. Just my opinion.10:48:
Weiss tries to hit Park but instead clips him knee-on-knee and the Pens are back to the PP. First unit of Malkin, Neal, Kunitz, Sullivan and Niskanen doing work.12:17:
Panthers with some scary sustained pressure this last shift. They had the Pens hemmed in their own zone and appeared to have an open net with Fleury down just seconds ago, but Florida was whistled for a high stick. Break for the Pens.15:13:
We've got another bout, this time with youngsters Tangradi (22) and Erik Gudbranson (20)! They're both big young men, as Tangradi is 6-foot-4, 221 pounds and his opponent is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, but this one goes as quickly as the first one did.18:11:
Clemmensen goes to play the puck behind the net but mishandles it -- right to Matt Cooke
! Cooke astutely throws a pass to the front of the net, right to linemate Steve Sullivan
-- who has a wide-open net. He doesn't miss. PENS 1, PANTHERS 0 (<-- That felt so good to type!)20:00:
Puck drops to start the second. Game on!!!
- Neal hit both posts (Geno clanked one off as well) and Kunitz hit the crossbar in that period
- Overall, Neal leads with 4 shots and 2 missed attempts (the posts)
- Tangradi and Adams each have four hits
That'll do it for a scoreless first. Pens pressing hard as they have a 18-6 advantage in shots and a 6-1 lead in scoring chances.1:42:
Kunitz blocks a shot in his own zone and the end result is a breakaway! He uses his patented shootout move but his shot rolls off Clemmensen -- yep, you guessed it -- the post (this time the crossbar)!!!4:21:
I don't know how the Pens didn't score on that power play!!! The top unit got great opportunities but missed the net more than they'd like. Regardless, they're sieging hard and are outshooting Florida 14-3. Baby steps.6:21:
Immediately after getting back to full strength, Florida heads right back to the PK as Versteeg goes for slashing. That's a good thing because Neal hit both posts on the last PP opportunity! Clemmensen better be thanking both the red painted metal and the hockey gods.8:27:
Now it's Pittsburgh's turn to head to the PP as Weiss trips up Neal in the O-zone!11:57:
Big kill for the Pens there, which included a huge stop by Fleury on Jason Garrison's blast from the point with 14 seconds left! (Note: He leads all NHL blueliners with 11 goals, 7 of those coming on the PP. All of his goals have come on slapshots from the point and the Panthers are 8-1-2 when he notches a goal).13:57:
And Cookie breaks free for a shorthanded breakaway, but can't convert!!! Clemmensen got a piece of it with his blocker arm.14:20:
Dupuis' stick gets tangled in Tomas Kopecky's equipment and the Pens forward will go to the box for tripping. Panthers to the PP.15:21:
And we've got a bout! Asham and Krystopher Barch drop the gloves in the Pens zone. Neither combatant can gain much momentum, though, and the fight ends relatively quickly.17:00:
Yikes. Real good opportunity for Florida's top line of Versteeg-Weiss-Fleischmann. The play actually started with D-man Campbell gaining entry into the zone, as the Panthers like to get their blueliners involved in the attack.18:06:
Really strong shift by the Pens' third line of Cooke-Park-Sullivan. They swarmed the cage and had the Panthers scrambling around their own net.20:00:
Puck drops to start the first...here we go!
Pens scratch Vitale. Official lines:
Fleury in goal. Clemmensen in net for Florida.
Wow. What a day. And I mean that in a good way.
The Pens players came together this morning in an incredible show of support for their captain Sidney Crosby
when they hit the ice for their game day skate wearing homemade “C”s on their chests. The move was a response to an article written by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
, which stated: “a group of players held a 45-minute meeting to discuss a temporary captaincy.”
In addition, Crosby himself hit the ice for the first time since being sidelined by concussion-like symptoms in early December. He spoke to the media for the first time since being out, talking for nearly nine minutes and addressing everything that needed to be addressed.
Pens website writer Sam Kasan is with the team on their trip and has all of the coverage you could possibly want on the day’s events, which can be found in today’s Pens Report
. Please go and check it out; you won’t be disappointed. I promise.
I started playing hockey when I was four years old, so I’ve been involved in the sport for most of my life and have been working in the NHL for the past two years (this is my third season). Granted, I know I’m very young, but I’ve seen a decent amount in that time. And to be quite honest, I’ve never seen a gesture from a professional hockey team like the one I saw today from the Penguins. I got chills going up and down my spine and a feeling of general giddiness washed over me as I watched the events unfold. And I won’t even lie; I’m wearing a Crosby shirt I bought last year from PensGear that has a “C” in the top left corner in honor of the revolution started by our amazing fans
But we can’t forget there’s still a game to be played tonight. Because despite all of the good feelings that came out of the BankAtlantic Center this morning, the cold hard truth is that the Pens are mired in a six-game losing streak and need to turn it around. We can only hope that today brought the team closer together than ever before and gave them just what they needed to get the “W” tonight.
Let’s start the blog with the team’s playoffs song from last year.