FINAL SCORE: Nashville 4, Pittsburgh 3 in a shootout.
The Penguins pick up a point in the standings and they will trail the New Jersey Devils by one point in the race for the Atlantic Division crown heading into the Olympic break. Pittsburgh will next be in action on March 2 when they host the Northeast Division-leading Buffalo Sabres at Mellon Arena for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. Enjoy Valentine's Day and the Olympic break!
SECOND NASHVILLE ATTEMPT:
Martin Erat goes to the backhand and slides a shot under Fleury to secure the extra point for the Predators.
SECOND PITTSBURGH ATTEMPT: Sidney Crosby
shoots the puck into the five-hole of Ellis.
FIRST NASHVILLE ATTEMPT: Cal O'Reilly
skates in and beats Fleury under the blocker.
FIRST PITTSBURGH ATTEMPT: Kris Letang
goes to a forehand move and Ellis makes the glove save.
Neither team scores in the overtime session and the game heads to a shootout. Pittsburgh is a perfect 7-0 in shootouts this season while Nashville is 4-3.
Pittsburgh continues to apply pressure as Ellis keeps his pads along the near post to deny a drive to the cage by Kunitz and Kennedy's rebound.
Ellis saves the day not once but twice by stopping an initial shot by Crosby and the rebound chance from Guerin at the top of the crease. Klein's penalty expired as the Penguins were dominating puck possession in the Predators zone.
Staal's speed and strength forces Klein to take a holding penalty as Staal would've had a breakaway had the penalty not been taken.
Ellis makes the first save of overtime with a glove stop on Malkin.
The extra session begins and Malkin skates on five seconds into the period.OVERTIME
Nashville will have five seconds to work with on the Malkin power play as the overtime session begins.
Staal fires the biscuit the length of the ice to kill more time.
Thus far the Penguins have done a great job keeping the Predators to the outside and limiting their chances.
Another penalty to the Penguins as Malkin is sent off for interference. Nashville will be on the power play for the remainder of regulation.
Kunitz rips a shot off the mask of Ellis as the Penguins come that close from taking the lead late in regulation.
The Penguins penalty kill does it again. They kill off the Orpik penalty as the score remains 3-3.
Pittsburgh will need another huge penalty kill as Orpik is off for high-sticking.
The Penguins allow Shea Weber an open look from the center point and the Canadian Olympian fires a one-timer through the legs of Fleury to knot the score off a Goc feed. Penguins 3, Predators 3.
Let's go around the NHL:
Pittsburgh falls to 1-for-3 on the man-advantage as the Predators kill the Suter penalty.
With just three seconds remaining on the Dupuis penalty Nashville's Ryan Suter takes a roughing minor.
12:22: Marc-Andre Fleury
continues to steal the show as he uses the catching mitt to snarl a Steve Sullivan
blast from the high slot.
Nashville will go on their fifth power play with Dupuis sent to the box for holding one of the Predators.
"USA! USA! USA!" That's what they are chanting at Mellon Arena as Brooks Orpik
gets his first goal of the season on a one-timer following a faceoff win to once again give the Penguins a 3-2 lead. Crosby won the puck back to Letang at the left point and he set Orpik up for the shot. Penguins 3, Predators 2.
Ellis stops a wraparound chance by Malkin and then catches the follow-up shot by Letang.
More Valentine's Day love for the Penguins.
Ellis stacks the pads together to stop a wrist shot from Mike Rupp at the bottom of the left circle and a rebound attempt by Dupuis.
Fleury once again flashes his glove to deny a Joel Ward backhander from the slot.20:00:
Twenty minutes remain before the Penguins take a two-week hiatus for the Olympic break.THIRD PERIOD
Penguins assistant coach Tony Granato and anthem singer Sarah Marince each show their Valentine's Day pride by wearing pink.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Jordan Staal
leads the Penguins with four shots.
- Brooks Orpik
has four hits.
- Alex Goligoski has a team-high two blocked shots.
After some early-period scoring exploits we have a 2-2 game through 40 minutes of action. Each team has registered 19 shots.
Great job by Nashville of giving the Penguins only one shot during that power play.
Francis Bouillon is sent to the box for interference as the Penguins control the puck in the Nashville zone for 66 seconds following the penalty call. Pittsburgh moved the puck around the perimeter and generated several great chances during the sequence.
Staal promptly rings a shot off the post to the right of Ellis on a chance from the far circle.
Staal's back and the Penguins kill off both minors.
Fleury corrals a slap shot from Jason Arnott as the first penalty to Crosby expires.
What a play by Craig Adams
to step in front of a one-timer off the blade of Shea Weber, who has one of the hardest shots inthe game, and then stay with the puck and ice it the length of the rink.
Boo birds are reigning loudly as Staal is penalized for tripping, giving the Predators 1:08 to work with a two-man advantage.
Nashville goes on the man-advantage for the third time in the second period as Crosby is sent off for slashing.
Perfect one-on-one defense my Orpik as he stays with Erat, knocks the puck away and then drops the Predators winger to the ice.
The Valentine's Day theme is everywhere this afternoon at Mellon Arena.
"Fleury! Fleury! Fleury!" That's the sounds being heard throughout Mellon Arena as the Penguins netminder nearly does a full split to make a pad save on David Legwand's one-timer during a two-on-one with rookie Colin Wilson. What a save!!
Today's Nemacolin Woodlands Big Five features the five Penguins - Canada's Sidney Crosby
and Marc-Andre Fleury
, Russia's Evgeni Malkin
and Sergei Gonchar and the United States Brooks Orpik
- who will represent their countries at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver beginning on Tuesday:
Kunitz sprints back into the Penguins zone as they kill off the minor penalty.
You can't say enough about the penalty killing effort from Staal and Dupuis the past coule nights. They are clearing their own zone and then keeping the puck trapped in the opposition end for extended stretches to take valuable time off the clock.
The referees aren't feeling any love from the paid partisans at Mellon Arena as Chris Kunitz
is given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for knocking Martin Erat to the ice after the play.
A track meet has broken out here at the Igloo as Jordin Tootoo beats Fleury from a sharp angle along the goal line in the near corner as two Penguins collide and turn the puck over. Penguins 2, Predators 2.
Staal uses his patented power move to blow by Kevin Klein during a delayed penalty call but Ellis stops his wrist shot. Cooke crashes the net and jams home the rebound for his 12th goal of the season. Penguins 2, Predators 1.
Both teams are now 1-for-1 on the man-advantage as Martin Erat fires a wrist shot from the near circle through the legs of Fleury. Penguins 1, Predators 1
Nashville begins the period on a power play as Guerin serves the Malkin minor. SECOND PERIOD
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Following the period Evgeni Malkin
was given a double-minor for roughing and Dan Hamhuis was given two minutes for roughing.
- The Penguins outhit the Predators, 13-9.
- Kris Letang
led the Penguins with 7:16 of ice time.
The Penguins lead, 1-0, following the opening period as Malkin and the Predators Dan Hamhuis exchange a couple blows after the whistle. Pittsburgh is also dominating the shots, 11-4.
Pittsburgh comes within inches again of stretching that lead as Brooks Orpik
's re-direct of a Malkin pass sails just over the cage.
Ellis sort of gets lucky as a quick shot from the slot by Jay McKee lands in his glove when it apeared the Penguins would be going up 2-0.
5:17: Sidney Crosby
es en fuego! His third goal in the past two games and 42nd of the season opens the scoring. Crosby played catch with Sergei Gonchar before one-timing a laser past the glove of Ellis. Evgeni Malkin
extends his scoring streak to 13 games with the second assist. Penguins 1, Predators 0.
We get our first penalty of the contest as Nashville's Ryan Jones goes off for high-sticking.
Watch Travis, today's Trib Junior Reporter, interview Chris Kunitz
. These kids are so cute!!!
Staal is stoned by the right pad of Rinne from just outside the crease on a pretty setup by Pascal Dupuis
The crowd loves seeing Crosby drill Steve Sullivan
against the boards behind the Penguins net.
Pittsburgh doesn't play Nashville often, but they did pick up a victory during the Predators' last visit to Mellon Arena:
Dan Ellis makes his first tough save of the game on a slap shot by Kennedy from the top of the right circle.
The Pegnuins will be using Jordan Staal
at center on the second line with Evgeni Malkin
shifting over to right wing. Mark Letestu takes the middle between Tyler Kennedy
and Matt Cooke
Happy Valentine's Day to all as this afternoon matinee begins.
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
Since Dec. 18, only Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby
and Patrick Marleau have scored more goals than Nashville's Patric Hornqvist (17).
1:02 PM: Marc-Andre Fleury
once again gets the call between the pipes for the Penguins, while Dan Ellis will oppose him at the opposite end for Nashville. Pittsburgh scratches include Maxime Talbot, Eric Godard and Martin Skoula. Wade Belak and Jerred Smithson are out for Nashville.
The Penguins host the Nashville Predators in the final game before the Olympic break. This will be the only matchup between the two teams this season. A Pittsburgh victory will tie them with the New Jersey Devils for first place in the Atlantic Division heading into the break, setting the stage for an exciting finish to the stretch run when the season resumes on March 2.
Author: Jason Seidling