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Pens-Thrashers In-Game Blog

by Tony Jovenitti / Pittsburgh Penguins

That's the end of the game! The Pens win it, 5-2, and tie the franchise record for most road victories! We'll wait to see the official stats to see if the PK finished first, as they went three for five on the night.

Comrie punches it into the empty net! That's his first goal as a Penguin! Penguins 5, Thrashers 2

Mason is out of the net!

Another great save by Johnny! Ladd ripped a wrister from the left circle, but Johnny flashed the glove on him!

Alexander Burmistrov sent a spinning shot toward Johnson. He made the save, but it landed right in the crease. Mark Letestu steered it away from danger where Johnny could cover it.


The penalty to Asham expires, thanks to Talbot blocking a shot and nearly scoring a shorty!

Ladd found the puck wide open in the slot, but his shot sailed wide.

Arron Asham is in the box now. Pens back on the PK.

WOW! What a save! Ron Hainsey sent a rocket from the circle, which Johnson blocked. The rebound went right to Anthony Stewart, but Johnny jumped over and got his body in front. Then Kane tried to punch in the rebound, but Johnson covered it!

Stapleton snagged a rebound and spun it past Johnson for the power-play goal. Penguins 4, Thrashers 2

Tangradi is in the box for tripping. Here's another opportunity for the PK.

The PK gets another successful kill!

Niskanen is in the box, so the Pens' PK will have another chance.

I just found this picture from Atlanta's practice facility last season. Flower had some fun with the video games.

Kane swooped around the net and sent a pass through the crease toward Stapleton. The Pens defense kept Stapleton from taking a shot.

Tim Stapleton just had a mini-breakaway, but Johnny shut the door when Stapleton tried to tuck in a shot five-hole.

Atlanta is back to full strength.

The final period of the regular season is underway!


- Officials actually took away Craig Adams' assist on Rupp's goal and gave it to Ben Lovejoy. That's Lovejoy's third assist of the night, a career-high.


- Comrie and Rupp both lead the Pens with three shots.
- Hits are even at 9-9.
- In addition to his goal, Rupp is winning 80 percent of his faceoffs (4-1).

That's the end of the second period. The Pens lead it, 4-1, but the Thrashers are still outshooting the Pens 23-17.

Letang got the puck all alone right at the center point. He ripped it at the net, but it sailed just over top of the crossbar.

Little was about to go on a breakaway, but he got tripped up by Pens defenders. He stuck with it and still got a decent shot off as he slid toward Johnson. There was no penalty on the play, and the Thrashers fans are not happy.

Johnny Oduya is in the box for high-sticking. Pens on the PK.

Letestu scores! He sent a shot from a tight agle right below the right circle. It bounced right off of Mason's skate and into the net. Penguins 4, Thrashers 1

Comrie got a breakaway, but he was pushed off of the puck before he could take a shot. He stuck with it, though, and took the puck around the net and nearly wrapped one past Mason.


Adams' assist on the goal gives him a four game point streak!

Rupp continued his offensive outburst! Godard sent a shot that went wide. It bounced off the boards, through the crease and right to Rupp's stick. He snapped it past a helpless Mason. Penguins 3, Thrashers 1

Ladd had a breakaway up the left side, but Johnson robbed him as he snapped a wrister from bottom of the circle.

Engelland just ripped two nice shots from the point, but Mason made the save both times.

And the Pens take the lead! Talbot sent the puck through the slot to the left side right to Dupuis' wheelhouse. Duper punched it past Mason and into the twine. Penguins 2, Thrashers 1

A funny scene just played out. Little and Kane were both offsides, so they skated back toward the blue line to try to get onside, but they ran into each other and both fell down.

The Pens are getting some great chances. Tangradi, Comrie and Kovalev all got some nice looks.


And the Pens tie it up! Tyler Kennedy ripped a shot from the right circle past a screened Mason. Tangradi set a great screen right in front of Mason to clear a path for the goal. Penguins 1, Thrashers 1

Evander Kane nearly got a shorthanded goal as he deked around a few Pens. But Johnson settled things down by freezing the puck.

Blake Wheeler just sent Michalek into the boards, and he'll go to the box. The Pens are on the power play.

As the Pens put on some pressure, the Pens fans in attendance made themselves known with a nice "Let's Go Pens!" chant.

Ben Maxwell tried to re-direct a shot from the doorstep, but Johnson made the save!

Z just saved the day! He blocked two shots in front of Johnson. On the second one, Johnson was out of position, but Michalek scooped the puck out of danger with his glove.

The second period has begun!



- Comrie leads the Pens withs two shots.
- Adams has dished out two hits.
- Michalek leads the team with 8:42 of ice time.

Johnson made a nice blocker save on Byfuglien right as the horn sounded. The Pens head into the first intermission down 1-0, and Atlanta is outshooting the Pens 12-9.

Thorburn found the puck while racing down the slot and steered it toward the net, but Johnson kicked it aside.


Asham ripped a shot from the circle. Mason made the original save, but the juicy rebound went right to Godard on the doorstep. Godard took a swing at the puck, but the chaos in the crease caused it to sail just wide.

The Thrashers are back to full strength.

Letang skated toward the crease and sent a wrister at the net, but Mason froze the puck.

Andrey Zubarev took a tripping call, and the Pens will go on the PK.

Comrie took a spinning shot from the slot. It was a great look at the net, but Mason made the save.


Dustin Byfuglien ripped his trademarked rocket from the point, but Johnny gloved it down!

Kovalev led a rush up the right side, and set a pass through the slot to Tangradi. But the Thrashers defenseman did a good job of lifting Tangradi's stick so he couldn't get the shot off.

Talbot is out of the box. Pens are back to full strength.

Bryan Little sent a pass through the crease which found Andrew Ladd on the far side. Ladd sent the puck into an open net as Johnson didn't have enough time to get across the crease. Thrashers 1, Penguins 0

Talbot is sent to the box for slashing, so the Pens will have to kill 1:51 of five-on-three.

The Pens PK will get an early test, as Godard is in the box.

Rupp sent a sharp-angled shot from the low left side that nearly sneaked past Mason.

In his first game back since a concussion, Tangradi ripped a long shot from the point that Thrasher's goalie Chris Mason gloved down.

The opening puck is dropped for the last time in 2010-11 regular season!


3:02 PM: The Pens may not be able to move up or down in the standings today, but Pittsburgh still has plenty to play for. A win today would tie a franchise record for most road victories (24, set in 1992-93). And the penalty kill has a chance to finish in first place for the first time in franchise history. The Pens' PK currently has an 86.5 percent success rate, which is 0.9 percent ahead of second place Washington and Vancouver, who both have PKs at 85.6 percent.

3:00 PM: The Pens' lines are looking a little different than usual..



Johnny will man the crease, while Paul Martin will sit out.

2:50 PM: Head coach Dan Bylsma talked to the media today and gave a few updates. Brent Johnson will be in goal today, while Jordan Staal, James Neal and Chris Kunitz will be out. Chris Conner, Mike Comrie, Eric Tangradi, and Eric Godard will be in the lineup.

Here's his full transcript:

On how the team is approaching the game against Atlanta:

There are a number of things that we’ll talk about and we’d like to get out of our power play. It’s something we like to keep focusing on. We think we’ve been much better the last four games. We scored in our last two. We’d like to keep that going forward with some of the things we’ve changed there with our mentality of attacking and shooting with guys at the net. On the PK, I know our PKers still have something to play for. So they’ll be going hard. The details of our game are things we want to focus on in terms of playing the right way. I think if it turns into a “just get through it” mentality, you kind of lose focus and you get frustrated with what happens on the ice. So it’s some of the details of our game and not just going out and playing chance for chance with the Thrashers.

On how he adjusts his lineup:
Brent Johnson will be playing in goal. Jordan Staal and James Neal will not be playing tonight. Chris Conner, Mike Comrie and Eric Tangradi will be going in to round out our lineup today.
On if Neal would have played if the stakes were higher:
It wasn’t even considered whether he had a shot or not, it was a regular season game with the playoffs starting in a matter of days.

On if he has optimism for Neal playing in Game 1 of the playoffs:
I do.

On earning the No. 4 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs:

Winning the division, I think we would have liked, and saying we were the second seed. But we did get home-ice, which is important and I think at the beginning of the season if you would have said we’d finish with 104 or 106 points, I think we would have taken that and considered it a good year. We would have liked to get the second seed and we certainly watched last night’s game hoping the Islanders would come out with a victory, but it didn’t happen. We put ourselves in a good position to get the fourth seed and get home-ice. We’ve also gone 7-3 in our last 10 games and played some good hockey. So at this point in the season we’re not going to be disappointed because Philly won last night and closed out the division title for themselves.

On Tampa Bay:
I watched a little bit of the Tampa Bay game, and we’ve scouted them five other times prior to last night’s game. So we have a fairly good feel for that situation. They’re an interesting team, they have real good skill. They have some skill players, some dangerous players. The power play is a factor for their team. With Roloson, their goaltending has changed over the last half of the season, so that’s a little bit different. It’s an interesting dynamic, they play a fast game, they’re really good in and around the net, they try to get there and be factors, and they play quick defensively. We’ve played them four times, and we’ve had some success against them. They beat us twice in their building and we beat them twice at home, so that’s a couple different storylines about the game. I think it will be a real hard-fought and real interesting series.

2:45 PM: Greetings and welcome to a clown-infested CONSOL Energy Center (Seriously, there are clowns everywhere in this building right now). Michelle Crechiolo is in sunny Atlanta for today's game, but those of us in Pittsburgh aren't jealous. We have our first hot day in the 'Burgh, which means that the playoffs are right around the corner.

Philadelphia clinched the Atlantic Division title last night by defeating the New York Islanders, so that means that the Penguins will face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs. But first...

The Pens went down to Georgia, they were looking for two points to steal.

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