The game comes to a close as Afinogenov and Staal exchange punches after the whistle. Pittsburgh holds on for the 3-2 victory. The Penguins conclude this three-game road swing on Monday night in Florida. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m.
On a rush into the Penguins zone Afinogenov one-touches a pass from Nik Antropov behind Fleury. Peverley gets the second assist. Penguins 3, Thrashers 2.
Atlanta uses their timeout.
Hedberg is on the bench in favor of a sixth attacker.
A bouncing puck comes to Little at the bottom of the left circle, but Fleury is there to stand tall and make the save.
Dupuis and Malkin nearly team up again as Hedberg continues to keep the Thrashers in the game with timely saves.
Off a turnover Dupuis hits Malkin in the slot but his shot hits iron behind Hedberg and deflects into the netting.
More pictures from the CNN Center in Atlanta:
Atlanta kills the four-minute double minor to Kovalchuk.
Former Penguin Chris Thorburn scores a shorthanded goal against Fleury off a great pass from Bogosian just seconds after Thorburn should have been penalized for slashing the stick of Malkin at the other end. Penguins 3, Thrashers 1.
Hedberg flies across the crease to his left to make a save on Bourque's one-timer.
Skoula is on the power play as the Penguins look to get him the hat trick.
Kovalchuk shows his frustrations, dropping the gloves and getting beat in a fight with Cooke.
Kovalchuk gets four extra penalty minutes and a misconduct penalty to go with the matching fighting majors.
Fleury moves quickly from left to right to make an arm save of Afinogenov.
The Penguins once again demonstrate how they take care of their fans, allowing Season Ticket Holders the chance to come to Mellon Arena to take Christmas pictures:
14:40: Pascal Dupuis
fans on a shot from the slot with an open net staring at him on the rebound of a Fedotenko shot.
Fleury stops Pavel Kubina's shot with a sparkling toe save.
Atlanta appears to have better jump in this final period as they try to get on the board.
Fleury made a nice pokecheck on Little in the slot.
The Penguins look to hold onto their 3-0 lead and end a four-game losing streak on the road.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES:
- Bill Guerin has five shots through two periods.
- Matt Cooke
has three of the Penguins eight blocked shots.
- Sergei Gonchar leads the Penguins with 17:56 of ice time.
More Pictures from the CNN Center in Atlanta.
What a second-period performance for the Penguins. Only great play from Hedberg in net has kept this from being a blowout. Pittsburgh leads, 3-0. They hold a 23-17 advantage in shots, including 14-8 in the second period.
A five-star save by Fleury on Afinogenov's backhand attempt. He uses the glove to deny the dynamic Russian.
Engelland gets the better of and drops Evander Kane, the third-overall selection in June's entry draft, in a fight in the Penguins zone.
Max Talbot takes the Penguins first penalty shot of the season after he is tripped on a breakaway. Talbot skates wide to the right and moves the puck back to the middle before ripping a shot wide of Hedberg.
The Penguins kill the third Atlanta power play.
Bourque trips Maxim Afinogenov and will head to the box for tripping.
Bogosian rings a shot off the crossbar off a faceoff.
5:50: Ben Lovejoy
makes a great play to block a Marty Reasoner shot up into the protective netting.
Kovalchuk finally gets a quality shot on net from the slot during a rush up ice as Deryk Engelland
was without a stick. Fleury makes the glove save.
Rupp drives the net and creates traffic on Hedberg, allowing Malkin to fire a wrist shot under the arm of Hedberg. Rupp gets the only assist. Penguins 3, Thrashers 0.
Atlanta is 0-for-2 on the power play.
Representatives from the Penguins deliver long-time public address announcer John Barbero with his Stanley Cup ring on Friday. Barbero is sidelined due to a medical condition.
The Thrashers go back on the power play as Adams is penalized for interference.
Atlanta cannot contain Martin Skoula. Cooke hits him with a pass streaking down the left side and his slap shot beats Hedberg to the stick side. Cooke and Staal get the assists, extending their scoring streaks to four games each. Penguins 2, Thrashers 0.
Armstrong steals a pass from Orpik and sends a shot along the ice at Fleury, but the Penguins netminder is ready for that chance.
Next Hedberg makes a pad save on Malkin during a two-on-one with Fedotenko.
Atlanta is still in the game thanks to Hedberg. He uses the shoulder to stop a Rupp blast from the slot.
Hedberg makes three saves on a two-on-one between Crosby and Guerin. He stopped the initial shot from Crosby and two rebound chances from Guerin.
Bourque sends the puck wide of an open net with Hedberg out of position after making a toe save on Staal.
Pittsburgh looks to build off their 1-0 lead as both teams skate five attackers each to begin the middle period.
FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Sergei Gonchar and Bill Guerin each recorded two shots for the Penguins.
- The Penguins held Ilya Kovalchuk and Rich Peverley, the Thrasher's top two scorers, without a shot in the opening frame.
- Brooks Oprik played 8:24 of ice time and had two hits in his return to action.
A between periods look at Philips Arena as the Penguins hold a 1-0 lead.
The Penguins take a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Both teams record nine shots on goal in period.
1:09: Craig Adams
laid a shoulder check into Christoph Schubert along the near boards in the Penguins zone.
Crosby turned Atanta's top defender, Tobias Enstrom, inside and out before Hedberg stop's the Penguins captain's backhander.
Each team has eight shots on goal as the puck is skated to the Atlanta end for a faceoff after Hedberg ices the puck.
The Geico Penguins Report is one of three new Penguins' produced shows going to be aired on FSN. Watch a preview here:
No penalty is called as Armstrong trip Rupp, taking a shift alongside Crosby and Guerin.
The Penguins kill the Gonchar penalty.
Another above-average backhand chance for the Penguins as Maxime Talbot cuts to the middle of the ice shorthanded and fires a shot into Hedberg's chest.
Atlanta gets their first crack at the power play as Gonchar heads off to the box for kneeing.
Guerin's backhand goes off the outside of the goal post.
Crosby might have one of the top backhands off all-time. He sends one over the shoulder of Hedberg but the puck barely glances over top of the net. Crosby is skating as if this could be a big point-producing night for him against the Thrashers.
Fleury uses the glove to make a save on Bryan Little, a 31-goal scorer last season, streaking down the left side.
Chris Bourque and Crosby are now being credited with assists on Skoula's power-play goal. The Penguins now have man-advantage tallies in three consecutive games for the second time this season.
Here are some pictures from the CNN Center in Atlanta:
Martin Skoula throws a wrist shot from the right point past Hedberg. Right now the goal is being scored unassisted. Penguins 1, Thrashers 0.
Gonchar uses his skate to deny a toe-drag move by former Penguin Colby Armstrong.
Zach Bogosian, the NHL's goal-scoring leader among defensemen, is penalized for interference.
The first "Moooooose" chant is heard in Philips Arena as Hedberg stops a Malkin slap shot in his mid-section.
Fleury makes a clutch save on Kozlov again, this time from his stomach.
Fleury makes a nice blocker save on Slava Kozlov's shot from the right circle.
Bylsma will use Pascal Dupuis
on the left side with Evgeni Malkin
and Ruslan Fedotenko to start the game.
Sergei Gonchar throws the first shot on net, which is easily blockered away by Hedberg.
19:41: Jordan Staal
starts at center with Matt Cooke
on his left side and Mike Rupp on right wing.
20:00: Marc-Andre Fleury
gets the call for the Penguins while the "Moose," Johan Hedberg, is in net for Atlanta.
STAT OF THE NIGHT:
Atlanta is unbeaten in their last five games, 4-0-1.
The lone scratch for the Penguins is Alex Goligoski. Atlanta's scratches include Jim Slater, Boris Valabik
and Anssi Salmela.
Head coach Dan Bylsma split Sidney Crosby
and Evgeni Malkin
during the third period of Thursday's game against Ottawa. He will continue that strategy tonight as Crosby will center a line with Maxime Talbot and Bill Guerin.
Pittsburgh looks to get back on track when they take on the Atlanta Thrashers at Philips Arena. Good news on the injury front for the second consecutive game as Brooks Orpik
returns to the lineup after missing the past four games.
Author: Jason Seidling