Thursday, February 3, 2011

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Malkin Returns Tomorrow,Letestu Out 4-6 Weeks

-Evgeni Malkin will be returning to the Penguins lineup tomorrow night for their game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Consol Energy Center. Malkin has missed the last five games because of a banged up knee as well as a sinus infection.  Malkin will be expected to give the offense a big lift with Sidney Crosby still sidelined.

-It seems that every time we hear good news, bad news comes with it. Mark Letestu, coming off a strong season so far, will have to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus injury that he suffered in practice on Tuesday. He is expected to miss four to six weeks. Tough injury to have, but it will give Dustin Jeffrey a nice opportunity to show what he's got.

-The Sidney Crosby mystery continues as he will now temporarily leave the team to visit his parents. There is still no timetable for Crosby to return. He is suffering from a concussion. Arron Asham is listed as day to day, according to Dan Bylsma.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Game 52 Recap (2/2/2011)

Game 52 of the season went out with a bang – literally – as Penguins goalie Brent Johnson met New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro in the Islanders zone and dropped the gloves in the dying minute of the game. The scrum would end with DiPietro on his back and Johnson earning his second shutout of the season. (The shutout is actually shared between the two goalies given that Fleury finished the game, but, let’s be honest, there were only sixteen seconds left when Fleury was sent in to guard the pipes. That was more than enough time for the Islanders to net at least one goal, but with the momentum the Pens had built up as a result of the scrum and Max Talbot’s empty-net-slump-breaking goal, it’s highly unlikely the Islanders would have capitalized on any chance they happened to get.) This is the second time in the last week and a half that the Penguins have shutout the Islanders.
The first goal of the evening came with 11:52 left on the clock in the first period as Tyler Kennedy, earning his ninth of the season, ripped a shot from the right of the face-off circle past DiPietro. (Apparently Kennedy and HCDB engaged in a heart-to-heart this morning during practice and it would appear that whatever was said in that conversation was just the fuel Kennedy needed to step up his game tonight. Here’s hoping it lasts. Oh, to have been a fly on the ice during that conversation…) A little over five minutes later, Chris Kunitz would slide a back hander past the Isles goaltender and the Penguins would end the first period up 2-0. The second period would remain goalless and the third and final goal of the game would come with 0:41 left on the clock. Max Talbot would score the 50th goal of his career and earn his 100th game point banking in on an empty net (and was there anyone on that ice who deserved it more? I think not – especially after the pinball action of an earlier shot whereby he was robbed by the goal posts!) Paul Martin would lead the team in assists, earning points on the first two Penguins goals.
It would not be the goal scoring that would be the highlight of the night, however, or even the eminent shutout. With 0:16 left on the clock, following some pushing and shoving around Penguins winger Matt Cooke, Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson left his crease, throwing down the gloves and tossing his helmet aside in an attempt to challenge Rick DiPietro. The Isles goaltender would go toe-to-toe with Johnson but would be knocked on his back with one impressive left hook. Both goalies would be ejected from the game. To quote Max Talbot, “If no one knew he [Johnson] was a lefty – in the league – they know now.” Johnson, according to the man himself, is in fact not a lefty but just pulled off “a lucky shot.” Whatever it was, there is almost a guarantee that the net-minder has earned himself a spot in Penguin folk-lore.

The victory tonight is the fourth in a row for the Pens who have won seven of their last eight. It was also home win number 18, which now gives the Pens the most home wins in the NHL. They were fortunate to learn that the NHL had rescinded the automatic one-game suspension of center Jordan Staal after he was ejected from Tuesday night’s game for delivering a gloved-punch to Rangers forward Brandon Prust. Had the league not rescinded the suspension, the Pens would have been without Staal, Crosby, Malkin, Letestu and Asham (and Comrie – he should get an honourable mention at the very least.) Asham is listed as day-to-day with an upper body injury while Lestestu is waiting on the results of an MRI. Malkin is progressing well and could return to the line up on Friday. Crosby is continuing with his light workouts.
In the past 21 meetings with the Islanders at home, the Penguins have gone 17-2-2 and have gone 13-1-2 in the last sixteen alone. The Penguins penalty kill remains number one in the league.
The Penguins gear up to meet the Sabres on Friday night.
Three Stars of the Game:
1. Brent Johnson
2. Chris Kunitz
3. Max Talbot
As a special feature for this recap – given the epic spectacle that was tonight’s game – we would like to present you with the PensNation three stars of the game.
 Andy's Three Stars of the Game:
1. Brent Johnson
2. Max Talbot
3. Paul Martin
 Meg’s Three Stars of the Game:
1. Brent Johnson and his left fist
2. Max Talbot
3. Whomever edited BeeJ and DiPietro’s Wikipedia Pages.
Dan’s Three Stars:
1. Brent Johnson
2. Max Talbot
3. Tyler Kennedy
Honourable mention: Johnson’s fist.
Nick’s Three Stars:
1. Brent Johnson
2. Johnson’s Fist
3. Rick DiPietro’s Nose
Ashley’s Three Stars:
1. Brent Johnson’s wicked left hook.
2. Max Talbot (50th career goal, 100th career point and whole heck of a lot of swagger.)
3. Rick DiPietro’s goal posts (because, face it, without those posts, the goal differential would have been MUCH greater)

At least around here we can all agree that Brent Johnson was the star of the night!

Here's Johnnnnnnny! Beej vs. DiPietro

It's almost a lock that DiPietro will be out for the remainder of the season after this fight... Seriously. Beej rocked his face and the dude is frag-eeel-eee.

After watching that fight, you have to wonder if he has ever taken a punch to the face... he looked waaaay too happy to throw down. 

Gameday With Dan - New York Islanders

When: 7:00pm
Where: Consol Energy Center
Watch it on: Versus, FSN
Listen on: 105.9 The X,

News and Info: Eric Tangradi as been recalled from WB/S and will be in the lineup. The NHL reviewed Jordan Staals major penalty and he will not be suspended and will play tonight. Didn't we just play the Islanders?

Player to Watch: New York Islanders
PA Parenteau: On the season PA has 13 goals, 19 assists and 32 points. He played alongside Marc-Andre Fleury at the 2003 World Junior Championships. What the hell kind of name is PA anyway?

Player to Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins
Eric Tangradi: In his first game back in Pittsburgh this season, Big Dog will eat tonight against the Islanders. He has been on fire in the American League, representing the East and the WB/S Penguins at the All-Star Game. Rumor has it his wanted to be recalled because of the Steelers logo at center ice.

Islanders Lines: (Per Empty Netters)
Matt Moulson - John Tavares - PA Parenteau
Michael Grabner - Frans Nielsen - Kyle Okposo
Blake Comeau - Josh Bailey - Jeremy Colliton
Matt Martin - Zenon Konopka - Rob Schremp

Andrew MacDonald - Travis Hamonic
Radek Martinek - Jack Hillen
Bruno Gervais - Dylan Reese
Rick DiPietro

Pens Lines: (Per. Empty Netters)
Chris Kunitz - Dustin Jeffrey - Pascal Dupuis
Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy
Mike Rupp - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Eric Godard - Craig Adams - Arron Asham

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Deryk Engelland
Marc-Andre Fleury
Brent Johnson

This is the last Gameday post on Blogspot! It's been a short, but great ride! Danny Boy, out!

Go Pens!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Game 51 Recap (2/1/2011)

For just the second time this season Penguins fans found themselves wondering just how many times the commentators on Versus were going to remind them that Pittsburgh Penguins center Jordan Staal and New York Rangers defenceman Marc Staal were brothers. (Admit it – it was a nice change in pace from being constantly reminded that the team remains without its captain.) In the end, it is very likely that fans on both sides lost count but after the final buzzer AND five minutes of sudden death overtime AND seven shootout attempts, Jordan would, once again, have yet another victory to bring to the family dinner table. (We won’t get into the fact that Jordan’s role in the victory was drastically reduced following a match penalty and subsequent game misconduct following a “scrap” with Rangers winger Brandon Prust – that is an entirely different subject on which opinions may vary.)

The Rangers were the first to get on the board, opening the scoring with 16:08 remaining in the first period as Brandon Prust banked in on a rebound. The Rangers would go on to score the second goal of the evening less than two minutes into the second period when Artem Anisimov picked up a mid-air pass from Brandon Dubinsky. The Pens would retaliate with three unanswered goals courtesy of Dustin Jeffrey (14:30), Mike Rupp (9:24) and Chris Kunitz (5:48) before Ryan Callahan (in his first game back after having missed 19) tied it up with twelve seconds remaining in the second. The third would see a lot of back and forth action, but both teams would be held scoreless. Following five minutes of sudden death over time, the game ended in a shootout with Dustin Jeffrey finally beating Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist in the seventh round as Marion Gaborik proved to be no match for Marc-Andre Fleury.

The Penguins were without center Mark Letestu who had moved up to replace Sidney Crosby on the top line, centering Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis. Letestu left practice early this morning with a lower body injury and returned to Pittsburgh for further evaluation. Crosby remains sidelined with a “mild” concussion (although he has been cleared for light workouts) while center Evgeni Malkin continues to recover from a knee injury and a sinus infection. Winger Arron Asham left the game during the second period and is reported to have suffered from an upper body injury while center Jordan Staal was, as mentioned, given a game misconduct after coming to blows with Prust late in the second period. Staal may face a suspension (decision pending) but Malkin may return Wednesday night when the Penguins face the New York Islanders.

Prior to tonight’s game, Pittsburgh had owned the league’s top penalty-killing unit, having gone six consecutive games and ten out of the last eleven without allowing a power-play goal. They had been successful on 21 straight short-handed situations, 19 of which were faced on the road. (One has to wonder if the success of the penalty kill is directly related to the amount of time the team spends in the penalty box – then again this could very well be pointing out the obvious considering the increasing familiarity the team seems to be having with it *hint: that was a joke*.)

The Penguins return to Pittsburgh where they will face the New York Islanders for the second time in a week and a bit. Their last meeting occurred on January 25 and resulted in a 1-0 victory for the boys in black and Vegas gold.

Three Stars:

1. Dustin Jeffrey

2. Ryan Callahan

3. Chris Kunitz
For some, the jury is still out. I have my own opinions but for the sake of avoiding an uprising, I'll keep them to myself.

Gameday With Dan - New York Rangers

When: 7:30pm
Where: Madison Square Garden (aka. The Dungeon)
Watch it on: FSN
Listen on: 105.9 The X,

News and Information: Evgeni Malkin made the trip but will not play tonight, Mark Letestu suffered a lower body injury in the morning skate when his foot got stuck in a rut on the ice. He has been flown back to Pittsburgh. Eric Godard will dress tonight, as will Dustin Jeffery

Player to Watch: New York Rangers
Mats Zuccarello-Asen: After playing for Norway in this past Olympics, he is now piling up the points for the Blueshi(r)ts. On the season he has 3 goals along with 8 assists for 11 points. Look for him to possibly make an impact in a mostly AHL game tonight.

Player to Watch: Pittsburgh Penguins
They're all on the F***ing IR!

NYR's Lines (Per. Empty Netters)
Sean Avery - Artem Anisimov - Marian Gaborik
Wojtek Wolski - Derek Stepan - Ryan Callahan
Mats Zuccarello - Brian Boyle - Brandon Prust
Evgeny Grachev - Kris Newbury - Chris Drury

Marc Staal - Michael Sauer
Ryan McDonagh - Matt Gilroy
Michael Del Zotto - Steve Eminger
Henrik Lundquist

Pens' Lines (Per. Empty Netters)
Chris Kunitz - (no idea) - Pascal Dupuis
Tyler Kennedy - Jordan Staal - Eric Godard
Mike Rupp - Maxime Talbot - Chris Conner
Craig Adams - Dustin Jeffrey - Arron Asham

Brooks Orpik - Kris Letang
Paul Martin - Zbynek Michalek
Alex Goligoski - Ben Lovejoy/Derek Engelland
Marc-Andre Fleury

Go Pens!