Pens-Caps In-Game Blog: Winter Classic Edition
Saturday, 01.1.2011 / 7:30 PM ET / 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
By Michelle Crechiolo
0:00: That's game. The Pens fall to the Caps, 3-1, in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic.
1:08: The Pens pull their goalie!!!
3:32: After Ovechkin gets tangled up with Fleury behind the net, the Caps forward goes to the front and slams a puck into the net. It's ruled no goal because of incidental contact with the goaltender.
Watch Sid's in-game interview:
8:01: Fehr nets his second of the night off a give-and-go play. Capitals 3, Penguins 1
8:55: Orpik and Perreault get tangled behind the net, with Geno getting stuck in there as well.
10:00: Both teams are back to full strength. The two teams are now switching sides to ensure they get the same playing conditions.
10:58: Sid's blast from the shot goes just wide. Big chance for the Pens.
12:32: Knuble's getting two minutes for delay of game. Pens on the PP!!!
12:55: Michalek rips a blast from the point that goes wide of the net.
Watch Dan Bylsma's pregame interview (and check out his sick fedora):
13:50: Sid nearly splits the D but is shunted into the corner by a Caps blueliner.
15:21: Orpik sends a shot to the point that Malkin, Staal and Cooke all try to jam in. The puck squirts out to Letang, who gets a quality blast on Varlamov but the Pens forwards can't get to the rubber after the Caps goalie smothers it.
16:20: Update: Crosby seems to be fine after the hit he sustained at the end of the second. He's out there on the ice as we speak.
18:13: Orpik's shot just misses, hitting the outside of the net.
20:00: They're off!
Styx is the second intermission entertainment!!!
Here's the replay of Malkin's second-period tally for you to enjoy while we wait for the third.
SECOND PERIOD NOTES
- Adams and Kunitz lead with four hits.
- Staal has now won 7 of 10 faceoffs.
- Rupp and Erskine's bout was only the second fight in the history of the Winter Classic.
0:00: That's it for the second. As the period ended, Crosby took a bone-crushing open-ice hit from David Steckel away from the play that sent the captain crashing to the ice. He left the ice and hunched over behind the Pens' bench. He's walking back to the locker room now of his own accord, so it looks like he's okay. We'll keep you posted.
The Capitals have a 2-1 lead over the Pens after 40 minutes and hold a 28-24 advantage in shots.
0:34: Adams whips a shot that trickles past Varlamov, but they're saying Rupp had incidental contact on the goalie so it's waved off.
2:08: Both teams are back to full strength.
2:56: Malkin tries to pass to a wide-open Crosby, but they can't connect.
4:23: Max Talbot is hooked vehemently into the ground by Erskine, who's going to get 2 minutes in the sin bin for the play. Pens on the PP.
5:15: Eric Fehr is planted in front of the net and rips a shot into the cage for the score. Penguins 1, Capitals 2
5:29: Some back-and-forth play between the two teams over these last few minutes. It looks like it's starting to rain out there, but it doesn't look like it's pouring by any means.
8:50: Orpik just saved a goal. Jason Chimera drew Fleury out of the net and gave himself a wide-open wraparound chance, but somehow Orpik got his stick between the puck and the net and deflected it into the corner. Brilliant!!!
9:09: Kunitz's blast from between the circles goes just wide.
10:01: Ovi just got some room to unleash his patented wrister. That's his fourth shot of the evening so far.
11:39: Letang gets a stick to the face as he attempts to box out a Caps player in front of the net. He seems to be fine. There's no penalty on the play.
13:06: After a pileup ensues in front of Fleury, Knuble is able to find the puck amidst the crowd and jam it into the back of the net. Penguins 1, Capitals 1
14:04: Max Talbot gets two for holding. Pens on the PK.
14:57: Both teams back to full strength.
15:28: The Pens get a 3-on-1 opportunity, but a nice active stick by Karl Alzner breaks up the play.
17:01: Brooks Laich ran over Fleury, and he'll get a goaltender interference penalty for it. Pens on their second PP of the night!
17:47: IT'S MALKIN!!! Kris Letang makes a beauty of a breakout pass that Kunitz wisely doesn't touch. It lands straight on the stick of Malkin, who goes five-hole on Varlamov for the score! Penguins 1, Capitals 0
18:59: Ovi just snuck his way into the Pens' zone with a few nifty moves, but Fleury isn't having any of it. He gets a pad on it and sends the puck skittering into the corner.
20:00: The middle frame is underway...I'm feeling Staal for the Pens' first goal...
The Clarks just played "What a Wonderful World," the team's theme song from the Stanley Cup playoffs. A song all Pens fans can appreciate!!!
WINTER CLASSIC FIRST PERIOD NOTES:
- Jordan Staal has won 5 of 6 faceoffs and has 2 shots and 2 hits in 4:29 of ice time.
- Kris Letang has fired a team-leading three shots.
- He also paces the Pens in minutes-played, skating 7:56 here at Heinz.
0:00: The first period has come to a close here at Heinz Field. We're still scoreless through 20 minutes of play, while the Pens hold a 16-12 advantage in shots after being outshot pretty heftily in the first few minutes of play.
1:35: Michalek floats a backhander toward the net that both Staal and Matt Cooke attempted to tip in. Staal is playing phenomenal so far in his debut - the writers in the press box are saying he's been the player they've noticed the most in this game.
2:50: Varlamov barely gets a pad on Letang's blast from the point. And as the Caps rush back down the ice, Ovi caught an edge on the ice and went flying.
5:43: Now Letestu hit the post!!! They always say the posts are a goalie's best friend - this is ringing true for both Fleury and Varlamov so far tonight (no pun intended - okay, I lied, I may have done that on purpose).
6:35: John Carlson just hit the post as he sent a blast from the point at Fleury. You could hear the ding resonate throughout the stadium.
8:08: Rupp and John Erskine are going at it! The fists are swinging, and we're going to give the decision to Rupp as he lands a few good ones. Players from both teams bang their sticks on the board in support.
9:38: That's the Caps' 17th-straight successful penalty kill as Green is back on the ice.
9:42: TK drives the puck straight to the net from the corner and gets a good shot off.
11:39: Mike Green hauls Sid down as the captain tries to battle through to the net. Green's getting two for holding. Pens on a big PP here!
11:55: Fleury stops a point-blank shot from Jay Beagle that inspires the crowd to start a "Fleury, Fleury!" chant!
13:13: Pens back to full strength. Sid, Geno and Kunitz are out up top as the penalty expires and Martin is freed.
13:50: And Staal jumpstarts a 2-on-1 attempt, ripping a blast that goes just wide!
14:23: Great clear by Michalek. Staal goes out and he clears the puck almost instantly after jumping on the ice.
15:20: The first penalty of the game has been called. Paul Martin just got two for hooking. Pens on the PK.
16:02: Staal, Malkin and Cooke are out on the ice now. Staal goes to the net and receives a pretty pass from Geno, but Varlamov stops his great scoring chance.
18:02: Jordan Staal took his first shift of the game, getting a short one in before Flower gloved the puck to get the faceoff.
18:32: Mike Knuble just tried to stuff a wraparound attempt on Fleury, who covers up for the whistle.
20:00: I can't believe it's finally here! The game is underway here at Heinz Field with no rain in sight!
8:04 PM: The two teams just made their entrances together down a torch-lined walkway. Each Pen was paired up with a Cap as they hopped onto the ice.
7:59 PM: Lovejoy, Conner and Godard are the Pens' scratches for tonight.
The lines are as follows:
Fleury is getting the start in net!!!
7:47 PM: The band Hinder provided the pregame entertainment. We thought the bridge was a nice touch.
7:42 PM: The Pens have left the ice after their warmup. From our vantage point here in the press box, the ice looks pretty wet, which is to be expected with the 52-degree weather. You could see the streaks left by the puck in the water from all the way up here.
Max Talbot donned a Terrible Towel for warmups in a nod to the Steelers!!!
7:37 PM: A chorus of loud boos just arose from the stand as Alex Ovechkin was shown on the jumbotron. Seconds later, those jeers turned to cheers as soon as they switched to filming Sidney Crosby.
7:25 PM: We couldn't have written this script better ourselves -- Jordan Staal is making his season debut in tonight's game.
Our favorite quote from Staal on his return to the ice: “Now that it’s finally here, it doesn’t even really seem real yet. I know as soon as I get out on that ice and play a couple shifts, it’ll really sink in. It gives me chills now, and I’m really excited for it.”
7:20 PM: PittsburghPenguins.com put together two blogs from yesterday and today that have been chock-full of Winter Classic coverage. Behind-the-scenes photos, videos, links to stories -- you name it, we have it. Browse through Friday's blog and today's blog to relive the magic.
7:15 PM: I can't believe I'm preparing to blog the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic from the Heinz Field press box. I honestly can't say enough about this entire experience. The response that the fans have given to all of the events leading up to tonight's game has been amazing, and it was capped off a few hours ago on our way to the field.
Driving across the bridge and seeing Heinz Field all lit up in the city skyline was definitely a Kodak moment. Then walking to the staidum and seeing all of the fans decked out in Pens and Caps jerseys and other sweet Winter Classic swag made me realize just how big this game and this event as a whole really is. And how awesome it is that this is going to be a night game. I wouldn't be surprised if every Winter Classic from here on out is played under the lights -- it's an unbeatable atmosphere.
I don't want the Winter Classic to end!!!