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First Period Analysis

Saturday, 01.01.2011 / 10:08 PM / 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic
By Sam Kasan
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First Period Analysis
The first period ended with a scoreless 20 minutes. Here are the highlights from the Winter Classic's opening frame.

STAAL’S DEBUT
Jordan Staal made his season debut a minute after the puck dropped in the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Heinz Field.

Staal finished his first period of the 2010-11 campaign with 4:29 minutes of ice time, two shots, two hits and won 5 of his 6 faceoffs (83 percent). He saw time with various linemates, but skated the majority of the time with Evgeni Malkin and Matt Cooke.

Staal had a great chance in front of the net on his second shift, but his shot went just wide of the net.

Staal also played on the penalty kill. He had a nice chance on a 2-on-1, got great body position in the slot and ripped a shot on goal that was stopped by Semyon Varlamov.


FLOWER STRONG EARLY
The Capitals had the early momentum in the game as they jumped out to an 11-3 edge in shots. But they couldn’t solve Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury.

Fleury was Pittsburgh’s best player in the first period as he turned aside all 12 shots he faced, several of them being prime scoring chances. His best save came with 12 minutes left in the period when he stopped a point-blank shot from the slot by Jay Beagle.


POST-IT
The best scoring opportunities for both teams were thwarted by the ringing red metal behind the goaltenders. Washington’s John Carlson sent a shot from the near point on net that clanked off the post with a little over six minutes left to play. Seconds later at the other end, Mark Letestu’s shot from the slot dinged off the right post behind Semyon Varlamov.


PUT UP YOUR DUKES

Sparks flew at the 8-minute mark when Mike Rupp and John Erskine dropped the glove for a spirited bout.

Rupp started the fight off hard, landing three solid shots to the head and even knocking his counterpart down. Erskine got back up, found his balance and tilted the battle in his favor by landing two good hits. Eventually the referees stepped in.

Rupp and Erskine’s fisticuffs marked just the second fight in Winter Classic history. Philadelphia’s Daniel Carcillo and Boston’s Shawn Thornton threw down in the 2010 edition.


START ‘EM UP
Great pregame stuff before the first period even began. The Penguins and Capitals walked down the runway next to each other as they took the ice. Maxime Talbot jumped on the ice waving his Terrible Towel.

Penguins co-owner/Hall of Famer/legend Mario Lemieux, Steelers running backs Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis and U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Bradley T. Tinstman took part in the ceremonial puck drop.

Fans in the closed end zone of Heinz Field flipped cards displaying the Canadian and American flags as their respective anthems were sung.

Finally, after months of build up, hype and anticipation, the puck was dropped.

Crosby won the faceoff, of course.

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