Penguins-Wild In-Game Blog
Tuesday, 10.18.2011 / 5:30 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
0:00: That'll do it. Pens dig deep and find a way to earn a huge road win, defeating the Wild 4-2!!!
1:31: Wild have pulled Backstrom.
6:48: Another quick response from the Wild. Guillaume Latendresse stuffs home a rebound past Johnny. Pens 4, Wild 2
7:15: Pens back to full strength.
7:36: Cooke robs Bouchard on the blue line and banks a pass to Dupuis, who is off to the races! He goes in on a breakaway and waits for Backstrom to commit before flipping a backhand over the prone goalie!! Pens 4, Wild 1
8:46: Word from the Pens: Strait has an upper-body injury. He will not return to the game.
9:15: Staal to the box. Pens on their 5th PK of the night.
11:35: Oh no. Johnny looks hurt. He's having trouble getting up. Athletic trainer Chris Stewart is out tending to him now. But somehow he's staying in the game!! What a warrior.
16:22: Neal comes over and casually steals the puck from D Marco Scandella after some hard work by Vitale on the boards. Neal carries in with Scandella hot on his heels and snipes a shot through Backstrom's five-hole!!! Pens 3, Wild 1
16:44: Setoguchi dances through the D and gets a puck on net. The rebound jumps out to Cullen, but Johnny robs him!!!
18:12: Zanon absorbs a heavy blast from Staal and he is HURTING. The Wild D-man heads straight down the runway to the locker room. I have typed that phrase way too much tonight.
20:00: Puck drops. Game on. Here we go!!! NOTE: Vitale is back on the bench. Strait is not.
- That was Kuny's first goal of the season
- Pens still dominating in faceoff dot, winning 63 percent of the draws so far tonight
- Both Vitale and Strait headed to the locker room around the 5-minute mark of the period and have yet to return
0:00: That'll do it for the second. Pens lead 2-1 on goals from Kunitz and Staal and shots are even at 16.
1:02: Engo takes a puck to the face off the stick of Matt Cullen. Poor Deryk. Pens' D dropping like flies. Hopefully Engo is OK. He seems to be alright. Such a tough guy and awesome human.
2:34: Pens back to the PK as Niskanen goes to the box.
3:10: Pens ice the puck and Bylsma uses his timeout to give his tired guys a rest.
5:29: Still no sign of Vitale or Strait. Play has slowed down these last few minutes after a feverish few minutes.
10:46: Wild back to full strength.
11:53: Wild get a shorthanded 2-on-1 break after stealing the puck in the neutral zone and Clutterbuck finishes it off by snapping a wrister past Johnny. Pens 2, Wild 1
12:46: Niskanen makes a beautiful fake shot and turns and dishes to Michalek. He sends a blast through traffic, and Staal spins around and tucks the rebound home!! Plus, they remain on the PP! Pens 2, Wild 0
14:40: Vitale is the next to head down the runway as he gets hi-sticked in the face by Brad Staubitz. Pens get a four-minute PP on the play.
15:10: Oh no. Strait gets jammed up in the corner and goes off the ice and into the dressing room. Looks like he hurt something in the upper-body region.
16:10: Pens back to full strength. Johnny was very active around his net on that PK. Nice stick work by the Pitt goalie.
18:10: Wild gets their third PP of the evening when Neal is sent to the box for hooking.
19:14: Kunitz thwarts a Wild clearing attempt and Duper finds the loose puck, heading right back toward the net. He sends a perfect pass right back over to liney Kunitz, who winds up and blasts a one-timer past Backstrom!! Pens 1, Wild 0
20:00: Puck drops. Game on!
FIRST PERIOD NOTES
- Pens absolutely dominating in the faceoff dot, winning 65 percent of the draws to the Wild's 35
- Minnesota outhitting Pitt 15-5, led by Clutterbuck's five checks
- I automatically looked for Letang's name when trying to get the ice time leaders...sigh. In his stead, it's Michalek with 9:12 minutes
0:00: That'll do it for the first. We've got goose eggs on both sides with the Pens outshooting the Wild 9-5.
2:10: Minnesota crushing Pens forecheckers behind their net. They're outhitting Pitt 13-5 so far.
5:53: Pens back to full strength. 18-for-18.
6:31: Wild just stormed the crease just now and got chance after chance! Somehow the Pens weathered the storm and cleared the zone.
7:53: Pens head back to the PK as Duper gets a pair for holding.
8:37: Wild have sent just two pucks to the net so far this period despite having a power play. Pens have six shots (and five attempts blocked).
11:05: Seems like a lot of blocked shots for the Pens so far this period. Wild managing to get bodies in front of those big blasts.
14:51: Pens back to full strength, improving to 17-for-17 in shorthanded situations on the road.
16:58: Cullen pokes the puck through Lovejoy's legs and Niskanen has to slow him down as he approaches the net. And he gets called for hooking. Pens to the PK.
17:30: Pens starting the game with lots of offensive zone time, keeping the Wild hemmed in their end. Much better start to this game.
20:00: Puck drops in Minny. Game on! "Let's Play Hockey!"
Here are the Pens' official lines for tonight:
Johnson between the pipes. Niklas Backstrom in goal for Minny.
Here it is...today's version of (pregame) coachspeak with Dan Bylsma! (Also known as Coach's Corner).
On if he was taken aback by Letang’s suspension:
I think given what we’ve seen in preseason and this tonight from the league and what they’re looking at, I wasn’t real surprised that they were looking at that hit.
On if he just hopes it’s applied evenly:
It’s a situation that’s slightly unfortunate, I think. A player knows he’s going to get hit and allows himself to be hit in the back. But at the same time, we went aggressively into the check and they looked at it.
On if he takes losing key players in stride at this point:
I think in terms of our game and how we’re playing, obviously we’re going to be without Kris Letang tonight and we had him last game. But there are things about our game and how we’re playing that we need to get better at. Those things are the focus. We let (Winnipeg) have a two-goal lead. We let them gain momentum in that game (Monday) night. They did come hard, but a lot of it was our own doing. Not being ready, not executing well enough and allowing them that momentum. We had to fight tooth and nail to try and dig ourselves out of that 2-0 deficit. So we have to get better in that regard. It’s about executing, it’s about how we manage the puck so that we can play the way we need to play and play our game to have the advantage. We’re not there right now. It’s regardless of who’s in our lineup or not.
On how describe the contact Crosby is getting back in Pittsburgh:
I’m not sure. We left (strength and conditioning coach) Mike Kadar back and there’s other players on the ice that are skating with him. So they’ve been going through structured practice and structured on-ice drills. I’m not entirely sure to what degree, if they’re running the gauntlet.
On if Crosby, Malkin, Orpik and Jeffrey are all on the ice:
They are all rehabbing differently. Brooks, Dustin, Sid and Geno have all had different levels. But yes.
On if he’s gotten any further results on Kennedy’s test results:
Not at this point, no. I haven’t gotten confirmation. I know they’re talking with the people back in Pittsburgh about baseline (tests) and so forth.
On if he has any reason to think he’ll have any of those players for Thursday’s game:
I don’t really have a clear, definitive answer on that, but possibly one or two. Maybe one guy.
On if he has any idea who that one might be:
Pick one. I’ll take any one of them.
BONUS: PensTV caught up with Mike Yeo earlier today. Here's the proof. So wild.
The Pens canceled their morning skate this a.m. since they played last night, so head coach Dan Bylsma is about to address the media at the Xcel Energy Center. We'll have a full transcript and video posted shortly. Follow @PensInsideScoop on Twitter for updates from Sam Kasan while coach is speaking.
The Penguins received some tough news this afternoon when the NHL announced they had suspended defenseman Kris Letang for two games for boarding Winnipeg's Alexander Burmistrov in the third period of Monday's game. Letang will sit out tonight's contest and Thursday's tilt with Montreal.
Pittsburgh had recalled Brian Strait from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier this morning, so he will be taking Letang's spot in the lineup.
The Penguins' grueling October schedule marches on tonight with a 7:30 p.m. tilt against the Minnesota Wild of the Western Conference – where former Pittsburgh and WBS assistant coach Mike Yeo will be behind the bench.
Wild GM (and former Penguins GM) Chuck Fletcher pegged Yeo to be the youngest head coach in the NHL this summer while simultaneously pulling off a series of blockbuster moves, headlined by the acquisitions of skilled forwards Dany Heatley and Devin Setoguchi from San Jose to revitalize Minnesota's offense. Get familiarized with this new-look Wild squad by clicking here.
Pens.com writer extraordinaire Sam Kasan is in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and he (along with Penguins Live host Steve Mears) brought the rest of us here in Pittsburgh some updates regarding tonight's game:
This season, the Pens.com staff has been working with PensTV on a new initiative to bring you video accompaniments to the written scouting reports – and I believe tonight's version is my all-time favorite so far. Watch it and see if you agree. Stick tap to PensTV editor Meghan McManimon, who did a stellar job!!!