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Pens-Blues In-Game Blog

Tuesday, 01.24.2012 / 7:30 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
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Pens-Blues In-Game Blog



CHRIS KUNITZ GETS THE GAME-DECIDING GOAL IN THE SHOOTOUT IN HIS 500TH NHL GAME!



PENS 3, BLUES 2 (SO)





     "Fleury is in Jedi goalie mode."
                                                           @PensRyourDaddy

     "DISGUSTING saves by the flower!!! We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"
                                                           @mychemaiden

0:00: And we're going to the shootout thanks to the outlandish play of one Marc-Andre Fleury!

0:41: This is unbelievable. Now it's Sobotka's redirect chance that Fleury did the splits and got a pad on! He is just on another level right now!

0:58: Another unreal stop by Fleury on Berglund's redirect chance in the slot!!!

     "That was the save of the year!! @NHL @pghpenguins #LetsgoPens"
                                                           @aps1230

4:19: OBSCENE pad stop on the backdoor by Fleury on Backes as Cooke is released from the box!!!

5:00: The extra period begins with the Blues having a 4-on-3 advantage for the next 41 seconds. Here we go!





0:00: That'll do it for regulation. We're headed to OT...

1:19: Cooke lays a hit on Barrett Jackman on the corner and the Blues D-man goes down the runway to the locker room afterwards. Pens will be on the PK for the rest of regulation. Dupuis, Adams, Orpik and Michalek are on the ice for Pittsburgh.

2:06: After another long stretch of play controlled by St. Louis, Malkin's line is able to chip the puck out of their zone and get a faceoff in the other end. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock decides to use his timeout.

6:21: Blues really tilting the ice in their favor right now. They're playing physical and tenacious in the Pens' own zone. Pittsburgh is going to have to dig deep to swing the momentum back their way.

10:12: Wow...a Blues player's shot banks off the post and into the blue paint, but Fleury is able to flop on his back amd get the puck covered!

12:10: Vitale gets another great chance with a backhand attempt on a rebound, but Elliott kicks out the pad to make the save!

14:05: Pens back to full strength on a power play that had gotten a few awesome chances until that break for the Blues.

14:56: Berglund gets himself a shorthanded breakaway and is going to get a penalty shot as a result... that he converts blocker side past Fleury. PENS 2, BLUES 2

16:23: Sobotka tries to get under Malkin's skin near his own bench away from the play, and it backfires as he clips Geno with a high stick and gets caught. Pens to the PP!

18:33: So close! Joe Vitale picks up a turnover off the boards and goes in alone on Elliott, but his shot is denied by Elliott! How sweet would that have been for the St. Louis native to score in this game?!

20:00: Puck drops to start the third...let's do this! Game on!





- Neal's goal was the 100th of his NHL career and tied his personal best
- It was also his league-leading 13th PP tally of the season (tied with Philly's Scott Hartnell)
- He will now carry a five-game point streak into the All-Star break



Photo courtesy of Getty Images





0:00: That'll do it for a pretty spirited second. Pens lead 2-1 and have a 22-19 edge in shots.

0:56: Perron sends a sneaky shot to the cage that Fleury literally has to do the splits for and just nabs it with his toe before he's able to cover it with his entire body!

1:35: Malkin swoops down low to help out in his own zone and ends up with the puck...and starts a 4-on-1 rush. He sauces a pass over to Neal, who winds up and tees off the one-timer that Elliott is able to grab and hold onto.

4:44: This time, the Blues capitalize on a neutral zone turnover. Stewart slides a perfect pass over to Berglund, who dekes out Fleury and tucks a shot into the cage. PENS 2, BLUES 1

6:21: Fleury with a few big saves through traffic. He's seeing every puck and is just looking fantastic so far tonight.

     "What a play by Sullivan! Amazing eye/hand coordination #Pens #NHL"
                                                           @wmff293kase

7:44: Engelland's shot from the point is "bunted" (as Bob Errey just said on the ROOT SPORTS broacast) past Elliott by Steve Sullivan! He may or may not have been my Pens player to watch in my game preview... PENS 2, BLUES 0

9:29: Bylsma opts to use his timeout.

9:39: Yikes. Another strong chance for St. Louis there as it looked like Perron had a wide-open net with Fleury in mid-slide, but he misses the cage!!

11:23: Huge athletic left pad save by Fleury as Chris Stewart capitalizes on a forced turnover in the neutral zone to go in on a breakaway!

12:19: Pens successfully kill off the penalty to MacIntyre. Back to full strength we go.

14:27: MacIntyre clips Backes knee-on-knee and now St. Louis goes to the PP.

     "Congrats @jneal_18 on goal #100!!! :) #Pens"

                                                           @vogiebearrr

17:34: Martin dips low to help out Kunitz in the corner and shovels a bouncing puck over to James Neal, who's planted in the slot. He quickly shoots a knuckler past Elliott for the score! That's Neal's 27th of the season (tying his career high), 100th of his career and NHL-leading (tied) 13th PP score! PENS 1, BLUES 0

18:23: Malkin is hauled down by Blues captain Backes as he powers through the St. Louis zone and the Pens are getting their third PP of the evening.

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!

View of St. Louis from the top of the Gateway Arch:







- Malkin leads the Pens with 8:09 minutes of ice time
- He's also won 4 of his 6 faceoffs
- Both of these teams are unbeaten in their last 5 games



     "1st period was so fetch!"
                                                           @sarahemilyyy



0:00: That'll do it for a chippy, physical first. We're scoreless through 20 minutes and shots are even at 12.

1:20: Pens can't convert that man-advantage. Blues back to full strength...

3:22: Pens getting another PP opportunity here as D'Agostini goes off for high sticking.

     "#Pens Flower just came up with two great saves. A toe save being one of them, I don't know how it kept the puck out of the net. #amazing"
                                                           @PensHockeyShow

4:50: Fleury just made a tough split-pad save on Scott Nichol. The Flower has been really sharp so far this period, especially shorthanded and on the 4-on-4.

6:25: Perron and Neal are released. Back to 5-on-5 hockey we go!

8:27: I spoke too soon as Perron slashes Neal in the leg...who then gets called for diving. We're 4-on-4 for the next 2 minutes.

8:41: Pens back to full strength. Hopefully they can get some momentum back.

10:51: Now it's Pittsburgh's turn to go on the PK as Niskanen goes off for cross-checking.

12:50: In a post-whistle tussle, Sobotka rears back and punches Steve Sullivan in the face...and that won't go unpunished. The Blues forward gets two minutes in the box. Pens to the PP!

14:47: A glove save by Fleury is the first whistle since Geno's big shift a few minutes ago. There's a decent, back-and-forth pace already to this game.

18:40: Malkin just made the Blues look silly on the same shift as he slithered through them to the net, but somehow Elliott is able to keep the puck from crossing the goal line!

19:04: Orpik with a beauteous heads-up pass to Geno that breaks him past the Blues D, but his shot goes just high!

     "Classy move by #Pens coach Bylsma to let Joe Vitale take opening face off in front of home crowd and family!"

                                                           @alroy42

20:00: Puck drops to start the first. St. Louis native Joe Vitale takes the opening faceoff -- and wins it. Here we go. Game on!

NOTE: Tonight is Chris Kunitz' 500th career NHL game. Congrats Kuni!





8:00 PM:
Tangradi, Lovejoy and Asham are scratched. Here are the Pens' official lines...

Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Dupuis-Jeffrey-Kennedy
Sullivan-Park-Cooke
MacIntyre-Vitale-Adams

Orpik-Letang
Martin-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Fleury between the pipes. Brian Elliott will be in goal for St. Louis.



7:30 PM:
Welcome everyone! Tonight the Pens will battle the St. Louis Blues in their last game before the All-Star break, which means this is our final in-game blog until next Tuesday against Toronto. Tear.

Tonight, the Pens are looking to extend their winning streak to seven games against a club that's climbed to the upper echleon of the Western Conference standings and is, according to many of the guys, perhaps the toughest team they've faced this season. You may not know much about St. Louis since we only see them twice a year at most, but don't worry: I scouted 'em out for you if you want to know more about why they're such a challenge.

Marc-Andre Fleury gets the start in goal (his 22nd straight appearance between the pipes) and head coach Dan Bylsma said the rest of his lineup will be a game-time decision. For the rest of the game day updates (and some awesome pics of the city of St. Louis), check out Sam's Pens Report.

--

As you may or may not know, Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" is the team's unofficial victory anthem. We've played it before, but I do like playing jams with snippets of the chorus in them (which is actually a sampling of the late soul singer Etta James' "Something's Got A Hold On Me") to give a nod to the song and its meaning to the team. So tonight, I'm going to play Pretty Lights' "Finally Moving James Brown Remix." Hope you enjoy.



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