Pens-Leafs In-Game Blog
Wednesday, 02.1.2012 / 6:08 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
LEAFS 1, PENS 0
0:00: That'll do it. The Leafs barely squeak out a 1-0 victory and halt the Pens' win streak at eight games.
0:36: Pens get an offensive zone faceoff and that's when Bylsma uses his timeout so asst. coach Todd Reirden can draw up a play on the dry erase board.
1:20: Pens pull Johnson and put Sully on the point with Letang.
3:01: Pens successfully thwart that Leafs PP. Time to buckle down!
5:01: Michalek to the box for interference with just over five minutes in regulation. Needless to say, this is a humungous big kill for Pittsburgh (Ilya Bryzgalov reference there).
6:05: MacArthur displays some deft stickhandling by taking the puck backhand to forehand and tucking it around Johnny to put the Leafs up. Right before the goal, Neal had a redirect chance off the post!
6:45: Are you getting the feeling that whoever scores the first goal may come away with this one?
9:17: Pens kill that one off!
|"Such an exciting game!! Tied, and players fighting for every puck. #Pens are fierce!! #intense #edgeofmyseat"
11:30: I shouldn't have ruled Grabovski out so soon. He uses that speed (which killed Pittsburgh last night) to gobble up a loose puck at the blue line and go in on a mini breakaway, but his deke doesn't get past Johnny! Letang was hustling back to cover him, and he gets a slashing penalty on the play. Pens to the PK.
13:14: And unfortunately, the Leafs' PK -- which didn't allow a power-play goal in the month of January -- continues to surge in February and kills it off.
15:17: Grabovski (who lit the Pens up for two goals and an assist last night) is in the box. Big PP here for the Pens...
|"at my very first game tonight! Amazing game looking forward to an intense 3rd period! Tanger is killing it! #Pens"
16:46: So the Leafs have been dogging Letang all night. He's been blasted a few times (in addition to the high stick he received) and they just really seem to have his number. It's got him really fired up and he's been a beast all over the ice, wallpapering anything that moves. It's exciting to watch him so ramped up.
20:00: Puck drops to start the third. I'm buckling up for a crazy ride...
New Pens forward Cal O'Reilly is at tonight's Pens-Leafs tilt watching from the press box. He met with the media during the first intermission.
Sam Kasan is on the scene and will have a full story up later, but for now here's the video of your newest Pen!
- Letang and Martin have each played exactly 15:58 minutes
- Pens outhitting Leafs 32-26. Vitale has 5 of those
- Pens are 9-3-1 when tied after two periods while Toronto is 5-2-1
0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books and we're still scoreless. Shots are 17-16 in favor of the Leafs.
1:09: One of the things I really admire about Geno is his incredible strength. He's so long and lanky, but don't let that fool you. He just put that on full display in the corner while surrounded by two Leafs players as he worked his way out and drove to the net.
4:13: Malkin breaks behind the Leafs D and quickly lifts a shot that floats over the net! That's one of the first decent chances we've seen from the Pens in a while.
6:18: Pens successfully kill it off!
8:26: Malkin gets called for holding and Pens head to the PK against a dangerous Leafs PP unit.
11:04: Cooke and Mike Brown jostle while battling for a puck in the corner of the Leafs zone. Brown drops a glove and tries to engage Cooke...but he doesn't oblige and cooly skates away.
13:14: Another stretch here where the pace flowed fast, but neither team generated many actual scoring chances. The Pens have mustered just six shots on goal...they're not testing Reimer nearly enough.
|"how many Kunitz goals have been waived off this year? Seems like at least 10"
18:43: Malkin does a sweet spin-o-rama around Franson right at the side of the net and throws a backhand to the cage that goes off Kunitz and into the net! But as it always seems to happen with Kunitz goals, the play is under review...and it doesn't count as it's ruled a distinct kicking motion. Why does this always happen to him?!
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on!
- Richard Park has three of the Pens' four shots
- Leafs dominating in the dot. They've won 10 of 15 faceoffs
- James Neal enters tonight's game with a five-game point streak (3G-5A)
0:00: That'll do it for the first. We're scoreless through 20 minutes with Toronto holding a 9-4 edge in shots. However, Pens have 14 missed shots.
|"Nice moves by @RevLovejoy6 there!! @PensInsideScoop"
1:55: Big play by Lovejoy just now! He dived on his stomach to push what would have been a sure goal out of the crease with Johnny down after a couple of good saves! Leafs have really been pushing hard these last few shifts, but Johnny and the D have stood strong.
6:38: Wow. Kessel just clipped Letang in the face with a high stick and gave him a bloody nose, but somehow the refs miss it and there's no call. If they had seen that, it would have been a four-minute power play for Pittsburgh.
7:40: Lots of back-and-forth play since that last penalty expired. Both teams playing some fast, flowing hockey but they haven't generated many scoring chances.
12:00: Pens are back to full strength.
13:07: Big shorthanded chance for Matt Cooke as he gets a pass on the Leafs blue line with just forward Tim Connolly back! Cookie hustles in and shovels a backhand at Reimer that the Toronto goalie is able to save.
14:35: With 12 seconds left on MacArthur's penalty, Letang gets called for boarding. Pens will be shorthanded here soon. Until then they're 4-on-4.
16:23: And now the Pens have drawn a penalty as MacArthur goes off for tripping Kunitz. Early PP chance here for Pittsburgh!
16:45: Nice speed on display by McDonald just now to create some space for himself and rip a shot at the cage. Much better start for the Pens so far in this one as opposed to last night's.
18:34: Kennedy wheels down the right side of the ice and winds up for a shot that rings off the goal post!!!
|"let's get the first goal!!! Go #Pens"
20:00: Puck drops. Game on!
Pens' lines haven't changed:
Johnson in net. James Reimer gets the call for Toronto.
Bylsma spoke to the media a little while ago and said O'Reilly will not play in the game tonight, but he should be getting situated sooner rather than later.
He also said Brent Johnson will start in goal and Ben Lovejoy will be in for Deryk Engelland. This will be Lovey's first game action since Jan. 17 and Johnson's first start since Jan. 10.
More from Coach...
On what they like about Cal O’Reilly:
He’s a guy that we have a little familiarity with from Nashville and Ray (Shero) having drafted him. He’s got skill, playmaking ability. Really at a high level. He can make plays, make great passes and sees the ice really well. That’s some of the attraction of getting a guy through the middle where we’re not very strong or deep right now in that area. He’ll be able to add that to our lineup. Given the situation we’re going to have for at least the short term, (there’s) an opportunity for him to see how he can fit in and add that. He’ll certainly add depth for us in that position.
On if he has a sense of when O’Reilly will get into the lineup:
I don’t. He’s going to be joining us here shortly. We’ll get him situated. I think sooner than later.
On his goalie:
Brent (Johnson) in the net tonight.
On the rest of his lineup:
Ben Lovejoy will be playing tonight.
On having a better start tonight:
We feel we were very fortunate to have gotten two points. Being in that situation, we certainly tap our goalie on the pads for a number of the big saves he made throughout the game, especially in the third. He gave us a chance there. We get some goals from every line, one with six seconds left, to tie that up. But when we look at that game, there’s a lot there that we saw the Leafs did really well. They came with a lot of speed at us, gave us a lot of trouble through the neutral zone and that’s more scoring chances, maybe by 10, than we’ve given up all year. Not a great game from us. Got two points and a chance to have it look a little different tonight.
Tonight the Pens will conclude a back-to-back, home-and-home series when they battle the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. Pittsburgh is looking to extend their winning streak to nine games after a thrilling 5-4 shootout victory over Toronto at CONSOL Energy Center last night. The Pens enter tonight's game riding a four-game road winning streak, the longest active one in the NHL.
The Pens did not hold a morning skate this a.m., deservedly so! But that doesn't mean the team wasn't busy, as Pittsburgh acquired forward Cal O'Reilly from Phoneix off re-entry waivers this afternoon (click here to know more about the 25-year-old). Head coach Dan Bylsma will be addressing the media any minute now. Stay tuned for more info on O'Reilly and tonight's lineup.
But first, a quick note from the Leafs (as they did have a morning skate): forward (and ex-Pen) Colby Armstrong and defenseman (and Michigan State alumni...sorry, had to throw that in there) John-Michael Liles will be in the lineup tonight for Toronto. Armstrong missed the last 18 games with a concussion while Liles sat out 16 with the same injury.