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Pens-Stars In-Game Blog

Wednesday, 02.29.2012 / 6:58 PM / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo



PENGUINS 4, STARS 3





Neal fires a bullet through the pads of Kari Lehtonen and SCORES...

Eriksson changes direction and slips one around Fleury and SCORES...

Lehtonen is able to outwait Malkin and the Pens center MISSES...

Fleury was going to go for the pokecheck on Ribeiro but doesn't, instead flashing the pad and denying the Star. He MISSES...

Kunitz fakes, pulls to his backhands and lifts one over Lehtonen and SCORES...

Benn has the game on his stick. He absolutely snipes one top shelf and SCORES...

Dupuis snaps one just off the ground stick side past Lehtonen and SCORES...

Michael Ryder MISSES!!!

PENS WIN IN THE SHOOTOUT, 4-3!





0:00: And we're going to a shootout after an incredibly entertaining hockey game isn't decided in 65 minutes. Pens are 7-3 in the shootout this season while Stars are 4-3.

1:03: Pens use their timeout after the two teams trade chances.

2:12: The dangling plastic attachment on Fleury's helmet broke on a Souray blast during the Stars PP and he gets it fixed when the Pens are whistled for offsides. Can't say enough about how well Fleury has played tonight.

3:03: The Stars get some scary scoring chances, but somehow Fleury and the PKers are able to kill it off and get back to 4-on-4 play! Michalek came up with two huge shot blocks during that shorthanded opportunity.

5:00: Extra period begins. The Stars will have a 4-on-3 power play for the first 1:46 minutes, as Orpik's penalty extends into overtime. The first three on the ice for Pittsburgh are Adams, Cooke and Michalek.





0:00: We're going to OT.

0:14: Stars get a power play as Orpik is whistled. The call was delayed for quite some time as Dallas kept possession of the puck. Fleury came up with an absolutely ridiculous save on Eriksson at the backdoor with 26 seconds left.

2:05: Stars ice the puck late and give the Pens an O-zone faceoff, but Dallas wins the draw and clears the zone.

5:03: I am on the edge of my seat (literally) as this one winds down. These teams are combining for some ridiculously exciting hockey right now.

8:10: Dallas really living up to their nickname of "Pesky Stars." They're really, really trying to get under the Pens players' skins and Steve Ott is leading the charge. Playoff-type atmosphere in this one.

9:36: Pens manage to kill that one off and get back to full strength.

10:12: Another obscene save by Fleury, this time on Ribeiro. Flower is down on his side after making a save seconds earlier and doesn't have time to get up as Ribeiro circles, but frantically lifts his left arm and leg in a half snow angel. Ribeiro waits but somehow, someway, Fleury makes the save!!!

11:36: Stars getting a huge PP chance after a scrum erupts with Malkin, Nystrom and Ott. 'Geno' gets a pair of roughing minors while Nystrom gets one.

12:04: Orpik and Radek Dvorak engage in a footrace for an icing and the Pens D-man touches up first, but the Stars forward falls into the boards and doesn't get up right away. Thankfully, Dvorak doesn't seem hurt and stays on the bench.

12:37: A pair of Stars find themselves on a 2-on-1 down low in the Pens zone. Eriksson sauces a pass over Engelland to Ryder at the backdoor, who doesn't miss the net for his team-leading 26th goal of the season. PENS 3, STARS 3

     "@PensInsideScoop is it strange I jump up, clap, and cheer as if I was at a game when fleury makes a huge save like that?. I didn't think so."
                                                           @mdjbarron

15:04: Eriksson gets a breakaway and bears down on Fleury, who puts a diving pokecheck on the talented Swede for the save to preserve the lead!!! Huge save from the 'Flower'! Wow, has this game gotten good.

15:48: A Kunitz re-direct that counts!!! From behind the net, Neal passes to Malkin who instantly drops to Martin. He winds up and tees one off that Kunitz, who is facing away from the net, re-directs into the cage past Lehtonen to put the Pens ahead!!! PENS 3, STARS 2

16:27: Staal battles through a sea of black jerseys and wrists one to the cage that Adams tips perfectly past Lehtonen for the score! Tie game! Huge effort from No. 11 there, as he was double shifting with the fourth line. PENS 2, STARS 2

17:40: Engelland's stick breaks after a shot on goal and he has to hustle back empty handed as the Stars break out of their zone. Eventually Asham gives his stick to Engelland, as is the usual procedure when a defenseman doesn't have one in his own zone.

UPDATE: Steve Sullivan has a lower-body injury and will not return to the game.

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





Another dominant period by Dallas results in Sheldon Souray giving the Stars a 2-1 lead with just 12.2 seconds left in the second. The Pens had three PP chances in the second, but couldn't convert any of them as the Stars PK continued their stingy work. Dallas has been fantastic shorthanded, killing off all five Pens PPs tonight. Then the Stars went on to build off the momentum they gained from their man-advantage opportunity that came with 6:25 left in the period, laying the groundwork for Souray's tally.

- Kris Letang will not return to the game with an upper-body injury
- Malkin leads the Pens with 16:46 minutes. Exactly eight have come on the PP
- Dallas is 19-0-1 when leading after 2 periods














0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books. Stars have a 2-1 lead and a 22-18 edge in shots.

0:12: The Stars get a big tally with 12.2 seconds left. Their top line of Ribeiro, Ryder and Eriksson does some pretty passing work before dropping back to their trailing D-man, Sheldon Souray. He rings one past Fleury to give Dallas a 2-1 lead heading into the second intermission. STARS 2, PENS 1

1:08: A quick transition out of the Stars zone results on a 2-on-1 rush for Ott and Adam Burish. Ott carries in and dishes to Burish, but Fleury slides across, challenges and robs the Stars forward at the doorstep.

4:25: There's a mad scramble in front of Marc-Andre Fleury as the penalty expires, but the Pens goalie and his teammates keep the Stars from tickling the twine!

6:25: Stars just played an impressive game of keepaway with the Pens in Pittsburgh's D zone. They controlled play for about two straight minutes and drew a penalty on a tired Joe Vitale to get their second PP of the night.

9:11: The Dallas PK holds the Pens PP scoreless once again.

11:20: Malkin gets an open lane down the side of the ice, and Robidas has to hook him to slow him down. He'll go to the box for it. It's a place the Stars are visiting an awful lot so far this game.

11:42: Neal fires a heavy blast at Lehtonen that the goalie fights a little bit before eventually covering. The more shots like that, the better.

13:23: The Pens can't convert their fourth man-advantage opportunity against a strong Dallas PK unit. NOTE: Sullivan is back on the ice for Pittsburgh after heading to the locker room a few minutes ago.

15:28: Pens go back to the power play as Larsen is off for interference.

UPDATE: The Pens just announced that Kris Letang will not return to the game with an upper-body injury.

16:45: Stars coach Glen Gulutzan has to use his timeout when his team ices the puck after a long shift. During the break, Steve Sullivan heads down the runway to the locker room. May just be an equipment issue. We'll see.

17:38: Stars barely make it out of that one unscathed, as a Malkin backhander rang off the short side post with seven seconds left in the penalty!

19:39: And Pens get another early PP as Ott is called for interfering with Sullivan!

20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Game on! Pens still rotating five defensemen as Letang is still out.





The Stars controlled most of the opening frame, coming out with a lot of jump right from the opening faceoff. The Pens suffered a huge blow at the 9:55 mark when Eric Nystrom clipped Kris Letang with a high, hard hit as they raced for a puck. Letang was down on the ice for a few scary moments before getting up and going straight to the locker room. He has not returned and we do not have an update on his status. The Stars struck first with 4:36 minutes left on a goal from Jamie Benn, but Pascal Dupuis and Steve Sullivan combined for a gorgeous precision play to tie the game 1-1 with 1:07 left to give Pittsburgh momentum heading into the break.

- With the goal, Sullivan's point streak extends to six games
- Sullivan now has 13 points in his last 15 contests
- Dupuis' point streak extends to four games (2G-2A)















0:00: Horn sounds and the Pens and Stars are tied 1-1 heading into the first intermission. Dallas with a slight edge in shots: 10-7.

     "Pretty goal from the #Pens there. Great pass from Dupuis and nice finish by Sullivan. #NHL"
                                                          
                                                              @Chadwik14

1:07: Incredible precision play by Dupuis and Sullivan just now. Duper whipped a cross-ice pass from just inside his own zone that banked perfectly off the boards squarely to the blade of a breaking Sullivan. He had a foot on Goligoski, cut across and lifted one over Lehtonen for the equalizer. PENS 1, STARS 1

4:36: Steve Ott gets the puck deep in the Pens zone and backhands a pass to Benn in the slot. He instantly snaps one at the goal that Fleury gets a piece of, but isn't able to handle. Pens looked a little shaky in the D zone on that one, running around a bit. STARS 1, PENS 0

5:37: Nystrom handles a bouncing puck and gains a little room around Paul Martin in the slot area - and that's when Deryk Engelland crushes him with a big check that sends him crashing into the net as Fleury makes a save on the shot.

6:57: Pens kill it off and will get back to full strength.

8:05: Now the Stars will get a power play for the next minute or so.

9:00: Now we'll go 4-on-4 for the next minute or so as Malkin gets called for interference after his one-timer gets blocked close to the blue line.

10:05: Oh, no. As Eric Nystrom and Kris Letang race for a loose puck in the corner of the Pens zone, the Stars forward clips the defenseman up high with a hard hit and sends him flying. Letang doesn't get up for a few scary moments and athletic trainer Chris Stewart rushes out to tend to the young blueliner. He's eventually able to get up and heads straight down the runway to the locker room.

12:31: And the Stars get out of that one scot-free, as Benn is released from the box and his team goes back to full strength.

14:34: And the Pens will head to the man-advantage early! Jamie Benn, the 2012 All-Star who returns to the lineup tonight after missing six games with a lower-body injury, goes off for tripping Dupuis.

17:36: Good shift by Jordan Staal. He powered down the ice and fired a bullet at Kari Lehtonen; and though the Stars transitioned quickly the other way, he backchecked hard and broke up an odd-man rush.

20:00: Puck drops to start the opening period in Dallas. Coach Dan Bylsma has put Neal and Niskanen in the starting lineup for their first game back in their old stomping grounds. Game on!


(Getty Images)



7:30 PM:
Lines are the same as they were during morning skate, meaning Arron Asham is officially in while Jeffrey, Lovejoy and Johnson are scratched.

Sullivan-Staal-Dupuis
Kunitz-Malkin-Neal
Cooke-Vitale-Park
Tangradi-Adams-Asham

Martin-Letang
Orpik-Michalek
Niskanen-Engelland

Fleury between the pipes.



7:00 PM:
Good evening and Happy Leap Day! The Pens are in the midst of warmups at the American Airline Center, where they'll battle the surging Stars for a 7:30 p.m. faceoff. The game will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network, and Mike "Doc" Emrick and Eddie Olcyzk will be calling all the action for what's sure to be a good one.

The Pens are 15-4-1 in their last 20 games and are 6-1 in their last seven vs. Dallas, while the Stars enter tonight's game on a four-game win streak that was capped with a huge come-from-behind win over NHL-leading Vancouver on Sunday. They're desperately fighting for their playoff lives over this last quarter as they're barely in possession of the eighth and final postseason berth out West.

Head coach Dan Bylsma said following this morning's skate that apart from Marc-Andre Fleury playing in goal, the rest of his lineup will be a game-time decision. Stay tuned to the blog for the official scratches and line combinations.

For the rest of the game-day coverage (as well as some awesome pics of a certain historical site in Dallas), click here.

Tonight marks James Neal and Matt Niskanen's first game back in Dallas since the organization traded them to Pittsburgh last February in exchange for Alex Goligoski. They've both admitted how weird it is to be back in their old building as a member of the opposing team, but are certain those feelings will disappate once the puck drops. In honor of their return to Big D, I've decided to start the blog with Mase's 'Welcome Back.' (Chorus gets stuck in my head every time).



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