Pens-Avs In-Game Blog
Saturday, 03.3.2012 / 8:45 PM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
PENGUINS 5, AVALANCHE 1
0:00: That'll do it! Pens will return to Pittsburgh with all four points from their two-game road swing as they top the Avs, 5-1. It's the fifth-straight win for the Pens.
1:36: Steve Sullivan finds the empty net! PENS 5, AVS 1
2:27: The Avs have pulled Giguere for the extra attacker.
3:49: The Avs continue to come on strong, but it may be too little, too late at this point.
7:50: Pens kill it off and go back to full strength. Neal is released after serving Fleury's penalty.
9:53: Fleury loses his stick and bends over to pick it up, which is when Steve Downie decides to poke it away from the Pens goalie. That doesn't please Fleury, who whacks Downie in the legs with the stick once he retrieves it. Downie immediately goes after Fleury, Engelland goes after Downie and a melee breaks loose. Once it's settled, Pens are on the PK as Engelland and Fleury both get minors and Downie gets one.
11:02: Matt Hunwick breaks Fleury's shutout bid as he puts home a juicy rebound. PENS 4, AVS 1
13:40: Avs show some life with some extended time in the O zone. But Fleury turns aside every shot they get and the Pens eventually clear.
|"Pens PK had more shots and more scoring chances than Avs PP. DOMINATE! #PensMobile #pens"
16:40: Michalek is released and he nearly gets a breakaway upon leaving the box, but can't quite get a handle on the puck! Big PK for the Pens. A couple of good scoring chances while shorthanded.
18:40: New Av Jamie McGinn lays a thundering check on Michalek after he sends the puck up the ice. Michalek doesn't like it and drops McGinn behind the net as the forward is on the forecheck. Michalek gets two for interference and Pens head to the PK.
20:00: Puck drops to start the third. Game on!
The Pens dominated the Avs for most of that period, scoring two more goals to take a 4-0 lead into the second intermission. All four of Pittsburgh's goals have come during 5-on-5 play. There were some stretches where the pace really picked up and the teams played some back-and-forth hockey, but for the most part it was all Pittsburgh.
- 11 Pens have gotten on the scoresheet
- Avs are still dominating on faceoffs, going 27-10 (73 percent)
- Malkin's goal moved him back into a tie for the NHL scoring lead with Steven Stamkos (80 points each)
0:00: First 40 minutes are in the books and the Pens have a 4-0 lead. Avs still have the edge in shots, 23-20.
1:36: Erik Johnson is whistled for interference with 16 seconds left on the penalty to the Pens.
3:19: Pens caught with too many men on the ice. Asham will serve the minor.
4:04: The pace of this one is really picking up.
5:59: Dupuis whips out a sweet spin-o-rama move at the cage and has Giguere beat, but D-man Jay McClement is able to get his stick on the puck and sweep it out of danger!
6:32: Avs able to kill off the penalty to their goalie and go back to full strength.
|"Definitely a reformed Matt Cooke... he's been run at and punched multiple times during this game and he's kept a cool head. #Pens"
8:32: As Matt Cooke heads into the corner for a puck, Giguere interferes with him and knocks him to the ice. After Cooke gets up, Giguere decks him with a punch and everyone on the ice rushes to their teammate's aids. When it's all said and done, Giguere gets two for roughing. Pens to the PP!
|"#Park !! Secondary scoring for #Pens has really stepped up in the last few weeks. Streaks galore. #LetsGoPens @pghpenguins @PensInsideScoop"
10:57: Michalek dives onto his stomach and blocks a shot that he deflects out of the zone to Park, who's fresh out of the penalty box! He gets a breakaway and slips the puck under Giguere's pads. Huge play by 'Z' there to spring Park. PENS 4, AVS 0
13:03: Park gets called for tripping. Pens to their first PK of the night.
14:30: Martin tees off a blast from the point that Neal re-directs and rings off the inside of the crossbar. It goes right to a waiting Malkin, who punches it home for his 38th tally of the season! The goal is his 80th point of the season, pulling him back into a tie with Tampa Bay's Steven Stamkos (who had two goals, including the OT winner, and an assist in the Lightning's win earlier). PENS 3, AVS 0
15:09: The teams have settled down into a quick back-and-forth exchange. Both clubs are adept at transitioning quickly out of their zone and going on the attack, and it's making for a good flow.
18:14: Avs barely make it out of that power play as the Pens had a smorgasbord of quality chances with the man-advantage.
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Pens have 1:41 left on the penalty to O'Reilly. Game on!
The Pens are in the Mile High City, where the air is thin and tough to adjust to (Sam Kasan has more on that here). That showed in the first few minutes of the period, as it took a while for the Pens to get their legs under them while the Avs embarked on a fast start. But once the Pens got going, it was all about secondary scoring for them as Arron Asham and Deryk Engelland tallied 1:22 apart to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Marc-Andre Fleury pieced together a strong opening period, making 14 saves.
- Sullivan got an assist on Engelland's goal, extending his point streak to seven games
- Staal also assisted, giving him points in eight of his last 10 since returning from a knee injury Feb. 11
- Avs are dominating in faceoffs, winning 72 percent (13-5). They entered the game ranked fourth in the league in the category
0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission while the Avs have a 14-7 edge in shots.
0:18: Avs center Ryan O'Reilly (Cal's brother) hooks up Staal and goes to the box for it.
1:43: Really nice backcheck by Matt Cooke on the play that just happened. After a few good shifts by the Pens, the Avs transitioned out of their zone with speed and one of them nearly got a pass that would have allowed him to go in alone on Fleury...but 'Cookie' hustled back and covered him so that wouldn't happen.
5:32: Another turnover in the Pens zone forces Fleury to come up with another tough stop, this time on Avs captain Milan Hejduk. The Flower having a great opening period.
6:36: Asham and Cody McLeod drop the gloves right off a faceoff in the Avs D zone. A rematch between the two, as they tangoed when Colorado came to Pittsburgh back in November. Now Asham just needs an assist to get the Gordie Howe hat trick.
8:03: A turnover in the Pens D zone results in a decent scoring chance for the Avs, but Fleury holds the fort and makes the save.
|"Beautiful work between engelland and Staal for that goal. A pair of great goals from player not known for scoring. Just what we need. #Pens"
10:43: Sullivan gets a puck in the neutral zone and fires a pass to Deryk Engelland, who hands it off to Jordan Staal and beelines for the cage. Staal puts a pass in perfect position for Engelland to get a gorgeous re-direct over Giguere's shoulder! Love the way the defenseman had no hesitation in driving straight to the net. Great read on the play. PENS 2, AVS 0
12:05: It took the Pens a while, but they've finally gotten their legs underneath them! Adams enters the zone and quickly dishes to his linemate Asham. Adams drives to the net and ties up defenseman Shane O'Brien, opening a lane for Asham to pick a spot and rip a scorcher past Giguere! PENS 1, AVS 0
17:13: Wow. Gabriel Landeskog – NHL's Rookie of the Month for February – has already been credited with five of Colorado's seven shots on goal and we're less than three minutes into the game. Avs are on the early attack, but Fleury is weathering the storm.
18:48: We'll go 4-on-4 for the next two minutes as Martin and Steve Downie go to the box. Downie had gotten in Malkin's face and wasn't letting him get off the ice for a change away from the play, and Martin took exception. He goes off for roughing while Downie goes for unsportsmanlike conduct.
19:39: And we get off to a heated start, as a few Avs players began tussling with Matt Cooke after the whistle blows to stop play. Just prior to the stoppage, former first-overall pick Erik Johnson went awkwardly into the boards while racing with Vitale for the puck. He gets tended to by a trainer, goes to the bench and stays there for now.
20:00: After honoring Rob Blake in a pre-game ceremony, the puck drops to start the first for what's sure to be an exciting contest. Game on!
Pens scratch Jeffrey, Letang and Johnson. Lines for tonight vs. Colorado...
Fleury between the pipes. Jean-Sebastien Giguere in goal for the Avs.
Good evening to all. The Pens are on the ice for warmups at Pepsi Center in Denver. Pittsburgh and the Avalanche will drop the puck a little after 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Colorado is currently in 10th place in the Western Conference standings, three points out from the eighth seed. The Pens, meanwhile, are trying to close a 10-point gap between themselves and the New York Rangers for the top spot in the East.
Both of these clubs have had great success against the opposite conference. Pittsburgh is 10-2-3 against the West, including a 6-0-2 road mark, while Colorado is 11-3 against the East.
The Pens got a boost to their lineup with the announcement earlier today that forward Steve Sullivan, who missed the third period of the team's Wednesday contest in Dallas with a lower-body injury, is going to play against the Avs. Sullivan didn't skate the past two days, but said "Everything is good for tonight." For all the details from today's morning skate, check out the Pens Report.
For the visual scoop on tonight's matchup, the Verizon Game Day Report was produced just for you. Enjoy.