Pens-Bruins In-Game Blog
Sunday, 03.11.2012 / 11:10 AM ET / Features
By Michelle Crechiolo
PENGUINS 5, BRUINS 2
(NINTH STRAIGHT WIN FOR THE PENS)
0:00: That'll do it. Pens win 5-2, their ninth straight victory! It's now their longest winning streak this season, surpassing their previous high of eight games (Jan. 13-31).
1:52: Boychuk back on the ice for the Bruins and goes to the box after running into Fleury. Pens will finish the game on the PP.
3:49: Lucic ends up being the last Bruin back - covering for a teammate - and Dupuis robs him of the puck to go on a breakaway. He goes to his backhand and lifts it over Turco for the score! PENS 5, BRUINS 2
4:45: Pens kill off the penalty to Malkin and go back to full strength.
5:45: Disgusting save by Fleury. Seidenberg winds up and blasts one from the slot, that Fleury is able to stop. The rebound jumps to Krejci on the backdoor who has a wide-open net with Fleury down...but somehow the goalie reaches up and gloves it while on his back. Sick!
6:31: Malkin gets called for boarding when he checks Boychuk into the boards. The Bruins blueliner goes down the runway, putting Boston down to 4 defensemen. Pens on a huge PK here.
6:42: On a positive note, the Pens are winning the faceoff battle against the NHL's best team in that area (27-20).
9:59: The Bruins are really producing a sustained effort right now. They're a dangerous, deep team even with their current injuries, and it's showing in their play.
11:39: Anddd it looks like Bergeron has disappeared to the locker room again. He was on the bench for the start of the period, but did not play a shift.
14:53: Note: Bergeron was back on the bench for the start of the period. The Bruins and the Pens are tied for second in the NHL with 87 third-period goals. Boston is a league-best plus-36 in the final frame while Pittsburgh is plus-25.
16:52: The B's get off to a fast start in this period, throwing a total of three shots on Fleury already.
20:00: Puck drops for the third period. Game on!
After the Penguins dominated the first period, this game opened up a lot in the second. I have to give credit to the Bruins, as they're playing with a substantially-depleted bench. The Bruins announced during the first intermission that D-man Adam McQuaid would not return to the game. Center Patrice Bergeron blocked a shot in the first minute of the second, went to the locker room, returned to play one 38-second shift, then left again. The team also announced in the second that forward Max Sauve, recalled this morning to play for injured Benoit Pouliot, will also not return to the game. But the Pens' first line of Kunitz-Malkin-Neal is having quite a day after being uncharacteristically quiet for a stretch. They've combined for three goals and seven points.
0:00: Pens take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission. Bruins have a 23-21 edge in shots.
1:40: Bruins create a 2-on-1 rush that cumulates with Marchand firing the puck, but Fleury comes up with a big pad save. He's had to be especially great these last few minutes as the B's are turning it on.
3:10: D-man Corvo dips low into the slot and his descent is unnoticed by the Pens. He gets a pass and rips a shot that Fleury barely saves!
3:24: Bylsma uses his timeout. This game has really ratcheted up to another level. Fun hockey to watch.
6:04: After a few minutes of some intense back-and-forth action, Kennedy finds some space on the side of the ice and rings a shot off the red painted metal!
8:29: Bruins really starting to turn it up. They get an extended shift in the Pens D zone, but Tangradi makes a great sliding clear to get the change.
9:59: Lucic powers into the Pens zone and wraps a pass around the net to a wide-open Krejci in the slot. He slams it home for his second goal of the game. PENS 4, BRUINS 2
10:48: Sullivan uses his speed to catch up to a pretty breakout pass and carries into the zone. He stops, turns and hits Staal with a pass as he breaks through the D. He loses his footing and the shot goes high and wide!
|"Wax on, wax off! MAF #pens"
12:45: Seidenberg tees off a bomb from the point that Fleury does a gorgeous windmill-type save on. It's the B's 10th shot of the contest.
14:51: Michalek was on the ice for the goal, so it looks like everything is OK with him.
|"Light 'em uuuuuuuup. Geno wins the face-off, throws it to James Neal, BOOM to Chris Kunitz. #Pens up 4-1."
15:33: On a set faceoff play, Michalek wins it back to Orpik on the point, who gives it right back. Geno carries it behind the net and one-arms a pass while in mid-fall to Neal, who punches it across to Kunitz on the backdoor. Kuni slams it home for his 20th of the season! PENS 4, BRUINS 1
16:26: Defenseman Zbynek Michalek is not on the bench for the Pens. We'll let you know if there is an update.
18:04: Bruins force a turnover in the neutral zone and Seguin hits Krejci with a pass that allows him to get behind the D. He goes in alone on Fleury and snipes a shot top shelf. PENS 3, BRUINS 1
18:23: Bruins kill it off and go back to full strength. May have been at a price, though, depending on Bergeron's status.
19:25: Bergeron blocked a shot and is hurting as a result. He stays on for the rest of his shift but has limited movement and limps to the bench. He heads straight down the runway afterward.
20:00: Puck drops to start the second. Marty Turco has replaced Tim Thomas in goal. Pens have 1:36 of power-play time left on the penalty assessed to Seidenberg. Game on!
It's been a period filled with a couple of milestones...
|"will Malkin split the puck with Neal like he did with Crosby back in the day? ))))"
- Malkin hit 500 points on Niskanen's goal (and hit No. 501 on Neal's tally).
- Malkin is the 17th Russian-born player, and fifth active, to hit the milestone.
- Malkin has also now gained sole possession of eighth place on the team's all-time point list, moving ahead of Syl Apps.
- Malkin has also ensured that he would not go three games without a point for the first time since Nov. 26-29, 2010.
- Neal's assist on Niskanen's goal means he now has 200 career points in the NHL.
0:00: That'll do it for the first. Pens have a 3-0 lead on goals from Asham, Niskanen and Neal.
0:33: Bruins look frustrated now as they take another penalty. Seidenberg trips up Malkin and the Pens will go 5-on-3 again for the next 14 seconds.
1:12: With 28 seconds left on Lucic's penalty, all three Bruins gravitate over to Malkin on one side of the ice. So he opts to dish it over to a wide-open Neal, who rips one past Thomas for his 31st of the season! PENS 3, BRUINS 0
2:09: With 1:25 left on Lucic's penalty, Chara is called for interference. Pens will head to the 5-on-3 PP! They are using 5 forwards: Malkin, Sullivan, Neal, Kunitz and Kennedy.
2:45: The Bruins rim a puck along the boards behind the net. Fleury goes to play it and is tackled from behind by Krejci. A tussle erupts afterward as the Pens protect their goalie. It ends up being Lucic who goes to the box for an earlier slashing call; no penalty was called on Krejci.
7:38: Lucic and Seguin get a couple of decent chances on Fleury, but he's able to come up with the saves. First sign of life from the B's in a while.
|"So Nisky's goal, Geno's 500th point, and Neal's 200th point all at once. EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING."
|"Geno hits 500 points and Nealer hits 200 points! Good job boyss!! <3 #GoPensGo #pens"
8:49: Neal got an assist on Niskanen's goal, which is the 200th career point for the Pens forward. Congrats Nealer!
12:08: Engelland certainly making his presence felt in his first game back after missing three contest. He just sent Caron flying with a bruising check behind his own net!
|"I will take evgeni Malkin for 500"
|"EVGENI MALKIN JUST SCORED HIS 500th CAREER POINT! GOOD WORK, GENO!"
|"No surprise here because he's been doing it all season. Matt Niskanen is doing all the right things. #Pens"
12:48: Neal and Malkin swoop down and strip Rolston of the puck and go down the other way. Once they gain the Bruins zone, Neal wins a battle on the boards that allows Malkin to get the puck. He dishes down to Niskanen, who rings a shot into the back of the net! That's the D-man's first goal on home ice and Malkin's 500th career point!!! PENS 2, BRUINS 0
13:32: Big kill for the Pens against this tough Bruins squad.
15:35: Neal finishes a check on the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Chara in the corner of the B's zone, but it's deemed a late hit and he's called for interference. Pens to the PK.
16:36: Adams produces a great individual effort to win a puck battle in the corner and makes a heads-up cross-ice pass to his point man, Lovejoy. His shot goes off Thornton's stick - and right to Asham in the slot, who beats Thomas for the score! PENS 1, BRUINS 0
17:47: Neal makes a perfect pass to hit Malkin coming out of his own zone with speed. 'Geno' has a lane to the net and slows down as he approaches to pinpoint his shot, but it gets deflected up and out of play.
20:00: It's a great day for hockey! Puck drops to start the first. Game on!
With Engelland in, Strait is scratched along with Martin, Park, Jeffrey, Johnson and Letang. Pens' lines:
Fleury in goal.
And here are the official Bruins lines courtesy of the team's Twitter account, @NHLBruins.
Tim Thomas in goal.
It's official - Deryk Engelland is in the lineup for today's game!
While the Pens are usually championed for their strength down the middle, the Bruins are actually right up there with them in terms of having talented centermen - and are the NHL's strongest team when it comes to faceoffs. Patrice Bergeron ranks third in the league (58.5 percent), while David Krejci (52 percent) and Chris Kelly (53.3 percent) are also successful in the dot. I asked coach how he plans to match up with that ability, and this was his response...
"As the game goes, you have to feel that one out for our team because Evgeni Malkin has shown the ability to win a lot of draws. He’s also been susceptible to not having a great game in the circle. So our centermen aren’t unlike that. We’re not a consistently great team. Sometimes Jordan Staal, like last game, is very, very good. Sometimes that’s not the case. Joe Vitale is kind of the wild card in that equation. If Joe can be the guy that wins draws for us, you’ll see him on the penalty kill, we’ll see him go out and take defensive zone draws and maybe slide Malkin over to the wing for those draws. So we have to kind of see how the game plays itself out. The good thing is that we’ve got big guys in the faceoff circle that have generally been pretty good there. So we’ll see how the game goes how that plays out."
After completely dominating the league back in November and December, the Bruins have struggled with their consistency since the calendar flipped. They won consecutive games on Thursday for the first time since Jan. 10-12, but couldn't make it three in a row when they lost to Washington on Saturday. They also have an interesting goaltending situation with Tuukka Rask's injury. Read the full scouting report on the B's here or watch the abbreviated version below:
Good morning everyone! Welcome from CONSOL Energy Center, where Pittsburgh will close out a four-game homestand when they host defending Stanley Cup champs Boston in a nationally televised matchup at 12:30 p.m. on NBC. It's a change from the original schedule, which had the tilt set for 7:30 p.m.
The Pens will be looking to get their ninth straight win and will be hoping to improve to 4-0 on this stretch of games in their own barn. It would be pretty meaningful if they did, as they haven't had a perfect homestand of four or more games since going 5-0 from Feb. 2-11, 1999 at Mellon Arena. Overall, the Pens are 12-1 in their last 13 home games dating back to Jan. 17 vs. Carolina.
Head coach Dan Bylsma gave some lineup updates a short while ago. He said defenseman Deryk Engelland, who has missed the last three games with a lower-body injury, is going to take warmups and will be a game-time decision. If he plays, Bylsma said it looks like Brian Strait will be out.
Bylsma also said Simon Despres will play as Paul Martin is still feeling the effects of the illness that sidelined him on Friday vs. Florida. Marc-Andre Fleury will get the start in goal and the rest of the lineup is game time. Stay tuned to the blog for the official scratches and lineup combos for this afternoon's contest.
The Pens have been dominating in their own city lately, so I'm going to start the blog with one of my favorite pump-up songs...Jay-Z's "Run This Town" featuring Rihanna and Kanye West. Hope it gets you going with this early start time and losing an hour of sleep thanks to springing the clocks forward!