Archive for: pittsburgh penguins

Pens Trade Whitney, Habs Trade Begin

Steve BeginTwo noteworthy trades in the NHL so far today. With the March 4th trade deadline fast approaching the Pittsburgh Penguins have dealt Ryan Whitney to the Anaheim Ducks for LW Chris Kunitz and RW Eric Tangradi, allowing the Pens to add some talent to Sidney Crosby’s line.

In a smaller deal, the Montreal Canadiens sent gritty forward to the Dallas Stars in return for defenceman Doug Janik. Expect the Habs to continue tweaking their roster as they approach the deadline as buyers.

Crosby Leaves Practice With Sore Groin

Sidney CrosbySidney Crosby left the Penguin’s practice today with an apparent “sore groin”; not exactly a major NHL happening but the fact that Crosby avoided reporters while leaving suggests that perhaps the problem is more serious then is being reported.

The Pens have Sid listed as “probable” for tomorrow’s game against the Islanders.

Game 59: Penguins 5 – Canadiens 4

Pittsburgh PenguinsAfter the slim loss in Washington on Wednesday night I had high hopes for last night’s game against the struggling Pens but those hopes were dashed as we lost 5-4, finalizing the Canadiens’ total of three points of a possible 12 on the six game road trip.

The Habs were able to score but always found themselves down at least a goal thanks to another less then stellar night from Carey Price. Price didn’t look exceptionally bad but he wasn’t great either. Rebound control continues to be an issue but his positioning looks far better as he begins to get more agressive when challanging shooters. Tomas Plekanec netted another pair, Andrei Kostistyn scored his 23rd of the season and new defenceman Mathieu Schneider scored his first as a Hab in the 21st century when he blasted a puck from the point past Marc-Andre Fleury.

Another loss, some heavy drama…what’s a club celebrating its 100th season to do? Someone better figure out something quick.

Game 51: Canadiens 4 – Penguins 2

Sidney Crosby Runs Carey PriceAfter this past Sunday (Black Sunday as I’ve been calling it) it was clear that the Habs were going to have to bring it against Pittsburgh tonight. The loss of another two bodies, including our leading scorer, Robert Lang, is obviously adding to the pressure on an already slumping team.

The game opened at a frantic pace by the Habs with everyone on the ice moving at top speed, especially Alex Kovalev. The Pens did open the scoring on a bit of a defensive breakdown in front of Carey Price but Montreal got that goal back short minutes later on a great effort by Sergei Kostitsyn and a perfect finish by Roman Hamrlik. The pressure from the Habs continued throughout the first period, culminating in a powerplay earned with only 14 seconds remaining, sending them into the second period with a man advantage and tied 1-1.

Montreal broke out the guns in the second with Christopher Higgins scoring shorthanded on a breakaway and then Maxim Lapierre giving the Habs a 3-1 lead. Evgeni Malkin brought the Pens within a goal on the powerplay in the third before Andrei Kostitsyn reclaimed the two goal lead, giving the Canadiens a much needed two points with a 4-2 victory.

Standouts tonight were Sergei Kostitsyn, Alex Kovalev, Maxim Lapierre, Roman Hamrlik with an honorable mention to Andrei Markov (save for the two penalties). Price really wasn’t tested much (we outshot the Pens 35-25) but looked solid when the puck was around the net.

Onto the Sabres on Friday; expect to see the same lines and Price in net.

Senators Risk Playoff Bump

After opening the 2007-2008 season at an exciting pace that resulted in a 15-2 start, the Ottawa Senators simply fell off. Scoring slowed down, goaltending troubles abounded and head coach John Paddock was eventually fired. The Sens ended the regular season on an ugly note, finishing 6th in the East after leading the conference almost all seasons.

The first round of the 2008 playoffs saw Ottawa pitted against the upstart Pittsburgh Penguins and things are not going well. Crosby, Gonchar, Malkin and Sykora have had the Senators’ card from the start and the young Pens team now sits at a comfortable 3-0 series lead going into Wednesday’s game.

While many Ottawa fans are hoping for some sort of comeback, they are quite likely to be the first team ousted from the post-season tomorrow in a clean four-game sweep; a disappointing loss after last year’s run at the Stanley Cup. The Sens will have some real soul-searching to do as they try to figure out why their all-star roster (including Dany Heatley, the highest paid player in the league this year) can’t seem to get it together.

See you next season Sens!

Hossa Heads to the ‘Burgh

With all of the speculation that either Ottawa or Montreal would pick him up it was actually the Pittsburgh Penguins who picked up Marian Hossa with only seconds remaining before the NHL trade deadline today. Hossa will join the like of Sidney Crosby and Evengi Malkin and suddenly the Pens look like potential Cup contenders.

The Pens did send Colby Armstrong (among others) to Atlanta and that is going to have a major effect on team chemistry; Armstrong and Crosby are long time friends. I’m guessing Hossa’s playmaking abilities are going to offset that loss though.

Penguins 5 – Canadiens 4

With only two points separating the tied-for-first Canadiens and the second place Penguins in the Eastern Conference it was obvious that both teams were going to come to play good hockey. They did just that, the difference in the first period being that Pittsburgh work was turning into quality scoring chances while the Habs, despite good offensive zone pressure, were unable to get money shots on Danny Sabourin. The Pens, however, were able to convert twice as Ryan Whitney and Jarkko Ruutu gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead at the end of the first period.

The Canadiens poured on the pressure in the second and an excellent effort by Sergei Kostitsyn to beat the Penguins defender to a puck behind Sabourin lead to a beautiful goal by Saku Koivu as he waited the Pittsburgh goalie out and cut the lead to 2-1. The Pens answered back, however, as Malone was able to capitalize on a scramble in front of Christobal Huet, making the score 3-1. The first powerplay of the game for the Habs saw Chris Higgins knock a perfect pass from EEEWFWF to bring Montreal to within one.

Michael Ryder, on a hot streak all of a sudden, scored 22 seconds into the third period to tie the game 3-3. The Canadiens’ continued pressure earned them a powerplay early in the period and they capitalized, getting a 4-3 lead on a goal by Roman Hamrlik following some beautiful passing on the rush. The Penguins tied the game when Malkin beat Huet on a powerplay and than took a 5-4 lead on a powerplay goal by Sergei Gonchar.

The Habs pulled Huet with a minute or so remaining but they weren’t able to pull the trigger, losing the Pittsburgh 5-4 in regulation.

February 21 – Pittsburgh Penguins

The Habs will attempt to follow up their history-making comeback victory over the New York Rangers with a fifth straight win as they play host to the Pittsburgh Penguins at the Bell Centre in Montreal tonight. The Canadiens are in a tight race for first place in the Eastern Conference, currently tied at 75 points with both Ottawa and New Jersey with the Pens trailing only two points behind.

Les Habitants are currently leading the season series between the two teams 2-1, but Pittsburgh, sans Sidney Crosby, shut the Canadian team down 2-0 in their last meeting. Crosby, still out with a high ankle sprain, will not be back tonight.

It will be interesting to see who gets the start in net for the Habs tonight, but I’m guessing it will be Huet. His performance the other night wasn’t stellar but he did help his team to the unexpected win and I expect Carbo will reward him for it.

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