The Daily Bongo

March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Lightning
The Pens are nearing the end of the season and trying hard to solidify their position in the standings for the playoffs. This evening, they played the Tampa Bay Lightning. Evgeni Malkin was still out with his bruised foot, and Sergei Gonchar was out with an upper body injury. The Pens have had problems with the Tampa Bay Lightning in the past, and this evening was no different. The Lightning were able to shut out the Pens. Final score: Lightning 2 - Pens 0. The Pens only have five games left in the regular season, and hopefully, they will start to pick up their game for the playoffs.
Letang Signs Four Year Deal
Kris Letang signed a four year, $14 million deal with the Pens yesterday. It's a good thing that Ray Shero is locking down his young talent, but it does make some wonder if this means that Sergei Gonchar might not have a role with the Pens in the future. It's hard to tell. I think that it's a good thing that Letang is staying with the Pens. He hasn't been scoring much, but he has improved in his defensive skills.

Sunday, March 28, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Maple Leafs
The Pens played the Toronto Maple Leafs this evening. Well, actually the game started at 5. I don't like that start time because it's not an afternoon game or an evening game. Also, it's right at dinner time. Through the first two periods, the Pens and Leafs exchanged goals. First one would score, then the other. By the third period, the Pens were getting testy. Marc-Andre Fleury had had enough of Colton Orr bumping into him at the net, and Fleury put the hip into Orr as Orr came around the Pens' net. Of course, Fleury got called for interference, but he was really getting beat up in the net. Unfortunately, the Pens' defense seems to neglect taking care of their goalie. You couldn't get away with goalie abuse with other teams. Unfortunately, in the waning seconds of that penalty, the Leafs scored. Matt Cooke tied things up, and the game went into overtime. No score in overtime, so we went to a shootout. The Pens were up first with Kris Letang, but Jean Sebastian Giguere stopped him. Next was Phil Kessel, but Fleury stopped him. Crosby went next for the Pens, and he fired one into the net, right over Giguere's glove hand. Then It was Nikolai Kulemin's turn, but Fleury stopped him. Pascal Dupuis got to try his hand, and he scored to give the Pens the win. Crosby got the game deciding goal, and for now the Pens are ahead of the New Jersey Devils in the Atlantic Division and in the Eastern Conference. All the Pens' games now will determine the seed for the playoffs. Brooks Orpik was on fire in the game, getting three assists. Sidney Crosby also boosted his goals for the year with two goals to get the lead in the goals race.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Flyers
The Pens played the Philadelphia Flyers in an early afternoon game today. The Flyers scored first, but after that, the Pens took charge, getting four goals in the game. The Pens have locked up a playoff spot. The question at this point is where they will end up.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Capitals
Everyone looks forward to a Pens and Washington Capitals because they can't wait to see Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin compete. Sergei Gonchar and Evegeni Malkin didn't play today. The first period went by without a score with Jose Theodore stopping all the Pens shots. Then in the first minute of the second period, the Capitals scored on a flukey goal, where the puck flew up into the air, and landed behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Shortly after, the Pens got the goal back to tie things up. The Pens owned the shots in the first period, the goals in the second, and then lost the edge in the third period. With only three minutes left in the game, Jordan Staal tied the game. The game went into overtime. Neither side could score though, and the game went into overtime. The Pens shot first with Kris Letang getting into the net. Nicklas Backstrom was up for the Caps, and Fleury stopped him when Backstrom couldn't get the puck up. Next was Sidney Crosby, and he scored with a nice move around Theodore. Alexander Ovechkin was next, and he scored, getting it over Fleury's pad. Billy Guerin was third, but he was really slow, and couldn't get it past Theodore. Alexander Semin was up next, and he scored. Next: Chris Kunitz was stopped Theodore. Mike Knuble was next, and he scored to give the Caps the win. Final score: Pens 3 - Caps 4.

Monday, March 22, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Red Wings
The Pens played their arch nemesis, the Detroit Red Wings. Marc-Andre Fleury was trying his darndest to keep the puck out, but it was not to be. The Pens have struggling in the past two games. The Red Wings are starting to pick up their game, even though they have been lackluster this season. Tensions were running high, and at the end of the game, as Sidney Crosby was trying to get the puck past goalie, Jimmy Howard, Henrik Zetterberg started shoving Crosby. After the buzzer called the end of the game, Howard got involved, grabbing Crosby, and puling off Crosby's helmet. Red Wings won with a final score of 3-1.

Saturday, March 20, 2010 -- Afternoon

Pens versus Hurricanes
The Pens played the Carolina Hurricanes in an early afternoon game today. The weather was gorgeous in Pittsburgh today, which makes it hard to stay in to watch a hockey game. The Hurricanes did a good job of keeping the Pens shot at a minimum. It was a back and forth game. Carolina scored, then the Pens. The Pens scored a second time, and then the Hurricanes scored. The game was tied and went into overtime. With only 0.9 seconds left on the clock in overtime, the Hurricanes got a puck behind Marc-Andre Fleury to give the Hurricanes the win. Final score: Pens 3 - Hurricanes 2.

Thursday, March 18, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Bruins
Tonight's Pens and Bruins game has been the talk of the media since Matt Cooke took Marc Savard out of the game and season with his head hit, that didn't receive a penalty. Everyone has been saying that the Bruins would have to retaliate, and there has been tons of talk about Cooke's dirty play. Even Billy Guerin weighed in against Cooke. I think anyone with any sort of reason, who saw the play would have been disgusted at Cooke's dirty play. Cooke has a history though of pulling cowardly acts and dirty hits. I think players like Cooke should just be eliminated from the game. He's not skilled enough to provide anything other than dirty hits. Meanwhile Savard is out of the game because of after effects from the grade 2 concussion. But back to the game. The first time Cooke went out on the ice, Shawn Thorton took it upon himself to clean Cooke's clock. Thornton continued to beat on Cooke even after Cooke fell and the refs stepped in, and that resulted in a game misconduct for Thornton. Every time Cooke come off the bench, the crowd booed him. I would have booed Cooke too, if I was there. The game was a good one for the Pens. They had a goal in each period, and Marc-Andre Fleury got a shut out. Final score: Pens 3 - Bruins 0.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Devils
The Pens have back to back games starting with the New Jersey Devils this evening. The first five minutes, the Pens were playing well. However, things quickly turned with the Devils take advantage of puck turnovers in the neutral zone and sloppy play by defense. Marc-Andre Fleury started the game, but was pulled after the fourth goal. The Pens had a few good moves at the beginning of the third period, and Ruslan Fedotenko got a goal. The Pens weren't able to completely get their act together though, or to take advantage of a five minute major power play. The final score: Pens 2 - Devils 5.

Sunday, March 14, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus LIghtning
The Pens were in Tampa Bay to play the LIghtning in an early afternoon game today. The Pens' fans almost had a collective heart attack when Sidney Crosby got his leg caught up between a Tampa Bay player's legs, who then fell twisting Crosby's leg under the TB player's body. I missed catching who the TB player was, but it looked like an intentional tripping job. Fortunately, Crosby didn't appear to be hurt, although there were plenty of questions over the game about whether he might have a high ankle sprain. Evgeni Malkin had a puck to his foot in the second period, and did not come back for the third period. He may only have a bad bone bruise, although the sports guys have been wondering if Malkin hasn't been feeling physically well for awhile. Marc-Andre Fleury had a good game and held the Lightning to one goal. Pascal Dupuis got a goal, and Crosby got an assist on a Sergei Gonchar goal. Pens won with a final score of 2-1.

Friday, March 12, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Devils
The Pens played the New Jersey Devils this evening. The Pens were hoping to get a win over the Devils as the season dwindles down to the playoffs. But for some reason, the Pens seem unable to beat New Jersey. This evening was no different. Marc-Andre Fleury did a great job in goal, even stopping and Ilya Kovalchuk penalty shot. The Devils put on the attack with only five shots in goal in the third period and got two goals to break the tie and win the game. Pens 1 - Devils 3.

Thursday, March 11, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Hurricanes
The Pens were back in action after a mini-break of three days to play the Carolina Hurricanes. Both teams were keeping things pretty close throughout the game. The Pens scored two goals in the first period, and then the Hurricanes got two. In the second period, the Hurricanes pulled ahead, and then the Pens tied things. The third period was scoreless, and the game went into overtime. Unfortunately, 22 seconds into OT, the Hurricanes got the winning goal. I think that Brent Johnson, the Pens' goalie, let in a couple of soft goals. It was as if he didn't even see the puck. The Pens were making the shots, just not getting anything from it. Final score: Pens 3 - Hurricanes 4.
Sidney Crosby Show
Sidney Crosby was in the news this week because he turned down an offer to go on the David Letterman show. This happened last week when the Pens were playing the Rangers in NY City. Crosby said that he had to pay attention to the games, and he was supported by Pens' GM, Ray Shero. However, it seems that the NHL powers that be were not pleased because they thought it would be a good opportunity to promote the NHL. Well, Crosby has to put winning first, not being on some stupid show. At least Crosby isn't making the news like Ben Roethlisberger, who is accused of sexually assaulting a girl in Georgia. Also, Crosby's gloves and stick from the gold medal hockey game were found. They had mistakenly been packed in with other players gear. One glove and the stick were in the Russian equipment shipment, and the other glove was in with Patrice Bergeron's gear.

Sunday, March 7, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Bruins
The Pens played a last afternoon games against the Boston Bruing. The game started out slow, probably because the Pens were still recuperating from yesterday's game. Boston was the first to score, but Pascal Dupuis put one in the net for the Pens almost six minutes later. At the start of the third period, Evgeni Malkin got a goal to give the Pens a 2-1 lead. They didn't look back from there. The game was mostly boring except for a hit that Matt Cooke put on Marc Savard. It happened with around six minutes left in the game. Savard had just crossed the blue line, and shot the puck at the net, when Cooke came along, catching Savard in the head, and knocking him to the ice. Savard laid there for the longest time, and the Pens' doctor came out and ordered a stretcher to take Savard away. Although a penalty wasn't called, I thought that Cooke's hit was late, and that it was an intentional head blow. After all, Cooke knew that Savard's head was there, and had to realize at that point that Savard didn't have the puck. I'm not sure that I like Matt Cooke. He seems to do some questionable things on the ice, dirty in a way. I'm not a fan, but I guess we will have to wait to see what the league thinks. The Bruins coach, Claude Julien, thought that it was a dirty hit. We'll see if the league carries through with its pledge to stop crap like this, and give Cooke a lengthy suspension. Final score in the game: Pens 2 - Bruins 1.

Saturday, March 6, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Stars
The Pens had an early afternoon game against the Dallas Stars. The score was tied after the first period, but then things started to look bad for the Pens. The Stars got two goals within a minute of each other. It was starting to look as if Marc-Andre Fleury would bet pulled, but instead, he took it as a wake-up call and started making some spectacular stops. The Pens started to go on the offense, and Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis, and Sidney Crosby scored goals to give the Pens the lead going into the third period. Crosby and the Pens trade acquistion, Alexei Ponikarovsky, scored goals in third to put the game out of reach. Final score: Pens 6 - Stars 3.

Thursday, March 4, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Rangers
The Pens were in New York this evening to play the Rangers. Marc-Andre Fleury was back in goal for the Pens. Although the Rangers didn't put a ton of shots on the net in the first two periods, they managed to get three of them behind Fleury. The puck wasn't going Fleury's way. The Rangers fourth goal came off the goal, and bounced off of Fleury's back into the net. After that goal, Fleury got pulled, and Brent Johnson went in. Fleury was not happy with that, and flung his stick off the bench area as he sat down. Fleury wasn't on top of his game, but then neither where the other Pens. The Olympic break wasn't to Fleury's advantage because he didn't get to play. Fleury is one of those players who does well when he plays a lot. After Fleury was pulled, Sidney Crosby gave the puck to Mike Rupp who scored for the Pens. Alex Goligoski gave the Pens a tie, and the game went into overtime. After all what do you expect when a team only gets one shot on goal in the whole period. At least, that's what the Rangers did. Henrik Lundqvist did a great job thoughout the game, facing 55 shots. Evgeni Malkin ended the game by scoring the game winning shot in overtime. Final score: Pens 5 - Rangers 4.
Where Did It Go?
Sidney Crosby came back to Pittsburgh without the stick and gloves that he used to score the game winning goal in the gold medal game. Also, the puck that made the goal is also missing. Supposedly, someone found one of Crosby's gloves and is returning it. The problem was that Crosby flunk his stick and gloves into teh air, and when all the gear was collected up, only Crosby's gear was missing. As people are saying, we will probably see the items on E-Bay sometime.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 -- Evening

Pens versus Sabres
The Pens were back in action at home this evening. The Buffalo Sabres were in town too, with Patrick Lalime as the starting goal. The Sabres were giving Ryan Miller a break, and the Pens gave Marc-Andre Fleury a break too. You know sitting in the stands can be rough. I think mostly with Fleury, it was the lack of activity. The Pens did a really cool thing by having a pre-game ceremony to honor those who competed in the Olympics, and they honored both teams. Lindy Ruff, Jochen Hecht, Andrej Sekera, Henrik Tallinder, Sergei Gonchar, Evgeni Malkin, and Toni Lydman. The crowd gave Ryan Miller a huge ovation, and he waved from the sidelines. Brooks Orpik got a good round of applause too. Then they honored the gold medalists: Fleury and Sidney Crosby. It was nice that they did it in order of the order of finish. I especially liked the ovation for Ryan Miller. He did a great job, as tournament MVP, and it was just the fluke of the puck that gave the Canadians the win. That and Crosby's skill. Max Talbot was also back on the ice after his span out with an injury. Gonchar was the first to score, giving the Pens the advantage. The second period started with a goal by Pascal Dupuis. Lydman brought things closing by getting a goal for the Sabres. Ruslan Fedotenko got a goal in the third, and then Derek Roy got a goal that went up for review to bring things close again. The Sabres weren't able to score again, and the Pens got another win with a 3-2 score.