The Daily Bongo

November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Lose to Rangers
The Pens were in New York to play the Rangers without Kris Letang. Letang was sent back to Pittsburgh with a broken nose. He was also going to get further testing; I suppose to make sure he didn't have a concussion. The Pens scored first with a goal by James Neal. Unfortunately, the Rangers scored four goals in the second period. Evgeni Malkin got a goal at the end of the second, and Pascal Dupuis got one in the third period. That wasn't enough to tie things ups. The Rangers won with a final score of 4-3. On Thursday, the Pens will be in DC to play the Caps, sans coach Bruce Boudrea who was fired yesterday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011 -- Evening

Letang Controversy
The Pens played back to back games with a trip to Montreal to play the Canadiens this evening. Marc-Andre Fleury was in goal for the Pens, playing in back to back games, probably because it was Montreal. The Pens scored quickly with Evgeni Malkin getting a goal in the first 21 seconds of the game, with an assist from Sidney Crosby. The Canadiens managed to get a 3-1 lead with two goals in the first and another in the third. Pascal Dupuis got a goal in the second, and then Jordan Staal got a goal in the third to tie things up. At the end of the third period, Kris Letang took a shot to the head from Max Pacioretty, which knocked him down and bloodied him. Letang got back into the game for the overtime, and scored the overtime goal. There was controversy over the goal because Carey Price tucked the puck under his pads, but there was no whistle and Pascal Dupuis knocked it free, and Letang knocked it in. The Canadiens thought that it was not a goal, but you play until the whistle. That's what the Pens did, and they won. Final score: Pens 4 - Canadiens 3.

The head shot by Pacioretty was controversial. Pacioretty did not get a penalty from it, even though he blindsided Letang to the head with his shoulder. After the game, some of the Canadien sports guys were asking Crosby how Crosby could elbow Nick Foligno in yesterday's game, but then call out about the hit on Letang. Crosby did a great job of explaining the differences. Pacioretty blindsided Letang when Letang was playing the puck, and Pacioretty put a shot on Letang's head with his shoulder. Foligno had been interfering with Fleury, falling all over Fleury, and in the ensuing scrum, when Crosby was sticking up for his goalie, Crosby elbowed Foligno and caught him in the jaw. As Crosby said, that's what you get when you get into a scrum. Foligno is an agitator, and got what he deserved in a scrum. The Pens aren't like the Buffalo Sabres. The Pens stand up for their goalie and don't let him get abused by the other team. Ryan Miller has been out for over a week with a concussion that he suffered because of a shot by the Boston Bruins' Milan Lucic. Pacioretty should be hanging his head in shame because he wanted to have Zdeno Chara arrested for the hit Chara put on Pacioretty that resulted in Pacioretty's broken neck last year.

Friday, November 25, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Feast on the Senators
After a lackadaisical game before Thanksgiving, the Pens came out to play tonight. Granted, they were lucky that their opponent was the Ottawa Senators. The Senators are in eleventh place in the Eastern Conference and last in the Northeastern Division. The Senators scored first, but within the first nine minutes of the game, the Pens had four goals, and Senator goalie, Craig Anderson, was pulled in favor of Alex Auld. Sidney Crosby had three assists in the first period and a penalty in the first three minutes of the third period, for throwing an elbow at Nick Foligno for falling all over Marc-Andre Fleury. In the scrum that ensued, Fleury managed to get in a well-concealed punch to Foligno's stomach. Goal scorers for the Pens: Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy, Steve Sullivan, Evgeni Malkin, Pascal Dupuis, and Jordan Staal. Final score: Pens 6 - Senators 3.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 -- Evening

Pens' Blues
Sidney Crosby did not suffer any ill effects from Monday's game: only some sore muscles and tiredness. Of course, that is what you would expect after playing a full game for the first time in 320 days. Sid was back on the ice this evening for the Pens and St. Louis Blues game. The Blues got the only goal in the first period. Then there was no more scoring until the third period. Evgeni Malkin was the force in the third period. First he got an assist on Steve Sullivan's goal. Then he assisted on James' Neal goal to tie things at 2-2. The game ended in a tie, so it went on to overtime. Unfortunately, the Blues got one past Marc-Andre Fleury in overtime to give them a 3-2 win.

Monday, November 21, 2011 -- Evening

Sidney Crosby scores at 5:24 in the first period
Sid the Kid Returns
Sidney Crosby returned to the ice tonight against the New York Islanders, and the news media had a huge presence at the game. TSN sent a slew of reporters, and the game was added to the Hockey Night in Canada schedule. When Sid took the ice, and the fans all held up their "Welcome Back Sid" signs that the Pens' handed out to fans before the game. Sid started the game, and his line came out flying, which, of course, had everyone screaming. After only 55 seconds on the ice, Sid almost had an assist on a Chris Kunitz shot. at 5:24 into the first period, Sid came charging down the ice, with three Islanders on him, and scored his first goal of the season! The whole arena exploded. Then later in the first, Sid fed the puck to Brooks Orpik who got the goal!

Three minutes into the second period, Sid had an assist on an Evgeni Malkin goal. It was great to see Malkin, Sid, and James Neal on the ice together. Steve Sullivan scored goal number four for the Pens with an assist from Malkin and Neal. In the third period, Sid shot the puck at Anders Nilsson, the Islanders goalie. The puck shot off of Nilsson's chest and into the net. Of course all of the attention on Sid doesn't put the spotlight on Marc-Andre Fleury, who was doing a great job in net, grabbing pucks out of mid-air to keep the Islanders scoreless.

Towards the end of the third period, the Pens started to feed the puck to Sid in the hope that he could get a hat trick. The clock ticked down to 20 seconds. Sid was on the ice, and the Pens were trying to feed it to him, but Sid could not get the hat trick. Fleury did get the shutout! It was the second of shutout for Fleury this season and 21st of his career. Crosby completed the game, looking good and healthy. Crosby was looking for the game puck at the end of the game, not for himself, as he said in his post-game presser, but for Fleury because it was a shutout. That's Sid for you: thinking of his buddies first. Sid's total ice time: 15:54. Sid got the first star of the game, Pascal Dupuis got the second star for his three assists, and Fleury got the third star for the shutout. Final score: Pens 5 - Islanders 0.

Sunday, November 20, 2011 -- Afternoon

Sidney Crosby to Play Tomorrow
Sidney Crosby will be playing in tomorrow's Pens game against the New York Islanders. He finally got the clearance for game activity, which is great news. The team will be playing back at Console, here in Pittsburgh.
Pens Lose in Florida
The Pens didn't have a good experience on their dads' road trip in Florida this year. Not only did the team loose to the Lightning, but last night, they also lost to the Florida Panthers. There was some sloppy play throughout the game. Chris Kunitz and Jordan Staal got the only goals for the Pens. Final score was Panthers 3 - Pens 2. The dads were probably glad to go home because of the poor game play and lousy weather, with clouds, winds, and rain.

Thursday, November 17, 2011 -- Evening

Dads' Trip
The Pens took their dads with them when they went on their Florida trip today. The dads have been spending a weekend with their sons ever since Ray Shero becamse general manager. Tonight's game was against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who have developed a reputation for incredibly boring play. The Lightning have implemented the neutral zone trap, and that means that games tend to be low in shots on goal and in goals. The system worked on the Pens. The Lightning were able to keep the Pens from the net, and some sloppy turnovers didn't help either. Tyler Kennedy scored a goal in the third for the Pens, but it was too little too late. The Lightning won with a final score of 4-1.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 -- Evening

Pens Win
The Colorado Avalanche were in town, and they took off in the first period against the Pens. By the end of the first period, the Avalanche were leading 3-1. Fortunately, the Pens were just getting started. Jordan Staal got the goal in the first period, then Pascal Dupuis scored in the second. The Pens were down 3-2 starting the third. Then Brooks Orpik, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, and Kris Letang got goals to give the Pens a 6-3 win. The third period was great fun. I love to see a good scoring game with lots of action.

Saturday, November 12, 2011 -- Evening

Pens versus Hurricane
The Pens traveled to Carolina to play the Hurricanes tonight. Brent Johnson was in goal, giving Marc-Andre Fleury a rest. The Hurricanes scored first with a goal by Jeff Skinner. Then Tuomo Ruutu scored two goals in the second period to give the Hurricanes a 3-0 goal lead. The Pens may have been down, but they weren't out. Jordan Staal scored two goals, the second being a short handed goal. Then Chris Kunitz tied the game. Things were starting to look up for the Pens, but then Eric Staal and Chad Larose scored to give the Hurricanes the win with a final score of 5-3.

Friday, November 11, 2011 -- Evening

Dallas Stars in Town
The Dallas Stars were in town to plan the Pens this evening. There has been talk for several weeks that Sidney Crosby was going to be back on the ice for the November 11th game. However, yesterday, the news came out that Crosby would not be back this weekend. It seems that he is close, but still not quite ready. The Stars are one of the hottest teams in the NHL this season, winning 11 of their 14 games. Eric Nystrom scored first for the Stars, giving them a 1-0 lead in the first. After getting two power play goals called off by Toronto, James Neal scored to tie things in the first. Then in the third period, the Pens came out to play. Neal got his second goal of the game, a power play goal, and then Matt Cooke got tripped up and was awarded a penalty shot. Cooke did a great job, coming at Kari Lehtonen and lifting it over Lehtonen's leg. The Pens had a 3-1 lead. with seconds left to go in the game, Evgeni Malkin tried to feed the puck to Neal so Neal could get a hat trick. Unfortunately, it didn't work. It shows you the sort of guy Malkin is. He could have gotten an empty net goal, but he wanted to help Neal get the hat trick. Malkin is a decent guy. The Pens won with a final score of 3-1.

Sunday, November 6, 2011 -- Morning

Pens versus Kings
The Pens has another late night game against the LA eamKings last night. Steve Sullivan scored a power play goal in the latter part of the first period to give the Pens a 1-0 lead. However, the Kings came back to tie things up in the second period, and Simon Gagne gave the Kings a 2-1 lead in the third. Fortunately, Chris Kunitz scored with less than three minutes in the game to tie things up. As we have seen so many times with the Pens, the game went into overtime and a shoot out. Fortunately, both Kris Letang and Kunitz scored in the shoot out to give the Pens a 3-2 win.

Friday, November 4, 2011 -- Evening

Pens in San Jose
The Pens were in San Jose last night to play the Sharks. The Pens haven't had much luck against the Sharks when they play in San Jose, and haven't won against them there since 1997. The Pens came out strong, getting two goals in the first two minutes of the game. Unfortunately, the Sharks weren't so eager to give up. The game went into overtime, and then a shoot out. The Sharks won with a shoot out goal from Ryane Clowe. Kris Letang was back on the ice, and wound up playing for 30 minutes. But Ben Lovejoy broke his wrist and will probably be out for several weeks. The final score of the game: Pens 3 - Sharks 4.