I currently assist the Phoenix Coyotes media relations department at all home games at Jobing.Com Arena. I was back in Pittsburgh for the holidays and I had the opportunity to attend Monday night’s game at the Consol Energy Center between the Phoenix Coyotes and Pittsburgh Penguins. Here are my notes from that game. That was a 6-1 win by the Penguins.
Walking in: Walking into the Consol Energy Center, the Penguins new multi million-dollar facility, I was blown away. As a kid I grew up going to games at Mellon Arena. I know the place was run down towards the end, but this is like replacing those robots from the movie I, ROBOT with the awesome, diesel, can-do-it-all robots. WOW!
Warm Ups: The obvious is that starting goalie Ilya Bryzgalov is not in the building. Bryz was sent back to Phoenix earlier in the week. He is suffering from an upper body injury and could miss a few weeks. Caught up with Coyotes radio and television analyst Tyson Nash. All he talked about was the Jets vs. Steelers game he was on the field for on Sunday. On a hockey note it looks like Coyotes goalie Jason Labarbera is going to be in net tonight for the Yotes. He is getting all the pre-game work. The Yotes have called up goalie Matt Climie from the San Antonio Rampage, the Coyotes American Hockey League affiliate. He will more than likely back up LaBarbera until Bryz gets back. I don’t expect him to see too much action while up here.
Starting Line-ups: Coyotes: Keith Yandle, Derek Morris, Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney, Radim Vrbata, Jason LaBarbera. Penguins: Zbynek Michalek, Paul Martin, Pascal Dupuis, Chris Kunitz, Sidney Crosby, Marc-Andre Fleury.
19:00: Penguins controlling early, Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera looks sharp.
17:00: 2-on-1 for the Yotes Kyle Turris he rang it off the post. Another chance another save by Pens goalie Fleury.
15:00: Yotes tough time in their own end, Taylor Pyatt made a nice move just missed the net.
14:00 The Coyotes iced the puck. Face-off in the Yotes end to the right of the goalie. Another icing Yotes can’t change. Evgeni Malkin drew a tripping penalty on defensemen Nolan Yonkman.
13:04 Kris Letang lights the lamp. Walked right down the lane. Assist by Tyler Kennedy and Malkin. You just can’t be shorthanded against this team. 1-0 Penguins.
12:00 Fleury plays the puck outside the trapezoid. Two-minute minor served by Malkin. Good chances for the Yotes couldn’t capitalize. Fleury was letting up some rebounds, just couldn’t stuff one in.
10:00: The Pens Chris Kunitz crushed Scottie Upshall into the boards another Yotes power-play. They need to get pucks to net. Kunitz was called for a high stick to the face of Upshall. I’m sure that felt good.
8:00: Nothing special on the power-play thus far. Last :10 seconds Wojtek Wolski had a chance, save by Fleury. Best opportunity of the night thus far by the Yotes.
4:00: Penalty on Letang for delay of game. The Yotes need to capitalize on this chance with just over four minutes left in the first period. Pens win the draw and clear the puck. Another clear just under a minute left now for the Yotes. 0-3 on the power play need to capitalize against the Pens with the man advantage.
2:34: Again not a bad first period. The scoring chances were fairly even Yotes had a chance near the end of the period, while Crosby had a chance one-on-one at the other end.
1:00: Alex Goligoski took a tripping penalty with a minute left in the period. Another great chance early in the power play, but they couldn’t convert. Then captain Shane Doan took a penalty with :35 seconds left. Interference was the call. 0-4 in the period for the Yotes on the power play.
:35: Malkin rips one in the back of the net with :34 seconds left in the period. Crosby had the assist and extended his points streak to 21 games I believe.
At the end of the 1st period the Pens lead the Yotes 2-0. LaBarbera looked good. The two goals were just perfect, nothing he could have done about either. Especially the second one Crosby to Malkin it was basically a one-timer.
19:00: Keith Yandle tripped behind his own net waiting to clear the puck as the Pens were on the power play. Puck went right to Crosby who found Malkin wide open in the middle with no one around and found the back of the net it for his second goal of the night.
18:00: Wolski two-minutes for holding at 1:54. This game could be getting away from the Yotes. It could get ugly fast. Just as I typed that Malkin to Crosby his 27th of the season. Letang also got an assist. 4-0 Pens let the blowout begin. Another power-play goal for the Pens.
14:00: I don’t think that Crosby has come off the ice tonight. He probably hasn’t with all the power-play chances the Pens have had. This building also gets really loud!
13:00: Another goal. 5-0. This one off the face-off to the left of LaBarbera. Again not his fault. They finally pulled LaBarbera for Matt Climie. Again not LaBarbera’s fault just awful defense tonight by the Yotes. Matt Cooke right in the slot no one around him. Assists to Malkin and Max Talbot.
8:00 Malkin had another chance right in front of the net. Great save by Climie. Yotes need to settle down and score one. Malkin is playing like a man possessed. The crowd has starting chanting GENO GENO.
6:00: Mike Rupp two-minutes for hocking. The Yotes need to capitalize desperately on this power play. The crowd is into this game. Matt Cooke is going to go to the box for roughing 5 on 3 for the Yotes. Pens took another penalty. Brooks Orpik two-minutes for hooking. Yotes will get a 5 on 3 then another one. Again this arena gets really really loud.
4:00: Someone missed a wide-open net for the Yotes. And again couldn’t connect. 5 on 4 now. Pens clear nothing doing for the Coyotes. Pens look really fresh and into this game. You can tell they have had a few days off, while you can tell the Yotes are in the midst of a long road trip.
End of Second: Pens lead 5-0. Pens out-shout the Yotes 15 to 5 in the second period. They also scored two power-play goals. You just can’t be shorthanded against this team. I’m also surprised at how well the Pens penalty kill has been. With Jordan Stall being out other guys have steeped up on the kill. The goal now for the Yotes is to somehow win the third period. They desperately need a goal for morality purposes.
18:00: Nothing really going on early and then Taylor Pyatt and Deryk Engelland fought. This should never have happened. I respect Pyatt for dropping the gloves, but Engelland is too strong and that is his only purpose. I would have loved to see Engelland and Paul Bissonnette square off. I’m still shaking my head on that one.
15:00: Upshall and Arron Asham were going to go and the refs steeped in before they could this game is getting chippy because the score is lopsided. They might have played together in Phily??? Not sure going to look that up. Upshall got two-minutes for slashing and a 10 minute misconduct. I would have to see it again to judge for myself. Quietly Matt Climie has played solid since coming into the game. Not that many shots, but the young guy has played well. He is 27 so I guess he’s not that young, but still.
11:00: On the board. Wojtek Wolski took it off his knee and it redirected past Fleury. 5-1. Derek Morris just riffled one from the point and Wolski leg happened to be in the right place. That definitely hurt. Eric Belanger also had an assist.
9:00: Crosby two good opportunities Climie made the saves. Haven’t heard much from Malkin or Crosby in the third … not that you really needed too.
2:00: I Was walking to the media lounge missed the goal by Chris Conner. 6-1 Pens give an assist to Letestu.
After the game here is head coach Dave Tippett’s comments this is all you really need to hear.
“This is unacceptable for our group. We will address some of the issues we have. This is not who we are, this is not who we are going to be, and we will do whatever we can to fix it.”
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Written by Robb Patty