Game of the Night

Vancouver Canucks vs. Pittsburgh Penguins @ Consol Energy Center
1-3 Final

Playing their first game in the Consol Energy Center, Canucks looked to christen their visit with a win.  On the Penguins end, Marc-Andre Fleury looks to make amends for his season's slow start with a win against the Vancouver team, which he has never beat before.

Much to most viewers' shock, the Penguins are in the lead of the NHL with the most hits and major penalties.  Dan Bylsma and his staff had made the Penguins not only a scoring threat, but also a more physical team that throws the big body around and isn't afraid to get nitty-gritty.  But the Canucks aren't ones to let themselves get pushed around.  A little over 2 minutes in, you get that idea when Craig Adams and Kevin Bieksa dropped the mitts for a brief brawl.

A little on the unfortunate side for the Canucks, with the faceoff in the Penguins zone in the dying seconds of their first power-play of the game, Bieksa was just a little unlucky with the puck getting past him and right onto the stick of a Sidney Crosby, who had just finished serving his 2 minutes for holding.  Unmarked and wide open, Crosby does a cute little deke before pausing then shooting on Roberto Luongo, and beating him low blocker-side.

After the first intermission, the Canucks returned to the ice with a bit more bite than the first period had, and the Penguins answered right back.  But a physical games always comes with a hit that'll make "headlines".  Mike Rupp gave Dan Hamhuis a push into the player boards and received a boarding call.  Now, I don't know about you, but that "boarding call" wasn't much of one.  I saw it as a push, but the officials saw it as a boarding.  If this is what's coming to our game, I am not pleased.  I swear juniors play harder with more 'umph' than that hit!  General managers of the NHL really need to get together, discuss this topic of blindside hits, and bring back the game of hockey!

On the heels of Rupp being put into the penalty box, after the first chance, the penalty-killing pair of Max Talbot and Matt Cooke gave the skaters in baby blue a 2-0 lead.  A soft wrap-around the net short-handed beat Luongo, who was slow getting from one post to the other. It was a good PK effort from the Penguins unit.  Cooke and Talbot played a hard fore-cheque on the kill and were returned with a SHG for their efforts. And things just fell apart a little more from there.

Sprawling to help his goalie out, Christian Ehrhoff couldn't get the puck away in the air, and the sweep didn't make it before Arron Asham came crashing in and bouncing the puck off of his skate into the back of the net before knocking the mesh off of its yawnings.  But Canucks aren't ones to let being behind get to them.  They are a team that knows to keep pushing a come-back no matter what the scoreboard says.  Hot on the heels of Malkin's goal, the top-line of Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, and Alex Burrows play a pretty game of pass the rubber disk on the ice before Dan Hamhuis tapped the puck into the back of the net, past an unprepared Fleury.

The final buzzer rang, but before the game did end, the Canucks put the pedal to the metal and had a fleury of chances and managed to keep the puck out of their empty net (it was incredible that no goal actually went into the yawning cage), but the game ended with another goal to show for it.

3 stars:
(1) Marc-André Fleury
(2) Max Talbot
(3) Sidney Crosby

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