Tag:Pittsburgh Penguins
Posted on: April 28, 2011 12:36 am
Edited on: April 28, 2011 4:16 am

Roloson, 41, keys Tampa Bay's comeback

The Tampa Bay Lightning defied the odds and their goalie, Dwayne Roloson, again defied his age.

Roloson, 41, stopped 36 shots in a 1-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 7 of the first-round series Wednesday night. That’s on top of the 27 saves on 29 shots he stopped in Game 5 and the 31 of 33 volleys turned away in Game 6 as Tampa Bay became the 24th team in NHL history to come back from a 3-1 series deficit. 

As The Tampa Bay Tribune's Erik Erlendsson reprots, Roloson didn’t have the easiest path to this win:

The Lightning killed off six power plays in the game, including one with 1:33 left, and killed 35 of 36 in the seven-game series.

"It's just another win for me. Now that this is over, enjoy it, but tomorrow is another day and we have to focus on the next series," Roloson said. "We just laid it on the line. We just went out and played. We just did what we had to do to win hockey games. We didn't care about the score. We didn't care about the results.

"We stayed within our system and our structure and we were able to win hockey games."

Roloson also outdueled Pens goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, not that he could be faulted allowing one goal on 22 shots. Fleury received a cheers from the CONSOL Energy Center after the game's conclusion, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports:
He had no chance at preventing Lightning left wing Sean Bergenheim from scoring into an open net. Bergenheim, positioned to the left of Fleury, was free for an open shot after the Penguins paid too much attention to center Dominic Moore from behind the cage.

"Our goalie stopped everything he saw," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said.

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: April 27, 2011 1:30 pm
Edited on: April 27, 2011 1:42 pm

Game 7 breakdown: Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh

No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning vs. No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins

Time: 8 p.m.
TV: CBC/RDS (Versus is scheduled to join the game in progress)

Road to Game 7

The CONSOL Energy Center’s debut season gets a Game 7. It won’t feature the arena’s two starring attractions -- Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin -- and it’s a game the Penguins could have avoided. The Pens held a 3-1 series lead before they were blown out, 8-2, in Game 5 then were done in by third-period goals from Steve Downie and former Penguin Ryan Malone en route to a 4-2 loss in Game 6. The series also feature two suspensions -- Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz and Downie each received a game -- after Game 3 altercations. The Pens have the edge in experience having gone through three Game 7s over the previous three years.

In net

Dwayne Roloson (Tampa Bay) vs. Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburg): At 41, Roloson has been more than just adequate in his first postseason appearance since 2006. His .941 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average both best his younger, Cup-winning counterpart. (Fleury has a GAA of 2.77 and a .890 save percentage.)

Injury report

Despite the alleged eye gouge perpetrated by Pens defenseman Brooks Orpik of Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos, the Lightning enter fairly healthy. Tampa Bay defenseman Randy Jones is out with an ankle sprain. The Pens are minus Crosby (concussion), Malkin (knee) and Nick Johnson (concussion).

Our picks

A.J. Perez: The Lightning’s run has to end sometime. The Pens are minus their two biggest offensive weapons, but that’s been the case a solid portion of the season. What they need is a competent performance out of Fleury. Is that asking too much? I think there’s plenty left on the Pens roster to grind out a narrow victory.

Brian Stubits: The Lightning enter Game 7 rolling like thunder after impressive showings in Games 5 and 6, and with Crosby and Malkin out, have the greater firepower. This is a team I have not been high on and I'm a little surprised they made it to this juncture. The team's plus-minus this season was the lowest of playoff teams (ranked 20th at minus-13), which indicates they were somewhat lucky this season. So why go in the face of what looks to be a lucky streak right now? You have to wonder about the confidence level of the Penguins while the Lightning can't be feeling much in the way of pressure. Tampa Bay moves on.

Posted on: April 26, 2011 12:51 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 1:00 am

Chris Conner's penalty shot goes sideways

Chris Conner’s unintentional dump-and-chase tact to his second period penalty shot didn’t turn out well.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward was awarded the shot after he was tripped up by Tampa Bay’s Pavel Kubina on a breakaway attempt. As Conner approached Lightning goalie Dwayne Roloson the puck went sideways on him as he neared the faceoff dot. 

By the time he chased it down, the angle was so extreme that it ended up being an easy save. Since the puck was traveling forward the entire time, the shot would have counted had it made it into the net and the game would have been tied at 2.

"I've seen stranger things happen than that thing, and it still ends up in the net," Roloson told Joe Smith of The St. Petersburg Times. "So you've got to stay focused on your job."

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 18, 2011 11:56 pm
Edited on: April 19, 2011 2:16 am

Downie, Kunitz take game down ugly path

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Lighting alternated winning through the first two games of the first-round series.

On Monday, they exchanged cheap shots. 

Tampa Bay forward Steve Downie left his feet to take aim at Pens defenseman Ben Lovejoy six minutes into regulation. The collision resulted in a delayed penalty, although Max Talbot scored to negate it. It happened in a “hitting area,” which was NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell’s reasoning behind not suspending Vancouver’s Raffi Torres for a Sunday collision, but I don’t think anywhere on the ice has a “launching area.” Here’s a look at the hit:

Midway through the first, it was Pens forward Chris Kunitz who tossed a fairly targeted (and sneaky) elbow at the head of Lightning forward Simon Gagne. Kunitz received a two-minute minor for elbowing. Here's a look at that hit:

Josh Yohe of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Gagne's thoughts on the hit:

"I'm sure the league will take a look at it," Gagne said. "We all saw what happened. He went right at my head. The ref asked if I was OK. You see it good on the replay."

Gagne said he was fine following the hit, despite his history with head injuries.

"I feel OK," he said. "That's the only comment I've got right now. You know the league is going to take a long look at that. We all know what the rules are."

The league is reportedly taking took more than just a look at both hits during Game 3, a tilt the Pens won, 3-2. Both Downie and Kunitz will have hearings over the phone with Campbell and other NHL officials on Tuesday, according to TSN
-- A.J. Perez

Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 1:26 pm

Sidney Crosby misses another practice

The possibility of Sidney Crosby returning to action may have diminished some when the Pittsburgh center missed today’s game-day skate due to doctor’s orders, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Rob Rossi reports

"His workout regimen, the one he's gone through the last five days, continues to be all through the doctor," Pens coach Dan Bylsma said. "He's been working out off the ice ... and there hasn't been a change to his status."

Crosby hasn't been on the ice since Friday, although he is on the trip as the Pens’ first-round series moves to Tampa Bay for Game 3 tonight. Crosby was still scheduled to go through an off-ice workout today. 

Crosby hasn’t played since early January due to a concussion. He was cleared to resume non-contact practices on March 30. Crosby needs to be cleared for full-contact practices, then games before he’ll be allowed to return to game action. 

-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 12, 2011 12:12 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 1:56 pm

Crosby practices with teammates, still no contact

The mind games go on concerning Sidney Crosby.

A day after the Lightning said they were preparing to see him when they meet the Penguins in the first round, The Kid took an encouraging step for Pens fans.

Having returned to the ice a little over a week ago, on Tuesday morning Crosby practiced with the rest of the team according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette . However, club officials tried to tamper the enthusiasm by pointing out it is not an indication that he is closer to entering a game. He still has not been cleared for contact, so that’s the biggest hurdle it would seem at this point.

Crosby has been out since Jan. 5 recovering from a concussion he sustained midway through the season. The Penguins-Lightning series begins on Wednesday night.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 11, 2011 6:34 pm
Edited on: April 13, 2011 12:13 pm

Preview: No. 4 Pittsburgh vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay

Minus Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin the last few months of the season didn’t stop the Penguins from securing home ice for the first round. It speaks to the job Dan Bylsma and his coaching staff have done in working with their healthy assets. First-year Lightning coach Guy Bucher deserves credit as well for returning the Lightning to the playoffs for the first time in four years. Two cogs --- Vincent Lecavalier and Martin St. Louis --- are still around from the team’s 2004 Cup title team and Steven Stamkos continues to be a threat in his third season in the NHL. The home team won each of the team’s four meetings this season. 

Here's the breakdown:

Forwards:   James Neal (Dallas) and Alex Kovalev (Ottawa) were brought in before the deadline by Pens GM Ray Shero. Neal has only had one goal in his 20 games since the trade and Kovalev has two tallies since his return to Pittsburgh, but it hasn’t much mattered. It’s more about defensive responsibility and making the most of other team’s mistakes these days for the Pens. That could change, however, if Crosby (concussion) is cleared to play. Stamkos was surpassed by Anaheim’s Corey Perry for the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy (most goals), but he still finished with 45, the most by any Eastern Conference player. One wildcard could be Lightning (and former Pens) forward Ryan Malone, out nearly two months with an abdominal injury. He returned March 31 and scored three goals over his last four games.

Edge: Tampa Bay. 

Defense: The only playoff-bound team that allowed more goals per game in the regular season than the Lightning was the Detroit Red Wings. Tampa (2.85 goals per game) finished tied for 21st in goals-against average.  Eric Brewer was the Lightning’s top player in plus-minus (plus-5) and a good portion of Tampa’s blueliners are in the minus category. The Lightning could get Randy Jones, out the final month of the season with a high ankle sprain, back for the series. With Brooks Orpik back from a broken finger, the Pens have a solid group of defenders to rely upon. Kris Letang, who played in all 82 games, had his best year offensively in the NHL (50 points) and was a plus-15. The team also didn’t stumble when it lost Alex Goligoski, who was traded to Dallas in the Neal deal.


Goalies: Marc-Andre Fluery is front and center when it comes to the Pens’ chances to advance. He had a slow start, losing six of his first seven decisions this season, but rebounded with a 14-game streak where he was unbeaten in regulation. Dwayne Roloson, at 41, is the Lightning’s best option net. It will be his first venture into the playoffs since he led the Edmonton Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final in 2006. His best days of goaltending may behind him, but there's a chance he could steal one.


Special teams: Tampa Bay did a solid job drawing penalties, finishing second behind the Carolina Hurricanes in power-play opportunities. Team speed, led by Stamkos and St. Louis, will do that. The Lightning finished second in power-play goals (69) and were sixth overall in percentage (20.5 percent.) But they are going up against the league’s best penalty-killing team at 86.1 percent. That certainly could make up for the fact the Pens’ power play minus weapons Crosby and Malkin has fallen to 25th, the worst among playoff teams.


-- A.J. Perez
Posted on: April 10, 2011 10:30 pm
Edited on: April 11, 2011 1:58 am

NHL Playoffs: Eastern Conference breakdown

No 1. Washington Capitals vs. No. 8 New York Rangers

Season Series: Washington 1-2-1; Rangers 3-1-0. 

Player to watch: Alex Ovechkin, F, Washington Capitals. He’s coming off his lowest-scoring season in the NHL and the captain has a lot to prove this postseason. 

X-factor:   Caps goaltending. Coach Bruce Boudreau has had a quick hook the last couple postseasons and while the young three goalies put on the ice this season --- Semyon Varlamov, Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby --- have all been stellar in stretches, there is no clear No. 1. 


Game 1 - Wednesday (7:30 p.m.) NY Rangers at Washington 
Game 2 - Friday (7:30 p.m.) NY Rangers at Washington 
Game 3 - April 17 (3 p.m.)  Washington at NY Rangers                
Game 4 - April 20 (7 p.m.) Washington at NY Rangers 
*Game 5 - April 23 (3 p.m.)  NY Rangers at Washington
*Game 6 - April 25  (TBD)  Washington at NY Rangers    
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD)  NY Rangers at Washington  

No. 2 Philadelphia Flyers vs. No. 7 Buffalo Sabres 

Season series: Philadelphia 2-1-1; Buffalo 2-2-0

Player to watch: Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo Sabres. He missed four games in a row with an upper-body injury before he played in the final two regular season games. While Jhonas Enroth was stellar in relief, the Sabres will be leaning heavily on Miller.

X-factor: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger’s status. Out since March 8 with a broken hand, Pronger will likely make it back at some point in this first-round series. The team certainly struggled down the stretch without him. 


Game 1 - Thursday (7:30 p.m.) Buffalo at Philadelphia
Game 2 -  Saturday (5 p.m.) Buffalo at Philadelphia
Game 3 - April 18 (7 p.m.) Philadelphia at Buffalo
Game 4 - April 20 (7:30 p.m. ) Philadelphia at Buffalo
*Game 5 - April 22 (7:30 p.m.)  Buffalo at Philadelphia
*Game 6 - April 24 (3 p.m.) Philadelphia at Buffalo                         
*Game 7 - April 26 (TBD)  Buffalo at Philadelphia  

No. 3 Boston Bruins vs. No. 6 Montreal Canadiens  

Season series: Montreal 4-2-0; Boston 2-3-1

Player to watch: Zdeno Chara, D, Boston Bruins. The Norris Trophy winner seems to be an unflappable character, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to returning to the Bell Centre in Game 3. He was ejected after a check that sent Max Pachoretty off a divider, a collision that resulted in a broken bone in the Habs forward’s neck and a concussion in March. To say it created quite a stir in Quebec and elsewhere would be an understatement. 

X-factor: The Canadiens’ defense. The Habs will have to rely on rookie PK Subban and Co. along with the goalie Carey Price. The team lost veteran blueliners Josh Gorges and Andrei Markov to knee injures earlier in the season. 


Game 1 - Thursday (7 p.m.)  Montreal at Boston
Game 2 - Saturday (7 p.m.)  Montreal at Boston
Game 3 - April 18 (7:30 p.m.)  Boston at Montreal
Game 4  - April 21 (7 p.m.)  Boston at Montreal
*Game 5 - April 23 (7 p.m.)  Montreal at Boston                         
*Game 6 - April 26 (TBD) Boston at Montreal                         
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD)  Montreal at Boston          

No. 4 Pittsburgh Penguins vs. No. 5 Tampa Bay Lightning  

Season series: Both teams 2-2-0.

Player to watch: Martin St. Louis, F, Tampa Bay Lightning. He compiled the most points (99) since the 2006-07 season, five fewer than this year’s Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks

X-factor: The Penguins’ health. Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma already said that he’s not counting on captain Sidney Crosby, out since early January with a concussion, to be back for the playoffs. But for a team that also lost forward Evgeni Malkin to a season-ending knee injury, staying healthy this postseason is at a premium. Defenseman Brooks Orpik played the final six games of the season after missing nearly a month with a broken finger. 

  Game 1 - Wednesday (7 p.m.)  Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh                        
Game 2 - Friday (7 p.m.) Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh                        
Game 3 - April 18 (7:30 p.m.) Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay                        
Game 4 - April 20 (7:30 p.m.) Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay                        
*Game 5 - April 23 (TBD) Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh                        
*Game 6  - April 25 (TBD) Pittsburgh at Tampa Bay                        
*Game 7 - April 27 (TBD) Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh                        

* - if necessary. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com