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Penguins notebook: Fight erupts 4 seconds after opening faceoff

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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik checks the Devils' Stefan Matteau in the first period at Consol Energy Center on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013.

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Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013, 9:09 p.m.
 

An NHL game has started with a fight off the opening faceoff seven times during the truncated season, and the Penguins have participated twice.

Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo dropped the gloves against Devils left winger Ryan Carter 4 seconds into the opening period against New Jersey Sunday night at Consol Energy Center.

Previously, left winger Tanner Glass and Rangers right winger Arron Asham fought after the opening faceoff of the Penguins' win Jan. 20 at New York.

• Penguins left winger Matt Cooke played in his 900th NHL game. His debut was Oct. 14, 1998, as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. In that game, at Vancouver, Cooke played against an Edmonton Oilers squad that included right winger Bill Guerin, who was a teammate of Cooke's on the 2009 Stanley Cup champion Penguins. Guerin, now a player development coach for the Penguins, watched the Penguins game Sunday from the management box. Guerin and his family recently moved to Pittsburgh on a full-time basis. Cooke, who has played 317 games for the Penguins, is an unrestricted free agent this summer.

• Center Joe Vitale, the Penguins' top man on faceoffs with 63 percent won, was a healthy scratch Sunday. Taking his spot was center Dustin Jeffrey, who was scratched from the previous five games. Jeffrey anchored a fourth line with Glass and right winger Craig Adams.

• The notorious soft ice at Consol Energy Center nearly claimed two victims. In the first period, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby appeared to catch his skate in a rut to the left of goal in the end where the Penguins shoot twice. He did not fall. Near the same section of ice in the second period, Devils right winger Stephen Gionta fell after his skate was caught near the same spot in the second period. Gionta slid hard into the boards.

• The Penguins wore their alternate dark blue uniforms against the Devils. The jerseys debuted at the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field.

— Rob Rossi

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