Penguins continue to win despite setbacks
Another sellout crowd jammed antiquated Mellon Arena on Wednesday night, the Penguins' franchise-record 35th of the season and 48th consecutive.
Still, those loyal followers can't tell some of the players without a scorecard or, this being hockey, their trusty copy of "iceTIME: The Official Game Program of the Pittsburgh Penguins."
And even "iceTIME" is having a hard time keeping up.
Ryan Stone and Conner James were in uniform against the Sabres but were excluded from printed recognition.
That's the way it's been going of late for the Penguins.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Sidney Crosby was playing, but Petr Sykora wasn't.
As of yesterday afternoon, Crosby was out, but Sykora was back in.
If this keeps up, the Pens may have to ascertain whether Phil Bourque has any eligibility remaining.
In the meantime, they came up with a line of Jeff Taffe, Jarkko Ruutu and James.
Also available, if needed, was a threesome of Stone, Christopher Minard and Georges Laraque.
They didn't get a great deal of ice time together, seeing as how Minard never left the bench in the first 20 minutes, and Laraque earned a five-minute major and a game-misconduct penalty for elbowing 2:34 into the second.
The Pens won anyway, 7-3.
In the process, they extended their record around Crosby's bouts with a high ankle sprain to an increasingly inexplicable 12-6-4.
The Penguins didn't have Marian Hossa again, either.
But who needs Hossa -- or Crosby, for that matter -- when you have Tyler Kennedy scoring on a breakaway?
Who needs star-power when you have Taffe deftly deflecting in a shot from the point?
Who needs name recognition when Minard, eventually, scores his first career goal with the help of Stone's first career point?
Taffe's goal, his fifth, was scored nine seconds after the Buffalo power play that was generated by the Laraque major died a premature death thanks to a hooking penalty on Maxim Afinogenov.
Afinogenov had no choice but to haul down Jordan Staal. Such was the extent of the Penguins' domination of the first 3:52 of the 4-on-5 situation.
The Penguins were swarming the net while killing the penalty with such fervor that Hal Gill almost scored, twice.
And so it goes.
Ty Conklin was back in the nets for this one, leading the Pens onto the ice while leading the NHL in save percentage (.928) and with a higher winning percentage (.607) than any of the top 10-winningest goalies in the league this season.
He surrendered three third-period goals, which moved coach Michel Therrien no closer to publicly anointing a No. 1 goalie for the playoffs, which fits right in with the Penguins' figure-it-out-as-they-go-along theme to the season.
The Flyers are in town Sunday.
Someone will start, someone will back up and 18 bodies, presumably, will fill out the remaining 18 sweaters.
The Penguins will take it from there.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Crosby, Malkin dazzle fellow All-Stars
- Fleury’s relay team struggles in NHL skills competition
- Penguins’ Crosby receives injection for lower-body injury
- Fleury’s All-Star play has coincided with joy of being a father
- Penguins limp into All-Star break, welcome chance to recuperate
- Penguins’ struggles against New York teams becoming a trend
- Letang, Malkin miss game versus Blackhawks
- Injured Crosby, Malkin to miss NHL All-Star Game
- Penguins notebook: Perron continues to show scoring prowess
- Penguins recall left wing Farnham from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton
- Penguins looking to get back on track heading into the All-Star break