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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

On location: Penguins 5, Lightning 3

By Dejan Kovacevic | Trib Total Media

Looking ahead to faceoff …

Game: Penguins (12-6) vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (9-7-1)

Time: 7:38 p.m.

Site: Consol Energy Center

TV, radio: Root Sports, NBC Sports Network (national), WXDX-FM 105.9

Here is the official live box score.

Here is TribLIVE’s Penguins page. Rob Rossi, Josh Yohe and I are on the scene. Here’s Josh’s online-only recap of the Penguins’ morning skate today.

Author: Dejan Kovacevic

Dejan Kovacevic, a lifelong Pittsburgher, is an award-winning sports columnist for Trib Total Media covering the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates, Pitt and, recently, his fourth Olympics in Sochi, Russia. He also appears on WPXI-TV's 'Subway Final Word’ and hosts a weekly show on TribLIVE Radio. For 2011, he was named one of the country's top four columnists by the AP Sports Editors. For 2012, he was named one of the country's top three columnists by the National Headliners. For 2013, he was named the state's top columnist by the Keystone Press Awards and top columnist in Western Pennsylvania by the Golden Quills.


  1. officer mancoso says:

    Go Pens. It’s not every day that “…I are on the scene….” is part of a well formed sentence.

  2. Bizrow says:

    The burgh needs the sweep tonight

    If you don’t see your current residence below, please add a reply to this post

    Dejan’s Lunatic Nation – at the Trib,
    Arizona – Tucson, Chandler, Phoenix, Sunnyslope, Davis-Monthan AFB*
    Arkansas – Rogers
    Austrailia – Mackay
    California – Bakersfield, San Francisco, UNION CITY, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, Hollywood, Huntington Beach, Yuba City, Solana Beach, Yorba Linda, Yuba City*, Edwards, Long Beach, Modesto, Davis
    Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Moncton – New Brunswick, Ontario – Muskoka
    China – Beijing
    Colorado – Ft Collins, Estes Park*, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs
    Connecticut – Cos Cob, Bridgeport, Wallingford, Norwalk, NEWTOWN
    Costa Rica
    Czech Republic
    Delaware – Newark
    Denmark – Greenland – Thule*
    District of Columbia
    Florida – Palm Harbor, Orlando, Valrico, Gainesville, Daytona Beach, Oviedo, Tampa, Jacksonville, Sarasota, Palm Beach Gardens, Cape Coral, Coco Beach (Major Nelson and Mary Ann), Niceville (Red Neck Rivera), St Petersburg, Pembroke Pines, Ft Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Hallandale Beach
    Georgia – Marietta, Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Acworth
    Germany – Leverkusen/Cologne
    Hawaii – Honolulu
    Idaho – Mountain Home, Coer d’Aline, Mountain Home AFB*
    Indiana – Indianapolis, Burns Harbor, South Bend, Bicknell, Ft Wayne
    Iowa – Bettendorf, Humboldt
    Illinois – La Salle, Peru, Payson, Chicago, Palatine (3 inmates there), Lincoln Park, Grayslake, Algonquin
    Japan – Tokyo
    Kentucky – Louisville, Bowling Green, Lexington
    Louisiana – Slidell
    Maine – Bangor
    Maryland – Arnold, Odenton, Severn, Baltimore, Waldorf, Hagerstown, Chevy Chase, Hampstead
    Massachusetts – Boston
    Michigan – Kalamazoo, Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor
    Minnesota – Yinzer
    Mississippi – Biloxi
    Missouri – St Peters***
    Nebraska – Omaha
    New Hampshire – Barrington
    New Jersey – Chesterfield, Princeton, Roxbury, Lebanon, Lincoln Park, Berkeley Heights, Somerville, Hammock, Barrington, Delran, Pennsville
    New Mexico – Mike
    New York – New York, Smithtown, Manhattan, Long Island, Nyack, Brooklyn
    Nevada, Las Vegas
    North Carolina – Asheville, Hickory, Charlotte, Raleigh, Charleston, Wilmington, Chapel Hill, High Point
    North Dakota
    Ohio – Cincinnati, Columbiana, Westerville, Green, Hilliard, Toledo, Louisville, Columbus, Perrysburg, Pickerington, Youngstown, Cleveland, Olmsted Township, Liberty Township, Warren, Oregon, Wintersville, Austintown, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base*, New Philadelphia, Powell, Canton, Salem, New Albany, Bloomingdale

    Pennsylvania – Downtown, Hopewell, Indiana, North Wales, Franklin Park, Forest Hills, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Du Bois, Reading, Crafton, Arnold, Wexford, Mt Lebanon, Canonsburg, Lancaster, Huntington, York, Boiling Springs, Philly suburbs, Morningside, Harrisburg, Lawrenceville, Bradfordwoods, Norristown, Hanover, Clearfield, Sewickley, DuBois, Plum Boro, Slippery Rock, Wilks-Barre, Sharpsville, Bessemer, Greensburg, Washington, Imperial, South Side, Duncansville, Newville, Sheppton, Grove City, Butler, Allentown, Ross Township, Blairsville, Flood City (Johnstown), Overbrook, Danny’s Hoagies, Baldwin, Economy, Sharpsville, Erie, North Huntington, Bellfonte, West Mifflin, Kennywood, Pleasant Hills, Beechview (Mad Turk, No 200), Macgunie, Mechanicsburg, Uptown, Cambria County, Mon Valley, Salisbury, Coraopolis, Emsworth, Cranberry Twp, Garrett, O’Hara Township, McCandless Township, 115 Federal Street, Bethel Park, Harrison City, Penn Hills, Kittanning, Dover, Lebanon, Upper St Clair, Rennerdale, Oakland, Scranton, Moon (RMU), State College, Erie, Penn Twp, Stowe, Elizabeth, Hermitage, Easton, Carlisle, Finleyville, Belle Vernon, Madison, Sellersville, Waynesburg, Warren, Beaver Falls, Chambersburg, Green Castle, East Freedom, Leechburg, Banksville
    The Philipines
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina – Duncan, Longs, Columbia, Bluffton, Greensville
    South Korea – Seoul, Mike
    Tennessee – Smithville, Nashville
    Texas – Tyler, San Antonio, Belton, Houston, Katy, Plano, El Paso
    Utah – Salt Lake City, Provo
    Vermont – North Bennington
    Virginia – JAL, Hampton, Rescue, Richmond, Front Royal, Woodbridge, Suffolk, Warrenton, Springfield*, Virginia Beach, Fairfax, Arlington, Yorktown, Henrico, Aldie, Manassas, Newport News
    Washington – Seattle, Nine Mile Falls, Spokane, Sammamish
    West Virginia – Martinsburg, Morgantown, Wheeling, Mt Olivet
    Wisconsin – Madison, Oshkosh, Hortonville
    Wyoming – Caspar, Lander

    315 locations represented in the blog,
    Honorary members, people that have, in our opinion, made a difference
    Lemonade Guy
    The Gunner
    Mr Roberto Clemente
    Mike Lange
    Myron Cope
    The Honorable Mayor Richard Caliguiri
    Kevin Mcclachety
    Mike Emerick
    13 countries
    44 states, plus the District of Columbia, missing 7 states, North Dakota, South Dakota, Hawaii, Alabama, Kansas and Oklahoma
    Two planets, at least confirmed
    Honorable mention, England – London – Lisa
    Asterisks denote confirmed hero’s, military, police officers or firemen/ladies
    2/24/2013 4:58 PM

  3. Bizrow says:

    Should we add Commander Hadfield to Honorary Members?

    DK: Good luck with the location on that one.

  4. Bizrow says:

    Good as always to see you here OM, I like the avatar

  5. Eric Bowser says:

    Projected lines

    1st: Kunitz – Crosby – Neal – Orpik – Martin
    2nd: Bennett – Sutter – Dupuis – Niskanen – Letang
    3rd: Cooke – Jeffrey – Kennedy – Despres – Engelland
    4th: Glass – Vitale – Adams

    Starter: Fleury
    Backup: Vokoun

    Lightning lineup

    1st: Cory Conacher – Steven Stamkos – Teddy Purcell
    2nd: Martin St Louis – Vincent Lecavalier – Benoit Pouliot
    3rd: Alexander Killorn – Nate Thompson – Tom Pyatt
    4th: B.J. Crombeen – Adam Hall – Richard Panik

    DP1: Eric Brewer – Matt Carle
    DP2: Victor Hedman – Sami Salo
    DP3: Brian Lee – Marc-Andre Bergeron

    Starters: Anders Lindback
    Backup: Mathieu Garon

  6. LuckyNKentucky says:

    Where did that Pitt-South Florida thread go? There were some good comments on there?


  7. LuckyNKentucky says:

    He said he could see the 3 rivers. He deserves to be an Honorary Member, Biz.

  8. Sarah says:

    Pittsburgh-Banksville City – Sarah

  9. Sarah says:

    So – meddling with line 1. Hmmm….

  10. Sarah says:

    Maximizes the nbr of guys who’ve not played with each other before. Good thing Bylsma is so smart.

  11. cherokee23 says:

    Gonna throw this thought out there…….Bylsma takes a lot of heat for not adjusting strategy within games/series, but he sure seems to have no trouble adjusting lines. I understand throwing 87 or 71 out on an extra shift from time to time, but in general he seems to have a short leash with line combinations. My first thought when i saw the projected lines for tonight was that with Malkin out, Bylsma has made changes to all the lines instead of just shifting Sutter from 3 to 2 and plugging in Jeffrey on 3. Why switch Neal & Dupuis?

  12. Pucknutz says:

    Camo !! Cool !!
    Just saw a quick shot on ROOT.
    Beat the he** outa the EVIL Blue!!

  13. Sarah says:

    I can only say that DB’s propensity to juggle line combinations is a mystery to me. Chemistry takes time to develop. You don’t build it like this.
    However I am not a DB fan, so you may find support for these moves from other fans. Just not me.

  14. Pucknutz says:

    Why not? Sid loves to pass, Neal loves to shoot may be fun.
    See what Sutter can do as #2 , Bennett pumped moving up – interesting.
    W/Geno out good time to take a look at some different combos.
    We shall see!

  15. Sarah says:

    Indeed We shall! Hope you’re right and this is a good mix!

  16. Sarah says:

    Well, that was fast….

  17. Sarah says:

    And I’m a bit confused re DB’s remarks re using the 2nd line and Sutter for defense. What’s Bennett for then?

  18. Pucknutz says:

    So far soo good!

  19. Eric Bowser says:

    1-0 Penguins
    What an awesome play by Crosby to accept that pass and then rifle it over Lindback.

    Little plays like that is what makes Crosby the best player in the world.

  20. Sarah says:

    …annnd the dreaded 2 goal lead!

  21. Eric Bowser says:

    2-0 Penguins
    Kunitz rushes up into TB zone, slows it down, finds Martin open at point and just a simple wrist shot is knocked into the goal by Lindback (goalie).

  22. scapper says:

    Exactly! TBL can relax and go about tying it up now.

  23. Pucknutz says:

    Hmmmm 2 goal for that line already -Maybe DB does know something! Just sayin.

  24. scapper says:

    So true. For every highlight play he makes, there are 99 other things he does on the ice that show just what a special talent he is.

  25. Sarah says:

    Could be!

  26. Milo Hamilton says:

    I’m probably in the minority here but I think the best way to protect a 2 goal lead is to make it 3-0.

  27. Sarah says:

    I’m with you Milo!

  28. cosmo says:

    good point !

  29. Milo Hamilton says:

    You usually get a lot of energy from Joe Vitale. You really get a lot of energy from him after he’s been scratched.

  30. Eric Bowser says:

    When the Penguins actually get the puck over center red line, they are owning the Lightning.

  31. Sarah says:

    Yep. Very good on one side of the ice. Their forechecking late in the game Fri was great….

  32. Pucknutz says:

    Milo, you outta be a coach- 3-0. LOL

  33. Sarah says:

    Martin! What a bounce! Right back to him.
    Milo, youve got your 3 goal lead….

  34. scapper says:

    Vitale bites on that? Guess they really learned a lot from the Simmonds fight on Wednesday.

  35. cherokee23 says:

    What lottery numbers do you play?! You called 3-0 and vitale!!!!

  36. Eric Bowser says:

    3-0 Penguins… Paul Martin

    just give him the Norris Trophy already… what a turnaround for him.

  37. Eric Bowser says:

    Hate fighting and I really hate fights like that by Vitale. Pens had nothing to gain by it.

  38. cosmo says:

    Do I hear 4, anybody?

  39. cosmo says:

    Guess he really did want to stay here.

  40. Milo Hamilton says:

    6-1-3 and it’s due. :)

  41. Milo Hamilton says:

    Plus 3 in the 1st period.

  42. cosmo says:

    TB going for the goaltending change. Garon in to start the 2nd period.

  43. Milo Hamilton says:

    Guy Boucher’s scar is extra angry right now.

  44. cosmo says:

    Just like that its now 3-2

  45. Milo Hamilton says:

    I give up.

  46. sjb says:

    Wouldn’t be a Pens game without a goal off Orpik.

  47. sjb says:

    Or a Tampa Bay game without a slap shot from the left dot by Stamkos on the PP (yawn)…but no let’s all pay attention to every other player on the PK and let the obvious skate free and uncontested.

  48. Jandy says:

    Never give up

  49. sarah says:

    Tbis is why i fear for the playoffs…..

  50. Never give in! Buzz “Jandy” Lightyear.

    Don’t anyone say they haven’t seen all the Toy Story movies, either.

  51. Milo Hamilton says:

    If I ask nicely, could maybe we get a power play tonight ?

  52. Eric Bowser says:

    3-0 lead turns into 3-2 lead because…

    – turnovers
    – stretch passes that don’t connect
    – penalties
    – 2nd period struggles
    – Bylsma standing around with arms crossed

    These 2nd period issues and blowing 2-0 leads (let alone 3-0) are not things contenders do at the rate this team does it.

  53. Eric Bowser says:

    There’s very little puck possession in TB zone, so they can’t draw them.

    It would be nice if they could make a pass in transition and stop with the stretch passes. Get it deep .

  54. Milo Hamilton says:

    I see BJ Crombeen & I think of his father. And that still infuriates me 32 years later.

  55. cherokee23 says:

    I’m playing 6-1-3 tomorrow!!!

  56. Milo Hamilton says:

    Point being that there doesn’t have to be a penalty for one to be called. Like right there.

  57. sjb says:

    …only 80% of all his career goals come from that circle on the PP but no, he’s not one-dimensional… not at all.

  58. Milo Hamilton says:

    When Mario retired the 1st time that was his career goal total. I’ve been playing it ever since.

  59. Eric Bowser says:

    THAT’S exactly where Bennett needs to play on PP… congrats kid!!!

  60. sjb says:

    Other than being able to drop the gloves, how is Engelland a better defenseman or better defensive option than Eaton?

  61. Milo Hamilton says:

    Eric, it’s what you’ve been saying for a while now. He needs to be playing with the best players.

  62. Eric Bowser says:

    Yeah, wasteful to have him anywhere but top 2 lines or power play.

    When 5-on-3, he’s gotta get the LW circle call because that shot is exactly the type of danger a PK unit doesn’t want because it forces them to keep head on swivel for backdoor pass and gives more time and space for points to move puck around the zone.

  63. Poz says:

    No lead is safe the way the Pens turn the puck over.

  64. Eric Bowser says:

    The Pens propensity to turn the puck over and get sent to the penalty box is way too alarming for me to be happy. At some point, team needs to start playing a style of hockey that wins playoff games.

  65. scapper says:

    Still. For sure. Painful game.

  66. sjb says:

    Good luck waiting for that. Sadly, it’s been like this too long now and only a coaching change, and therefore a change in philosophy will make that happen. I don’t care if they somehow manage to win out the rest of the season, they aren’t defensively disciplined or inclined enough to go very far in the playoffs. I just dread them losing in the second round because too many will see that as an improvement over the past three seasons and it will prolong the obvious even longer. Sounds pessimistic I know, but that’s the reality of it whether people want to like it or not. Chicago is the team Pittsburgh should want to be like right now…a skilled team that can win 1-0 games and do it confidently.

  67. scapper says:

    Anyone else hoping they can just salvage a point out of this 4-3 lead? Tampa just keeps bringing the waves.

  68. Milo Hamilton says:

    Bad news for the Hawks – the playoffs don’t start for another 2 months.

  69. Eric Bowser says:

    always so comforting to see Pens with last change & finding their 4th line against 1st line. That’s on Bylsma & happens far too often.

  70. philthegroundhog says:

    Interestingly, the NBC announcers are saying the Pens are matching well.

  71. Jandy says:

    every friggin game now.

  72. Milo Hamilton says:

    For entertainment purposes – Eric Tangradi in 6 games with Winnipeg has 0 points & is a minus 2. Maybe he’s not getting a fair chance.

  73. sjb says:

    Yup, but at least they’re playing the right way. There is always the chance of peaking too early but better now than never.

  74. sjb says:

    Bowman would vomit.

  75. Milo Hamilton says:

    Scotty would often put out his 4th line after his team scored, usually against the other team’s top unit.

  76. scapper says:

    Sid gave up on that puck after it went by him. Could have touched it first had he kept going. What the hell was that? They score off this face-off…that one’s on him. Weird. Not like him.

  77. Jandy says:

    nice empty netter

  78. philthegroundhog says:

    Fluery with a shot…no.

  79. sjb says:

    Right, that’s why he “wasn’t” considered the best coach ever when it came to making line changes and matching up his lines against the other team’s. If he put his 4th line out against the teams top line he must have had a better reason than just not wanting to bother, especially when he had the last change. As it is; this Pens 4th line doesn’t match up well against Tampa’s top line and Bylsma left them out there.

  80. Eric Bowser says:

    A coach’s dream.

    A victory and a load of teachable film to use to make it better.

  81. diehard says:

    Orpik finished the night a +1, despite being on ice for all 3 TB goals.

  82. Milo Hamilton says:

    I have no idea what you’re saying there, but if it makes you happy…

  83. Pucknutz says:

    2 points – not perfect game -I happy!

  84. Pucknutz says:

    And your point is…..????

  85. diehard says:

    He’s been on the ice for most of the opponents goals the past several games. Really seems to be off his game.

  86. Jag7 says:

    His reputation is obscuring reality. He’s not a shut down guy anymore. Started to sour on him last year when he would back up so far into the Pens zone that he screened Fleury on a ton of shots instead of stepping up into the rushing forward. I call him Back-up Brooks.

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