Banner night: Pens open with a 3-2 win over NY Rangers

John Madden (the football coach/announcer, not the hockey player) is attributed with a quote "you can win 'em all if you don't win the first one".  So 82-0-0 is a bit of a show, but you still gotta get that first win sometime and the Pittsburgh Penguins went ahead and got that out of the way on banner raising night, sending the Rangers home losers 3-2.

  • It was Alex Goligoski on the point with the first power-play unit.  And while he had a little hiccup in the first when he dropped the puck to no one but a pouncing Ranger, Goose had a good night all things considered.  Two assists and he's continuing his great play from training camp.
  • Sidney Crosby could not be beaten in the faceoff circle; going 9-0 in about the first half of the game.  Though he'd slip a little, Sid still won 65% of his draws overall on the night.  Crosby's progression as a complete player continues in these areas of the game.
  • If you said Evgeni Malkin would score the first goal of the season, you'd be right (but not very imaginative); thanks to a nice re-direct off a heavy slapshot by his buddy Sergei Gonchar.
  • The 3rd line of Matt Cooke - Jordan Staal - Tyler Kennedy was the night's best and most consistent line.  They had great offensive-zone puck possession, cycled the puck well, worked for shots.  Kennedy in particular did really well, hustling all over the ice and creating havoc.  His hard work would be rewarded when he got a piece of a Goligoski shot for what'd go as the game-winner.
  • Ranger defenseman Dan Girardi must have been wondering "why me, boys?"  Early in the game Cooke floored Girardi and then Chris Kunitz treated Girardi like he was Kimmo Timonen by totally running him over.
  • Marc-Andre Fleury made his first 10 bell save about 23 minutes into the season...A 2 on 1 developed with Brandon Dubinsky carrying the puck with Vaclav Prospal against Gonchar.  Sarge didn't do his job, he let the pass get to Prospal, but Fleury lunged from right to left and somehow got gloved the puck behind his body.
  • Talking about this from June, Paul Steigerwald said: "They call it the secret service save...The way he dove out like he was taking a bullet for the President".  Uhh, what? 
  •  Your "Get Well Soon Max Talbot Moment of the Night": If a regular penalty killing forward is in the box, Mike Rupp is getting shifts out there.
  • Crosby scored his goal from right in the crease, the same place he scored the majority of his goals in the playoffs.  Crosby lead the league in playoff goals and now with tough and talented wingers to throw pucks out to him (like Bill Guerin did), one could expect a lot of chances to come.
  • Prediction: The Rangers using 19 year old Michael Del Zotto and Ales "Just Bought a" Kotalik as their first pairing defense for power-plays is not going to last long.  Or end very well for the Blueshirts.

Just like that, the last home opener Mellon Arena will see is in the books.  The Penguins were good enough to win, but still have some loose ends to clean up.  They could stand to improve in a lot of little facets of their game.   Which is perfectly natural for thoughts after the first game of the season.  At the end of the night the big boys got on the scoreboard, the defense defended and Fleury stopped one more puck than the guy at the other end (figuratively speaking).  That's a sure receipe to get two points in the standings.

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