Reinforcements are starting to trickle in for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Dustin Jeffrey and Brooks Orpik were able to make their season debuts tonight and played part in a 3-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens. Another night without top stars required another total team effort. As a team the Pens won 61% of the faceoffs, they out-shot the Canadiens 32-28 and out-hit them 26-15.
Marc-Andre Fleury was only minutes away from his first shutout of the season when the bid was spoiled, which should go to stoke the fire and motivation of the goalie and the defense for the future.
Some other thoughts on the game:
- James Neal continues to ride his hot streak, and who knows how far it will take him. He was again the the best player on the ice. Can we trick him into always thinking it's October?
- In a 10-minute stretch in the second period, the Penguin defense decided to throw a penalty party. Paul Martin, Ben Lovejoy and Zbynek Michalek all participated, but luckily were the only ones.
- Nice to see Joe Vitale get rewarded with his hard work on a tip-in goal that ended up being the game winner. And Deryk Engelland recorded his first career two-point game and was named the #2 star of the game.
- SSS- Snakebit Steve Sullivan. He's getting some scoring chances, but just can't seem to pull the trigger quickly enough. Sullivan's a talented player and is bound to break through sooner or later, but maybe he needs to share Neal's pre-game routine or something.
- Congratulations to Hal Gill for playing in his 1000th career NHL game tonight. Pens don't win the Cup without the USS's contributions in '09, so he'll always hold a special place in Penguin fans' hearts.
- The Pens penalty kill continues to be the best in the league, going a perfect 4-for-4 and seemingly generated more scoring chances a man down than they yielded. On the flip side of the coin, the power play (also known as James Neal and 4 random players) was 0-for-5.
- Kris Letang comes back next game. And though the Pens didn't give up many goals while he was on hiatus, it'll sure be a welcome sight to see #58 back.
Another game and another win for the Pens, who have already played nine and sport a 5-2-2 record. No time for rest as old friend Johan Hedberg and the New Jersey Devils come to town for a Saturday night game.