For a while there, in the first 100 minutes of his Penguins career, Brent Johnson must have been thinking what's going on here? 0 goals of support by the high powered team in front of him. Luckily for Johnny, Sidney Crosby would score two goals in the third (and the only shootout goal for both sides) to lift Pittsburgh over Florida and get BJ's record up to 1-1.
- Tomas Vokoun always seems to have a great game against Pittsburgh and tonight was no different. 41 shots on 43 saves, including several awesome ones. He should have earned Florida the win, all things considered.
- Crosby took over in the 3rd: a power-play goal to get the Pens on the board and a short-handed goal to tie it up. Mario Lemieux says "talk to me kid when you get an even strength, penalty shot and empty netter".
- Alex Goligoski led all Penguins with 26:22 of icetime. Kris Letang 24:19 and Mark Eaton had 22:45. In case you were wondering who picked up the slack this night with the ice-time.
- The Penguins total team strategy extended to blocked shots and hits, as it does on most nights. Pittsburgh racked up 23 hits (with Matt Cooke's 5 showing the way) and 24 blocked shots (with Goligoski and newcomer Martin Skoula with 4). Florida, by comparison, only had 11 hits and 14 blocked shots.
- Steven Reinprecht was a force for Florida with two 1st period goals. Noted Penguin killer Cory Stillman got two assists on those goals. Luckily for Pittsburgh, the first period would be the only time Florida would beat them.
- David Booth gets the "Hard Knock" and "WTF" awards of the night. Booth recorded a game high 8 shots on goal, including one dynamite chance. The WTF moment of the night came when the former Michigan State player (go figure) closed his hand on the puck and tossed it all the way down the rink.
- Chris Bourque got in the lineup and got a couple chances to play with Evgeni Malkin and Crosby. And while Bourque took 3 shots on goal (and had 2 hits), he didn't seem very dangerous.
- Skoula was decent in his first night as a Penguin. Didn't stand out for the wrong reasons, which is probably a good thing for a guy who hasn't played a meaningful NHL game in half a year. He was good enough to make the plays he needed to make and didn't make any obvious mistakes. They didn't ask him for much, and more importantly he didn't disappoint. All you can ask for in a debut for the first game.
The game was decided by the gimmick, but it's fitting that Sidney Crosby scored the only goal, and that Brent Johnson was rewarded with the victory. The Pens push their mark to 9-1-0 and, for a moment anyways, survive a game without Sergei Gonchar.
While Florida (particularly Tomas Vokoun) played a commendable game, they didn't do enough to breakaway early in the game when they had the chance. Pittsburgh was in the game up to the 3rd period and Sidney Crosby did the rest. Another game, another win (even if it was a shootout). No time to rest to the laurels as New Jersey comes into town tomorrow well rested for the next game.