In the first game of the season, a rookie game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Montreal Canadiens, the Pens took hom a 4-3 overtime win thanks to a Daniel Sprong breakaway goal.
Thanks to 2015, we have GIF's of the action.
The Pens opened the scoring with Scott Wilson converting a net-front feed from Jean-Sebastien Dea.
Dea to Wilson, Penguins lead 1-0 pic.twitter.com/xOFpfNm5Ll— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 11, 2015
Always nice to see that- Wilson is coming off a summer wrist surgery, so seeing him finish in front (even if it wasn't difficult) is a nice touch, literally. Also Dea's knock in the AHL last season was his even strength production, so seeing him create a slam-dunk chance is nice too, even if it's just against rookies (and even if that slot defenseman should have broken the pass up).
Here's the Sprong game winner, in what was an explosive 3v3 over-time.
Sprong scores on a breakaway to give the Penguins the win. pic.twitter.com/7Y1J8S9HA3— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 11, 2015
That came against the Habs prized prospect Zach Fucale. Sprong and Fucale know each other from playing in the Q, great to see Sprong put a little skill on display with the game on his stick. The Penguins need skill prospects, and Sprong is about all they have in the system. At 18 he's still years away from the NHL, but hands don't grow on trees.
The Pens top note was encouraging too:
1. FORWARD CHEMISTRY
Credit to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton head coach Mike Sullivan, making his Pens debut behind the bench, for putting together forward combinations that seemed to immediately click. I felt like every line had chemistry and created chance after chance. I liked the trio of Wilson, Jean-Sebastien Dea and Sprong (more on him below) the most. Wilson's speed meshed with Dea and Sprong's goal-scoring ability made for fun hockey. The second line had two big men in Sundqvist and Tyler Biggs paired with 2015 draft pick Dominik Simon, who's an intriguing blend of size and skill, and they made a lot happen. Finally, Conor Sheary and Loney read and reacted off each other so well. Sheary said he thinks of himself as a playmaker first and foremost, and he did a great job of getting the puck and getting it to Loney, who did a fantastic job of getting open for his passes.
You would think a guy like Sheary - an older prospect, who was already really good in the AHL playoff last year, would shine in a setting against rookies and he did. Nice to see Ty Loney (only on an AHL contract this year) continue what was a strong summer development camp against other NHL prospects. With his size and seemingly the hands he's been able to display (scoring today and having a hat trick at the Pens scrimmage) he is becoming a prospect to keep half an eye on.
Oskar Sundqvist also scored for the Pens, also encouraging since he had some thigh issues over the summer that are also seemingly behind him. The road to the NHL might be a little longer with Sundqvist with all the depth that the Penguins acquired this summer, but the cream always rises to the top.
Other than Loney (unranked), the #5 (Sundqvist), #7 (Sprong) and #8 (Wilson) Top 25 Under 25 all scored today for the Pens, which is a good thing. Always want to see the best players play well, and that was the case today, with #4 Matt Murray picking up the win as well.
The one negative, as always for the Pens could be injuries. The most important prospect for Pittsburgh is Derrick Pouliot and he left the game for a while, no report if serious.
One that was serious was Evan Wardley. The 21 year old defenseman is on a tryout and really needed this tournament to stand out and earn a spot this year with the Penguins, either in Wilkes-Barre or more likely for Wheeling.
This is one of the weirdest hits I've seen in a long time. (Hudon) Not sure what to make of it. Wardley seems hurt. pic.twitter.com/srELnP6Ww5— Marc Dumont (@MarcPDumont) September 11, 2015
Wardley was down for a while, and left favoring his knee after that late hit. Hopefully it looked worse than it was.
The Pens are back at it tomorrow at 4 PM against the Ottawa Senators rookies. The game will be live streamed on Penguins.com if you're up for watching some puck instead of college football and a nice fall Saturday.