Old time hockey in Johnstown, PA tonight!
The game started off with a bang for the Pittsburgh Penguins, on the first shift of the game the New Age Hanson Brothers connected for the game's first goal, in a fittingly magical moment.
Malkin, Hornqvist & Plotnikov just took the ice in Hanson-inspired rims. Now let's see what happens for the anthem... pic.twitter.com/OVplczPTTy— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 29, 2015
Then Brian Boyle scored after a nice feed by Erik Condra that Matt Murray didn't have much of a chance on. Ian Cole got overloaded on that rush, but Tampa really exploited the numbers and made a nice play, more than Cole out of sorts.
Still, Cole stepped up and got the goal back shortly there-after, stepping up and blowing a great wrist-shot by the Tampa goalie.
In the second, Jonathan Drouin showed off some skill that made him a top draft pick, undressing Ben Lovejoy one-on-one and firing a puck past Murray. Later though, Evgeni Malkin would get the Pens back to a 3-2 lead.
Adam Clendening scored the next goal to make it 4-2. It could have been done the easy way by converting a nice cross-ice pass from Sergei Plotnikov but Clendening chunked the shot. Good things come to those who follow-up.
No scoring in the third period as the teams traded a couple of minor penalties and skated away leaving most of the fans happy.
A few random thoughts:
- Murray looked good. He is a big goalie, but a calm one. Doesn't give up many second chances, pucks hit him and he covers them. Made a great stop on Steven Stamkos from all alone in the slot. Not bad.
- Brian Dumoulin didn't really have a banner game. Failed clears on the PK and just a general malaise it looked like, such as a delay of game penalty in the 3rd.
- A nice night for Adam Clendening. Playing with Olli Maatta certainly helped, Maatta made a host of subtle little plays to help Clendening out. The goal helps too, Clendening has the wheels to step up into the offensive zone -- while short-handed, no less. Impressive night.
- Plotnikov looks mighty good every chance he gets with Malkin and Hornqvist. The pressure of producing points on that line might lead to switching it up sooner than later, but for now let it ride.
- Malkin had some success killing penalties, Matt Cullen looks good out there too. Chris Kunitz too for that matter. The Pens shouldn't have problems finding good players to knock out some PK time up front.
- Conor Sheary plays like a big guy stuck in a little guy's body. He's tenacious. Wouldn't really look out of place on an NHL team if he can keep it going. It's only one night, but Sheary showed more tonight than guys like Scott Wilson and Kevin Porter.