The Penguins honor some of their best players from the early days of the franchise as part of the season-long 50th year celebrations.
The Ducks are the sharper team from puck drop, but Marc-Andre Fleury turns them back early. Ian Cole gets on the board first wristing a shot past Jonathan Bernier , with a nice screen from Tom Kuhnhackl in front of the net.
Olli Maatta's early struggles continue with a penalty in the 1st having to trip Andrew Cogliano. With his speed Cogliano does that to defensemen often. The problem was confounded by Cole who flipped the puck off the ice immediately following the faceoff, giving the Ducks at 1:56 worth of a 5v3 PP. Anaheim converts with a Cam Fowler blast past Fleury.
Pens get a power play but don't do much, however the first period was crazy. Shots were 21-16 Pittsburgh, there were 34 faceoffs, a very segmented, choppy game with a lot of rubber flying to the net, but only a 1-1 score after 20 minutes.
Pittsburgh strikes early in the 2nd, a pretty awkward exchange behind the net between Jonathan Bernier and Fowler. The puck somehow squirts out to Chris Kunitz in front of the net, but he can't put it in, and little old Conor Sheary ends up tapping the puck in while he was behind the net. Crazy sequence and no style points, but they don't ask how, they ask how many. 2-1 Pens.
Anaheim takes a penalty but the Pens can't convert but then the Ducks take another penalty and pay the price. Phil Kessel steps out of the corner with the puck and time and space, and beats his former Toronto teammate 5-hole to make it 3-1 Pittsburgh.
Kessel goal pic.twitter.com/Yup3W6IKKU— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 16, 2016
Anaheim strikes back, Cullen wins a draw on his backhand in the defensive zone really hard and right to Corey Perry. Fleury stops Perry the first time, but the rebound ends up right in the open for him to lift over MAF and in the net to make it 3-2.
Not too much going on. Bernier ends up totally out of his net and Hornqvist gets a good shot but a better save to keep the puck out.
And that's about it, the Pens hold on and get the win.
- Nice job by Evgeni Malkin on the first goal to rag the puck around in the offensive zone and find Trevor Daley who passed to Cole for the goal.
- One result of the Sidney Crosby injury is more ice-time and varying roles for Matt Cullen . Cullen only got 15 seconds per game on the PP last season, earning 1:25 tonight with the man advantage and almost 18 minutes overall.
- Pens really took the game over in the second period, outshooting ANA 10-1 early before the Perry goal. and drawing 2 penalties to help. After a slow opening 10 minutes, Pittsburgh seemed to wake up and get going big time in this game.
- 2nd goal in as many games that Patric Hornqivst has created with causing chaos in the offensive zone. Last game it was the Malkin goal, tonight his board play opened the puck up for Kessel to walk to the net.
- Very visible game for Sheary who is noticeable and is generating a ton of scoring chances.
Justin Schultz impressed again too, looks very comfortable out there and is building on that when the puck is on his stick he looks lively and is making good decisions, with a game high 7 shots on goal tonight.
- Another sub 50% faceoff night with Crosby (42% tonight). Pens missing their captain all over the place but especially in the circle.
Pensburgh 3 Stars of the game
On our yearly tracking of the 3 best Penguins performances of the game
*** Fleury, 34/36 and the win
** Sheary, good all over the ice and a goal
* Kessel, PP G, GWG
Pittsburgh improves to 2-0, and get back at it Monday night against Colorado. Take us home, Nature Boy.