The Anaheim Ducks came into tonight's game on a current league-high 6 game winning streak. That would go the way of the dodo bird, courtesy of a 4-point night for Sidney Crosby and a fast start by the Penguins.
It didn't take the Penguins long to pick up where they left off, meaning Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang doing good things. Crosby finds Letang on a crisp pass, Letang fires one on net that Chris Kunitz smartly deflects in for his 10th goal of the season.
The Pens would make it 2-0 later in the first after a long shift by the Pens 4th line, capped off by who else but Letang taking a point shot that Conor Sheary tipped in past John Gibson.
Ryan Getzlaf would get the Ducks on the board and make it 2-1 late in the first period after an ill-advised change by the Pens gave him a lot of open ice.
Luckily, the Pens would answer quickly with Carl Hagelin scoring his first goal as a Penguin, after ex-Penguin Simon Despres couldn't stop the pass from Phil Kessel, then Hagelin was in all alone and beat Gibson in tight.
Sidney Crosby scores in his 7th straight game on a breakaway after blocking a Getzlaf shot and then taking off to the races, freezing Gibson and beating him 5-hole. 4-1 Pens.
With 1:06 left to go in the second period, Patrick Maroon fires a shot past Fleury to make it 4-2.
Maroon goal pic.twitter.com/xERGCY8cTs— Stephanie (@myregularface) February 9, 2016
Then Crosby makes Cam Fowler his absolute fool and works to earn another breakaway goal. Just unreal. 5-2 Pens.
Score effects, what score effects? Olli Maatta takes a pass from Crosby and buries it by Gibson.
- Impressive start for the Pens, jumping out 2-0 on what had been a hot team. Kris Letang is just operating on a different level, his 2 first period assists giving him 24 points in his last 15 games.
- Another fast start at home too, this marks the 3rd straight home game the Pens took a 2-0 lead. No big surprise they're 3-0-0 in those 3 games. Fast starts mean so much in the NHL today.
- The fast 4 starts before tonight Marc-Andre Fleury had given up 4, 0, 4, and 5 goals. Nice to see him bounce back and play better than recently making 36 saves on 38 shots. Not too many huge stops, but he stopped 'em all just the same.
- If I didn't know Bruce Boudreau was coaching the Ducks, I would have never guessed it. The once aggressive coach who saw his Caps win the 2010 Presidents Trophy has his team playing a slow, trapping game. And hey, it's been working lately so I'm not judging, but yikes. It's reminiscent of Torts being all "safe is death" and playing a fun style with Tampa and now him blocking shot lanes and trying to park the bus in front of his goalie.
- Letang took a puck to the visor in the 2nd period which stunned him but he would return, but jeez, just imagine if this was 20-30 years ago and he didn't have a visor on? Right back to the shelf. Luckily, it would barely be a blip in the road.
- How does a guy as good as Ryan Getzlaf only have 4 goals on the season coming into tonight?
- Offensive explosion by the Pens made all the more impressive by Evgeni Malkin being out. Don't forget the words above, Ducks were on a 6 game winning streak.
- Pretty quiet night for David Perron in his first game back against the Pens: 16:35 played, 1 shot on goal, no points. Guess he's just allergic to scoring in Pittsburgh.
- Also, the first game in Pittsburgh for Despres as a member of the opposition. Other than the Kessel to Hagelin pass that beat him laterally, not too much of notice for Despres who ended up playing 22:16, going a -1 and no SOG or points.
Next up, a huge game on Rivalry Wednesday to get the Rangers at home. NYR is in 2nd place and only 4 points ahead of Pittsburgh (with the Pens having a game in hand) so this game is basically for jockeying position for 2nd place. Another strong game completed but an even bigger test coming up.