Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 31, 2017
Welcome to the show, Carter Rowney! The 27-year old makes his NHL debut after a long and unlikely road. And welcome back to the lineup Kris Letang after missing the last six with injury. Also of interest: Hornqvist back on the Crosby line for the first time in a while.
Not too much going on early. The Predators score the first goal after pinning the Penguins in their zone for a while. Demerits to first Trevor Daley and then Olli Maatta on not taking away the sticks of the Preds right in front of them.Only about try #3 Calle Jarnkrok swats a puck between the legs of Matt Murray to open the scoring.
The Pens get it back, Ian Cole shoots in from the point that clicks off of Scott Wilson and right into open space. Chris Kunitz is Johnny-on-the-spot and fires it past Pekka Rinne. 1-1
Scratch my back with a hacksaw! Kunitz gets the Penguins on the board. pic.twitter.com/bGtvEyEs47— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2017
Shots 12-10 Pittsburgh after one.
Daley atones for his mistake with a slapshot goal early in the period to make it 2-1. Really nice pass by Carl Hagelin to feed Daley with plenty of space to step into it.
All Daley. pic.twitter.com/wNWlmjLBXC— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2017
The new look first line strikes off an offensive zone faceoff, Sidney Crosby passes it down to Patric Hornqvist who swoops behind the net and throws the puck in somehow past Rinne. 3-1 Pens.
Guess what? Patric Hornqvist has 3 goals in his last 4 games. He also has a three-game point streak against his former club (2G-1A). pic.twitter.com/iFJaKjWUfF— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2017
Hornqvist keeps the party going, on the power play he scores his second of the night, lifting the stick of the Nashville defender, spinning and batting one past his old teammate Rinne to make it 4-1.
Sound the Horn(qvist) x 2! pic.twitter.com/YNgI8JlafG— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 1, 2017
Shots 29-24 Penguins, who really take command of the game with a 3-0 goal period, highlighted by Hornqvist haunting his old team
With Bonino in the box, Colin Wilson steams to the net, collects his own rebound and knocks it in past Murray to make it 4-2 with still 16:42 left to play.
- Pens 4th line was really good again early in the game and not just because of the goal. Wilson has a great motor and is playing inspired hockey, and adding the veteran in Kunitz has made a world of difference for him and the line overall.
- Pittsburgh takes another too many men call. Going to have to look up how many that is vs. the rest of the league, sure seems like they get their share.
- Not sure if I'm over-analyzing Jake Guentzel after Mike Sullivan's quotes about his compete level and playing focused earlier in the season, but it appeared Guentzel fairly lazily swatted at a puck in the sequence before the first goal against. Had he been a little stronger on the puck maybe he could have cleared the zone. He also dropped his coverage on the point-man on the eventual goal, but that's often scheme-based these days in the collapsing defense system. I suppose time will tell if Sullivan was displeased.
- Nick Bonino got the Malkin spot on the top power play and looked pretty good in getting a primary assist and making a few nice plays. Bonino's only got 1 goal in his last 16 so the team needs more from him, but it's impossible to get more with less time and chances. Playing a top PP like this was a great chance, no goal but hopefully some confidence to be built.
- Another game of high-event hockey and particularly shots on goal with both teams easily going above the 30 mark by the mid-point of the 3rd period.
After this successful game back, the Pens get a mini-breather and are off until Friday, but then a busy weekend with a home game against CBJ followed by a trip out to St. Louis for Saturday night action.