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A banner night for hockey in Pittsburgh; Penguins fall to the Blues 5-4 in Overtime

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St Louis Blues v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Penguins kicked off the 2017-18 campaign with a loss, dropping the game to the Blues 5-4 in Overtime. They rallied back in the 3rd to even get to the extra frame, which was a nice sight to see.

But first -- the Penguins had some 2016-17 business to tend to, in the form of another Stanley Cup Championship banner raising.

The Penguins let Paul Steigerwald back into the public eye for a few minutes to talk about last season before pitching it over to Ryan Mill to introduce the players.

I for one would like to raise some questions and concerns about the Blues lack of respect for the Penguins 2-year running tradition of raising Stanley Cup banners. There is a good explanation of what they were doing in the locker room and why they came out to see what was going on though...

TO THE GAME ACTION!

1st Period

  • Kris Letang made his resurgence to the Penguins lineup known quickly and clearly. Early in the first period with the Pens trying to kill off a penalty for slashing from Crosby, Letang singlehandedly moved the puck out of harms way with his skating ability on more than one occasion. Missed you, boo.
  • The pace of the 1st period was, to put it mildly, frenetic. The first 6 or 7 minutes, it felt the game was being played at 2x speed
  • Off an offensive zone face-off win by Sidney Crosby, Justin Schultz put the Penguins on the board with the first goal of the season. Tremendous net-front presence by young Beavis, Jake Guentzel himself.
  • The Penguins went through a good 8 or 10 minutes of the game where it felt like we hadn’t seen much of, if any, of the 3rd or 4th lines. A smart person chimes in:
  • Brayden Schenn makes it 1-1. He pretty obviously kicked the puck into the net. He is still garbage regardless of which team he is playing for, so it counts for some reason.
  • Olli Maatta looks like he is skating a lot better than he did in the recent past. Maybe it was the parade cold ones that cured his ailments.
  • Oskar Sundqvist almost did a thing. Thankfully, he didn’t, or the internet would have turned into scorched earth.
  • Colton Parayko finds himself wide open in the slot on the PP and if he gets that chance, he scores like 99/100 times. 2-1 Blues.

Intermission

A tremendous tribute to Dave Strader from NBC.

Thoughts are with his family.

2nd Period

  • Honestly, not much going in the second period through the first 10 minutes or so, save for a terrible call on Crosby for tripping.
  • Pens keep the puck in late in the period and they go to work. Olli Maatta finds the puck out at the blue line and it’s a tie game, baby.
  • A LOT of slashing calls. I’m personally fine with this. Call them regularly and players will tighten up and in turn, the game will open up.
  • Greg McKegg looks good. He may not have any offensive skills that can dazzle, but he can skate well. In this system, on this team, being a good skater and keeping up with other teammates who can set you up will put you in position to succeed.
  • Alex Pietrangelo with a ridiculous 4-on-4 toe drag and wrist shot to make it 2-2. Phew.

3rd Period

  • Paul Stastny makes it 4-2 Blues. The Penguins have had a repeated problem picking up the last man entering the zone, who would be wide open in the slot for a scoring chance.
  • Penguins PP at the midway point of the 3rd featured almost a full 2 minutes of zone-time with some good passing and good looks at the net, but no luck getting back on the board.
  • At some point, Matt Hunwick helped contribute to allowing the Blues to have a 2-on-0 odd-man rush. Not ideal!
  • My new favorite player, Greg McKegg, drew a penalty late in the 3rd period for working hard and getting tripped up.
  • 5-on-3 for almost 2 full minutes will essentially decide the fate of this game, because Brayden Schenn did a dumb thing.
  • Let’s see how it goes.............Sidney Crosby, folks. Phil Kessel missed a fairly open net, Evgeni Malkin hit the post, but the Captain put it home.
  • We’ve got a 4-3 game with 6 minutes and change remaining.
  • CONOR SHEARY! We have a tie game! Elite pass from my favorite player, Greg McKegg.

We’ll take that point in a Western Conference game and run with it.

Overtime

  • The Penguins start the 3v3 fun with Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel. Is that even fair?
  • It didn't take long and the Blues win the game. Alex Pietrangelo with his second goal of the game, in the same manner, from almost the same exact spot. When he was moving lateral with a toe-drag, he can shoot the puck really well. Not great from Justin Schultz, but I’ll still take the point and run with it. Point is a point.
  • See you tomorrow night when we square off with the Blackhawks.