The Penguins are back home again, this time facing off against their Stanley Cup series foes, the Nashville Predators. The Preds come into this game at 0-1.
Coach Sullivan had stated that the lineup was a game-time decision. Looking to shake things up and get the season’s first win, here are the projected lineups ahead of puck-drop:
Puck is ⬇️ on the rematch! #Preds starters below. #NSHvsPIT pic.twitter.com/PgS46lkdSI— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) October 7, 2017
Let's do this. #NSHvsPIT pic.twitter.com/N2esO4dcvH— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 7, 2017
Flipping Rust and Sheary, although not drastic, provides an element of speed on the first three lines.
Cole and Schultz are back together, perhaps looking reignite the spark from the last postseason run.
Here are some great notes from the almighty Bob Grove:
Rinne has never won a game here, so no real surprise it's Saros. Won his only career start vs. Pens at home last Oct. 22, 5-1 (34 saves).— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) October 7, 2017
This is 10th time Pens opened a season by playing 3 games in 4 nights (last time 2011-12). Only times they failed to get a win: 2005, 1978.— Bob Grove (@bobgrove91) October 7, 2017
Less than 2 minutes in, a SWEEEEEET pass from Phil Kessel landed on the stick of Evgeni Malkin for a hard one-timer and the Pens were up and away at 1-0.
Geno has recorded at least one point in every single home game (8 total) he’s ever played against the Predators (regular season + playoffs). pic.twitter.com/gvanMG5E9I— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 7, 2017
Fun fact: Malkin’s early goal gives him points in all three games this season (1G-3A).— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 7, 2017
Scotty Hartnell was soon called for tripping and the Pens were granted a power-play, but nothing ultimately came of it.
The “B” of the famed H-B-K line, Nick Bonino, was honored during a break in the period with a wonderful video package:
BONINO! BONINO! BONINO!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 8, 2017
Thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/o7RPHtFdUV
Hey-ho, it’s 2-0! At 10:57, there was some traffic in front of the net, and Jake Guentzel buried it home to get another one for the good guys. Sid and Bryan Rust were rewarded with assists.
GOAL! GUENTZEL! He skates in, catches a rebound off Saros and the #Pens take the 2-0 lead with 9:03 left in the 1st period. #PARTYHARD pic.twitter.com/BqTJz9Pa7m— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 7, 2017
However, soon after the goal, Brian Dumoulin was called for holding, giving the Predators their first power-play of the evening. There was a stop in play as Ian Cole took a high puck to the face and headed to the locker room during the PP. The power-play expired with nothing and both teams went about their business.
The remainder of the period was rather quiet compared to the faster pace that was set in the game’s opening moments.
The period ended with the Pens taking a 2-0 lead into the locker room.
Here's a look at your #NSHvsPIT stats after the 1st period of play. Not bad. Not bad at all. pic.twitter.com/3iV6Gf7PnP— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 7, 2017
No Cole on the bench to start the 2nd. This may be Letang's first 30-min game of the season -SK— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 8, 2017
Rolling with 5 defensemen is not ideal, especially considering the team’s defensive struggles to begin the season, but this offense can certainly step up pressure, if need be.
Nearly 4 minutes into the period, Ryan Reaves and Austin Watson engaged in a nice bout, one in which Reaves won rather convincingly and in quick fashion.
Halfway through the period, and both teams were trading a few chances and the pace of play was once again kicked up a notch.
A deflected shot found RYAN REAVES’ stick and gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead with 7 minutes left in the period. Olli Maatta and Carter Rowney got the assists on this one.
The Grim Reaver. pic.twitter.com/kBtirO0NTT— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 8, 2017
Presuming there isn't a scoring change, Ryan Reaves is the 504th player to score a regular season goal for the Penguins.— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) October 8, 2017
On the proceeding faceoff, Kessel was sent to the sin bin for tripping, giving the Predators a chance to stay on life support. Matt Murray made a stellar save with 1 second left on the PP, but the penalty was successfully killed.
With 1:33 left, Yannick Weber was sent to the box to give the Pens their 2nd power-play of the evening.
The period came to a close and the Penguins were enjoying a comfortable 3-0 lead with carryover power-play time.
Here are your #NSHvsPIT stats through the 2nd period of play. pic.twitter.com/Av2pZY262l— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 8, 2017
Pens Points (thus far) →— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 8, 2017
33 seconds in, Crosby delivered a wonderful pass to the stick of Olli Maatta, Olli smashed it past the goalie, Saros, to go up to 4-0.
A few moments after the goal, Ryan Reaves dropped ‘em again after taking a big hit, and promptly decimated Nashville’s Cody McLeod.
After *that* fight, Sidney Crosby was sent to the box for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The Predators could not generate anything here, either.
Nashville’s Miikka Salomacki was given a holding penalty at 6:20, then on the face-off, Crosby got sent off for cross-checking and Viktor Arvidsson was also thrown in the box for slashing. After this big mess, 4-on-4 hockey ensued.
Kessel had a nice breakaway during the 4-on-4 action, but couldn't put it away.
Chants of “We won the Cup” began ringing throughout PPG Paints Arena, showing the Predators who the real victors were.
Crosby then took a stick to the face from Scott Hartnell. Reaves got involved to protect his teammate, and both he and Hartnell were given game-misconduct penalties. Their nights were done.
Evgeni Malkin took a slashing penalty with 6 minutes left in the game, giving Nashville another chance to break the shutout. 2 minutes later, the shutout was still intact.
Ryan Johansen was called for hooking against Tom Kuhnhackl with 1:19 left in the game, but it didn't matter. The clock soon reached triple zeros, the final horn was blown, and the Penguins had earned their first win of the season.
This is a @rreaves75 appreciation tweet.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 8, 2017
One RT = one high five for Ryan Reaves. pic.twitter.com/f8E1fl5X4o
- Well, the Pens literally couldn't have played any worse than they did in Chicago. That performance, compared to this one was truly night and day. Defensive play, even without Ian Cole, was much tighter. The offense was alive and well with 4 goals being scored.
- Matt Murray was spectacular tonight, coming up huge in a few spots, especially on the PK, to keep Nashville from breaking out and preserving his shutout.
- Ryan Reaves will be an MVP candidate for sure after this one. 2 fights and a goal is a pretty nice night. Only an assist away from a Gordie Howe hat trick. If you like physical hockey, this game was certainly for you.
- All in all, even with the lower stakes in this early regular season game, the Penguins still own Nashville. Take your disgusting catfish elsewhere.
- The Pens are back in action on Wednesday for a ‘Wednesday Night Rivalry’ showdown against the Washington Capitals.