New day, new lineup as Nick Bjugstad (lower body) can’t go tonight, bringing back Joseph Blandisi. Also of note, the Penguins change up the 4th line they like a lot and other than their first line they have three new other lines for the rest of the lineup after only scoring 5 total goals in the last 3 games.
The Pens score first? And on the power play? Do not adjust your computer or mobile device this is the truth. Jake Guentzel hacks home a rebound of a nice Alex Galchenyuk shot to open the scoring early and make it 1-0 Pittsburgh for the rare early lead. And a PP goal, no less! Could this be a positive sign of things to come? (Spoiler alert: yes, it was a positive sign of things to come tonight).
SOLID START! That's what we love to see! pic.twitter.com/yHnnook5A8— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 17, 2019
Evgeni Malkin continues the party, scoring off the rush by kicking a wayward pass off his skate and to his stick and right by the Maple Leafs’ rookie goalie Kasimir Kaskisuo. 2-0 Pens.
"I will be fire."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 17, 2019
So far, so good. pic.twitter.com/ZmxXfE0JOz
And it’s two goals just nine minutes into the game.
A high-event first period, shots end up 19-16 Pittsburgh through one. Shoutout Tristan Jarry for a big 16 save first period.
52 seconds in, the Pens strike again. Dominik Kahun gets the puck on a pass and skates away from the wall and throws an innocent enough looking shot from distance that somehow the goalie doesn’t track. 3-0 Pens!
3-0 early in the 2nd period? Yeah, we support that. pic.twitter.com/WbiFM0VMLI— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 17, 2019
Then we get real weird. Brandon Tanev makes a nice carry into the OZ, cuts to the net and Jake Muzzin big time trips him. Tanev slides into Kaskisuo and TOTALLY takes him out, leaving Kahun a full empty net and easy goal.
The refs rule no goal. Tanev can’t take out the goalie.
In a sense, makes total sense. Pittsburgh challenges since the only reason Tanev tumbled into the goalie was because of the Toronto defender. After a review, the refs agree. Good goal. 4-0 Pens. Wild one.
Jared McCann wants in on the fun and also scores on the rush without controversy to make it 5-0 and the blowout is officially on.
McCann't stop, won't stop. pic.twitter.com/aB275xazfy— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 17, 2019
The Maple Leafs finally get on the board on a bit of a broken play, Nic Petan skates in, tries to dangle and loses control of the puck but Jason Spezza is right there to fire the loose puck on net. 5-1 Pens.
Jason Spezza— Flintor (@TheFlintor) November 17, 2019
Great play from Petan. 5-1. pic.twitter.com/orPcnY2kHC
Shots in the 2nd period are 13-6 Pens. Goals were 3-1 in the second as Pittsburgh blows this one open.
Evgeni Malkin takes his first penalty of the season (not bad, Gene!) but even that ends up a positive as Teddy Blueger makes a really nifty pass to Bryan Rust who basically has an empty net to score a short-handed goal and make it 6-1.
Is there such a thing as a shorthanded touchdown?— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 17, 2019
Blueger ➡️ Rust ➡️ pic.twitter.com/zSFJX3sngD
That’s it for the goals. Pens win 6-1!
Three final thoughts
Sometimes it all goes right. Last night the Pens played pretty well, but didn’t get any breaks/bounces/luck against NJD, only scoring 1 goal on 39 shots. Tonight everything went right. Some nice skill plays, lots of finish when they had no finish yesterday. In a perfect world there would be some balance and not an all/nothing type thing, but hey. Life isn’t perfect and you take what you can get.
A....first goal?!?! I haven’t checked dear reader, but when is the last time the Pens had a 1-0 lead? Or a 2-0 lead? Probably the Oct 29 game vs the Flyers when the Pens jumped up 4-0 early. This game felt a lot like that one, great show of skill and firepower by Pittsburgh to simply overpower their opponent. Common sense says it isn’t going to happen every night, but it is fun when it does. And for a team so used to falling into 1-0 — if not 2-0 holes early in games, it was great to see that not happen tonight.
Kahuna Matata. Two goals and three points for Dominik Kahun. He was wonderful in this game. Tip o’ the cap for him.
Great job by Jarry and the offense, and the defense for that matter to bounce back and get a win. The Pens are off for two days and will prep to host NYI on Tuesday for their next game.