Pens Storybook 1/82: Washington at Pitssburgh 10/13/16
Pittsburgh's home opener wasn't exactly the most neat and tidy 65+ minutes you'll ever see. While the Penguins did end up earning two points in the shootout, it could have easily went the other way if not for Marc-Andre Fleury.
The game got started extremely quick with Olli Maatta letting his man slip past him, ending in Buravovsky shooting and scoring through Fleury's five-hole. 1-0 Washington at 0:59 of the first.
Tom Sestito does what he was brought into the lineup to do. He has a pretty meaningless fight with Tom Wilson and only managed to play 3:52 the entire night, so I would expect that he will not be in the lineup Saturday against Anaheim. I would look more towards the likes of Jake Geuntzel or Oskar Sundqvist to slot into the fourth line.
During the second period of play, the Capitals commit a too many men on the ice and are on the PK. Patric Hornqvist deflects a puck shot by Letang with his stick. After review it is determined that Hornqvist's stick was below the crossbar, thus a good goal.
Nearly 10 minutes after Pittsburgh's power play goal, Oshie turns over the puck while attempting to break out, but in the process he gives it away to speedy Connor Sheary. Sheary threads a pass to Malkin who is all alone infront of Holtby and just manages to squeak the puck past the net minders pad to make it 2-1 Pens. Several Minutes after Malkin's goal, Just Williams doesn't take appreciation in Malkin poking and prodding for the puck, so he in return suplex's him.
The third period was relatively straight forward. Burakovsky scores once again to tie it up after a quick transition by Matt Niskanen and a nifty back pass by Niklas Backstrom. Boom, tie game. Regulation and over-time remain scoreless.
Into the shootout, and Phill "The Thrill" Kessel ends the game with a great snipe over top of Brayden Holtby. But the real beauty of the night was Letang's outside, fake leg kick, snipe botom glove.[Pittsburgh Penguins on Twitter]
But beyond the fact that the Penguins won, I think they could have played better. They heavily relied on Marc-Andre Fleury in this game, with Fleury facing 41 shots and his counterpart only 30. The Penguins need to be better in their own zone and not allowing the opponents to take as many shots. Pittsburgh seemed hemmed in the defensive zone more than a couple times this game, and if that is consistently happening, it won't be good.
But it's only the first game of the season, with many more to come. It is entirely possible that they team just simply wasn't quite ready for the season. Drinking gallons champagne out of the Stanley Cup is bound to make just about anybody rusty.
It would also be reasonable to believe that not having Sidney Crosby for this game severely hurt them. However, also playing Sestito and Cole also did not help their cause much.
But they won, and it was an exciting. So let's all be happy and just look forward to the next hockey night in Pittsburgh!