The Penguins are now 1-3-0 on the season after defeating the Ottawa Senators Thursday night. And while this win was a breath of fresh air they aren’t out of the dog house yet.
There were many positives in this game so I decided to first cover the negatives.
Not anything game related but this morning after the Game-day morning skate it was announced that Beau Bennett would be out of the line-up with an undisclosed injury. It is a bit of a mystery on when he suffered this injury so hopefully we get a positive update soon.
It’s true the team didn’t allow a Power play goal against but they could probably thanks the Hockey Gods for that as the Senators just couldn’t get their shots on net. The PK unit just looks out of sorts at time, players not sure who goes where and when. A few errant passes gave the Senators quite a few chances that they just couldn’t capitalize on.
Traffic and getting the Garbage in the Net
The Pens are still attempting to get more goals off the rush than they should. And on the occasion’s when they attempt to set up a decent cycle in the offensive zone the net front presence is just non-existent which leads me to the next point. The inability to get the garbage goals. It isn’t always the impressive snap shots or sick one timers that jump starts a team. Sometimes its a dirty garbage goal where a team cleans up the rebounds. Something this team still needs work on. (Calling Coach Bombay)
The passing was sloppy early on in the game and slightly improved as it went on. Unfortunately there were too many poor passes which led to turnovers through out. Things seem to be a bit better without Scuderi in the line up on the defensive side of this, but still not where it should be.
Now on to the good.
Perron is On
In the first period Perron looked great. He seemed to be in the middle of every scoring chance the team had. Unfortunately he couldn’t tickle the twine he finishing the first 20 minutes with 5 shots on net. He did dropped off a bit in the second period but continued to help open up room for Malkin and Hornqvist throughout the game. He finished the game leading the team in shots with 7.
It was talked about ad nauseum, the Stars HAD to produce. Well Malkin finally scores his first of the season 23 seconds into the 2nd period. and it was a beauty.
Sprong is just getting Better
While Malkin’s goal was a beauty it was surely over shadowed 2 minutes later by Daniel Sprong scoring the first of his career and the Penguins second of the game.
Without a doubt Sprong has improved every single game he has played in so far this season. If it continues, which there is no reason to believe it wont, he may make it impossible for management to send him back to juniors after his nine game “try-out”.
All four lines played consistent hockey. Strong on the back-check and showing a strong fore-check. Every line seemed to cycle the puck well against the Senators and because of that the momentum was in the Penguins favor for much of the game.
Possibly the most consistent player since the first game, Nick Bonino has shown the ability to play with anyone on his wings. He is confident on the ice, plays a strong fore-check which has opened up room for all the players he is playing with. May be the most underrated pick up this past summer.
Fleury gets his first Shut-out of the season in a very strong outing after a poor showcase against the Canadiens. One thing has always been certain of MAF, he has and ability to bounce back from bad games.
Are the Pens out of the woods?
With the Penguins first victory of the season many are going to start jumping back on the bandwagon believing the team has made it over the slump. Unfortunately some things need to be remembered. Ottawa played the night before and was noticeably fatigued from the start of the game.
And this was only 1 game. I’m not saying that those who were panicking should continue, but let’s see what this team can do through the rest of the home stand before we completely forget about the three games prior to tonight.
Thanks for Reading!
– Robert Slavinsky