Jared McCann happened in the second period and the rest is history as the Penguins throttled the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 7-2 rout on Saturday night.
12 different players records points in the win as Mike Sullivan improves to 16-3-1 all-time vs John Tortorella as head coach of the Penguins:
— In the immediate aftermath of Evgeni Malkin leaving the game with an injury in the second period, Jared McCann was bumped up to the second line center role and took the game over in period two.
McCann scored two goals off the rush in a 7:32 span as McCann’s back-to-back goals saw a 2-1 game quickly get away from the Blue Jackets in going from 4-1 to escalating to 7-1 by the mid-point of the third period.
McCann who the Penguins soured on as a center last season, flourished with the open space in place of Malkin.
—- Tonight was the perfect opponent for the Penguins bouncing back. The Blue Jackets struggle so much in Pittsburgh and It was all setting up to be the Penguins night even before puck drop. The Blue Jackets coming off a tough loss to the Maple Leafs Friday night, were starting some AHL-level goaltender named Elvis Merzilikins and if the Penguins didn’t at least put up five tonight it was going to be a disappointment.
But, coming off so bad of a defensive performance in the opener, this was also the perfect opponent from the standpoint of how limited the Blue Jackets are in making skilled plays in space. Boy, is that team going to struggle to score goals this season. Built on a chip and chase style in creating offense off the forecheck, it was just a much easier game for the Penguins in playing with an actual structure compared to opening night as the Blue Jackets have little ability in putting the opposition on their heels.
— Mike Sullivan had himself a night in pushing all the right buttons with lineup moves:
✅ to putting Dominik Simon on the top-line:
Why the coaches are always comfortable in bumping Simon up to the top line is little things like the controlled entry Simon had 1-on-3 that led to the Marcus Pettersson goal.