Was Saturday’s 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers a breakout win for the Penguins who are now 3-3 on the season?
The Penguins stepped up in a number of areas as Sidney Crosby broke out with 2 goals and added an assist in the victory for his 1st multi-goal game and three point game of the season.
Leading 2-1 into the third period, Crosby delivered twice on the power play, scoring at the 3:13 mark in the period and Crosby scored a 1:24 later on the power play to give Pittsburgh a commanding 4-1 lead and put the game away.
Pittsburgh came into the game 4-for-28 on the man-advantage and while their issues don’t appear to be going away, Pittsburgh has delivered 3 “big” power play goals in the past two games, despite going 3-for-16 on the power play during that span.
Pittsburgh is 6-for-36 on the season through six games.
Another bright sign for Pittsburgh was the goaltending of Brent Johnson who made 29 saves to improve to 3-0 on the season. Johnson was particularly strong in the 2nd period, making 17 saves as the Penguins were outshot 17-12 in the 2nd period.
Head coach Dan Bylsma made a bold move going with Johnson on back-to-back games, another clear sign that Johnson will compete with Fleury for playing time in the short-term.
Johnson has a 1.32 GAA and .953 SV % on the season.
Pittsburgh also got goals from Mark Letestu (3), Matt Cooke (1) and Chris Kunitz (2) in the win.
Letestu continues to show the ability to help this team in a number of different roles. He has 5 points in six games, including 3 goals.
One area Letestu has had some struggles in is with his consistency in the face-off circle. He was 2-of-10 (20%) in Saturday’s win. It’s an area Letestu has been working extremely hard in to improve but it remains to be seen if he can establish himself as that reliable right handed centerman the Penguins are coveting.
Brooks Orpik missed his 4th straight game with a groin injury and Zbynek Michalek sat out his 3rd straight game with a shoulder injury.
It was another promising game for a Penguins defensive unit missing two of their top defensive defensemen. Kris Letang led all players with 27:29 of ice time and 15:05 of ice time at even strength.
Offensive production from the Penguins blueliners also continues to be a bright spot for the team thus far.
Kris Letang (2 assists), Alex Goligoski (1 assist) and Paul Martin (1 assist) combined for 4 points in Saturday’s win.
Paul Martin (1 goal – 5 assists) and Alex Goligoski (3 goals – 3 assists) are tied for the team lead with 6 points and the Penguins defensemen lead the entire NHL with a combined 19 points.
*The NHL on Saturday rescinded Kris Letang’s major penalty for an illegal hit to the head in Friday’s game against the New York Islanders.
*Veteran forward Craig Adams was a healthy scratch for the 2nd straight game. Eric Godard appeared in his 3rd straight game. Godard recorded his most ice time (7:24, 11 shifts).
*The Penguins will have an off-day today and will return to the ice on Monday morning for their morning skate. The Penguins host the Ottawa Senators Monday night.