It took two games but the Pens got their shit together. A little reminder that they are the reigning champions at the highest level of professional hockey was a dose of medicine everyone needed after the way things got started this year — also you have to understand that some people around here still view sports on a game-to-game basis, with no real concept of the big picture that the season is 82 games long and Olli Maatta and Brian Dumoulin and company just got done pounding 82 beers just a few months ago.
The Pens are set up for a tough open to this season. I’m not a big numbers guy these days but it’s something like 49 games this month and 48 of them are back-to-backs. All of them are against good teams or something. Two straight Stanley Cups did this to me. I’m proud of that. You should be, too. But anyway, if they come out of the gate slow, who cares. They’re still making the playoffs. And they’ll be there at the end, same as it ever was.
And Saturday night proved that. This team can still hit the gas when they need to. Sully still pushes the buttons and pulls the strings. This team is going to fuck with us through stretches, again. But you know what? They’re still fully capable of railroading the second-best team from last season on a random Saturday in October. Let’s get to it…
The Pens got rolling a little over a minute in and that would prove to be all they would need. Phil Kessel set up Evgeni Malkin for a one-timer that de-pantsed Jusse Sorrows, giving the Pens an early 1-0 lead.
The Pens ran a tribute video for Nick Bonino. It was 45 seconds of him blocking shots.
About halfway through the first, the Pens were on the board again. The Pens were swarming and everyone in the arena was in front of the net, but it was Jake Guentzel driving the rebound home.
Not long after, this happened…
The after aftermath…
RIP in pieces to Ian Cole’s teeth.
Pretty boring until Ryan Reaves beat up Tom Watson.
And then scored a damn goal.
Quick strike again to open a period as goal-scoring machine Olli Maatta made it 4-0.
Maatta might be the Pens most improved player from last season. Offensively, he’s jumping into plays and starting them from the defensive end. Defensively, he’s cleaning up everything. Somehow passing out in the sun after the parade has made him stronger and faster. I know it doesn’t make sense but it’s the only explanation we have right now.
With the game out of reach and little to no chance he would ever be capable of doing anything to change that, Scott Hartnell had to do what he does best and remind everyone he’s a complete douche.