The Pens traveled to the RBC Center for their first match up of the season with the Hurricanes. The Canes looked to have revenge in their veins as the last time the two met the Pens were crushed the Canes' hopes of getting back to the Stanley Cup finals with a ECF sweep.
The game was worth more than the price of admission with an overtime/shootout extravaganza. Geno once again showed his continued dominance with 2 more points added to his totals.
The Pens coaching staff started the game with a lot of mix and matching of the lines, though the third and fourth lines looked particularly extremely strong. It seemed as though MAF had been working on his clearing a puck from behind the net as he looks much more confident in doing so this start of the season. The first period seemed to drag along before Tuomo Ruutu landed a nice hit on Tanger. But instead of a retalliation of fists Mike Rupp decided to use a differnet method. The Canes get caught in the Pens zone while Rupp ripped up ice. He uses a sweet (and i mean sweet) backhand top shelf shot over the glove hand side of Cam Ward or according to Bob Errey, "and that's where they put the peanut butter". Cam Ward doesn't no whether to cry or wind his watch. [1-0] Big goal from a scappy fourth liner. Gogo and Geno were credited with the assists. Time of the goal 14:24. According to Damian it sucked the life out of the RBC.
At the end of the first, the Pens lead in the shot department 9-8. No penalties in the first either.
Godard was not in the line up tonight so we got a chance to get a better look at Chris Bourque. From his time on the ice he skated pretty strong (and quick), and did get some good chances in front of the net. We even saw him playing along side Sid and Geno for a while.
Crosby then took a retaliatory penalty against Brindy...12 seconds later Ruutu takes a holding penalty on Gonchar. Geno peppered Ward with a few wicked shots through traffic. No dice.
At 8:12 Aaron Ward takes a hooking penalty. The initial PP unit then consisted of Staal, Malkin, Crosby, Gonchar, and Goligoski. A couple nice shots from the point but all that came from that powerplay was a call on Kunitz for tripping. No dice.
Canes PP was killed and the KGB line went into to action. Their forecheck was absolutely amazing. Beautiful passing between Gonch and Gogo on the blueline. That line did everything right, save score. "The Canes are so tired they are starting to look like pylons." This quote from Bob Errey pretty much sums up that shift from the top line.
Shortly after Yelle goes to the box at 16:25 for high sticking Geno. Sid get a couple good chances on net but that's it. Had a few chances to finish the game, but nothing.
Flower makes a great save on Eric Staal to end the period who got a scoring chances from a turn over in the neutral zone. He's been solid all year.
Pens end the second period up 14-10 in shots on net.
The start of the third was quite slow and frustrating in my opinion. The Pens cleared the puck out of their own zone which was good, but they weren't in attack mode. When they finally do show some offense the Canes do the same to them and push back into their zone. A ton of up and down. Ray Whitney eventually fires a shot that trickles through Fleur legs into the net 5 minutes into the period. [2-1] Ruutu and Corvo are credited the assists.
But the KGB line decides to put on some more magic tricks. Sid send a ridiculous pass to Kunitz, and then from Kunitz to Guerin.
The Canes began to then play some great shutdown defense through the neutral zone. Once again the Pens couldn't clear the puck from their own zone and Gleason fires a shot into traffic and Ray Whitney is there to deflect it in. [2-2] B.S. Gleason and Ruutu are given the assists.
Canes then get a powerplay, but the Pens kill that like Ol' Yeller. After a little while the Pens got their own chance at a powerplay after Aaron Ward was caught high sticking Letang. You could see Cam Ward mouthing off to the Letang after the call, to wit Errey makes the following comment, "..he's not a beaver, get to the box" No idea.
The Canes looked as if they were on the powerplay even though they were the ones short-handed. Pens had nothing.
Crosby ends the third period with a great defensive play after Free Candy breaks his stick on a pass. Shots are 11-10 in favor of the Guins.
Geno and Fedo get some great chances on Montgomery Ward but nothing hit the back of the net. Crosby and Kunitz get their crack at it still nothing. Shootout time.
Canes shoot first Fleury stops Sergei Samsonov.
Letang shoots first for the Pens, stop by Cam Ward
Next up, Jussi Jokinen goes back hand over MAF, [0-1]
Sid the Kid gets his chance, pulls a similar back hand (with more style) top shelf [1-1]
Fleury stops the next 4 Cane shooter; Ruutu, Cullen, Whitney and (despite a loud crowd) E-Staal.
Ward stop the next three; Guerin, Gogo and Geno, but for Ward the fourth is not the charm.
Chris Kunitz goes five hole on Ward.
Game 3-2 Pens in SO.
- The Pens go 5-0 on the road to set a franchise record for most consecutive road wins to open a season..
- Pens outs hot the Canes 38-29.
- The always smooth skating Gonchar and Gogo looked especially well working the blue-line tonight.
- Likewise did the pairing of Letang and Eaton
- Pens went 0-4 on the powerplay tonight, but kept the Canes at 0-3 as well. Special teams did not decide the game.
- Fleury is looking as strong as ever.
- Oh yeah Jordan and Eric are brothers ;)