I was privileged enough to get a chance to go to the final home opener at the Mellon Arena this past Friday. Though the talk of that night was the Stanley cup banner raising ceremony, the game itself was very good. I happened to notice early in the game that the Jordan Staal line was causing a terror. Matt Cooke was all over the ice, checking people left and right. Tyler Kennedy was flying and Staalzy was creating turnovers and getting some decent scoring chances. Along with offense, Cooke and Staal are a part of the Pens top PK unit and both are very effective. The Rangers were 0-4 on their power play chances that night. I believe, arguably, that the third line was the most productive of Friday’s game.
The following night the Pens played the Islanders and the third lines energy carried over. Cooke had six shots on goal tying for the team lead, though none were tallied as a goal. Cooke was quoted by saying, “Usually if I get six, I’m hoping one goes in the net. I hope it’s just a matter of time before those start going in.” Matt is one goal short of his 100th, so there's a little extra incentive to get shots on goal. With TK being the lone man with a goal on the line, the boys have accounted for 2 points, 19 shots on goal and a plus-3 rating through the first two games. Obviously the chemistry between these three has carried over from last season and we hope that it continues with them this season. Not many teams can say they have three solid lines, and this could give the Pens an advantage in some cases. I’m excited to see what this line is going to throw at us next!
How do you guys feel about our lines? Will this start solidify TK with the third line, or is there still a chance of a second line jump?