Forward Progress: 10/6 - 10/15

After a second consecutive too long summer, the Pens season is finally here once again. Pens had a brutal start to the schedule. 3 straight road games in the West against teams in their home openers? 10 games in the first 2 and a half weeks to begin the season? Thanks NHL schedule geniuses. But the Pens are off to a pretty decent start.

10/6: PENS 4 Canucks 3 (shootout)

  • Vancouver home opener.

  • James Neal shuts up the haters before they can even start by getting the Pens the first goal of the season on the power play. Malkin gets an assist.

  • Matt Cooke chips in (another!) power play goal. Dupuis picks up a helper with a nice play from behind the net.

  • After the Canucks cut it to 2-1, Matt Cooke does it again, this time shorthanded. Staal gets an assist.

  • Vancouver battles back and sends the game into overtime and the shootout.

  • After Letang beats LOLungo first, Malkin makes him look silly again to seal the shootout win.

  • Neal, Staal, Dupuis, and Kunitz each had 3 shots.

  • Neal had 5 hits to lead the team.

10/8: PENS 5 Flames 3

  • Calgary home opener.

  • After being down 1-0 in the first period, Pens explode for 4 goals in the second period.

  • TK ties the game on a nice patient shot. Dupuis picks up an assist.

  • Staal picks up an assist after Niskanen buries his own rebound on the power play.

  • Craig Adams gets a goal on kind of a lucky bounce after just getting the puck to the net. Letestu gets the helper.

  • Evgeni Malkin buries it on the power play. Neal picks up the assist.

  • After Calgary battles back in front of their home crowd to make it interesting, Staal puts out the fire with an empty netter.

  • Staal led all forwards with 5 shots.

  • Kunitz led with 3 hits.

10/9: Oilers 2 PENS 1 (shootout)

  • Edmonton home opener.

  • Malkin sits due to "soreness".

  • Sullivan and TK picked up assists on Letang's early power play goal.

  • Lots of chances the remainder of the game, including a 5 minute power play near the end of the third. Just couldn't bury it.

  • 1 for 7 on the power play.

  • Oilers win the shootout 2-1, with Neal getting the lone Pens goal.

  • TK led forwards with 5 shots.

  • Staal and Kunitz had 2 hits apiece.

10/11: PENS 4 Panthers 2

  • Pens home opener. (finally)

  • Malkin out again due to "soreness".

  • Dupuis gets the Pens on the board in the 1st period. Joe Vitale picks up his first assist of the young season.

  • Matt Cooke, sniper? He gets his 3rd goal in 4 games. Assists by Vitale and Dupuis.

  • Richard Park shows why he's on the roster by picking up a shorthanded goal after the Panthers had cut the lead to 2-1. Adams picks up the helper.

  • After the Panters battle back again to make it 3-2, James Neal knocks home a loose puck for his second goal of the season. Staal and Kunitz with the assists.

  • Steve Sullivan led with 4 shots.

  • Dupuis led forwards with 4 hits.

10/13: Caps 3 Pens 2 (overtime)

  • Malkin returns to the lineup on a night where the Pens and Caps honor the tragic loss of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team and help to raise money for the families.

  • James Neal gives the Pens a 1-0 lead early. Malkin and Sullivan pick up assists.

  • After the Caps had taken a 2-1 lead deep into the third, Neal comes through again on tthe power play, blasting a wrister by Vokoun. Malkin and Kunitz with the assists.

  • Caps got a gift power play in overtime, their only one of the game, and buried it for the win. The Caps didn't look that good offensively in the game, they got some bounces the Pens didn't. Thats the way it goes sometimes. Pens will get them next time.

  • Kunitz's assist was his 100th point in a Pens uniform, on a day he signed a 2 year contract extension.

  • Asham fought Jay Beagle and knocked him silly, then made a sleeping motion as he left the ice. Asham later apologized, showing class

  • Neal led with 8 shots

  • Kunitz led with 3 hits.

10/15: Sabres 3 Pens 2

  • Malkin sits again with "soreness".

  • Buffalo jumped out to a 2-0 lead against a flat looking Pens team.

  • James Neal continues to be on fire, finding a way to get the puck past Enroth for his 5th goal of the year. Richard Park picks up the assist. Steve Sullivan should have had one for his slippery puck possession in the corner

  • After the Sabres regained a 2 goal lead, Staal chipped home a loose puck late in the third to make it 3-2. TK picked up an assist.

  • Sabres beat the Pens for the first time in almost 2 years.

  • Kunitz led with 5 shots.

  • TK and Adams led with 3 hits apiece.

FOURwards of the week:

1. James Neal- 5 goals and an assist for 6 points in 6 games. He is doing everything we expected when the Pens traded for him last year. He is a beast on the forecheck and his wicked wrist shot is hitting the net more and more. He has shown he will thrive when he plays with Malkin, so imagine how good he could be when Sid and Geno are healthy.

2. Evgeni Malkin- 1 goal and 3 assists in 3 games. When he has been able to play this season, he's been a force. Get well soon Geno.

3. Pascal Dupuis- 1 goal and 3 assists in 6 games. He forechecks, he kills penalties, his shots always hit the net, and he can play on any line.

4. Joe Vitale- 2 assists in 6 games. I really like what I see out of Vitale. He fits well in the Pens system and he works extremely hard.

Pens are off to a good start, despite losses in the last 2 games. It's still really early and they are missing arguably their best defensive player in Orpik and their best offensive player in Crosby. Sid has been cleared for contact, so hopefully his much awaited return is on the horizon. Malkin is banged up right now, and a healthy Geno will be a big help as well.

Coming up this week are two back to back road games in Winnepeg and Minnesota and then home for the Habs and Devils.



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