The expectations were not high for the Pittsburgh Penguins. After all, both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were and still are out. After the first week, Pittsburgh proved any doubters wrong. They’ve arguably been one of the best teams in the NHL so far, and they plan to continue doing so. Exactly how good did the Penguins do during week one?
Summary Of The Games
The season opener for the Penguins was Oct. 13 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Facing the defending Stanley Cup champs is daunting, but Pittsburgh was up to the task. In a 6-2 victory, the team was absolutely buzzing. The new guys quite literally popped off. Danton Heinen, Brian Boyle and Dominik Simon scored the first three goals, respectfully.
On Oct. 14, Pittsburgh faced off against the Florida Panthers. Although the Penguins lost in overtime, they still brought the hustle and intensity. Heinen returned to the scoresheet, netting Pittsburgh’s first goal. Other goals came from Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel and Evan Rodrigues. Defenseman Kris Letang also had quite the game with two assists.
The Penguins ended the week guns blazing with a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Oct. 16. Pittsburgh lit the lamp four times in 11 minutes, 25 seconds into the first period. Drew O’Connor scored his first NHL goal, and Heinen once again found his way onto the scoresheet. The other goals came from Teddy Blueger, Brock McGinn and Jason Zucker.
As anybody could guess, one of the most notable players from week one was Heinen. Heinen, who was originally a depth signing for the Penguins, has exploded on the team. Scoring a goal in each of your first three games with a new team? That’s nothing short of impressive. Fans will have to keep an eye on him, and who knows? Heinen could keep his goal streak alive.
O’Connor has also played incredibly. After only one assist in 10 games last year, O’Connor had to work hard to get into the lineup. Although he has only played two games, he’s already notched one goal and three points. If he doesn’t get more playing time, that’d be truly shocking. So far, it’s been a race between Simon and O’Connor for a roster spot. It seems like O’Connor could be the favorite.
There are a ton of players to mention, but Marcus Pettersson definitely deserves some recognition. After an abysmal last season, he was in the hot seat for being traded. Pettersson has kept that on his mind these last few games. Although he has no points, he’s been playing solid shut-down defense. With a +5 overall, he’s going to be keeping the opposition on their toes.
To say Pittsburgh has shocked a ton of people could be an understatement. Nobody expected much, but this immaculate play certainly wasn’t expected. Once Crosby and Malkin come back from injury, the team will be even more deadly. Who knows? The Penguins could make yet another run for the cup.
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