The Lightning smoked the Panthers Thursday night, so the Panthers were coming into their home opener needing to play well, and they did. The Pens, meanwhile, decided to give the Panthers some extra ammo by saying they were the weaker opponent of the back-to-back the Pens are on, which is why Jeff Zatkoff got the start in goal.
And it didn't turn out too well for Jeff. His save percentage was .800.
Pens visit Tampa and Stamjoke tonight. Anxious to see Marc-Andre Fleury’s performance against some goal-scorers for the first time this season.
Wayne Huizenga came out to drop the ceremonial pre-faceoff faceoff. That is an elite jacket.
Always sucks to be reminded how horrible the Panthers’ camera angles are. It’s pretty nauseating.
Not even 2 minutes in, Brad Boyes got the Panthers on the board. Pens won a faceoff in their own zone but then couldn’t exit. Boyes goes bar-down. 1-0. First time all season the Pens have trailed.
Later, Maatta and Bortuzzo found themselves on the ice with the Crosby unit, and it resulted in the Pens’ best sustained offense up to that point.
The next units came on, and it was the Pens’ turn to capitalize off a turnover. Bennett picked up a loose puck at center, entered the zone, and dished to a streaking Malkin coming down the slot, who just buried it to make it 1-1.
Matt Gilroy roughed up Kobasew, and the Pens had a powe– Nope. Kunitz put a stick up into a Panther’s face, so that sucked. Malkin and Martin had a 2-on-1 on the 4-on-4, but Weaver laid his life on the line to stop the crossing pass.
After the 4-on-4 was over, Kris Versteeg found a sweet spot in the Pens’ zone and beat Zatkoff on a one-timer. 2-1.
Beginning of a rough night for Brooks Orpik.
Orpik and Huberdeau had a slap fight and both went off. Gilbert went off for interference, and the Pens had an emotional power play, but they couldn’t score. All killed.
The Pens’ fourth line went out for their usual ho-hum shift, except they scored a dirty goal. 2-2.
Easily the most entertaining period of the season.
Pens hit the post twice, as well.
Orpik and Huberdeau were continuing their great battle in the second.
It was great theater all game long.
Martin and Vitale went off back-to-back, and the Pens faced 1:34 of a 5-on-3 kill. They escaped neither. Out of nowhere, the Panthers were up 4-2.
The fact this was Zatkoff's NHL debut isn't lost on anyone, but it's not like he's never faced an extended 5-on-3 power play before. He had to make some key saves during that sequence, but he didn't. He said as much in his post-game comments. Give up a 5-on-3 goal, fine. You got to at least get the team out of the remainder of the 5-on-4 penalty kill.
The Pens answered one of those goals after a sick pass from Crosby found Dupuis’ tape, and Dupes beat Markstrom. Crosby's pass should've been one of the three stars. 4-3.
Scary part of that goal was Dupuis was inches away from an emergency trip to the hospital after he almost got nicked by Weaver’s skate. Wouldn’t be the last time those two would collide.
It was only 4-3 going into the third. Not horrible. And the Pens came out flying for the first five minutes.
But the Panthers collected themselves, and right after the Pens’ surge, Fleischmann made it 5-3. That pretty much broke the Pens’ spirit for whatever reason, and the Panthers shut it down.
Dupes got lit up…
and Crosby had to go stick up for him.
Pens killed Crosby's penalty, and the Panther added another goal. 6-3.
— You can think Adams, Glass, and Vitale are playing really well right now, but the stats indicate that isn't the case. [ Usage Chart ] *Note: big red bubbles = really bad.
— Going forward, Jeff Zatkoff’s starts may require automatic bets on the over.
— Florida started the season with four straight road games for some reason.
— 8 minutes.