This game was as close to a carbon copy of the first game of the season as it could possibly be. And looking at the schedule, we may see a lot of games like this to start the season. The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated play for most of the game and if it wasn’t for a nifty goal from Tomas Vanek in the late stages of the third period, we would have witnessed another shutout from Marc-Andre Fleury.
Fleury’s play through two games has certainly been encouraging but don’t forget that he’s not the only guy on the ice trying to prevent the other team from scoring. The defense has also been noticeably better even without Kris Letang in the lineup. Bringing Rob Scuderi back has brought back some familiar stability while first year players Robert Bortuzzo and Olli Maatta are doing a tremendous job as the third pair. The forwards have also been more defensively responsible. Much more than in years past, especially the second line.
Even the scoring was almost identical to the first game. Sidney Crosby and Chuck Kobasew each tallied their second goals of the season in the first period. It appeared that Craig Adams would be the only game one goal scorer not to add a second. That was until the Sabres pulled Jhonas Enroth from the net in the final minutes and Adams buried an empty netter from the red line. Chris Kunitz had the other goal for the Penguins in the 4-1 win that was scored on a penalty shot.
Before Vanek’s goal late in the third period, Fleury had gone 75:06 without allowing a goal to start the season. That is the longest streak to start a season in franchise history. The Sabres did their part in helping. They only generated 21 shots in the game in comparison to the 35 shots by the Penguins.
The next game for the Penguins will come on Tuesday night when we get to play Jordan Staal drinking games. The Carolina Hurricanes will be in town. They’ve only played one game so far and it was an overtime loss.