The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2021-22 regular season opener at Amalie Arena on Tuesday was the subject of much discussion.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Zach Aston-Reese, and Mike Matheson were all missing from the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup for tonight’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had just won their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
The Penguins, On the Other Hand, Accepted the Situation Rather than being Frightened by it.
“I think it’s a terrific test for us to show what we can do, and it’s also a significant moment for a lot of guys to stand up and fill big shoes,” Letang said before the game. “I believe the men in the room are giddy with anticipation. I think they see it as a challenge, and we’ve done well when we’ve faced adversity before.”
In ESPN’s first nationally aired hockey game since 2004, the Pittsburgh Penguins cruised to an overwhelming 6-2 victory. Every player was on the same page as a true team effort took place all the way down the rink. Dominik Simon, Teddy Blueger, Evan Rodrigues and Bryan Rust were all on the scoresheet, while Tristan Jarry had 26 saves.
Coach Mike Sullivan of the Penguins remarked, “I thought we played the game that we’re trying to play.” “In all three zones, we were doing everything in fives. That’s when we’re at our finest as a group. With our puck chase game, we play our best defence 150-160 feet away from our goal. It seems to me that our players did a fantastic job on the field tonight.”
Because of the hard work put in by coach Sullivan and his staff during training camp, it seemed as though the Penguins could not have prepared themselves any better for this performance. As a result of their preseason training, the Pittsburgh Penguins were able to develop a strong understanding of their team concept and all of its nuances, which they were able to put into effect during their season opener.
Simon remarked, “I think we all felt pretty prepared.” “On the ice, we all had a good idea of what to do. Then it was just a matter of executing and doing it correctly. I believe we did an excellent job there.”
As a team, the Penguins have a reputation for playing aggressively, but in a measured manner, and that’s exactly what they accomplished last night. The Penguins consistently outperformed their opponent, whether it was through superior forechecking or winning foot races and puck battles.
It was an entirely different story in the first period, when they utterly dominated play, outshooting the Lightning and dominating the faceoff circle. Second-half goals from 12 seconds in and 4:11 in gave them a commanding advantage that they would not surrender, despite Tampa Bay’s best efforts.
The Penguins’ excellent play continued in the third, but the final six-plus minutes got a little frantic. Two extra-attacker goals and three empty-net goals resulted as a result of the Lightning pulling goalkeeper Andrei Vasilevskiy for the most of that period. However, this Penguins team is off to a fantastic start. It is possible for them to beat any club in this league regardless of the makeup of their roster if they continue to play like this, according to Sullivan.
“There’s still a long way to go in just one game. However, I thought we played like the Penguins in the first two periods “Sullivan responded. “There’s no denying Tampa’s talent; they fought hard in the third quarter. In the third, they gained some traction, and we gained some as well. Nonetheless, I was ecstatic for the players in their first match. They’ve done a great job, and I’m quite pleased of them. Our athletes, in my opinion, competed with great grit. Many kudos should be given to them.”
Some Further Thoughts and Insights…
– The fact that Tristan Jarry has a game like this makes me ecstatic. The Penguins were confident that he would improve after last season’s disappointing conclusion, despite the criticism he received. So far, so good, as he was fantastic on the night in question. For the most part, he was entirely focused on the puck and looked cool and controlled as he tracked it. It’s now a matter of bringing this type of game on a regular basis from here on out.
Sullivan called it “a significant triumph for him.” “I thought he did a great job on the field. Several of his saves were superb. Tampa’s quick-strike attack and some gamebreakers make it difficult to defend against them. Chances will come their way. We tried our best to limit their chances, but Tristan came up with some huge saves for us when they did.”
Brock McGinn, Blueger, and Simon as a trio were very impressive. As Sullivan has said, “checking lines with an offensive dimension are vital in this league,” and this trio provided just that tonight. They were solid defensively, with McGinn getting the Twitter moniker “Block McGinn” for blocking a game-high four shots with his body. Their play in the Tampa Bay zone was particularly impressive, with Simon having a standout effort. It made me happy to see him in the goal scorer’s column.
“It was a great feeling. It’s fantastic “Simon was quoted as saying. “Also, I was fortunate enough to score a few goals during the preseason, which was incredible. This year’s regular-season championship game has a different feel, and I’m grateful for it.”
– Boyle’s story is nothing short of amazing. He kept training and preparing for the last year and a half to see if he would get a call from a team, even though his most recent NHL season is in 2019-20. In the end, Pittsburgh called and invited him to camp on a personal leave of absence (PTO). His first goal came just an hour after signing an agreement with the team this morning.
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“I’m sure everyone on the squad was ecstatic for him. Our coaching staff, for one, was really dedicated “Sullivan made this statement. “He’s a true professional. The man has wonderful character. In addition, he was a major factor in the victory.”
Astonishingly, Danton Heinen is still going strong. As far as the Pittsburgh Penguins were concerned, they believed he had the potential to produce offensively, and they signed him this summer as a result (16 goals, 31 assists and 47 points in 2017-18 with Boston).
In fact, he appears to be on the verge of doing just that, as seen by his outstanding offensive performances in the preseason and his impressive goal total in the game on Tuesday night.