Sole Possession of First Place
Wow - being that it's eight games into the season, that's a nice thing to be able to say. Granted, it IS only eight games in, so this really means nothing in the long run, but it's nice to have.
Anyway, the game last night was great. The Penguins are learning how to win. They allowed only 22 shots to the Devils, which was HUGE for them. That shot total is the lowest of the season, and quite amazing, considering the only other game where they were under 34 was the Detroit game.
What can be said about Malkin's goal? It was a highlight reel goal, and perhaps more importantly, it came at a critical time. The Pens were only up one goal when Malkin took an outlet pass from Crosby, split two defenders, waited for Brodeur to go down and scored on one of those reach-back-across backhand shots in close. Take a look at it for yourself on ESPN - quite worth the time to see. I think the best part is that the happiest guy in the building, besides Evgeni himself, is Sidney Crosby. That's really great to see.
Other random thoughts:
- Crosby, Staal and Malkin scored goals. This is what we were hoping for - all of the young guys on the team contributing. Fleury had 20 saves on 22 shots.
- The arena attendence seems to be down this year. They were only at a little over 13,000 last night.
- Max Talbot played on a line with Ruutu and Thorburn. Nice to see Max back in Pittsburgh.
- Will Jordan Staal stay in the NHL? He only has one more game until he would have to be returned to junior. I think you have to keep him.