After beating the Arizona Coyotes 6-2 in Thursday’s season opener, the Penguins beat the Tampa Bay Lightning by the same score on Saturday, going 2-0 up.
It was an outstanding performance against a strong team that has made three straight Stanley Cup Finals appearances. Sydney Crosby had his second consecutive three-point attempt, recording a goal and two assists. His two companions Jake Guentzel and Rickard Rackelalso scored. Danton Heinen, Jeff Carter and Bryan Rost completed the rating.
The offense continues to roll, as does the power play, as Pittsburgh hit man advantage twice in both games. On the other end, Tristan Jarry Made 34 saves. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan shared his findings afterwards.
If this team has any juice after the end of last season and if they look like they’re ready to prove something: “I think so. They’re a proud group. They have an appetite to win. For a man, the core group of players who have been here, they’re hungry to win. They’re hungry to win. There’s no other.” way of saying it. We see it every day, they are willing to put in the work and they are willing to make the sacrifices. We talk to our players about it all the time, it’s a daily endeavour. It doesn’t happen by accident. You gotta go out there and earn it every day in this league. Nothing is inevitable. We have good players, but many teams have good players. It takes more than just good players to gain a level of commitment and I think our lads are showing that. They’ve put themselves in a position to fight year after year. I just think it’s part of their DNA and they continue to show it.
Whether it’s more offense pride or overall defense pride tonight against a team like Tampa: “We were just happy with our level of performance, with our overall game. I thought it was a really good hockey game with two good teams. The pace of play was high. I noticed it from the bench, just the pace of play in this game versus the last Game we played was much higher. Both teams’ transition play was dangerous. That’s why I thought it was a really good hockey game. They have some breakthrough players, just like us. They go to make plays. Some of their guys are not easy to defend and they will make plays. I thought we defended hard. And when they got a few looks, Tristan made some big stops for us, especially in that third period on one of their power plays. That backdoor chance that (Steven) Stamkos got that’s a 10 bell save in my eyes that was a great save from Jars to win in this league you need that save a b and to. He certainly caused us to collapse defensively. But we defended hard and I think offensively we tried to take what the game gave us and try to establish the game that we felt gave us the best chance of winning.
What the penalty shootout, which went 3v4, looked like after Sullivan said it needed some work after the opener: “I thought we did a better job tonight. We still gave up a goal, but just from a process standpoint, I thought the guys worked really hard on it. As the game progressed, I thought that we’ve gotten better. A lot “Sometimes, when you can have a little bit of success, that gives you confidence. I think that’s important for our penalty shootout. It’s easy to try and celebrate the little things that help us make progress. I thought the guys have done a great job so far than being active on the ice, putting pressure on the breakout, partially disrupting the timing and flow, making the inputs difficult. We’ve won some faceoffs, we blocked some shots and then they had some good reads. Stamkos continues to score a one-time goalscorer, he’s an elite goalscorer and we have to try and do better if we just thwart that shot.” liking it a lot.
If Guentzel looks like he might be a step faster: “He’s just a really good player. You know, he has a crack in his crotch. I think his level of fitness is as good as ever and that’s probably obvious. Just his ability to keep up the pace, shift and switch, I think that was really evident throughout training camp and especially early in the season. He’s just a great player. He’s an elite player in this league. In my opinion he is one of the best scorers in the league. He’s just kind of flying under the radar. I don’t think he does it anymore in Pittsburgh, but I think he’s a little underrated in the hockey world.
On the line of Danton Heinen, Jeff Carter and Kasper Kapanen: “I liked them a lot tonight. I felt they had a much better game tonight than their last game. Carts didn’t play much in the exhibition season, he only got one game. So just a few games under I think his belt is really helping him. I thought Carts had a strong game tonight. I think Kappy played really well. His speed is obvious. He’s pushing defenders back, he’s pushing the tempo and I think his speed is on big factor that line. I think he did a really good job there. And I think Danton Heinen is just a good, conscientious two-way player. So I think that line has what it takes, a really solid 200-footer -Being in line on both sides of the puck They have the ability to produce attacks and score goals, but they also have a defensive conscience and we have every confidence that we can use them against anyone n and that they can get their job done. We’ve had so far, we’ve been happy with. We’ll see how it goes, but I think the line from ht Carts tonight was good.”