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3 Impressions: Habs 3, Pens 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 3-2 loss against the Montreal Canadiens.

1. Beau Knows
Beau Bennett was arguably the Penguins’ best player in the preseason and he’s carried that play into the regular season. Bennett scored his first goal of the season on a beautiful individual effort. He chipped the puck past defenseman Nathan Beaulieu in the defensive zone, raced to retrieve the free puck and started a rush up ice. Bennett gained as much ground possible before sniping a shot far side. Bennett finished the game with six shots, including three of the team’s four shots in the first period, and four hits. Part of Bennett’s success this year is the muscle he added in the summer and the physicality that he’s showing.

2. Create
The Pens did an excellent job in the second and third periods of being aggressive and forcing the play in the offensive zone. Once there, Pittsburgh managed to gain space and create scoring chances, followed by crashing the net. The Pens built many stretches of zone time and that created opportunities, but the Pens failed to convert enough in the contest. If the Pens keep executing like that they’ll find success. But they need to start finding ways to finish those plays.

3. Puck Battles
One thing the Pens failed to do late in the game, particularly late in the third period, was win puck battles. The Canadiens matched Pittsburgh’s desperation and were able to win not only a lot of 50-50 puck battles, but even man off some Pittsburgh players. The Pens had success when they possessed the puck in space, but in scrums on the boards and around the net it was the Habs that had the advantage.

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