Assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of the Pens’ 3-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes.
1. I thought we handled the adversity of (David) Perron not playing due to illness. Losing (Kris) Letang was a big blow to us. I thought we were resilient, and came back and did what we had to do.
2. Nice to win the special teams game. We hadn’t done that in a while. I thought the PK in the first period, five minutes down, and power play got some big goals for us.
3. (Thomas) Greiss stood up. He made some big saves when he had to. Sometimes it’s tougher when you don’t see a lot of shots. I know he didn’t see a lot of shots in the second (period), but you have to stay focused, concentrate and make the save when you have to.
Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box.
1. Killing It
The Pens' penalty kill was put in a tough spot in the final minutes of the first period after Blake Comeau was assessed a five-minute major boarding penalty and game misconduct for a hit on Andrew Campbell in the corner with 6:47 left in the opening frame. Pittsburgh’s PK stepped up big time. They successfully thwarted the Coyotes’ power play and killed off the major penalty. Rob Scuderi and Daniel Winnik really stood out on the sequence. Arizona never generated a high quality scoring chance and the few shots they had were easily stopped by goaltender Thomas Greiss.
2. Letang Knocked Out
The Pens were already short a man with Comeau out of the game. Then they lost defenseman Kris Letang late in the second period. Letang had just released the puck in his own zone when Coyotes forward Shane Doan shoved him. Letang flew into the air and crashed hard into the boards. He stayed down on the ice for a while and needed the help of teammates to leave the ice. Steve Downie challenged Doan to a fight a few minutes later and Doan, following “The Code,” obliged. It was good to see Downie stick up for his teammate. And Doan, a veteran, also understood he needed to drop the gloves.
"(Letang) did go to the hospital to be checked out," head coach Mike Johnston said. "We'll get an evaluation as to where everybody thinks he's at in the morning."
Goal scoring hasn’t been the Pens’ strong point lately. They had a ton of glorious scoring chances through the first two periods that were thwarted by goaltender Mike Smith and the Coyotes defense. After Arizona scored early in the third period, it would have been understandable for the Pens to be incredibly frustrated. Instead, they kept at it. They finally broke through on Daniel Winnik’s goal. Then they converted two power-play goals to build on that lead.