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3 Impressions: Pens 3, Habs 1

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 3-1 win against the Montreal Canadiens.

1. Setting the Tone
The Pens were not happy with the way they played in a 3-1 loss at Chicago on Wednesday, most notably their first period. They responded tonight with one of their strongest opening road periods to date. They outshot the Habs, 12-5, and outchanced them while winning all the key battles. Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, Sidney Crosby and David Perron all managed Grade A chances. Though they didn’t score, the first period set the tone for the rest of the game.

2. New Trio
The Pens’ third line had a new look on it with the addition of rookie Tom Kuhnhackl, making his NHL debut, and Bryan Rust sandwiching centerman Nick Bonino. The trio were trapped a bit in their own zone at times, but got better as the game went on. They really established a forecheck and net-presence in the second period and connected for a goal. Bonino, while being triple covered, found a wide-open Rust streaking down the center lane. He snapped home a shot blocker side for the eventual game-winner.

3. Holding On
The Pens withstood a third-period onslaught from the Canadiens and successfully held strong for the victory. The Pens had to kill two penalties (one in the final seconds with the goalie pulled to make it a 6-on-4) and the Habs put up 17 shots in the final frame. The Pens played in a more defensive posture and didn’t allow many high-quality chances. But even on the occasional breakdown, Marc-Andre Fleury was there to proved solid goaltending.

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