Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 4-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
Carl Hagelin is blessed with wormhole-like speed. And he is always in fifth gear. His speed has created matchup nightmares for opponents and opened space for his teammates. Hagelin’s play has helped created a lot of goals. He was the benefactor against the Jets (twice). Hagelin read a D-to-D play and jetted to the net, where he tipped in a point shot from Ian Cole for a tally. He followed with a nice finish off of a beautiful cross-ice feed from Phil Kessel, dropping to one-knee and snapping in the puck. He’s been a tireless worker since coming to Pittsburgh. It was nice to see him get rewarded. 2. Defense to Offense
The Pens’ defense was a huge contributor on offense against the Jets. Kris Letang jumped into a rush play, took a drop pass and buried a beautiful top-corner snap shot for his 10th goal of the season. Pittsburgh’s second goal was the result of Derrick Pouliot and Ian Cole working the puck D-to-D and getting a shot on net (that was tipped in by Hagelin). Shortly after Trevor Daley sneaked into a play, took a pass, cut to the net and found Sidney Crosby at the side of the goal. Only a remarkable paddle save by Michael Hutchinson prevented a goal. The Pens defense combined for one goal and five points. 3. Health Down the Middle
The Pens’ lineup was bolstered down the middle with the return of centers Evgeni Malkin (10 games missed, lower-body injury) and Nick Bonino (17, hand). Malkin looked like he hadn’t missed a game. He was flying, creating and playing like an all-world talent. Bonino slotted back into the third line and on the PK. He picked up an assist on Scott Wilson’s third-period goal.