Assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 5-3 win against the Winnipeg Jets.
1. For me two individuals really stuck out. Letang had a great game with five assists. Getting Hornqvist back, a huge net-front presence for us. It’s something we’ve been missing. He gets a big goal for us.
2. The power play going 2-for-3, much needed couple of goals for us. The guys did a nice job.
3. We played a tough, hot team and we played four lines. Everybody contributed tonight. When you have star power out, guys grouped together as four lines and six D. Everybody played today, it was good to see.
Sam Kasan gives his three takeaways from the press box. 1. Stick Work
The Pens were very impressive, particularly in the first period, with their stick work. They had active twigs in lanes to create takeaways. David Perron was particularly effective, making two steals on one shift. The Pens defensively thwarted many chances against by breaking up passes, taking away options, and blocking shots. 2. Grit
The first time these two teams hooked up in Winnipeg in November it was a slugfest. Much of that physical play carried over into tonight. After the first period both teams had registered 22 hits. When it was all over the Jets had a slight 58-54 edge, but there is no doubt both teams were finishing through checks and played the body. Steve Downie’s check on Adam Lowry in the third period drew a retaliation penalty. The Pens capitalized. 3. New Guns
No Crosby. No Malkin. No problem. With the absence of their superstar centers, the Pens need other players to step up and take the lead. Kris Letang, Brandon Sutter and David Perron did just that. Letang, returning from a concussion, recorded a career-high five assists, figuring in on every Pittsburgh goal. Perron had two points and was the hardest battler on the ice. Brandon Sutter came up with the clutch game-winning man-advantage goal.