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3 Impressions: Pens 5, Leafs 2

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet shares his three observations from the bench on Saturday’s 5-2 win against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.

1. PP Play
Our power play was good. We moved the puck well. Guys were reading off of each other and finding opportunities. We were able to score on a few chances and create.

2. Jumpt Step
I thought we had a lot of jump in our step. We came out strong and played that way for the whole game. Guys were competing, guys were battling and playing the right way.

3. Fleury Shines
I thought Fleury played really well tonight. When the game was close he came up with a couple of big saves for us, and guys were fighting for him, and guys were fighting for each other. They rallied around each other and that’s what you want.


Sam Kasan shares his three impressions from the media level.

1. Qvist Love
At the beginning of the season I predicted that Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist would score 30 goals this year. Can I change that to 40? Hornqvist has been all that was advertised when the Penguins acquired him with Nick Spaling in exchange for James Neal. Hornqvist has two goals and four points in the opening two games of the year. But what’s more impressive are his intangibles. Hornqvist has been a regular visitor to the opposing team's crease, battles hard along the boards, throws hits, forechecks strong and is in the right spot at the right time. But the reason why I feel like he actually might notch 40 goals is because he shoots everything. Literally, everything. Any time Hornqvist has a look at the net, he’s getting the puck there. He recorded nine shots against the Leafs. He now has 13 shots in just TWO GAMES. That’s an average of 6.5 shots per game. If he keeps going to the right spots and with the talent on the Pens’ roster setting him up, it’s hard to think he won’t reach 40.

2. Power Surge
The Penguins power play was stupid good against the Leafs. Pittsburgh went 3 for 5 in the contest. And they could have gone 4 for 5. The Penguins are using a diamond-shaped power play setup, or a 1-3-1. The most impressive aspect of the unit has been their puck movement. The power-play unit was moving its feet instead of remaining stationary. That created open lanes. The Pens made the right reads and then threaded perfect passes through those lanes to keep the Leafs off balance and create scoring chances. With the Penguins' talent level, if you give them those kinds of scoring chances they’re going to bury one, or two, or three.


3. High Octane
Penguins head coach Mike Johnston wants his team to play with a high level of tempo and pace. We’ve certainly seen that through the first two games. If the Penguins play at that type of level for an entire game they’re going to be grueling to play against. The Penguins entered the third period with a 4-1 lead on the scoreboard, but they played like they were trailing by two goals. The effort led to the team scoring a fifth goal. It will be hard to keep up this pace of play, but if Pittsburgh maintains its relentless effort and aggressiveness for 60 minutes for every game, it is going to really torture their opponents.





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