Assistant coach Rick Tocchet gives his three impressions from the bench in Pittsburgh's 8-3 victory against the New Jersey Devils.
1. The special teams were good on both sides. The power play and penalty kill were good. Got us back in the game.
2. The resilience of the team. We were down 3-1 and didn’t look good. Even though we had some territorial play, we were down 3-1 and to me, the resilience of the team (to come back and win).
3. And then the team depth. We had seven different scorers. Nine or 10 guys had a point. To me, from top to bottom, everybody contributed. When you look at the depth of your team, that’s what you want in these kinds of games. Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box.
1. Five unanswered goals to come back from a 1-0 deficit 9 seconds in that turned into a 3-1 hole? Against the New Jersey Devils, nonetheless – a team that’s notorious for their ability to hold onto leads (with their structured, systematic, defensive style of play, they’re nearly impossible to come back against)? That’s impressive in itself. But to top it off, the Pens didn’t look sharp before they mounted their comeback. They weren’t managing the puck well at all and kept turning it over, especially at the opposing blue line. The Devils were clogging up the neutral zone and making it hard for the Pens to gain the zone with speed. Credit to the Pens for getting it together by bearing down and capitalizing on the opportunities they were given to get back in the game.
2. The comeback started with Evgeni Malkin’s power-play goal 8:56 into the second to make it 3-2. Just a few minutes prior, the Devils had scored a shorthanded goal (their second of the game) on a breakaway after Malkin rotated into the center point position and a bouncing puck went through his legs. Jacob Josefson picked it up and deked Marc-Andre Fleury backhand. The Pens center got a chance to redeem himself on another man-advantage opportunity, and made the most of it by one-timing a scorcher past Cory Schneider when the Pens needed it most. After the game I asked a few players to pinpoint where they felt the game broke open for them, and they said Malkin's tally was what got the ball rolling. They went on to score three more goals in the second half of that period and never looked back.
3. He and Sidney Crosby certainly did their thing tonight, as the captain added two goals of his own. But the thing that stood out the most about this game was Pittsburgh’s balanced attack and different players -- the ones you may not expect -- chipping in at key moments. Seven different Penguins ended up putting the puck in the back of the net. Forward Craig Adams scored an especially big goal when center Brandon Sutter hit him with a homerun pass as he exited the penalty box and he went in alone on Schneider. That gave the Pens a huge two-goal cushion. From the back end, Simon Despres had a big game, setting up the fourth and sixth goals. Twelve different Penguins recorded at least a point, while seven recorded two.
"That’s what great teams do,” winger Pascal Dupuis said. “They get their top guys out that are chipping in night in and night out and you have the guys that are coming up big any given night. That’s how you win games. That’s how you win championships.”