Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Pens’ 3-0 loss against the Dallas Stars.
1. Speed Kills
The Dallas Stars are probably the fastest team in the NHL, and they showed why against Pittsburgh. Dallas was able to create many scoring opportunities off of rushes and by winning races to loose pucks. Rookie Mattias Janmark used his speed to get inside position on David Perron off of a rush to score his first career NHL goal. Ales Hemsky’s speed through the neutral zone forced the Pens to back off, allowing him to gain the zone and snap a shot into the goal. And Tyler Seguin’s wheels came gunning down on Ian Cole for a dumped puck and forced him to take a penalty. Dallas would score on the ensuing power play.
2. 2-Way Niemi
Stars goaltender Antti Niemi did it all for his club. Not only did he make 37 saves for his 33rd career shutout, he even chipped in on the offensive side of the puck. Niemi picked up two secondary assists on the first two Dallas goals. But it was his brilliance between the pipes that was the difference in the game. He won the start in Game 1 after a strong preseason and rewarded coach Lindy Ruff with a perfect performance. He really had to earn it in the final minute as the Pens put on intense pressure. Niemi limited his rebounds, was strong on his positioning and showed top-notch reaction skills.
3. Special Teams
The Pens allowed two power-play goals, including a back breaker to Jamie Benn to make it 3-0 Dallas with 7:21 to play in the third period. Pittsburgh did not score on its three power-play opportunities. When you’re a -2 in the special teams game, you’re not likely to win the game.