Defenseman Cameron Gaunce made his Penguin debut in Pittsburgh's 4-1 win in Montreal on Wednesday night. He picked up an assist in the contest for his first point with the team.
"It was an awesome experience," Gaunce said. "After the anthem it started to really sink in that I was in Montreal. Once you get out there and see some of your linemates you realize you're in the NHL. It was awesome."
But what made the point and victory even more sweet is that it came against the Canadiens. Gaunce, a Markham, Ontario native, grew up as a Toronto Maple Leafs fan.
"It was (sweet)," Gaunce laughed. "Way back in my first stint in the NHL I played against the Leafs and had a couple texts (from friend) telling me they wished I had played worse. But everyone was excited to see me do well against the Canadiens."
Gaunce played alongside fellow WBS recall Chad Ruhwedel. The duo has some chemistry from playing in the American Hockey League and it helped with Gaunce's transition to the Pens.
"When you're sure of what your teammates are going to be doing it makes you more confident," Gaunce said. "It gives you trust in yourself know that I can make certain plays to do my job."
Gaunce's opportunity has come due to injury on the Pittsburgh blue line to Kris Letang (lower body) and Brian Dumoulin (jaw). But he's making the most of it and enjoys facing the competition on the NHL level.
"Playing against guys like (Max) Pacioretty or (Tomas) Plekanec excites me," Gaunce said. "I like to see how I compare. That's always the question for a guy when he comes up, in your mind and the coach's mind, how is he going to stack up? Being out there against them is exciting."