If you listen closely, you might be able to hear fans around Pittsburgh still chanting Brenden Morrow’s name.
In the third period of the Penguins’ 6-4 win over the Montreal Canadiens Wednesday night at CONSOL Energy Center, Morrow evoked one of the most visceral reactions heard at the arena this season. Immediately after Rene Bourque hit Kris Letang up high, Morrow squared off with P.K. Subban, earning the rare Gordie Howe hat trick – a goal (two of them), an assist and a fight - along with it.
Morrow seemed to get the better of the Montreal agitator, causing Penguins fans to erupt in a chant of “Mor-row! Mor-row!” But Morrow said he wasn’t satisfied with the tilt and mouthed something to Subban while in the box. He joked that the “PG-13 version” of the conversation was: “We’ll do it again in five (minutes).”
“I wanted to stand up and throw some punches,” Morrow said. “I was upset with how it went. We didn’t have the opportunity (to fight again). It was just two guys playing hard, battling, competing, that was it. No real history.”
The former Stars captain has fully endeared himself to the fans and his teammates since being traded to Pittsburgh, resulting in fans tweeting tonight about how he has already become somewhat of a folk hero in the Steel City a la Gary Roberts, which he attributed to his teammates’ impressive play.
“I don’t look at it personally,” he said. “I think they’re enjoying us win. We’re battling, we’re competing and everyone in the locker room’s contributing and I think the fans are enjoying what they’re watching.”
But Morrow already had a monumental impact on the game before the fight by earning three points (2G-1A), recording back-to-back multi-goal games for the first time in his 13-year career after an identical three-point effort Saturday in Florida.
“The physicality he’s brought,” coach Dan Bylsma said, “the straight-lines, the presence he’s brought almost every game he’s played. He’s added on the score sheet as of late, but that’s really only a small portion of what he’s brought.”
In his 10 games played since the trade, Morrow has earned nine points (5G-4A) and has been an instrumental asset while some of Pittsburgh’s star players have missed time due to injury. When he came to the Penguins on March 24, Morrow said he was willing to fit into any role that was asked of him, which was made evident Wednesday when he played the roles of goal scorer, distributor and enforcer at different times.
He said it’s easy to play freely while playing on a team that has had as much success as the Penguins have since the trade.
“Just showing up at the rink, I think good habits are contagious,” Morrow said. “Everyone’s kind of got a tradition here of winning habits, so whoever’s in and out of the lineup, they seem to follow suit and it’s just a confident group right now.”
Morrow pulled off another impressive feat by scoring his two goals on two different netminders. He put a wrist shot past Peter Budaj midway through the first period for his first tally, then slid a shot off a Beau Bennett pass past an outstretched Carey Price about four minutes into the second.
“I found some bounces,” Morrow said. “My linemates made some good plays and I was kind of Johnny on the spot on the first one. When you’re working hard, good things usually happen and we’re all working hard and creating some bounces for ourselves.”