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Snap Shots: Pens 5, Ducks 1

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-1 win against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

*Tonight was the Pens' most complete performance of the season. They notched five goals with 13 players recording at least one point.

*On Oct. 28, 1997 a young, 20-year-old Matt Cullen made his NHL debut as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. Twenty years later he returns to the scene on his 40th birthday, and celebrated with a goal.

Cullen, who may play forever, plays like he's a youthful 20-year-old. He blasted home a one-timer shot for his third goal and eighth point of the season. Cullen is proving that 40 is the new 20.

*How about that play by Tom Sestito. After Eric Fehr flipped a puck out of the defensive zone, Sestito manages to stay onside (it was reviewed by the officials) and then made a spinning, backhand pass across for Cullen to finish.

Sestito also came to Cullen's aid after the veteran got into it with Jared Boll in the corner. Sestito grabbed Boll and dropped the gloves. He knows his role. It's even better when he can chip in on the scoresheet.

*The trio of Chris Kunitz, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel are really starting to develop some chemistry. They struck again, thanks to a great play by Kunitz at the blue line. Kunitz held the zone, then patiently waited to dish to Kessel. He went cross-ice to Malkin for a one-timer goal. But the play was all started by Kunitz on the interception.

If you'll recall, Kunitz made a similar play last weekend in Philadelphia. His backcheck forced a turnover and the resulting play was a tic-tac-toe one-timer goal for Malkin. This may be the start of a trend.

*Speaking of Kessel, what an underrated passer he is. Any time I talk to the players or coaches about Kessel, they all point to his playmaking ability. Everyone knows Kessel can score with that nasty shot. But his passing has been on point, and Malkin - and the Pens - have been the beneficiary.

*Kris Letang scored his first goal of the year after missing the previous five games with an upper-body injury. On the play Letang and Justin Schultz led the rush into the offensive zone. Letang gained the zone, dished to Schultz on the wall and cut to the net. Letang then re-directed Schultz's shot between Gibson's legs.

Letang was the only Pens player to record multiple points in the contest with one goal and one assist.

*By the way, only the Pens would have two defensemen leading the rush. That's Pittsburgh Penguins hockey.

*Matt Murray saw his first game action of the season for Pittsburgh. He handled himself well. He appeared to fight the puck in the early goings, which is to be expected for his first game, but Murray looked more and more comfortable as the game progressed. By the third period he was locked in and unbeatable.

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