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Perron Impresses in Penguins Debut

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

As Sidney Crosby carried the puck into the offensive zone in the first period of Pittsburgh’s game against Montreal Saturday, David Perron drifted into the slot.

Crosby proceeded to thread the puck between the sticks of Canadiens forwards Tomas Plekanec and Dale Weise right onto Perron’s blade, who went down on one knee to blast a slapshot into the open net to cut Montreal’s lead to 2-1.

“That was the probably the best pass I’ve ever received,” Perron said. “Over two sticks and I had a good portion of the net to put it in, so it felt good.”

Head coach Mike Johnston slotted Perron – who was acquired from Edmonton on Friday afternoon for Rob Klinkhammer and a 2015 first-round pick – on the left wing alongside Crosby in his Penguins debut, where he finished with that goal, six shots, four hits and 15:47 of ice time.

While Johnston plans to eventually try Perron with Evgeni Malkin as well to see what the best combination is, he felt Perron had flashes of brilliance with Crosby in Pittsburgh’s eventual 4-1 loss.

“David had good poise with the puck tonight,” Johnston said. “You could see that when the puck hit his stick, he’s got his head up, he’s looking to make a play. He had the quick release shot on the goal, he had a couple other touches and a couple other deflections around the net. So it was a pretty good first night for him.

“Just traveling in and all of a sudden jumping in with a new team and playing, I like what he did there. And I thought him and Sid at times had some chemistry there. But overall as a team, we just didn’t have enough guys going tonight.”

With the Oilers in Colorado to play the Avalanche on Friday night, Perron flew out from Denver after leaning about the trade and arrived in Pittsburgh late last night. He had all of 10 minutes on the ice this morning before jumping into lineup, and admitted that the craziness of the past 36 hours affected him.

“I think obviously with the last couple days here, the energy wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be,” Perron said. “But I was running on adrenaline and trying to push myself as much as possible. Just didn’t have enough tonight. But it was good to get to know the guys, first game, and looking forward to building with them here.”

Perron feels like his style – a combination of skill and physicality – is going to mesh with the way the Penguins play.

“I met with the coaches this afternoon just to go over the system,” Perron said, adding, “It’s a system I think is going to fit my game pretty well. A lot of speed throughout the neutral zone and I got to get driving to the net and on the forecheck. In the D zone, I really like the way we play, trying to kill the cycle and stuff like that. So I think it’s going to be good.”

He’ll worry about learning the nuances of everything on Monday. For now, Perron going to take full advantage of the team’s day off tomorrow to catch his breath, and do some shopping.

“That will certainly be nice to get a day off tomorrow,” he said. “Go around the city, buy some clothes because I’m running low right now. So it’s going to be good for sure.”

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