Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers.
*Of course, the natural drama built around this game was on the first-time matchup of generational talents Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid. Both players certainly put on a show. In the head-to-head it was McDavid that edged on the reigning best player in the world with three assists. Though Crosby lost the battle, he won the war as his team triumphed.
*Forgetting the draw of the two headliners, this game was an incredible matchup between two of the best teams in the NHL. The Pens are the defending Stanley Cup champions. Meanwhile the up-and-coming Oilers have finally turned a corner for their franchise, leading the Pacific Division out of the gate. It was definitely a fun game to watch. Maybe a preview of a later matchup? In June?
*Although it was McDavid that drew all the attention, it was the Pens' Conor that was the game's difference-maker. Sheary posted two goals in the contest, including the game-winner with just 1:42 left in regulation. Although it wasn't the prettiest goal - it was put in accidentally by two Oilers - he'll certainly take it. Sheary now has 7 points (3G-4A) in 6 games this season. Not too shabby.
*Both these teams are fast, skilled and want to push the puck. The Pens finally met their match in terms of pure speed. Pittsburgh even seemed overwhelmed by the Oilers speed at the start, surrendering several odd-man rushes. After the Pens adjusted, both sides traded blows. It was an exciting, up-and-down track meet. Both sides traded scoring chance for scoring chance. It was beautiful to watch.
*Phil Kessel continues to show off his playmaking skills. Though he's known more for his finishing touch and nasty snap shot, Kessel has been the Pens' top assist man this season with 8 helpers so far. He made a brilliant pass that ended with an even more brilliant one-handed tip-in by Evgeni Malkin. Kessel now has a 6-game home scoring streak worth 8 points (3G-5A).
*The Pens trailed, 3-2, heading into the third period. Two third-period tallies flipped the game in the Pens' favor. It was the third time this season the Pens overcame a third-period deficit, proving that no lead is safe against Mike Sullivan's team.
*Another quiet, solid performance from defenseman Olli Maatta. He was a plus-2 with 20:04 minutes of ice time. Maatta is a plus-8 in his last 6 games played.
*Patric Hornqvist put 7 shots on goal in the game. Even though he didn't score it's great to see him not being shy about throwing rubber on the cage.
*Scott Wilson played just 8:49 minutes in the contest, but still managed to record 7 hits.