Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 4-0 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday at PPG Paints Arena...
* After having a couple of days to digest the 10-1 loss to Chicago on Thursday, the talk around the locker room today was that they needed to put it behind them and move on. They did that tonight with a win against Nashville. Unlike Thursday, there was no absence of effort, emotion or compete level in this game. Particularly from Sidney Crosby, who was as engaged physically as I've seen in a while, as was the rest of the team. The other half of the two-headed monster, Evgeni Malkin set the tone with a goal just 1:06 in and from there, the Pens played just a solid overall game. It wasn't perfect, but they honestly couldn't have asked for a better response game.
* That loss to the Blackhawks was a goalie's nightmare that both Antti Niemi and Matt Murray had to suffer through. But over the last couple of years, Murray has shown so much resiliency and a tremendous ability to respond despite being a young goaltender. Tonight was no different. Murray was calm and steady between the pipes and made a number of key and timely saves when his team needed them, most notably a breakaway stop on Pontus Aberg. He was rewarded with his first shutout of the season, and continued his shutout streak against the Predators to 206:26 dating back to the last two games of the Stanley Cup Final.
* The legend of Ryan Reaves was born tonight. He got the crowd absolutely fired up with his performance, finishing the night with a goal and two fights (I feel like we need a name for that - any suggestions? UPDATE: Reaves called it 'the Reavo.' We'll go with that.) It started in the second period when he and Austin Watson dropped the gloves, with Reaves winning handily. Reaves followed that by tipping a shot from Olli Maatta for his first goal as a Penguin. He finished by getting into a bout with heavyweight Cody McLeod, where he laughed all the way to the box and waved goodbye as his opponent got sent to the locker room, which prompted the crowd to begin thunderously chanting, "REAVES! REAVES!" His coaches and teammates were loving it, as we saw big smiles from Mike Sullivan both times Reaves returned to the bench. He accomplished all of that in just 6:23 minutes of ice time. It was a big night and one that should give him a lot of confidence moving forward.
* While the Pens said hello to a new fan favorite, they said goodbye to another. They welcomed Nick Bonino back for the first time since he signed with the Preds this summer, and the fans gave him a standing ovation as he acknowledged it with a wave and a few claps of his own.
* Poor Ian Cole. During a penalty kill in the first period, he went down to block a shot just like he's done hundreds of times in his career. But this time, it went horribly wrong. Roman Josi's shot caught him right in the mouth, and a few of his teeth exploded onto the ice. Thankfully, Cole was able to get up on his own, and he went to the locker room and did not return. Hopefully he's okay. To no one's surprise, Kris Letang ended up logging 25:59 minutes after the Pens went down to five D. It's something they've unfortunately gotten used to over the last couple of years, so they did a fine job of handling it. They even chipped in a goal from Maatta early in the third period, his second in three games.