Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 6-2 win over Tampa Bay…
- I thought the Pens settled in rather quickly after having a full week off. They were slightly scrambly in the first couple of minutes, especially in their own end, but started to get into the groove in the second half of the first. They outshot the Lightning by a wide margin and had a lot of offensive zone time. They only got better from there.
- It's not easy for any player to shake the rust off after so much time away, but it's especially difficult for goalies. Not only was Marc-Andre Fleury dealing with that, but he was facing an opportunistic Tampa Bay team that created a lot of chances off the transition. But I thought he was strong tonight and did his part to keep the puck out, especially early on. He kept his team in it early and allowed them to get to their game.
- I also thought the guys in front of him did a particularly good job of clearing the front of the net. Though the Pens gave up their share of chances, they were adept at recovering and doing whatever it took to get the puck out of danger.
- Eric Fehr and Matt Cullen were extremely noticeable tonight despite limited ice time. They were strong on the penalty kill, which came up big when the score was close. They also created offensively, teaming up for a couple of memorable sequences in the second.
- On the first play, Cullen chased down a puck below the goal line and swept a pass to a crashing Fehr, who had the open net but was denied by a ridiculous glove save by Andrei Vasilevskiy. After a big PK effort, the two of them went down the ice again - and would not be denied a second time. Cullen saucered a pass over to Fehr, who one-timed it into a sliver of the net before Vasilevskiy could get over.
- The Pens spread out the scoring in this game, with their depth players stepping up big on the scoresheet as Conor Sheary, Scott Wilson, Chris Kunitz all found the back of the net. In the first two periods the Lightning did a good job of staying structured and broke up a lot of plays with good sticks, but the Pens broke the game open in the third.