In what is sure to be a challenging season, the Penguins have shown no signs of a Stanley Cup hangover in the early going. Quite the contrary, they came out and dominated the first game of the season, and then came from behind to upset the New York Islanders in a shootout on the road in the 2nd night of back-to-back games. Indeed, the Penguins have given themselves a good start to the new season. Sidney Crosby has notched regulation goals in each of the first two games and also netted last night’s shootout winner. He leads the team with 3-points (2G, 1A) and a +2 rating. Ruslan Fedotenko and Evgeni Malkin each have 2-points (1G, 1A) and a +1 rating. Tyler Kennedy (1G), Bill Guerin (1A) and Jordan Staal (1A) have also gotten on the scoresheet in the first two outings. Marc-Andre Fleury is looking good early having already provided some spectacular highlight reel saves and stoned the opposition in his first overtime and shootout of the season. After last season’s pre-season injury, Sergei Gonchar is back in the early season lineup and has already contributed with 2 assists. Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang have made their presence known with 2-assists each in what could be a breakout season for each of the young defensemen. Even Mark Eaton, who surprised us late last year with some offensive flair, has tallied an early season goal.
The Penguins get a rest until Wednesday night, before playing a busy 3-games in 4-nights. First, they will play host to the financially beleagured Phoenix Coyotes on Wednesday night. The Coyotes beat the Los Angeles Kings 6-3 in season opener on Saturday night, and are off until Wednesday when they meet the Penguins at Mellon Arena. The Penguins then suit back up on Thursday night in Philadelphia where they will take on the cross-state rival Flyers (2-0-0) in a much anticipated match-up, the first of 6 between the 2 teams this season. On Saturday night, they will travel to Toronto and take on a re-tooled Maple Leafs team.