Through the first three games of the season, the Pittsburgh Penguins are undefeated after besting the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-2, Tuesday night. Carolina was haunted by an ex-Hurricane in Jussi Jokinen, who the Canes paid to score a hat trick against them.
Tuesday’s game finally saw some different goal scorers for the Penguins, other than Chuck Kobasew, Craig Adams, and Sidney Crosby. The first period was almost scoreless until 14:17 when Jussi Jokinen beat Cam Ward with a backhand shot off his own skate for his first goal of the season and night. After Jokinen’s goal, it appeared as though Pascal Dupuis gave the Penguins a two-goal lead, but it was waved off due to Dupuis kicking the puck behind Ward. It was hard to find a reason to let the goal stand on that one. Before the period came to a close, Tanner Glass and Jay Harrison got into a tussle with both men sitting in the penalty box for five minutes. The Penguins took their 1-0 lead into the intermission while also leading the Canes in shots, 12-8.
The second period started off with a bang when Paul Martin picked up the Penguins’ second goal of the night a little over one minute into the frame. Martin backhanded the puck past Ward after taking it off the end board following a Brooks Orpik shot/pass for his first goal of the season. Unlike previous opponents, the Hurricanes were out to make this game a little difficult for the Penguins. About twelve minutes after Martin’s goal, Eric Staal brought the Canes within one after deflecting a puck while falling to the ice off a shot from Justin Faulk. At the end of the second period, the Penguins still held a one-goal lead, but Carolina led in shots, 12-11.
The third period saw a lot of action take place between the two squads. Three minutes into the period, Nathan Gerbe tied the game at two after cashing in on a rebound off a shot from Pat Dwyer. After Gerbe’s game-tying goal, it was all Jussi Jokinen and the Penguins. 1:50 after the Gerbe score, Jokinen gave the Penguins the lead once again with his second goal of the game, wristing a shot past Ward following a terrific pass from Evgeni Malkin. At 8:24, Tanner Glass (yes, Tanner Glass) made it a 4-2 game after following his own shot, finding the rebound, and backhanding the puck over the Carolina goaltender for his first goal of the season. Glass has been a lightning rod to criticism during the offseason and training camp, but he has been a factor in all three games this season. Finally, with just under seven minutes remaining in the game and the Penguins on the power play, Jokinen completed the hat trick with a wrist shot from the top of the circle to put Pittsburgh up by the final score of 5-2.
The Penguins head to Florida for the weekend for their first road trip of the season beginning on Friday night when they take on the Florida Panthers (7:30 pm/et; Root Sports, RDS-2).
-Two points for Olli Maatta, his first points in the NHL. It’s going to be hard to make the decision of whether to keep him in Pittsburgh or send him back to juniors once Kris Letang is healthy.
-Jay Harrison did not have a good game for Carolina. Tripped Tanner Glass in the first period that led to Jussi Jokinen’s first goal, and was in the box for Jokinen’s third goal.
-In four games against his former team, Jordan Staal has no goals and only two assists.
1. LW Jussi Jokinen (3G; hat trick)
2. D Olli Maatta (2A, 3 blocks)
3. LW Tanner Glass (1G)