Oct 7, 2011, 1:29 AM EDT
It only makes sense that a sloppy but enjoyable game like tonight’s Pittsburgh Penguins-Vancouver Canucks match ended with a guilty pleasure “skills competition.” While Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin scored gorgeous shootout goals to help the Penguins hold on for a 4-3 SO win, most of tonight’s game didn’t go as expected.
Malkin earned an assist on James Neal‘s opportunistic goal on the power play, but he was held in check in a way that he didn’t experience very often during a red-hot preseason. (Malkin’s chemistry with Neal and veteran winger Steve Sullivan was apparent on multiple plays, however, so it remains reasonable to maintain confidence in his Hart Trophy candidacy.)
Instead of a big first night for Geno, Vancouver’s would-be MVP candidates were the biggest difference-makers, as Daniel Sedin scored the game-tying goal and an assist while Henrik Sedin earned two primary helpers. Letang was productive on offense in his own right, scoring that SO goal and collecting two assists.
Cooke produces nice results in first game since suspension
Matt Cooke was the true headline-stealer, though, as he scored two goals to give the Penguins 2-0 and 3-1 leads before the Sedins took over. Cooke found the net thanks to a great behind-the-net pass by Pascal Dupuis and used a Canucks defender as a screen to foil Roberto Luongo on an odd angle shot to score shorthanded. (Marc-Andre Fleury let Luongo’s softy off the hook to an extent by allowing a strange one of his own for Maxim Lapierre‘s 2-1 tally.)
It’s common to assign a ” … But he can actually play” qualifier to a good number of pests, but the description actually fits Cooke, even if his negative moments grossly outweigh his positive contributions in the eyes of most. Even with that praise in mind, it’s useful to note that he usually makes a difference on the penalty kill rather than on the scoreboard, so a two-goal night is a great treat for the Penguins.
Maybe a positive return from shame and a suspension could help Cooke turn the corner? The best reaction is to take the “Wait and see” approach to that situation, which is probably a wise strategy to take with all of the NHL’s season openers. Brian Engblom caught up with Cooke after the game.
Both teams and their goalies experienced some rocky moments, but there were also uplifting ones. Neal showed a lot of burst after a tough second half of 201-11. Keith Ballard (of all people) scored a gorgeous goal thanks to a fantastic feed by Henrik Sedin. The Penguins started out strong on the road while the Canucks shook off a somewhat shaky start to earn a point in their home opener. The NHL’s elite find ways to make the best of less-than-spectacular nights and both teams showed glimpses of that potential on Oct. 6.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT
Colorado forward is expected to take home the honors.
Apr 23, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT
“He didn’t get to play enough hockey this season, so he’s still eager to play.”
Apr 23, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Chicago’s been tough to beat at home in the playoffs.
Apr 23, 2014, 10:58 AM EDT
Can Columbus rebound from its Game 3 collapse?
Apr 23, 2014, 9:53 AM EDT
He spent three seasons with the Flyers.
Apr 23, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT
He’s been out since April 10.
Apr 23, 2014, 8:25 AM EDT
It’s that or hit the road down 3-1.
Apr 23, 2014, 2:17 AM EDT
They’ll be facing elimination on Thursday.
Apr 23, 2014, 1:25 AM EDT
Stunner at the Staples Center.
Apr 23, 2014, 12:07 AM EDT
Impressive, but just his first marker of the series.
Apr 22, 2014, 11:50 PM EDT
Apr 22, 2014, 11:31 PM EDT
“They thrived on it.”
Apr 22, 2014, 11:06 PM EDT
Some thought he was milking an injury and even holding the wrong knee.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:53 PM EDT
Flyers fans give it right back, though.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT
Get this: people will be talking about Flyers goaltending.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:40 PM EDT
Not exactly a thing of beauty, but it counts…
Apr 22, 2014, 10:25 PM EDT
Kept him out of the entire opening round.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT
Boston’s first win at Joe Louis Arena in seven years.
Apr 22, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
Not the names you’d expect, huh?
Apr 22, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT
Tampa Bay hits a wall called Montreal.
- Sharks beat Kings in OT, take 3-0 stranglehold on series 38
- Rangers chase Emery, top Flyers for 2-1 series lead 53
- Bruins dominate Red Wings, take 2-1 series lead 42
- And then there were 15: Lightning eliminated 75
- WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings (Game 3) 2
- Bettman says shootouts are staying, gives salary cap estimate 34
- Video: Yeo asked if Cooke told to ‘target’ Avs, does not like question 46
- On Matt Cooke and whether he’s a ‘repeat offender’ 59
- Marleau, O’Reilly and St. Louis named Lady Byng finalists 20
- Zuccarello: ‘I’m not a diver’ 50
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (153)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (127)
- Keith doesn’t remember if he taunted Backes after Seabrook hit (125)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (118)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)