Pittsburgh Penguins Win Opener, Start Season in Stride

Matt HunterCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2008

The Pittsburgh Penguins started their 2008-2009 tour with an overtime victory over the Ottawa Senators.  The Penguins' Tyler Kennedy opened the scoring, and also closed the game with an overtime goal with roughly 23 seconds left in the extra period.

The Penguins came out flying in the first period, scoring their first goal less than 20 seconds into the game.  They looked very good in the period, and it seemed that they were just overwhelming the Senators in the offensive zone, as the Senators had trouble just getting the puck out.

The Penguins though could have done a lot more damage the whole game if they gotten their power play rolling.  The Penguins had seven total power plays, but could not convert on any.  They had a good setup with the extra attacker, but could never get anything past Martin Gerber.

Another negative point to the power play is that they gave up a shorthanded goal.  This should never have had happened, and it is just goes to show they need to work on their power play a bit more before they start to click as a unit.

With the team playing without Gonchar and Whitney, the guys that have to step up this season did so on Saturday, and the defense as a unit played very well.  It is good to see that the team is probably going to be all right without two of their top defensemen, and that fans and teammates can rely on the new guys to step into their roles and perform well.

The scoring was also something that I found to be a very good sign.  People want to see Crosby and Malkin score all the goals, but opposing teams are designing their game scheme to take them out of the equation.  As a result, the other players on the team have got be more aggressive, and take more chances. 

We saw that today, with Tyler Kennedy and Rob Scuderi both stepping up and accounting for three points.  It is nice to know that if Crosby or Malkin have quiet games, the Penguins can rely on their other players to take control pull out wins.  This will be a key aspect to Pittsburgh's success throughout the whole year.

Marc-Andre Fleury played a solid game in net.  If you take away the collapse of the power play that led to the shorthanded goal by Spezza, you can really only hold him accountable for two goals.  He made some big stops when he had to, at times it seemed that the Senators were sure to score.  He has continued his great play from last years playoffs, and if he can stay healthy he will be an All-Star this year.

The Penguins are 1-0-0, and have yet another game tomorrow.  Hopefully they can keep the pedal to the metal, roll through Ottawa tomorrow, and head back to the 'Burgh for their home opener against the Devils on Saturday.