The Pittsburgh Penguins played their home-opener at the CONSOL Energy Center this past Wednesday and were poised to make it a perfect storyline with an opportunity to earn a record of 3-0 against the Toronto Maple Leafs and win their first game at home since the beginning the abbreviated season. The Leafs had other plans in mind.
The Leafs (2-1) are a team that the Penguins should be able to defeat especially after wins against both the Philadelphia Flyers (0-3) and New York Rangers (0-2) going into Wednesday’s game. However, there were a few factors the Penguins were up against aside from being too pumped-up with their 2-0 start to the season.
James VanRiemsdyk was a huge factor in Wednesday night’s game and he represents a large portion of the Leafs team – youth. This young Leafs team is quick and determined which seemed to throw the Penguins off of their game especially their two brightest stars — Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Their frustration escalated by the end of the game resulting in a 2-minute minor penalty to Crosby for unsportsmanlike conduct (with a little less than two minutes left in the game) and a 10-minute major game misconduct for Malkin (with no time left of the clock) for spouting off to one of the referees.
The Penguins are on the road to face-off against the Winnipeg Jets tonight and are no doubt looking to redeem themselves from the ill-fated loss to the Maple Leafs. It’s likely that they’ll bounce back against the Jets but they won’t make it easy for the Penguins especially on home ice. The game is set for an 8:00 pm (est) start.
Stephanie Lewark is a featured Pittsburgh Penguins columnist for RantSports.com. If you enjoy her articles / posts, you can follow her on Twitter (@steelcitysports), check out her personal Facebook page (via Networked Blogs), visit her personal Tumblr page, or stop by her Pinterest page.