The Penguins definitely wanted to redeem themselves and make it up to the home crowd for losing the first two games at the CONSOL. You could certainly see from their enthusiastic play on the ice that the spark they had been missing against the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets had returned yesterday against the Devils. And Sidney Crosby has returned to form with proof coming in the way of on-ice scuffles following stops in play especially after a two-minute minor for tripping late in the third.
The addition of former Carolina Hurricanes forward, Zach Boychuk, along with elevated play of newly acquired Brandon Sutter may have helped as well. Boychuch definitely adds “grit” and “tenacity” as reported by head coach, Dan Bylsma, when he was recently asked about him. Those two characteristics are something the Penguins could use more of in their lineup. As speculated, Boychuk played alongside Evgeni Malkin and James Neal and it took no time before he appeared right at home with them on the ice. While Sutter, still playing on the third line alongside Matt Cooke and Tyler Kennedy, scored his first goal today as a Penguin.
As a side note, the first shutout that Tomas Vokoun had in a Penguins uniform this past Thursday against the New York Rangers was the 49th of his career. Also noteworthy is goalie Marc-Andre Fleury‘s charitable spirit following in the footsteps of teammates Malkin and Crosby (who donate suites at the CONSOL each season). Fleury has decided to donate upgraded tickets they’re calling “Flower’s Front Row Seats” to four lucky student “rushers” at every home game this season, who originally purchased discounted student tickets in the upper-level seating area.
The Penguins next game is on the road this afternoon against the Washington Capitals. They will need to ride this positive wave of momentum if they want to start a winning streak. The puck is set to drop at 12:30 pm (est) and will be broadcast on NBC.
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.