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An announced total of 18,420 fans in the PPG Paints Arena for the 633rd Pittsburgh Penguins sale in a row, a sequence that dated to February 2007 and faced the Civic Arena.
Since Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were out due to injury, Marc-Andre Fleury was in town, this time as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
Inspired by four goals in the first half, the Penguins fired their former goalkeeper in a crooked 5-2 win during the home game.
The return of Fleury, who spent the past four seasons as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights, was a highly anticipated event, especially for his former teammates.
« It’s always weird to see him in a different uniform, » said Penguins defender Kris Letang. “You have played with a lot of guys over the years. I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with certain players and Marc-Andre was one of them. We have spent over 10 years together. Great memories.
“It’s always strange to see him in a different uniform, but we always look forward to seeing him and playing against him. It’s going to be fun tonight. »
That’s how long it took for striker Teddy Blueger to score his second goal of the season. Blueger stormed the left wing into the offensive zone and mixed a backhand pass attempt for linemate Brock McGinn into the slot. Blackhawks defender Seth Jones slid down to block the pass but accidentally skated it into the cage past a surprised Fleury.
Rookie striker Drew O’Connor scored his first career goal at 5:33 a.m. in the first period. When Fleury left his line to play a dump-in that made a strange jump out of the left corner boards, Penguins striker Dominik Simon checked and forced Fleury to turn over. O’Connor chased the puck and stuck a backhander into the open net.
Striker Brock McGinn scored his first goal as a member of the Penguins at 10:59 am. After a two-on-one rush, O’Connor won the offensive zone and fed McGinn with a cross-ice forehand pass into the right circle, who leaned down and whipped a forehand shot past Fleury’s glove on the near side.
Fleury’s night ended 26 seconds later. At this point, Penguins striker Drew Heinen scored his third goal as the team leader – in his third game as a member of the team – with a wrist rising out of the slot through the traffic and over Fleury’s right shoulder.
After just six saves and 10 shots, Fleury was pulled – perhaps for humanitarian reasons – in favor of Kevin Lankinen.
The Blackhawks came into the midframe on the scoreboard at 5:00 am with a power play score. Blackhawks striker Patrick Kane scored his first goal by shooting a one-timer from the right circle of the offensive zone, which ricocheted off the right leg of Penguins defender Chad Ruhwedel and the glove of goalkeeper Tristan Jarry on the near side.
Late in the second, at 5:55 p.m., Penguins striker Jason Zucker scored his first of the season, coraling a rebound to the right of Chicago’s crease and chipping a backhander that slipped Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy’s left skate into Cage distracted.
Blackhawks striker Kirby Dach crowned the goal to 15:57 of the third goal with his second goal.
Trainer Mike Sullivan took his 253rd victory as Penguins trainer, breaking the tie with former trainer Dan Bylsma for most in franchise history.
Seth Rorabaugh is a contributor to Tribune Review. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or on Twitter.
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