Pittsburgh Penguins’ Reilly Smith (19) can’t get off a shot in front of Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) with Chris Tanev defending during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins played their second game of the back-to-back they were scheduled to play in Pittsburgh against the Calgary Flames who made their yearly visit to the ‘Burgh. After Pittsburgh’s first win of the year in a 3-0 shutout for the Washington Capitals the Pens returned home to try and score their first win of the season on home ice.


The first period gave both teams multiple powerplay opportunities with both teams playing extremely undisciplined. Neither team could take advantage of the man advantage or in Pittsburgh’s case the two-man advantage about halfway through the period. Pittsburgh’s Alex Nedeljkovic made his first start as a Penguin and shined in this opportunity.


The second period saw a lot of the same back-and-forth hockey however, Calgary broke the ice with a goal from Matt Coronato on the powerplay. Through two periods the Flames Jacob Markstrom stood on his head and fended off any would-be goals from the Penguins.


All of that went by the wayside though, when the Pens took over in the third and final period. Pittsburgh’s Bryan Rust got the Pens on the board with his second goal of the young season just 18 seconds into the third. That’s when Evgeni Malkin showed what an absolute unit he can be. Geno who had a big night against the Capitals came into this game on fire. He had a handful of great opportunities early in this game that all got answered by Markstrom and the Flames. However, in the third, he was a different animal. He would have the primary assist on the Penguins second goal from newcomer Reilly Smith and the Pens never let up. Jake Guentzel scored his first of the season and hopefully got a monkey off his back. Malkin then added a goal from himself setup by you guessed it, Reilly Smith who seems to be really gelling with Malkin through three games. Jonathan Huberdeau got Calgary within two as he scored his first of the season but it was too little too late. Bryan Rust added his second of the game on an empty netter and sent the Pittsburgh hopeful home happy.

The three stars of the night tonight are a little tougher than they were against Washington but these guys showed up big in this game.


Third Star – Reilly Smith. Smith had both a goal and an assist scoring in back-to-back games for Pittsburgh.  The offseason acquisition appears to have chemistry with his center already and is playing at an incredibly high level with Malkin thus far.


Second Star – Bryan Rust. Bryan Rust is looking to rebound after struggling last season. He’s off to a good start so far with goals in two of the three games and three goals in the short season.


First Star – Evgeni Malkin. On back-to-back nights, Geno was the game’s top star. Malkin had a goal and an assist on the night but was dominant overall and made the Flames lives tough.

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