The Penguins and the Florida Panthers played Friday night to a 4-3 Penguins victory. They improved to 5-2-1. Here are the Three Takeaways.
Powerplay Looking Whole Again
The Penguins’ power play can look very potent at times. During others, they look lost despite the firepower involved with it. Friday night, they were a finely tuned unit. Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel, and Sidney Crosby connected for a tip goal that gave the Penguins the lead in the third. Conor Sheary scored on a breakaway for the game winner. They were getting pucks to the net. They did all the things you could ask of your powerplay unit considering that it is full of stars.
Rolling All Four Lines
One of the keys to the Penguins’ two previous Stanley Cup championships was having four lines that could play and at a high level. There is no less expectation this season. Friday, the fourth line combined for a big goal. Ryan Reaves used his physical presence to knock a Florida player off the puck. Tom Kuhnhackl subsequently picked it up and found Carter Rowney busting to the net who buried it. They are absolutely going to need the fourth line to play. With less special teams opportunities, that line, especially Reaves, saw more time.
Lineup Changes Looming?
Mike Sullivan isn’t known for making changes to a lineup after a victory. But will the Penguins head coach break code on Saturday night? The Penguins have been historically bad in back-to-back situations and Josh Archibald, an energy player Sullivan has admittedly said he really likes, has yet to draw into the line up. A lot of players did a lot of good things tonight and pushed the Penguins to a win. The Penguins could use a guy like Archibald with his speed game in the second half of a back-to-back situation. We’ll see. Likely no morning skate, so we won’t know until around game time.