The Pittsburgh Penguins (2-0-1) wasted no time exposing the overaggressive Chicago Blackhawks (0-2-1) defense. Just 15 seconds into the game, Teddy Blueger (2) converted a two-on-one when his pass deflected off a sliding defenseman and past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.
The Penguins raced to a 4-0 lead in the first period and cruised to a 5-2 win at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday night.
The win made Mike Sullivan the winningest Pittsburgh Penguins coach (253), as he passed Dan Bylsma on the all-time list.
The Penguins thoroughly dominated the first period with no less than four two-on-one breaks, four goals, and a 13-3 shot advantage.
Chicago coach Jeremy Colliton had little choice but to pull Fleury after the fourth goal in 11:25, though Fleury took out his frustrations in the visitor’s runway with a bit of a fit. He did not return to the team bench for the remainder of the period after whacking his stick on the wall, and other stuff may have borne the brunt of Fleury’s anger.
Fleury’s jersey should have come with a clothesline. He was hung out to dry.
After Blueger’s goal, the Penguins didn’t ease up. Five minutes into the period, Dominik Simon surprised Fleury on the forecheck, stole the puck from Fleury along the back wall, and Drew O’Connor (1) stuffed the bouncing puck into the unattended net.
The Penguins’ surge continued. In the middle of the period, O’Connor and Brock McGinn (1) converted another two-on-one. McGinn was wide-open in the right-wing circle and quickly snapped the O’Connor’s neat saucer pass past Fleury. 3-0.
And, 35 seconds later, Danton Heinen scored his third goal in three games when he was the fourth Penguins stick in the zone. Heinen (3) was the late trailer and uncovered, as he picked the top corner, stick side, on Fleury.
Fleury was pulled. Kevin Lankinen took over.
Chicago finally gained a foothold in the second period. Several minutes into the period, Patrick Kane (1) scored a power-play goal when his shot hit Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel, skating in front of Tristan Jarry.
The second period mainly was Chicago’s, but Jarry absorbed 14 of the 15 shots, and the teams traded goals.
Late in the second, a confusing set of penalty calls gave the Penguins momentum. Officials surprisingly gave Brian Boyle a double minor for high-sticking, and the Penguins were shorthanded for two minutes.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan could be seen yelling, “That’s not a high stick.”
But the Penguins PK, including top center Jeff Carter, killed off the penalty then scored moments after it expired. Kasperi Kapanen deflected Chad Ruhwedel’s point shot, then Jason Zucker (1) buried a second-chance shot from the side of the crease.
The Penguins led 5-1.
Fleury watched the period from just under the canopy of the visitor’s runway. Chicago outshot the Penguins 15-6 in the period, as the Penguins intensity waned.
Chicago scored late in the game when a Penguins breakout went awry. Forward Kirby Dach finished a neat tic-tac-toe play.
Jarry stopped 18 of 20 shots. Fleury stopped six of 10 shots. Lankinen made 15 saves on 16 shots.