The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 last night, staying undefeated this season at 3-0. Despite the Hurricanes making a game of it halfway thought the second period, the Pens dominated the stat-sheets: outshooting Carolina 37-34, going 44-27 in faceoffs, and scoring twice on the powerplay while killing both of theirs.
But the next time 'Jussi' Jokinen, tell him good game (who says puns are bad writing?).
The Finnish Army Knife was at it again, scoring a hat trick against the team that placed him on waivers last season. His first goal was pure amazement as he kicked a Sidney Crosby pass to his stick for a slick backhanded shot pass Cam Ward. His other two scores where wicked slapshots.
Modest as ever, Jokinen said, "I probably could have had five goals tonight. I hit the post and crossbar, too. I’m playing with world-class players and they’re giving me the puck. I just need to remember to shoot."
Jokinen also praised playing with Crosby and Malkin. "It's so much fun. I try to enjoy every moment and I'm working hard in the practices and games, and there's some good chemistry going with our power play and playing with [Malkin] too, we have chemistry and are having lots of fun right now. So it's been good, and hopefully we can go on the road and do the same thing."
Hurricanes captain Eric Staal (who scored a goal in the 2nd) said of Jokinen's revenge, "I'm sure there is [extra motivation for him]. There should be for anybody who ends up in a different spot, and I'm sure that motivation's there to do well and he definitely did that tonight. He's an opportunistic player who's in the right spots. He can score and he can produce and he showed that tonight with some good moves."
Tanner Glass and Paul Martin had the other Pens goals, their firsts of the year. Brooks Orpik, Malkin and Sutter each had one assist while Sidney Crosby and rookie Olli Maatta had two a piece.
The two assists logged by Maatta were his first points of his NHL career. The 19-year Finnish defenseman is playing in place of injured Kris Letang and has developed a wonderful mentorship with countrymen Jussi Jokinen (read Dave Uhrmacher's great piece concerning this).
Of his first points, Maatta said, "It’s awesome. It feels awesome to get that out of the way. You know what, it’s something really big I’ve always dreamed of, putting up points in the NHL. Like, I hadn’t even thought about playing in the NHL."
Maatta's game against the 'Canes was his best yet. He blocked shots and played sound defense in front of Fleury. In nine games, the Pens have to make a decision of returning him to the minors or use up a year of his contract. Whether or not Letang's ready to play by then factors heavily in what the Penguins do with Olli.
Ah, that's six games from now so let's not sour the kid's great game. The next tilt for the Penguins will be against the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. It's a 7:30 start on Friday night.
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