Updated: Sep 28
The Columbus Blue Jackets picked up more unnecessary points tonight, thanks to the help of four rookies making their NHL debuts.
The Pens struck first, just 16 seconds into Stanislav Svozil’s holding penalty. Kris Letang scored the goal off of a slap shot, making him the fourth active defenseman to record 10 or more 40 point seasons.
The Jackets were able to even things up early, with Andrew Peeke firing a wicked slap shot right off the face-off that sailed by Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Billy Sweezy had a solid hit on veteran Kris Letang, prompting a response from Sidney Crosby.
The final frame started with another slap shot goal from Jake Guentzel, putting Pittsburgh ahead, 2-1. With 3:25 left in the game, Emil Bemstrom cleaned up a rebound, tying up the game and getting Svozil and Pyyhtia their first NHL points in their debut.
56 seconds in, “Johnny Hockey” saw a bad change from Pittsburgh, and skated up to the opposite blue line. Boqvist hit him with the breakaway pass, and Gaudreau put it between Jarry’s legs on the backhand. The Jackets got two points that they so desperately did not need.
One of the biggest standouts was Hunter McKown. In his nine games before this, he did not look nearly as confident. Tonight he was all over the ice, drawing penalties and making veteran NHL defenseman look silly. “I think for sure I was a little bit more comfortable with the puck than I have been, which is a big part of my game… getting settled into this faster pace game, obviously they’re the best players in the world and it took a little bit” McKown said after the game.
The Blue Jackets face the Sabres Friday night at 7:30 PM.