What a wild week for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They had three games against teams that have had their number in recent years. They snapped a four-game losing streak against the New York Islanders and a 10-game losing streak against the Chicago Blackhawks. Including the first game of the week against the Boston Bruins, all three games featured a two-goal-or-greater deficit that the Penguins overcame.
They showed resilience and determination in all three games. Players never got down on themselves and there was a sense of belief even after going down. There was a lot to like this week and this made giving out the three stars that much more difficult. Every Sunday, we will take a look at the Penguins’ three stars and highlight the club’s best performing players of the week.
Third Star: Jared McCann
Jared McCann is quietly having a great season for the Penguins. Against the Bruins, he was on the ice for three of the four goals in the second period that saw the Penguins storm back to take the lead. He had the primary assist on Dominik Kahun’s goal that started the comeback before they ultimately lost the game 6-4. His best game of the week came against the Islanders. With a goal and two assists, all in the third period to force OT, he started the comeback with a nice goal from just outside the right faceoff circle.
Less than five minutes later, after an insane Matt Murray scorpion save, McCann had an outlet past that was put away by Bryan Rust. He picked up a secondary assist in Evgeni Malkin’s game-tying goal just over two minutes later. Against the Blackhawks, he was required to step in for Sidney Crosby when he left the game early with a lower-body injury. Once again, he got an assist on their first goal that sparked their comeback. He capped off his game with the game-winning goal in the shootout to grab the extra point for the Penguins. McCann is firing on all cylinders for the Penguins and he will be relied upon if Crosby misses any time.
Nov. 3-9 Stat Line: 1 goal, 4 assists, plus-6
Second Star: Evgeni Malkin
Welcome back, Malkin! The Penguins have missed their star center. It took a few games for him to get up to game speed but he had a fantastic week. With one assist against the Bruins, he picked up his second point of the season after missing the first 11 games. Against the Islanders, he started the play after Murray’s big save. Later, he scored the game-tying goal after Juuso Riikola’s shot deflected off the crossbar. His awareness was on display as he beat both the goalie and the defender to the puck to slot it home.
Malkin’s passing was on display in groves against the Blackhawks. With the Penguins down 2-0, he carried the puck into the offensive zone and set up Jake Guentzel for an easy finish to spark the comeback. He also had an assist on Bryan Rust’s tying goal with a nice outlet pass to John Marino who served it up to Rust to tie the game 2-2. Malkin is playing at a high level recently and depending on how long Crosby is out, will be relied upon heavily to continue the Penguins’ success.
Nov. 3-9 Stat Line: 1 goal, 4 assists, plus-2
First Star: Bryan Rust
Another Penguin who was injured to start the season, Rust missed the first 10 games, but has been in a groove the moment he stepped on the ice. With at least one point in every game this season, he has five goals and two assists in his six appearances. He has played well on the right wing next to Malkin and the two have developed a great partnership together. Against the Bruins, he scored the game-tying goal by receiving a spin-o-rama pass from Malkin and beating the Bruins goalie on his glove side. He followed up that game with two goals against the Islanders. The first was after the mentioned Murray scorpion save and his second was a nifty wraparound winner in OT.
Rust and Malkin really found their connection against the Islanders and were constantly in dangerous situations. Head coach Mike Sullivan has been really happy with the two of them and with Patric Hornqvist being out longer term, Rust will be on that second line for the foreseeable future. He scored the game-tying goal against the Blackhawks after a nice pass from John Marino. He elevated the puck to get it over the pad of the goaltender. Rust is currently on a career-high, six-game point streak and there are no signs of him slowing down.
Nov. 3-9 Stat Line: 4 points, plus-3
Each week, a point system will be in place that will be updated. The third star receives one point, the second star receives two, and the first star gets three. Agree or disagree with the stars of the week? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter at @joshkaradeema.
- Sidney Crosby- 7 points
- Jared McCann- 3 points
- Matt Murray- 3 points
- Bryan Rust- 3 points
- Dominik Simon- 3 points
- Brandon Tanev- 3 points
- Patric Hornqvist- 2 points
- Kris Letang- 2 points
- Evgeni Malkin- 2 points
- Sam Lafferty- 1 point
- John Marino- 1 point
Josh Karadeema is a professional sports videographer who currently works for the Tennessee Titans filming practices and games for coaches and player review. Josh also is a contributing writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a team he has watched since 2003, covering a variety of topics. Josh is a native of Jacksonville, FL and currently resides in Nashville, TN.