See? The Pittsburgh Penguins can win hockey games! Wednesday’s 4-1 win on the road against the Washington Capitals gave Pittsburgh their first win since October 22. Crucially, the Penguins got some luck in their favor for once, including Capitals goaltender Darcy Kuemper inadvertently kicking the puck into his own goal to get Pittsburgh on the board. The Penguins also made their own luck, forechecking their way to their second goal on the penalty kill. Naturally though, Pittsburgh can’t have some good without some bad, as both Jan Rutta and Pierre-Olivier Joseph were hurt and missed the entire third period. As of this writing there are no updates on their health, but at least the Penguins have plenty of depth on defense.
Off to Ontario goes Pittsburgh for the first of three meetings against the Toronto Maple Leafs; in fact, all three games in this series are this month, so the two teams will quickly get familiar with each other. After their 4-3 loss in overtime while hosting the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday evening, Toronto is currently in a three-way tie for second in the Atlantic Division, along with the Florida Panthers and the Detroit Red Wings. For a team that was widely considered in the preseason to be up towards the top of the standings, I guess they’re doing fine at this point, but it is still something of an underwhelming start. For one, Auston Matthews is not the team leader in points or goals; those distinctions go to Mitch Marner and John Tavares, respectively. Both members of their newly-rebuilt goaltending tandem, old buddy Matt Murray and former Capital Ilya Samsonov, are presently injured, so it falls to Erik Kallgren to carry the Maple Leafs in goal.