Penguins: Bennett shines as Pens top Avalanche


Pittsburgh Penguins forward Beau Bennett scored twice in the third period to lead Pittsburgh to a 4-2 victory over the Colorado Avalanche.

For all of this talk about the Penguins’ inability to score this season, they proved on Wednesday night that they can score quickly if they needed to. If nothing else, they just proved that they could do it against the Avalanche.

Pittsburgh couldn’t do much of anything in the first two periods against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Wednesday night. After Matt Cullen’s early goal to tie things up, Pittsburgh was stoned cold offensively.

Then, Beau Bennett caught fire, scoring two goals in just under three minutes. Bennett’s first tally came on a backhander with 7:19 to go, and then put the nail in Colorado’s coffin just 1:19 after that. Bennett was actually trending on twitter for a while last night.

Colorado imposed their physical will early on in the game, which gave the finesse penguins some trouble. Luckily for the Penguins, the defense and goaltending of Marc Andre Fleury got it together after letting up two early goals.

Particularly, the penalty-killing ability of the Penguins was a key of the game. Pittsburgh was dealt a 5-on-3 early on in the third period, but they were able to come away unscathed. Aside from Fleury’s early mistake on a goal by Matt Duchene, he played one of his better games of the season.

Dec 9, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) makes a glove save in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Bennett’s addition to the Crosby line has given that unit some new life. Crosby’s struggles have been well-documented this season, but Bennett was able to carry the torch for the Penguins against the Avs last night.

However, much like the Penguins’ season, A step forward does not come with a scare as Bennett left the action late in the third period. No reports have surfaced about him missing any time, so luckily it seems that the Penguins are out of the woods.

It’s always positive to see offensive production from your young guns. Bennett and Olli Mataa provided the juice for the offense tonight. More importantly, it is promising to see the perseverance of this group.

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Mataa left early with an injury but came back to score on that awkward and controversial goal which was much debated by Avs coach Patrick Roy. In addition, Bennett’s ability to spark the fire under the offense cannot be ignored. However, the Mataa goal has since been credited to Patric Hornqvist.

At a time in which Mike Johnston is coaching for his job on a game-by-game basis, it was a good omen for the Penguins to get a victory like this. The Penguins actually looked like an actual NHL team in the offensive zone on Wednesday night.

However, given the talent of this group, a win over a team like Colorado shouldn’t be celebrated too much.

As a side note in the Johnston saga, 19-year-old forward Daniel Sprong got about six minutes of ice time against Colorado. Maybe Bennett’s performance will urge Johnston to stop coaching like its 1980’s and put some of his young studs on the ice.

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Regardless, it was a solid Penguins victory and one that should let Johnston keep his job for about another week. Pittsburgh also completed the season sweep of Colorado with the win.