For the first time in five months, I'm on Ramblings' duty and there is ACTUAL HOCKEY PLAYING. I think I may cry. Normally, our trio of Editors and Dobber manage the offseason writing pretty well. We mix in some Bubble Week stuff, look at the kids, try to project, predict, and dive into our bag of tricks to come up with intriguing content. It's not easy, but we get by.
It felt like the never-ending offseason.
Even though the tilts on Tuesday evening were friendly exhibitions, my enthusiasm was high. The first game of the evening bore witness to the battle of Pennsylvania (in the Toronto bubble).
The Penguins' top six looked juiced all the way back up with a healthy Jake Guentzel back and patrolling the top line with Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary. That left Geno Malkin to play between Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker.
Sheary scored the first post-pause tally off of a sweet feed from Guentzel.
Call me crazy, but I think we see an even better Guentzel next season. This despite him playing at a 40-goal, 80-point pace over the past 120 contests. He's a top-10 goal scorer in the world playing next to Crosby. And now he's entering into that prime 240-plus career game zone where true breakouts often follow.
The top PP unit for the Pens was unsurprising upfront with Guentzel and Patric Hornqvist joining 71 and 87. However, on the point, it wasn't Kris Letang working the puck around, but Justin Schultz. If you haven't already drafted your playoff pools, you may want to watch this situation very closely.
They could put me out on the point on PP1 and I'd find a secondary apple or three. Whoever it is, that's who you want in the pool.
Meanwhile, it was Philly who came away with the victory off of an OT breakaway goal by Scott Laughton. Watch the pass made by Travis Konecny to spring him.
Konecny was spot on for the fourth year breakout this past season – working on a 75-point pace at the time of shutdown. We're just scratching the surface with him too.