Jason Mackey’s got you covered in Dallas tonight, so back here on the homefront, I did some digging this afternoon. I ranked the Penguins’ 10 most impressive individual performances in season openers. I also ranked the top 5 performances by opponents. Take a look.
1. LES BINKLEY, 1968
The Penguins got the first opening-night point in franchise history with a 1-1 tie thanks in large part to Binkley, who made 36 saves against a Canadiens team that included Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Lemaire, John Ferguson, Henri Richard and Serge Savard.
2. KEVIN STEVENS, 1990
Stevens had a massive six-point night (2 goals-4 assists) in a 7-4 win over Washington. John Cullen had five assists. Mark Recchi had two goals and two assists.
3. RANDY CUNNEYWORTH, 1986
Cunneyworth netted his first career hat trick, scoring twice in the third period to help the Penguins to a 5-4 win over Washington.
4. RICK KEHOE, 1976
Kehoe scored the first-opening night hat trick in Penguins history in a 9-5 win over Vancouver. The victory was marred by an injury to goalie Denis Herron, who broke his arm in the first period.
5. SYL APPS, 1974
One of the first stars in franchise history, Apps scored two goals in the third period to break a 2-2 tie and lead the Penguins to a 4-2 victory over Minnesota.
6. DARRYL EDESTRAND, 1971
The Penguins won on opening night for the first time, beating the rival Flyers, 3-2. Edestrand got the game-winner, snapping a tie with 9:35 left in the third.
7. JEAN PRONOVOST, 1977
Days after being named captain, Pronovost scored two goals in a 4-2 win over St. Louis.
8. MARC-ANDRE FLEURY, 2003
Fleury, then 18, gave the Penguins a glimpse into their future with a remarkable 46-save effort. The Penguins lost, 3-0.
9 .RON FRANCIS, 1995
Francis had a four-point night (2-2) in an 8-3 win over Toronto. Jaromir Jagr had a goal and two assists. Mario Lemieux had four assists.
10. TYLER KENNEDY, 2008
Kennedy scored his second goal of the game in overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 win in Stockholm, Sweden.
ANDY BATHGATE, 1967: Bathgate’s goal 7:06 into the third period, assisted by Noel Price and Ab McDonald, was the first in team history. The star of the game, though, was Montreal’s Jean Beliveau. His second-period goal, his 400th in the NHL, was the winner in a 2-1 Montreal victory. … KIP MILLER, 1999: Jaromir Jagr’s running mate had a two-goal opener in a 6-4 loss to Dallas. Mike Modano scored twice and Brett Hull and Joe Nieuwendyk had a goal and an assist for the Stars. … JIM RUTHERFORD, 1972: The current Penguins GM had a strong game in a 4-2 opening-night win over Los Angeles, stopping 27 shots. Ken Schinkel broke a 2-2 tie in the third period.
1. RAY BOURQUE, 1984
Everyone remembers Mario Lemieux scoring on his first shot on his first shift against Pete Peeters, but the Penguins blew a 3-1 third-period lead in that game and Bourque scored to give Boston a 4-3 win with 5:32 left in the third.
2. GARRY GALLEY, 1997
The Kings defenseman had one of the best nights of his career, posting two goals and an assist in 3-3 tie.
3. COREY PERRY, 2014
Perry had a hat trick in a 6-4 Anaheim loss. It was the first three-goal game allowed by the Penguins in an opener in team history.
4. MERLIN MALINOWSKI, 1983
Malinowski scored a third-period goal on a shot that deflected in off Doug Shedden to lead New Jersey to a 3-3 tie in the first game in Devils franchise history.
5. DARRYL SITTLER, 1978
Sittler scored two goals to lead Toronto to a 3-2 victory, snapping the Penguins’ seven-year opening-night unbeaten streak.
MATS SUNDIN, 2002: Sundin had two goals and two assists the Leafs torched Johan Hedberg in a 6-0 Penguins loss. … ERIC LINDROS, 1993: Lindros had a goal and two assists in a 4-3 Philadelphia win to kick off his second pro season. … SCOTT WALKER, 2000: Walker had a goal and an assist in a 3-1 Nashville win. The game was significant not for the result, but the venue. It was played in Tokyo.