Merely a week has passed since I pegged Reilly Smith for a 25+ goal season, and following his performance against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night, Smith is doing his part to prove that forecast spot-on.
The Penguins, coming off a disheartening two-game skid, faced off against the winless San Jose Sharks in a game that was critical to getting back on track. Saturday’s performance was a statement—Pittsburgh didn’t just win; they delivered a 10-2 thrashing to wrap up the first leg of their California road trip. Smith launched the scoring barrage with a quickfire double in the first period, finding the net at 1:30 on a power play and doubling down at 12:55.
But Smith wasn’t done there; he turned playmaker with a pair of assists, producing key plays that kept the Sharks on their heels. His +2 for the night was just the icing on the cake, a numerical testament to his impact on the ice where it mattered most.
Reilly Smith and Evgeni Malkin are turning heads with a combined season tally of 13 goals. Smith, not content with just his own scoring, teed up both of Malkin’s goals against the Sharks. This begs the question: Are we looking at the Penguins top dynamic duo in the lineups so far this season? Sure, the stats sheets make a compelling case, but it’s the eye test where these two truly shine—Smith and Malkin have been an unstoppable force on the ice, seemingly a step ahead of the competition at every turn.
Admittedly, the Penguins’ 10-2 demolition came at the expense of a Sharks squad still searching for their first win of the season, a fact that some naysayers may harp on. However, this detail hardly diminishes the significance of Smith’s contributions. I can’t hammer this home enough: Pens GM Kyle Dubas struck gold with the acquisition of Smith this off-season. The payoff? It’s not just substantial—it’s colossal!
Scratch the 25-goal estimate for Reilly Smith—30 might be the new floor. Seriously, Smith and Malkin aren’t just good together—they’re rewriting the definition of an ice-shredding duo.
What’s Next for the Pens?
The Pens are on the hunt for redemption this Tuesday, November 7th, as they square off against the Anaheim Ducks at 10 PM ET. Last time these teams clashed, the Penguins were edged out in a biting 4-3 defeat. That sting hasn’t faded, and with the momentum from their recent routing of the Sharks at their back, they’re ready to rewrite the narrative at the Honda Center.
Facing the Ducks, who’ve carved out a solid start this season, won’t be a walk in the park, but the Penguins are hungry for retribution. With their offense in sync and the defense bolstered, the Pittsburgh faithful are bracing for an all-out assault to balance the books. This isn’t just for the points—it’s a statement game to set the pace for the remainder of their road swing.
All stats courtesy of The Score.