VANCOUVER, British Columbia (KDKA/AP) The Penguins have their first win under their belts, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-to-3 in the season opener last night.
Coming off the shortest offseason in franchise history, the Canucks didn’t look ready to start the season with goalie Roberto Luongo giving up the first goal to James Neal just 5-minutes into the game.
Matt Cooke, who finished last season with a suspension, started the new season off right — scoring once on a power play and again while his team was short-handed.
Cooke was suspended the final 10 games and first playoff round last year; but pledged to change his game amid a crackdown on headshots.
After a perfect high shot on his first goal, Cooke backed off defenseman Kevin Bieksa and used him as a screen before snapping the long shot past Luongo’s blocker on the far side.
“I can be real clear we didn’t change Matt Cooke into a goal scorer or make that attempt,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He’s physical, blocked shots, penalty kill, that is where Matt Cooke is effective. The goals are a bonus.”
Cooke’s early scoring wasn’t enough, though, as the Pens blew the two-goal lead he helped forge.
The Canucks came back to tie the game at 3 goals a piece when Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin scored in the shootout.
Marc-Andre Fleury tallied 33 saves and kept Vancouver from scoring in the shootout.
The Pens continue their west coast run with a trip to Calgary tomorrow night. The puck drops at 10:00 p.m. ET.