5 things we learned in the NHL: Penguins receive secondary offence

Daniel Sprong scored his first two goals of the season and Tristan Jarry was perfect in net to get the Penguins a 4-0 win over the Islanders.

Pittsburgh’s newest sniper came to life, the Golden Knights have a reliable backup and a pair of defencemen finally found the scoresheet.

Here’s five things we learned in the NHL on Friday night.

Celebrating heroes of the game, Sportsnet and Scotiabank unite to bring a 4-day hockey festival to Swift Current, Sask., and a 12-hour national NHL broadcast to Canadian fans coast-to-coast on Feb. 9.

1. Sprong provides secondary scoring for Penguins

When the Pittsburgh Penguins recalled Daniel Sprong from the AHL last week, they did so in hopes that he would spring their offence to life.

The 20-year-old right-winger was able to do just that by striking twice and adding an assist in Pittsburgh’s 4-0 victory over the New York Islanders. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was just as good with a goal and three helpers.

Pittsburgh entered the night by averaging 2.71 goals-per game, good for 22nd in the league.

Sprong has been dynamite withe the Penguins’ AHL affiliate this year, scoring 18 goals in 29 games.

2. Athanasiou continues trend of quick goals

Andreas Athanasiou made headlines on Wednesday night when he tied a record for fastest overtime goal by scoring just six seconds in to beat the Ottawa Senators.

The Detroit Red Wings forward continued his trend of quick goals with a marker 42 seconds into Friday’s matchup against the Florida Panthers.

Athanasiou now has four goals in his last four games for nine on the season after starting the year late while holding out on a new contract.

3. Byfuglien finally gets on the board

Believe it or not, Dustin Byfuglien had yet to score this season entering Winnipeg’s matchup against the Buffalo Sabres.

That changed with a powerful slapshot from the point on the power play to open the scoring for the Jets. Byfuglien’s reaction after the goal said it all as he stretched both arms out wide and looked towards the rafters with a sigh of relief.

It took the veteran defenceman 30 games to score his first of the season — a similar slump to that of San Jose Sharks blueliner Brent Burns, who took 22 games to record his first goal of the year.

Not to be outdone, Sabres defenceman Marco Scandella also scored his first of the season in his 40th game.

Winnipeg won the matchup 4-3.

4. Subban continues to perform well for Golden Knights

Malcolm Subban has become an NHL team’s dream backup goaltender.

The 24-year-old made 28 saves as the Vegas Golden Knights edged the Chicago Blackhawks 5-4, a day after having their eight-game winning streak ended.

Subban’s victory was his seventh in a row and he’s proven to be a reliable go-to backup when Marc-Andre Fleury needs a night off.

Reilly Smith led Vegas with a goal and two assists. Any time his line produces, it’s nothing but positives for the Golden Knights.

5. NHL coaches getting a pass

Coaches in the NHL typically have had a short leash when it comes to early-season success. If your team is struggling, there’s normally a good chance that the front office will mix things up behind the bench.

It’s a common theme in basketball in professional soccer, baseball, basketball, football…really any sport.

But that hasn’t been the case in 2017-18 for NHL coaches. Teams have been taking a patient and safe approach instead of a big change. The Senators and Oilers are two teams that stick out as franchises that got off to rough starts.

And as this stat indicates, it’s been a while since a firing freeze has happened.

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