SUNRISE, Fla. — Nick Bjugstad, Jared McCann, Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan. Four guys still in their first week with their new team, each playing against their former for the first time.
It's not a common occurrence for two teams who believe they have a chance to make and compete in the playoffs to swap multiple players who make real roster impacts for both teams. But, that's the case for both the Penguins and the Panthers.
The pieces moved are a bit different, of course. The two Panthers-turned-Penguins were home grown assets of the South Florida club while the former Penguins were both acquired during Jim Rutherford's tenure, but with wildly different expectations upon arrival.
Bjugstad spent Thursday's reunion feeling out a possible role alongside Sidney Crosby. Brassard played in a "top six" role he's longed for. McCann scored his first for the Penguins -- a short-handed snipe. And, Sheahan was an excellent role player.
Given the rarity of the situation and four guys that Penguins fans are either really familiar with or will be really familiar with, I thought it would be fun to take a look through some of my best photos from the game that included any of the game's relocated faces.
Kicking this piece off, the first photo up top there, is from the very beginning of the game when McCann really laid into Brassard behind the Panthers' net. Brassard left his feet a bit and made it look worse than it was, but it was a perfect opportunity to kick off a game that revolved around those four players.
Speaking of McCann: Before the game, a fellow media member started a conversation, " You know how traded players always score against their former team? Who is going to do that tonight?"
Well, the three of us in the room had that conversation, and we decided that it would be fun to set up a little poll. Five dollar entry, only the first goal scored counts and I chose McCann. As you already read, he found himself in the goal column and I had the pleasure of watching confused Florida media members grow more confused as three of the local contingent walked to me, one-by-one, and handed me five dollars each.
I'll protect the names of those who are a little lighter in the wallet, but one of those media members thought I was silly for taking McCann over the Crosby-paired Bjugstad. Last laugh is what I got.
I wasn't able to get a photo of his goal or celebration from my position, but I did end up with a number of photos of all four pieces of the trade. Let's take a look through the rest of the entries:
[caption id="attachment_771996" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust turn to celebrate Marcus Pettersson's goal as Riley Sheahan reacts to giving it up. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]
Of course, if you're looking for the best photos from the Penguins' 3-2 overtime loss to the Panthers, that can be seen below as always.
MATT SUNDAY GALLERY
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