Hello all you cool cats and kittens, it’s nice to be able to chip in with a recap. As you know, the Penguins were back in action last night wrapping up a two game stint in Philadelphia. They entered the game with more questions than answers. They left the game with more questions than answers. Before we start drinking, and I highly encourage you put a little of that special sauce in your coffee for this one, let’s get to through the intro.
Lalime finished that 1996-97 season 21-12-2 for the Penguins. His next NHL gig would be with the Ottawa Senators a full two years later in 1999. After 5 years with the Sens he bounced around a bit with the Blues, Sabres, Blackhawks and finally back to the Sabres. He finished his career with 444 games played, 200-174-48 record and a career .905 save percentage.
Not to give spoilers but this has now happened twice.
During morning skate Cody Ceci was replaced with Chad Ruhwedel…
Thanks for the good times Mr. Grove. Now we must stop delaying.
With Kapanen still not happenin’ due to Covid protocol the team used the same set of forwards last night as they did in the opener. The only switch to the lineup was Ceci saying sí sí from the pressbox. Encouraging, considering it took seven months for Jack Johnson to get scratched.
The first period of the first game of the season got off to a quick start as both teams were running high on adrenaline, and probably some cocaine since it’s the NHL. The first period of this game looked like a bunch of men who were sore from playing their first game at real speed in months. The first five or so minutes resembled the second half of a back-to-back weekend 1 AM starts. But it would soon get better when the Penguins would take a too-many-men penalty at 5:09.
If you have a short memory, the Flyers scored twice on the powerplay in the first meeting. Half expecting a goal in the first minute of this penalty, I was pleasantly surprised to see the Pens PK’ers stand up at the blue line and thwart the Flyers entry into the zone. Unfortunately, the Pens PK trained with the state Capitol police, allowed the Flyers to eventually enter the zone and it was 1-0 orange men.
In game one, the Penguins had a defender tying up a Flyer in front of Jarry creating traffic. In game two, they decided to allow the net-front presence in an attempt to stop cross-ice passing. New strategy, same result, way too easy. Amazing that regardless of goaltender, these scoring chances keep happening.
Fortunately we would get another look at the Pens penalty killers when Chad Ruhwedel tripped Claude two minutes later. This time the Penguins didn’t allow a powerplay goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But two seconds after the penalty expired they did get scored on by Konecny on the door step again.
There is a lot to dissect with this goal. For starters, what is wrong with this picture?
There hasn’t been a gang bang this unorganized online since Pornhub took away amateur content. Second, there isn’t a Penguin defender in this picture. The first of several mistakes for Dumoulin and Letang. Watch the gif again and look at the piss poor back-checking effort by Dumoulin as Konecny gets the puck in the slot. Letang is behind the goal line. Dumoulin is gliding into the zone. Where there’s no will, there’s no play.
This was the second game in a row a puck has squeezed through the closed wickets of Jarry. In game one he was bailed out. In game two he wasn’t so lucky.
If you weren’t having fun yet, you would be two minutes later when Ivan Provorov made it 3-0.
Yes, Tristan Jarry had a broken stick. Yes, Bob Errey said the puck went in right where the shaft of the stick would’ve been. No, Tristan Jarry wouldn’t have saved this with a stick. This should’ve been a blocker save. Down 2-0, no traffic in front of you, this puck has to be stopped.
That was the end of Tristan Jarry’s night as Casey DeSmith took over.
Shortly after his goal Provorov took a roughing penalty against Crosby. The Penguins powerplay wasn’t spectacular in the opener so I wasn’t expecting much. To be fair, I didn’t get much either. But Sidney Crosby is still Sidney Crosby, and when a puck from Guentzel to Crosby changed direction Sid was able to change is plan of attack and still turn it into a goal.
SIDNEY CROSBY (2) Assisted by Guentzel (1) & Rust (1) @ 12:59 PPG
The good things here are a powerplay goal, the pass from Rust to Guentzel got the goaltender moving out of his shoes, and Crosby scored. The bad thing is this was nearly one pass too many as Guentzel’s pass to Crosby was completely predictable and nearly blocked. Though the goal happened, there is only one forward on the Pens that scores this one and it just happened to be the one who received the puck.
Sullivan wisely put his best line out following the goal and they went right to business. Jankowski has been way more than advertised and possibly the brightest spot to the early season so far. He and Tanev have clicked, and they combined forces to show how to score a goal on a rush against Shartor Fart.
BRANDON TANEV (2) Assisted by McCann (2) & Jankowski (2) @ 13:31
McCann makes the smart decision to shoot literally anywhere but the glove hoping for a rebound. Tanev was there to put the rebound away. It’s almost like the best way to get scoring chances on odd man rushes is by creating rebounds and chaos. A huge goal by the bottom six when needed, and suddenly the Penguins have a third line again.
That would be enough action for the first period, and the Pens would happily go into the intermission down 1.
Eighteen seconds into the second Letang took a tripping penalty. The Penguins managed to kill the penalty and made it look pretty easy. The difference between this and previous kills was the absence of Letang and Jarry.
Following the kill the Pens actually pressed in the period. Zucker had a breakaway but couldn’t beat Hart.
I spy, with my little eye, a member of the second line. This would be the only time anyone on the second line was seen at 5v5 the entire game. The Pens would go back to the PK when Mike Math took his second tripping penalty in two games. Perhaps replacing Jack Johnson with two Jack Johnsons wasn’t a great move. The Pens killed this one off as well, so there’s that.
At some point the Penguins had a brief powerplay that was ended when McCann threw a nasty, and purposeful, elbow to Samheim. During one of the two kills Chaf Ruhwedel had a breakaway because nothing makes sense.
The rest of the period was more or less the same. The Pens had some chances but couldn’t get enough second look opportunities to cash in. The first line looked like they were trying to set up that perfect goal. The second line . The third line continued being the heartbeat of the offense, which is a problem. The fourth line did their job.
The period ended the way it started, 3-2 the score.
Good news heading into the third period;
To the delight of everyone, the penguins remembered there was a third period in this one. They showed up and actually looked interesting. Eight minutes in they went to work on the powerplay when Nicolas Aube-Kubel interfered with Mikey Math. What a weird sentence. The Penguins powerplay moved the puck around a lot and the game remained 3-2.
As the penalty expired Jason Zucker was given the ole Wes McCauley special and sentenced for slashing. The Flyers powerplay did not score on the two-minute advantage, as the penalty expired the Penguins jumped on a 3 on 2 opportunity. Tanev threw a missile of a pass to Letang who simply could not handle it and the FLyers went the other way with numbers. Six seconds after the penalty ended, Konecny scored his hattie.
As is custom, Letang was blamed. The pass from Tanev was not accurate enough, and the way Letang positioned his blade I wouldn’t be surprised to see that it skipped over his blade and through his legs. Regardless, there are times for heroics and there are times to kill penalties. The goal was the backbreaker.
The Flyers would add an empty netter at some point and the horn would sound.
- Ruhwedel was more noticeable from the start than Ceci was. Now do the same with Riikola and Methisfun.
- The second line has been invisible. Evan Rodrigues is honoring Pascal Dupuis by wearing #9 on the first line and doing nothing. It’s time to switch things around. Adding Kapanen for Rodrigues does not help the second line. I would really like to see Zucker back with Sid and Kapanen with Malkin.
- John Marino remains a gem
- I’ve never been a huge Tristan Jarry fan and I’m trying to not let my bias overrule common sense, but to me you have to start DeSmith next game
- I guess we should remember Jake Guentzel missed several months and only played 4 playoff games last year, so technically he’s had about 6 games in 6 months which explains why he looks so bad. His timing is just nowhere close to where it needs to be.
- Jankowski and Tanev have both been impressive. It’s troubling that when Tanev left the ice after a blocked shot we were worried. When a third liner has that much impact, you’ve got a problem
- Carter Hart had a good game, it’s important to remember that. The Pens played much better in this game, they just dug a hole they couldn’t escape.
- I predict Mike Sullivan has an 8-10 game leash which would be ~20% of the season.
- If you are thinking a player with 90 points in 202 games (Kapanen) is going to change this ship I’m not going to ruin your weekend