The Penguins took their hampered list of players into action last night against the Ducks. The best news going into this game was that Mike Sullivan learned that 7D is not a good idea and the team suited up as follows:
Where else do you get this kind of info?
The best defense to a shaky penalty kill is to keep them off the ice.
Bob Grove was the original member of “The Positivity Blog.”
Just before faceoff we heard mears mention Gibson’s birthplace.
John Gibson Whitehall Native Count: 1
The first started and the Pens didn’t give up a goal in the first minute!
Back to 5v5 hockey and Adam Johnson got murdered after losing his footing. Teddy Blueger didn’t like the hit and dropped the mitts with Holzer. Both Johnson and Blueger would leave the ice while the Pens would go shorthanded for instigating.
The Ducks had the puck in the zone for 90% of the powerplay but didn’t really manage any good looks as the Pens killed it off with ease.
We went back to 5v5 for a good bit. The Penguins would go shorthanded again with six minutes left. Sam Lafferty was noticeable early on the kill with a block and two clears. The Pens used a few new faces on the PK with Bjugstad and Blueger out and they did an excellent job killing it off. Following the kill, the Pens got some momentum and Letang had a killer look after a nice forced turnover by Simon but Gibson was ready for it. A few seconds later Simon drew a second penalty when he was again slashed. Tough period for the Simon doesn’t score so he isn’t useful crowd.
The Pens had a full minute to work with before the end of the period and the first unit actually looked good, Schultz had the best look but Gibson was there again. The period would conclude scoreless. Of note, Sullivan used Letang and Schultz on the backend of the powerplay and both players made nice plays along the wall to help add to the sustained pressure as the period concluded.
The Penguins gave up ZERO odd-man rushes in the first, so that’s something.
The Pens would start the second frame with one minute of powerplay time to work with. The Pens had some good looks but Gibson shrugged them away to kill the penalty. Two minutes later Charles Manson took Tanev to the boards for a roughing penalty and the Pens were getting chance number three. Crosby struggled with the opening faceoff but kept fighting and with a little desire by Hornqvist, the Pens were able to get possession. The puck went back to Letang, who I hear sucks, at the point. Letang put a slap pass on to Crosby’s blade and you know the rest.
SIDNEY CROSBY (2) Assisted by Letang (3) & Schultz (2) @ 2:57 PPG
The play by Hornqvist the resulted in this goal is the desire that was missing in the first two losses of the season. If an entire team is that hungry on the puck, they will win a lot of games.
The Ducks would answer 2 seconds later when a broken play and an innocent shot from downlow snuck in behind Murray
A depleted team that finally got the lead, this is the type of save the goalie has to make.
A few minutes later the Pens would get their fourth powerplay chance when Guentzel was taken down. Halfway through that powerplay Letang took a stick to the face and the Pens got a full minute of 5 on 3 powerplay time. They used their timeout to apparent discuss how best to waste this opportunity. Both penalties would expire and with 11:34 left we went back to 5v5.
Some back and forth happened. Derek Grant made a nifty move and nearly wrapped one in on Murray. A few minutes later Kahun got a breakaway and just snapped a wrister that beat Gibson but nailed the crossbar.
The next five minutes were filled with some hard-fought wall and corner battles. Normally this may come off as boring, but for a Penguins team that has struggled immensely in this area it was nice to see them not make mistakes.
With 49 seconds left the Ducks would take their 6th penalty of the game and the Pens would go back to work but couldn’t get anything done before time expired.
Much like the second, the Pens would start the third on an abbreviated one-minute powerplay. Schultz had another good look early on the powerplay. Schultz seems to get a lot of good looks on the powerplay. As the penalty expired Letang made a heck of a play to backhand a pass to Hornqvist who just couldn’t get the puck in the air over the outstretched pads of Gibson.
Steve Mears Whitehall native count: 2
The Simon-Guentzel-Crosby line got some really good looks but just couldn’t convert, Simon with the best chance when he attempted to go five-hole but Gibson closed it at the last second. Schultz also with a few good looks in the first five minutes of the third. After seven minutes of Penguin offensive zone time the Ducks get a glorious chance off a Bleuger turnover that Murray turned away. Following the save Dom Simon fed Crosby up ice and Sid did Sid things to protect the puck and enter the zone. As he circled below the goal line Simon boxed out a defender, Crosby passed it to Jake the Snake and that boy knows how to slither
JAKE GUENTZEL Assisted by Crosby (4) & Simon @ 7:24
Crosby puts everything in his arsenal in play on this goal, and man are we blessed to witness this every night.
A few seconds later Simon made a nice steal off the wall and got Crosby another great look but the puck was deflected en route. With ten minutes to go Aston-Reese tripped up Mi Kase and the Ducks powerplay would come out for the third time. Early in the powerplay buttholes clenched when Getzlaf wired one to the top shelf but Murray said no with the glove. The Ducks would set up shop again but John Marino made a great block, steal and clear all in one motion. The Ducks would get one more look but somehow Murray made a save that involved the puck going into his shirt by way of his collar, whatever, a save is a save.
As time clicked away the Penguins continued to play team defense. With two minutes left Sidney Crosby displayed why he is so damn good at this game. He was in the defensive zone and put on a defensive display that only Selke winning forwards are capable of. Unreal hear shown by the captain. The team wouldn’t score on the empty net, but the Ducks wouldn’t score on Murray and that means
- When I came to terms that hating Alex Ovechkin because of his jersey was stupid it allowed me to appreciate how good of a scorer he is. I am saddened that people will miss out on the career of Crosby just because he doesn’t play for their favorite team. Tonight’s game was a microcosm of his career as he continues to shine
- Agozzino and Johnson finished the game with 1:44 and 1:24 TOI totals. Instead of rolling 7D, 11F Sullivan essentially ran 6 D, 10F
- John Marino is freaking impressive. He skates with the poise of a five-year veteran. Sullivan and Martin were obviously impressed as they trusted Marino on the ice with 90 seconds left
- Matt Murray let in one questionable goal but locked it down after that. Going toe-to-toe with the hottest goalie in the league and putting in a .969 save percentage performance, I’ll take it.
- Pens are in Minnesota tomorrow night, see you then!