Recap 12: Declawing the Cats

First and foremost, happy Veteran’s Day to the vets of the blog, as well as all the men and women of the US military. The Pens did their part in honoring the vets as well. Now onto the game. This is the first visit to Pittsburgh for the Panthers since pre-pandemic. It’s also the first visit to Pittsburgh for Patric Hornqvist (I miss you bby) since being traded. The Panthers lost their previous two games, so they were looking to get break that trend. Ruhwedel and Pettersson came off of COVID protocol, which sent  Fedun and Riikola back to Wilkes-Barre.

Panthers start off fast. Pens seem a bit slow to the jump. Nothing super eventful to start, but the Panthers carry play until Carter takes a hooking penalty about 4 minutes into play.

The Panthers power play looks dangerous. Huberdeau hit a post. Horny was being Horny. Had two great chances in front of the net. First one hit the outside of the post, second one he got stonewalled by Jarry. The Pens PK, as they have been all season, was up to the task. Kilt.

Random note, but I noticed (and Birdman also mentioned later on) for the first time this season, that the Pens play the Mario 1-Up sound after a PK. Hutz/Gorilla/Whatever you wanna call the jackass said they’ve been doing it all season. Little things like that are always fun additions to the game atmosphere.

With about 12 minutes left in the period, Kappy gets a chance and pings one off the pipe, blocker side, on Bob. Two games in a row he’s hit iron after his hat trick. He’s playing with confidence again. Hopefully the pings don’t get to him and he becomes snakebit once more.

There was a large amount of time without a whistle. Can’t remember exactly, but I don’t think there was a whistle since the penalty Carter took. Back and forth, but the Pens couldn’t seem to get much going and, while the Panthers controlled play much more, they couldn’t generate any chances, either. Ruhwedel has a weird dump-in that hit the back board then off the top of the Panthers net. Caught Bob off guard and almost went in. Finally we get a whistle at 8:10 left in the period.

Pens play an appreciation video for Horny during the break. 🙁

Pens start controlling play more after the break. Rod and Zucker generate a chance, but no shot. Pettersson steps up on Owen Tippett to try and keep play in the offensive zone. He gets low for a hit, but Tippett reverses the hit. Throws his forearm/elbow into Pettersson’s face. He left the ice, shaken up.

More zone control for the Pens eventually leads to Matheson finding Letang on the left wall. He has all the time in the world to make a play. Drives down low, puts the puck on his backhand, dishes it to Bleuger who found some space right in front of the net. He makes no mistake and with 6:23 remaining, Blue goes top shelf on Bob, who missed a poke on the Letang pass.

About a minute later, Barkov gets a nice chance on a defensive breakdown. Backhand, but Jarry stones him. The Pens move it into the neutral zone. Panthers get the puck back, but Carter makes a beautiful steal and gets a breakaway. Bob matches Jarry’s save with one of his own. Break.

After coming back from the break, Pens and Panthers trade some back and forth chances. Jake gets a chance on a partial break after the Panthers turn it over after entering our zone, but Bob stops it. About a minute later, the Pens have a breakdown of their own. Lundell and Vatrano make no mistake on a 2-on-1, and Vatrano makes it 1-1.

Ekblad goes to the box with 2:13 left in the period giving the Pens their first PP of the night. Guentzel, Carter, and Rust get a beautiful chance off the rush, but Rust hits the outside of the post with a sprawling Bob. Rust then sets up Carter on a zone entry rush and Carter gets two amazing chances at scoring, but Bob is there to hold the fort again. Nothing else exciting happens the rest of the PP, or the rest of the period for that matter.

Pettersson not on the bench to start the 2nd. Straight from COVID protocol to concussion protocol. Wouldn’t be the Pens if they didn’t have multiple injuries, now would it?

Chances from both team’s defense to start. Marino gets a wide open shot but misses the net. Weegar gets a shot through traffic, but Jarry stops it and the Pens defense boxes out the Panthers and cleans up the rebound.

Best chance comes about 4 minutes in. Verhaege and Duclair enter 2-on-2. Duclair passes down low to Verhaege. Matheson doesn’t realize where the hell he’s at and accidentally bowls over Jarry. Verhaege pulls the puck to the opposite side of the net, but he hits the side of the net with a gaping hole for him to shoot at. Credit Boyle for pressuring Verhaege to force him to get off a shot sooner than he wanted.

A little later, Pens dump it into the zone. Rust creates some glorious pressure on the forecheck, makes the defender turn it over. Rust comes out from behind the net and finds Guentzel. Jake tries to go 5-hole but can’t put it away. Bobrovsky on the case.

Carter takes his second penalty of the game with 14:23 left, delay of game. Such a dumb penalty, should be treated as icing but whatever. Barkov shows off some slick hands, the Panthers PP has some great possession, but the Pens pressure keeps the from really finding any chances. I don’t think they even got a shot off on that PP. They iced it late and the Pens kill off the last 13 seconds or so.

Bit more back and forth. Guentzel and Carter generate a chance that gets blocked. Listerine Man creates a chance for the Panthers that Jarry takes care of and then Duclair gets a follow up chance that is stopped as well. Panthers looked to have a 3-on-1, but McGinn with a wonderful backcheck comes from behind and breaks it up before anything happens.

The Lombax takes and interference penalty on Friedman at 11:35 into the period to give the Pens another PP chance. Guentzel gets a chance early, but it’s blocked by Lundell. With about 10 seconds left on the PP, the Pens are looking for a change. Rodrigues trips over his own feet at the blueline and gives Barkov and Bennett a 2-on-0 shorthanded chance. Heinen gets back to pressure Bennett, who can’t find the net and the Pens go back down on a 4-on-2, but nothing comes of it.

Both teams continue to trade chances. Zucker found Kapanen, but Kappy hit the outside of the net with his shot. Florida finds a 4-on-2 that they flubbed on, which led to Marino finding Zucker on the left side boards up ice. Zucker takes the pass and find Rod breaking down the middle. Wide open chance, and he doesn’t miss. Under the glove, over the pad of Bob. 2-1 Pens with 2:07 left in the period.

Letang takes a penalty with 15.5 seconds left in the period, slashing. Seemed to be a bit of an iffy call, but whatever. Nothing eventful happens and the period ends.

1:45 left on the PK to start the period. The Panthers can’t seem to get anything going on the PP, but after the kill, they end up with some extended zone time. Verhaege finds Barkov and Barkov ties it with a laser over Jarry’s glove. 2-2, 17:30 remaining..

Pens get a PP 5:06 into the period. Rust, Guentzel, Carter, and Kapanen create a beautiful chance in front. Rust up to Guentzel in front, Guentzel to Carter between the circles, Carter attempts a shot that gets blocked, but it bounces right to Kapanen on the left side. Kapanen tries to stuff it in, but Bob makes a big save again. Carter gets a chance and can’t put it over Bob stacking the pads, either. Kapanen digs it out and the Pens extend their zone time. Letang finds Kapanen about 30 seconds later, Kapanen finds Guentzel at the top of the circles. His shot gets blocked but it goes right to Rust on the right side. Rust walks it in but Bob is waiting. He shoots it into Bob’s waiting glove and the flurry ends. Nothing else eventful, and the Panthers end up killing the PP, along with all the Pens fans PPs as well.

Weird moment in this period where the refs blew the whistle for an offside. Pens either didn’t hear the whistle or didn’t give a shit because it seemed to be an iffy whistle. They played on for a couple more seconds and get a chance but Bob makes a half assed save and a scrum ensues due to the Pens playing past the whistle.

Panthers and Pens continue trading chances throughout the rest of the period. McGinn got a sneaky shot off that almost went in. Matheson created a chance after Panthers turned it over in their own zone after winning a faceoff. Rust and Guentzel generating chances. Pens had an odd man break somewhere in there that they couldn’t put away.

With about 4:50 remaining in the period, the Pens are looking to break the puck out of the zone. Absolutely miserable turnover at the blueline leads to Verhaege getting it on the left side wall. He doesn’t miss his pass to a wide open Duclair down low on the right circle. He buries it. 3-2 Panth… BUT WAIT. The Pens are screaming that it’s offside. They throw out the coaches challenge. It was determined that Barkov couldn’t keep it in the zone. Offside, the goal comes back!

The Pens and Panthers trade a few more chances. The Bleuger lines continues to generate chances as they have all game. Pens had a horrible line change that gave Huberdeau a chance, but Letang forced a quick shot that Jarry easily stopped. Zucker, using skills he learned while they play soccer, headers a puck and gains possession for the Pens, but the puck ends up getting iced anyway.

Not much else happens for the rest of the period. To our 4th OT in a row we go!

Carter got a nice chance sometime early. Bob stops him. The Panthers get some extended zone time and looked dangerous, but Duclair went for an errant change. He couldn’t touch the puck at risk of too many men because the other player jumped on for the Panthers. Matheson gets a break, but the defender gets back in time to not even allow Matheson a shot on net. Kap and Blue had a 2-on-1 that lead to nothing.

Letang, Guentzel, and Carter get another chance. Carter gets stopped again by Bob, but Barkov runs his own goalie in his confusion. This eventually led to a turnover that gives Pittsburgh another chance. Carter (or Letang idk) tries to find Guentzel. Guentzel absolutely murders Bob in the crease and both players go flying. It didn’t seem like the refs were going to make a call at first, but with Bob laying on the ice, the ref blows the whistle. A scrum ensues, some liberties are taken on Guentzel, and the Panthers get a 4-on-3 PP in OT with 1:31 left. Butt clench time, or so you’d think. But, as they have done all season, the Pens PK handily kills the penalty and the rest of the period. There’s a reason their PK is #1 in the league. To the shootout we go… Oh boy…

Pens shoot first.

Jake, nada.

Barkov, nothing.

Letang, nope.

Huberdeau makes Jarry look silly. Goal.

Rust needs to score to extend the SO. He continues to be automatic, now 4-4 in his career. Only other player on the Pens to start their SO career 4-4 was Letang.

Horny tries to play spoiler, but he gets nothing.

Carter leaves Bob’s jock strap on the ice.

Jarry thought the Pens won and started celebrating, but he still needed to make a save before the game was over. It almost bit him in the ass.

Lundell comes down and takes a shot on Jarry. Jarry makes the save, but it keeps heading towards the net. Luckily it hits the outside of the post and that’s game.

Everyone breathes a sigh of relief and Jarry lets out some emotion. Game ovaries.

* Jarry

** Rod

*** Barkov

  • Carter continues to deliver, even when he doesn’t end up on the score sheet. Love to see it.
  • Blueger line keeps chugging along. Not only are they one of the best shutdown lines in the league, but they continue to create offensive chances, including all night tonight.
  • Nice to see Jarry finally seal the deal in the SO, but he’s got a long way to go to make me feel comfortable when it ends up there. He’s been pretty solid otherwise this season in other facets of the game, so it’s a good thing the SO doesn’t exist in the playoffs.
  • Matheson had a pretty off game from what I could see. He still had his offensive chances, and that’s what he’s paid for, but his defense… Woof.

EDITOR’S NOTE: A huge shout out to Dillon who managed to survive yet another late night shift dealing with the fringes of society to bring you this excellentness. Much appreciated!