The Penguins left their temporary home at Allegheny General to take on the Blues at The Paint Can last night. The Blues were on a bit of a roll coming into the game, having won 4 in a row including a 5-2 beating of the Penguins on Saturday. The Penguins came into this game just wondering who was left to wear a jersey. The team continued their streak of not starting consecutive games with the same lineup as Stefan Noesen cracked the lineup and Jack Johnson caught herbes.
Sticks down, puck down, puck in the net.
TEDDY BLUEGER (3) Assisted by Pettersson (8) & Tanev (9) @ 0:39
Later in the game, Mike Sullivan gave a great interview about this goal. A lot of teams are collapsing deep in the zone defensively to take away quick plays around the net. The Penguins counter this by taking the puck from behind the net and to the point, before firing it in. The pass from behind the net to the blueline pulls the tightly packed defense apart just enough to allow the forwards to sneak in front of the goaltender. The result is a deflection opportunity.
To the surprise of literally everyone, the Penguins defense held their own after the early lead. Chad Ruhwedel, who has had a shaky start to the season, decided this game would be the one where he played like an NHL regular as the Pettersson-Ruhwedel pairing stepped up to the occasion.
The Penguins took their hobbled lineup and just dominated the Blues in the period. By the time the first was over the Penguins had 20 scoring chances for while the Blues only had 11.
We were all waiting for the Blues giant push in the second period and the imminent Penguin’s defensive collapse. After all, could a Rikola-Trotman third pairing really hold up an entire game? The Blues came ready to play in the second but Tristan Jarry was having himself a night. Confidently making save after save Jarry started getting a swagger to his game, as seen here with the stick flip
Despite what seemed like Blues dominance, the Penguins were right there answering chance after chance. By the end of the period, the teams had actually split scoring chances at 13 each.
In the final minute of the period, the line of Kahun-McCann-Noesen continued their impressive play. After the play appeared to be dead Jared McCann took over to create a turnover. The dude is just a pest in the best way. The puck was sent to the front of the net where Stefan Noesen, formerly of Jonathan Toews school of pronunciation, was standing. Noesen did what Simon is incapable of.
STEFAN NOESEN Assisted by McCann (9) & Kahun (9) @ 19:20
This is a man that was once a highly praised prospect who had his career derailed by injuries. After a few years in New Jersey, Noesen found himself without a job this season. He was invited to a PTO in Dallas this offseason which did not result in a contract offer. Pressing on he signed an AHL only deal with Wilkes-Barre and made the most of his opportunity. This celebration is what it is all about. The dude could’ve given up, but he kept grinding. This concludes m pitch to Hollywood.
With the 2-0 lead, I was wondering if the Penguins would continue with their offensive pressure or fall into a defensive shell. Fortunately, Mike Sullivan convinced the team that they don’t have enough defense to fall into a shell. Between killing penalties and having their lifeless powerplay on the ice the Penguins made 5v5 time their strength throughout this game and that continued in the third. After giving up an awful turnover on the powerplay Alex Galchenyuk got some redemption. Sam Lafferty made a nice split pass to spring Spiderman, and he made the most of his opportunity.
ALEX GALCHENYUK (2) Assisted by Lafferty (6) @ 4:59
This is a Mike Sullivan play right here. One forward wins a battle at the blueline while the other one drives center lane in anticipation for the pass. This is possibly the most exciting play Galchenyuk has made this season, seeing him drive to the center here to split the defense instead of sticking to the wing is a big step in the right direction. I’m glad he scored, but please stop mentioning Kessel’s stats and comparing the two. The trade happened, the deal is done. Phil Kessel could never score again and he is still a better goal scorer. The powerplay is atrocious without him. Quit pushing the agenda and accept it for what it is.
Even with the three-goal lead the Penguins didn’t give up and kept pushing the Blues to the edge. Dominik Simon had about 9 open chances and managed to get every single one of them blocked. Some people are mad about Simon not scoring in a 3-0 game. As long as Simon keeps getting that open it means that line isn’t giving up scoring chances, and if the Penguins top lines keep producing the way Crosby, Guentzel, Rust and now Malkin all have with Simon on their wing I personally do not care if he never scores again.
The Blues would pull Binnington but it wouldn’t matter. Time would click down and hot damn what a win.
- Tristan Jarry was phenomenal in net and should get the start tomorrow night. I still don’t understand why Sullivan started Murray so many games in a row to start this season, but now it’s clear Jarry is more than capable to share the workload.
- There isn’t a goalie controversy. The Penguins have two very good goalies, and Matt Murray is struggling so you go with Jarry right now. Comparing Jarry’s last 5 starts with Murray’s last 5 starts is just proving that one is hot and one is not. Murray’s October is why the Penguins are where they are. Now the team needs Jarry to do the same why Murray rebounds, which he will just like last season.
- You have to feel good for Noesen, man what a story. If this team ever gets healthy they have a lot of very good wingers and one will have to sit.
- Pettersson, Letang and Marino all played over 15 minutes at 5v5 to lead the team, and they were phenomenal. John Marino, in particular, continues to shine to the point where Rutherford should send Edmonton another pick as a Christmas gift.
- Pettersson and Ruhwedel had themselves a night. At 5v5 they were on the ice for 19 scoring chances for and just 9 against. Trotman and Riikola also turned in an even scoring chances for/against performance
- This team is a big threat once they are healthy.