The Pens were back in action last night for Star Wars night in the Burgh. Some people hate these themed nights. Some people love them. Any time something makes other people happy and others upset I’m all for it, that’s why I’m a huge Matt Murray fan 😉
Following their weekend back-to-back the Penguins suffered no new injuries
The Penguins also made no new updates on their injured players and so the lineup looked the same with the exception of a Simon-Tanev flip-flop.
The period started off a little slow but after a couple of stoppages in play in the first two minutes the Penguins finally caught themselves in transition, Bryan Rust broke in two-on-one with Jake Guentzel and Jake the Snake continued slithering up the goal column.
JAKE GUENTZEL (17) Assisted by Rust (9) & Malkin (19) @ 2:59
Of all the times we get mad that a player makes a pass instead of taking a shot this is not one of them, and not because they scored on the play. You can see how good Bryan Rust is by watching the blade of his stick in this gif. He starts with the puck on the toe and the whole blade facing Carey Price, selling shot and leaving Price with no option but to play for a potential shot. At the last second, Rust moves his wrist and flicks it to Guentzel and Price has no choice. Of course, if this was a Penguins goalie then he should’ve made the save.
The rest of the period was a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but nothing particularly great. Montreal took a delay of game penalty at the midpoint but the Penguins powerplay is in a bigger dry spell than you right now.
By the time the period was over, the Penguins had 15 scoring chances to the Canadiens 10 but only the Guentzel shot would get by Price.
The first half of the second period was identical to the second half of the first period. A few chances both ways but nothing particularly leave your seat worthy. A few minutes into the period Tristan Jarry set the Penguins franchise record for longest shutout streak, as he surpassed the man everyone forgets was needed to back up MAF during his tumultuous times
Shortly after setting this individual accolade, Jarry was faced with a penalty kill after Evgeni Malkin slashed Shea Weber. The penalty killers were on for a minute and twenty-four seconds of the kill before they failed to get a clear. Instead of sending the puck out of the zone the Pens got caught being fancy in transition in their own zone, turned the puck over, and it turns out odd-man breaks don’t care who is in goal.
Following the goal, Montreal started pushing the Penguins around a bit and the Pens didn’t have much of an answer. Three minutes after the tying goal Kris Letang can’t handle a bouncing puck at the blueline, and Joel Armia took advantage. Letang recovered about as much as he could without taking a penalty, Armia broke in closer and closer to goal and Tristan Jarry put all of his money on Armia making another move, leaving the glove side open.
It’s not often you see Kris Letang panic with the puck, but here he realizes Armia is pressuring him and takes an ill-advised whack at the puck in an attempt to bat it out of harms way and it backfires on him. People are irrationally upset about this play, I’m sure your percentage of batting bouncing pucks out of mid-air with an NHL forward barreling down on you is perfect. Much like Bryan Rust’s wrist movement on the Guentzel goal, Joel Armia sells Tristan Jarry with his wrists:
With the toe elevated here everything is telling Jarry that Armia is getting ready to pull this puck toward the center of the zone, as Jarry shifts accordingly Armia drops the blade and lifts it right over the glove.
The penguins looked to shake off the surprise that Montreal was winning but just couldn’t get anything going. During the final minute of the period, Shea Weber made the most of his contract by dancing around Letang and making Tristan Jarry look like a goalie without defensive help.
For starters, John Marino does everything right. He shields a shot from Weber while forcing him behind the net AND he doesn’t chase Weber behind the net. This is a veteran move by Marino, the Penguins defensemen were awful in this department last season and this was a welcome sight to see. Kris Letang took his assignment rather literally and followed him into the net to the point where he was too tangled up to cover Weber coming around the net. For some reason, it’s fun to blame Kris Letang when he gets scored on. Letang stayed on his assignment and happened to get tangled up so that he couldn’t recover. Marino had a man marked. Letang had a man marked. Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel were doing a great job looking for a contact lens in the middle of the zone
I know the cool thing to do is blame Kris Letang and Matt Murray for everything, but it’s tough to blame a guy for covering his man until the puck goes in while two forwards are just chilling.
The Habs would not score in the final 20 seconds and the period would end 3-1.
The Penguins came out firing in the third period but for the first time this century, Carey Price earned his 10 million dollar contract. By the time the period was over the Penguins would end up with 23 scoring chances for and only 6 against, but Carey Price wasn’t having it. The Habs would add an empty netter and that would do it.
- Tristan Jarry remained solid in this game. He could be faulted for the Armia goal but it was a hell of a play by Armia. The other two goals were defensive let downs.
- Here’s to hoping Jarry has a larger impact for the Penguins than Vokoun did?
- Poor defense by your team met with great goaltending by the other team probably isn’t going to produce many wins.
- Not much to get worked up over in this game. The penguins played 40 minutes, and lost the game in the 20 minutes they didn’t play. Not too much to look in to.
- The team is back in action tomorrow night against Columbus