After their winning streak came to an end on Sunday night against the greatest leader of our time, the Penguins were back in action as they played host to the Florida Panthers last night. The Penguins are playing a brand of hockey that limits complaints, and they are relatively healthy so there isn’t really anything to talk about here to preface this recap, therefore, instead of wasting your time let’s jump right into Bob Grove stats.
That is some pretty good company to be in
No changes, Riikola once again in and Oleksiak scratched.
Following a groovy, get it because it was 70’s night in case you didn’t catch that during on of the few thousand times it was mentioned, national anthem by JJ we were ready to roll. By we I mean the Panthers, because they came out with a solid scoring chance in the first 6 seconds, fortunately for the Penguins Matt Murray was the only player that started the game on time. The Panthers continued pressing and it felt like the Penguins were taking the theme night a little too literally for the first minute. After about 80 seconds of Panther possession the Pens finally got the puck and Luongo was caught DVRing Jeopardy
TANNER PEARSON (6) Assisted by PETTERSSON (11) & HORNQVIST (11) @ 1:29
This is what happens when you keep your head up,
The goal woke the Penguins up and put the Panthers to sleep, suddenly it was all yellow on the ice and that isn’t referring to the Pens uniforms but the urine lost after Jake Guentzel embarrassed Ekblad and Bryan Rust ripped Luongo’s sack with a move.
BRYAN RUST (10) Assisted by GUENTZEL (21) & CROSBY (33) @ 3:03
What a play by Guentzel here as he picks up his 21st assist of the year. Keith Yandle had no choice but to cover Guentzel after he reduced Ekblad to ek, and Bryan Rust wisely filled the open space. One of the earliest drills you learn in hockey is called the three-man-weave, which coincidentally also happened a lot during the 70’s but that isn’t what I’m talking about.
After making a pass the puck carrier heads in the direction of the puck and the next receiver heads to the center of the ice to receive the pass. This goal wasn’t a perfect example but it is the same concept that Rust used, it is simple and effective, take the open space and wait.
The Penguins kept rolling through the period, they would get a powerplay chance but couldn’t get that third goal by Luongo. About halfway through the period Patric Hornqvist caught his third puck of the year to his face and left the game, on second look the puck hit Hornqvist in the mouth and he would not return to the game as he was most likely receiving dental work. Following the kill, the Panthers started getting some good looks on goal but Matt Murray (and the posts) were ready for the test. By the time the frame ended the Panthers carried an edge in shots but the Penguins held onto the lead thanks to some stellar goaltending by Murray.
The Penguins were on the powerplay to start the period and the most concerning part was the absence of Hornqvist, which historically has significantly tanked the Penguins powerplay percentage. The Pens couldn’t get anything going on the abbreviated powerplay and we went to 5v5 until Dominik Simon took a hooking penalty two and a half minutes into the period. The Panthers had a prime chance to get back into the game but it ended up being Matt Cullen and Bryan Rust on a shorthanded two-on-one, Cullen dished it to Rusty Ballz and he finished what he started in the first by ripping the left side of Luongo’s sack.
BRYAN RUST (11) Assisted by CULLEN (7) & DUMOULIN (11) @ 3:04 SHG
After giving up two break-aways while shorthanded the Penguins cash in on a shorthanded goal. Bob Errey swears Luongo looked so bad on this because he doesn’t know how to poke check, I think it might be
The Penguins killed the remainder of the penalty and we went to 5v5 hockey for like a second before Pearson bought a powerplay for the Pens. The Penguins powerplay looked as good as your morning dump did and the Panthers had at least 4 chances while shorthanded but Matt Murray was busy making Trump’s wall look like child’s play
After the Panthers killed the penalty we went to 5v5 for about 45 seconds until Jack Johnson took a penalty sending the Panthers to the powerplay. After a clear by the Penguins, Keith Yandle attempted to carry the puck up the boards but Riley Sheahan had other plans, after stripping Yandle down to his jock Sheahan carried the puck into the zone and sent Luongo to the showers
RILEY SHEAHAN (8) @ 8:56 SHG
Shea Shea is starting to look a lot more comfortable in his role ever since Cullen returned. Two shorthanded goals in a game? Yes, please. This was the last shot Luongo would face in the game, which suited him well since the retirement center does bed checks at 9 PM.
The Panthers scored on the remaining powerplay time but the Penguins challenged for offsides and it was quickly overturned, one thing about Sullivan and the Penguins is they don’t challenge offsides unless they are positive. Huge shoutout to Andy Saucier in the box who watches the footage and tells the bench when they should challenge. The Pens killed the rest of the penalty after the disallowed goal and we returned to 5v5 hockey for like another 30 seconds before Crosby and some joke started shoving each other, both received penalties and the game went to 4v4.
Nothing happened with the extra ice and finally, for the first time in the
With less than a minute left the player formerly known as Ekblad put his second puck of the period in the net, the Pens challenged for goaltender interference but it was denied. Rule 34.1a43 states that Florida cannot be denied two goals for fear of their three fans thinking the league is against them.
The period would end shortly after the goal that ruined any chance for a Bryan Rust natty hatty and we were heading to the third period with a 4-1 score.
The third period started off with the same chippiness that we saw start in the second. Four minutes into the period Zach Aston-Reese put a shoulder into a guys chest which was called interference and the Panthers were handed a golden opportunity to make it a two-goal game early in the third. Instead, it was the Penguins penalty killers doing their job even if they couldn’t get a third shorthanded goal. Following the kill, this guy named Sceviour (which is basically French scurvy) decided to fight Aston-Reese when he came out of the box and ZAR absolutely handled his business, after taking off Sceviour’s helmet in the middle of the fight ZAR sent the message that he is willing to back up his play.
ZAR won a few fans with this bout. After losing the fight the Panthers decided more hits would be the best way to handle losing this game. The Panthers continued throwing everything on net and started to tilt the ice a bit, but Murray hung on long enough for the Penguins to start playing again. Crosby dominated Ekblad, mainly because he could, but the dominance ended with rubber on a post and not the good kind. After a solid few minutes of hockey the Panthers couldn’t learn when enough was enough, after the refs turned the other cheek on a few easy calls they rang up Jayce Hawryluk, which sounds like Scooby Doo trying to cuss, for roughing and the Pens powerplay hit the ice with a little over 7 minutes left. Less than a minute into the powerplay Kris Letang decided to hold Ekblad’s jersey and the game went to 4v4. Sullivan went with Malkin and Crosby to start the 4v4 play, Geno circled the puck to the top of the zone and then fed it low to Crosby, setting him up for a deflection. If you’re going to let the Penguins set Crosby up for a deflection, you better not have Reimer in net.
Crosby (20) Assisted by MALKIN (32) & PETTERSSON (12) 13:41
Malkin to Crosby for the teams first 4v4 goal of the year. Do you ever get tired of watching these deflections? Just beautiful, and Crosby joins Lemieux for yet another milestone. Career assist 591 for Malkin and point 974 as he inches closer to two big milestones.
The goal put an end to the Panthers trying and time would tick down on another
- Despite the team scoring 5 goals in their win over Philly, Alex Ovechkin ended with 0 points. Crosby finished this game with 2 and for the first time since Crosby’s
injury shortened(high-ankle sprain) 2007-08 season the two players are tied in career points at 1169 #nice
- With a .972 save percentage in this
gameMatt Murray has now improved to .916 on the season, which is also his career average. This was his 8th consecutive win, setting a new career high and he is getting better with every game
- The Pens are now tied for 4th in the League (with Toronto) for goals for with 152.
- The Penguins won’t be home again until January 28th as they head out for their annual American West coast swing which features two sets of weekend back-to-backs bookending a game in San Jose. The road trip starts Friday night against Sprong and the Ducks.