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Penguins Show Spunk in Shootout Loss – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Show Spunk in Shootout Loss

I’ll admit. Writing about (and rooting for) our Penguins has been a pretty dreary affair of late. With the offense colder than those nasty polar vortexes that descend on the ‘Burgh each January, hopes for a quick start to the season have pretty much gone up in smoke. So has talk of a three-peat.

A bit depressing, if you’re a hockey nut like myself.

Yet last night, amid the gloom of a disappointing 5-4 shootout loss to Nashville, I saw signs of life. Kind of like the first buds of spring popping through the soil following a long, harsh winter.

Granted, some of my enthusiasm is based more on what the Pens didn’t do than on any staggering achievement. Like when they blew an early 1-0 lead and leaked for three goals in a span of three-and-a-half minutes, for instance.

Wincing in despair, a formula quickly came to mind. Sloppy defensive play + undisciplined penalties + second game of back-to-backs + backup goalie = embarrassing blowout loss.

Much to my surprise, the anticipated carnage never occurred. Instead of collapsing like a blob of Jell-O shaken loose from its mold, our guys reacted with some good old-fashioned moxie.

Even Phil Kessel was engaged. During a scrum in front of the Pens’ net, the noted non-combatant and lover of hot dogs waded into the fray and exchanged vigorous shoves with man-mountain Austin Watson. For a brief moment, I thought he’d actually challenge the Preds’ toughie to a go.

I saw something else. The Pens…especially Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang…were fightin’ mad. “Geno” with his dander up is never a bad thing, unless you happen to be wearing an opposing jersey.

The Pens pushed back on the scoreboard, too. At 12:27 of the second period, Kessel whipped the puck past Pekka Rinne off a nifty feed from Malkin to cut the Predators’ lead to 3-2. Refusing to do an el foldo, goalie Tristan Jarry held the Preds at bay, with a little shot-blocking help from his friends.

Then Jake Guentzel manned up. On the receiving end of a brutal mugging from super-sized defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Jake took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. Early in the third period he swooped in on a breakaway, exposed Rinne’s five-hole with some shake and bake and slid the puck home.

Much to my dismay, the Preds regained the lead a short time later. Again, the Pens showed some pluck. In a rare display of offense, Brian Dumoulin steamed down the slot and flicked in a perfect pass from Conor Sheary. Sparked by a sublime Malkin toe drag, there was even a stretch late in the period when the Pens flashed their Cup-winning form, firing off shots and controlling play on an extended cycle.

The black-and-gold dominated in overtime as well, but sadly couldn’t finish. The Preds put two of three shootout attempts past Jarry to end the game on a sour note.

Still, there were positives. Mike Sullivan saw ‘em, too.

“I liked our team tonight,” he said. “It was a hard-fought game out there. I really liked our response. I liked our resilience. I think if we play hard like that and execute the way we did tonight, we’re going to win more games.”

Puckpourri

Bryan Rust scored the Pens’ first goal at 11:58 of the first period. The hustling winger picked off an ill-advised pass from Colton Sissons and skated the length of the ice to beat Rinne for a shorthanded tally. It was “Rusty’s” second goal of the season…his first since October 12.

Rust and Sidney Crosby each registered a game-high five shots on goal. Sid scored in the shootout, but failed to find the range in regulation play and overtime. He’s now goalless in his last 11 games.

Dumoulin enjoyed a strong game on defense. He recorded four hits led the Pens with a game-high five blocked shots. Patric Hornqvist, Letang and Tom Kuhnhackl also had four hits on the night.

Jarry stopped 24 of 28 shots in his third NHL start.

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5 Comments

  1. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    November 14, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Hey All,

    I didn’t feel like starting a full article so I figured I would tack this on here;

    I just read an blurb on the NHL website about the Pens Practice yesterday; the workflow war reported as;

    Guentzel – Crosby – Rust
    Hagelin – Malkin – Kessel
    Sheary – Sheahan – Hornqvist
    Kuhnhackl – McKegg – Reaves
    Dumoulin – Letang
    Maatta – Ruhwedel
    Cole – Schultz

    First I thought it was very interesting to see Rust finally moved up to Crosby’s RW. I like the move. When Crosby – Kunitz – Dupuis played together, one of the things that made them so good was the speed that Dupuis provided on Crosby’s RW. Dupuis’s Left Handed shout from the RW no doubt gave him an advantage that Rust’s Right Handed shot won’t but they both play/ed a speed game, I would like to see more of that.

    I honestly would rather see Kuhnhackl on Malkin – Kessel line to give them a physical presence in front of the net, but maybe re-uniting Hagelin with those two will break Hagelin’s scoring drought. Remember before HBK came into existence it was Malkin-Kessel-Hagelin that was lighting it up. HBK came about to give the team a three-headed monster.

    However, looking down that line-up there is one last change I would like to make; I am sorry, I would sit Sheary. Yes I like Sheary, but he is killing the team defensively. He is being tossed about like a rag doll right now. He has the worst GA/60 min even strength of all players on the team. I know the team has no wiggle room so their options for a LW are extremely limited, they will have to ask Archibald to flip sides. In tonight’s game against Buffalo, making that move may not be as critical, the Sabres are still in a bit of a confused state but I do think that move has .to made

  2. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    November 12, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Hey All,

    Just a quick relapse to Rick’s previous post, Haggerty continued his streak picking up a goal and 2 assists, Sprong picked up another assist, Astone-Reese found himself on the score sheet with an assist. Pedan also picked up an assist and Tinordi played his first game in WBS scoring a goal.

    Just to update since Rick posted their Stats in his other Post. However, Haggerty is 6′-0″ and 200lbs hmm I may have to add him to my watch column.

  3. the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
    November 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Hey Rick,

    Good stuff Rick. Even I hate being a negative Nancy all the time. Reading your article, I could hear some of our northern brethren singing;

    “Unstable condition
    A symptom of life
    In mental and environmental change ”

    As many times as I bring up the negatives, it does no good to constantly look at them, so I’ll save my gloom and doom for another day.

    Let’s talk about Phil “the Thrill” our Penguins leading scorer. When I hear anyone extolling his virtues it always seems to related to the PP, but an interesting stat to consider is this, the Penguins score 3.54 goals per even strength 60 minutes when Kessel is on the ice. His CORSI numbers are looking solid too. Some people may tell me I am a bit tetched to suggest that he is turning into a real leader on the team. He like his center, Malkin, just always seemed to get the job done.

    And lets no ignore Rust. He hasn’t really showed a consistent goal scoring touch but he brings a ton to the team; his speed puts tons of pressure on opponents every time he is on the ice, he jumps into any position the team asks of him and although he may not always fill it like an All Star he doesn’t ever disappear, he always shows up somewhere, somehow, in every game he plays. He never phones in his ice time.

    And although I have been critical of Letang and am not retracting anything I have said, he has, at least statistically started to dig out of his hole. It may be time for the team to really consider something I have mentioned in the recent past, but will just allude to here, while his stock may be buoying back up a little.

    “Leave out the fiction
    The fact is, this friction
    Will only be worn by persistence
    Leave out conditions
    Courageous convictions
    Will drag the dream into existence”

    Go Pens

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      November 12, 2017 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      Hey Other Rick,

      As always, your comments and insights are very much appreciated.

      A very timely shout-out to Kessel who, without much fanfare, is off to an excellent start…especially considering the way the rest of the team has struggled.

      It brings to mind something that was written about him shortly after we acquired him. Something to the effect of “amid the chaos in Toronto, Phil always did what he was supposed to do. He always scored his goals and got his points.”

      I’m pleasantly surprised with his overall play, too. Not that he’s going to win the Selke, but he seems to be applying himself more in his own end.

      Thank the Lord the Pens didn’t listen to Ron Cook.

      Agree 100 percent about Rust. I love him. I truly was sick about it when we left him exposed in the expansion draft last summer.

      Thanks for the updates on the WBS kids, Haggerty in particular. I read The Hockey News report on him, and it sounds like he has decent hands, good strength and a nose for the net.

      They didn’t mention his skating, so I looked him up on Hockey’s Future. He’s only rated as a so-so skater, which may be why he’s playing for his third organization at age 24.

      Still, if he has grit and desire and a willingness to crash the net, he might merit a look. Sure wish we had more jam up front, especially on the left side. We miss Kunitz…or a Kunitz-type player.

      Rick

      • the Other Rick's Gravatar the Other Rick
        November 12, 2017 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

        Haggerty doesn’t have a Contract with the Pittsbugh Penguins only the WBS Pens. Perhaps Haggerty will never be more than a Dave Michayluk, but Michayluk with the aid of Callender and Needham did help the Pens to their second Cup; in the mean time I am going to try and watch him a little closer.

        I hear you about a Kunitz type. The Pens have used Aston-Reese on the LW, so maybe? And I know I have mentioned it before, but I still wouldn’t mind seeing big Tom get a shot as the net front man, particularly on the PP. Hornqvist does do a great job, so I am not necessarily talking about total replacement, but when Hornqvist gets injured and/or in times when the Pens are in a funk on the PP. As big as he is, Sestito would more than likely cause both D to have to try and move him making the 2 Fs have to try and cover Crosby – Malkin – Kessel – Schultz; good luck with that! Particularly if they stop passing and start skating again on the PP


            

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