Recap: Penguins 5, Panthers 1

The Penguins took their show on the road last night in a 5-1 victory over the Florida Panthers and increased their winning streak to 4 games now.

The Penguins started out the game with heavy offensive pressure putting the Panthers in a 3-0 hole after only five shots and 7:34 into the game.

Quick strikes by forwards Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary, and Tom Kuhnhackl lifted the Penguins to an almost insurmountable place. Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo struggled to calm the noise early on but settled in a little better as the game went on.

The Penguins took the lead into the second period but the ageless Jaromir Jagr struck yet again against his former team for his sixth of this campaign. Both Penguins goalie Matt Murray and Luongo stood tall the rest of the period.

As the third period started, Matt Cullen took an pass in the slot off of a beautiful Scott Wilson pass and slipped it between Luongo’s legs.

Wilson was up-ended as he went into the boards and seemed to be wincing in pain. He was able to gather himself and throw a perfect pass from his knees to Cullen’s tape.

Here is the video of the play. It is the one labeled “4” in the bottom right:

As time winded down and the Panthers pulled Luongo, Murray took a puck and attempted shooting on the empty cage. It was on line but didn’t have the steam to slide in without a teammates help. That prompted winger Carl Hagelin to race past the defender and push it in as he was mauled from behind. This led to the Penguins scoring the fifth and final goal to cap their 5-1 victory.

Three Impressions

  1. Matt Murray is really good. Murray calmly turned in another outstanding performance further stating his claim to be the team’s number one netminder. He made 28 saves on 29 shots for a .966 save percentage and was able to make key saves when the Penguins needed them. Look for him to get the start against Tampa Bay on Saturday despite his not-so-hot playoff series against them last season.
  2. Conor Sheary and Sidney Crosby works just fine. I’ve been hard on Sheary since he made his debut in Pittsburgh. I always thought he was just another small guy who played fast and once team’s figured out how to play him, he’d vanish. He really is starting to look like a younger Martin St. Louis. Obviously playing with Crosby is boosting his stats a bit higher because Sid makes it that much easier. But, you know, they don’t just throw Craig Adams out there with number 87. This kid is legit.
  3. Justin Schultz is a great defenseman. Whether it’s just a hot streak right now or he’s just legitimately playing at his ceiling, Schultz is playing at an elite level. He’s replacing point production that defenseman Kris Letang has struggled to provide in the early going. In my opinion, they should give Schultz the opportunity to get some top powerplay time on the slot and relegate Letang to the second powerplay. Even if it’s just a one game experiment, with the level Schultz is playing at right now it’s definitely worth a shot.
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