Now THESE are the Penguins we’ve come to know and love. After a 4-1 victory Wednesday night, the Penguins have won back to back games again proving they haven’t disappeared.
A game in which the Penguins played their style of a hockey was one they were determined to win and they did just that.
Goalie Matt Murray was looking for a bounce back game after his seven goals allowed victory on Monday night against Washington. He wasn’t tested too often but he was gobbling up shots a lot better than he had been in his previous starts since returning from injury. He made 19 saves on 20 shots.
It had been smooth sailing all game long too. Some unsuspected players picked up goals along the way tonight.
The first period saw the game’s first goal as Ian Cole got on the board with his first goal in twenty games as the Penguins shot out to an early 1-0 lead. They were able to suffocate Montreal to 7 shots that period to hold it at a one goal game heading to intermission.
The second period left the Penguins feeling confident about themselves.
Eric Fehr, the guy who’s sat out the past handful of contests, chipped in a goal playing center on the fourth line after the injury to Matt Cullen during Monday night’s game. Earlier in the day, Fehr told reporters he preferred to play center and felt that’s where he can contribute the most because he’s in the play more constantly. He scored in his return to the lineup and his old position.
Forward Jake Guentzel got in on the action by scoring his fourth of the year in his second game since his most recent call up with the rash of Penguins injuries currently. It was assisted by defenseman Cameron Gaunce who played his first game as a Penguin. It wasn’t his first career NHL game as he had played a few with Buffalo previously, but his first Penguin point in his first game will do.
Canadiens forward Sven Andrighetto got his second goal of the season by throwing a wrap around off of the hand side of Murray’s blocker that was on the ice and ricocheting between his legs and in. It was a bizarre goal but it counted nonetheless. Just a bad break on Murray’s part.
You thought that the unlikely scoring was over heading into the third, didn’t you?
With 4:24 left, defenseman Olli Maatta netted his first goal in 63 games to put the icing on the cake to a game that seemed unattainable for Montreal as shown within the first couple of minutes. They couldn’t muster up double digit shots in any period and they seemed to be mesmerized by the Penguins’ balanced attack of speed and skill.
- In Murray They Trust. Mike Sullivan must’ve seen enough on Monday night that he felt giving Matt Murray a second chance was the most beneficial thing. He was able to beat out Carey Price and only allowed one goal that he couldn’t have done much more on. The Penguins’ 1A-1B model has been a fun situation to monitor. The situation only gets more interesting with the NHL’s trade deadline fast approaching.
- No Crosby? No Problem. Sidney Crosby’s name is no where to be found on tonight’s official score sheet. He did what he’s quietly done his whole career: do the things that don’t show up on the scoresheet. It’s tough to post a point in all 82 games of an NHL season. Crosby is still the most worried about player on the ice which usually allows for the pressure to be taken off of his teammates and gives them open looks at the net. He’s not needed to score/assist in every game.
- If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It. The goals from the Penguins tonight went in this order; Cole, Fehr, Guentzel, Maatta. None of those four, granted Guentzel hasn’t seen much time in the NHL, has more than six goals this season. Realistically, Guentzel might be a ten plus goal scorer if he’d played the entire season so far. But even when you get production from the guys you wouldn’t expect to score the goals, you can still win hockey games.