This was definitely not one of Pens best games this year. At some points it was very hard to watch but it wasn’t a season defining loss. A disgraceful one, but not season defining.
The Blues have the worst Goalie Save Percentage in the league at .890 and are coming off of a 3 game losing streak. Carter Hutton was the net minder of choice per Jake Allen‘s sad performance the past few games. Brian Dumoulin was back in action after missing the past 10 games and if you ask me, it was too soon. He did not seem his normal, poised self out there. He also had to wear a jaw protector that kind of looked like the head gear they use for braces.
First Period: The first period, much like the rest of the game, included many missed call by what seemed to be sight impaired referees. Patric Hornqvist took a blocked shot to the knee and was a little banged up but quickly got back into the action. Scott Wilson has been very targeted as of late and tonight was no different. He took a high stick to the face and went to the locker room to get checked out. After some time he did come back though. Nick Bonino had a nice chance but the goal post had other plans. Matt Murray looked very strong in the beginning but let in a five hole snapshot power play goal coming from the stick of Colton Parayko. Many turnovers caused the Penguins to look very sloppy.
Second Period: The second period was not much different: many missed calls, a few power play chances that lead to nothing, and another goal by the Blues. Ryan Reeves got a break away and made scoring on Murray look like second nature. The Blues size showed greatly in this period seeing as how we had very little time in their zone. Most of the period was spent in the neutral zone trying to take the puck back from the Blues with little to no luck. Sidney Crosby had a sweet backhand shot but was beaten by the post. Goal Post 2 Pens 0. We outshot the Blues 10 – 8 in the second period but that did not help much.
Third Period: Right off the bat the Penguins get a power play chance on a too many men on ice call. This time Evgeni Malkin was the one being beat by the post. Goal Post 3 Pens 0. Out the gate we had a few good chances and Crosby was skating like his life depended on it. After a bad hit, Hornqvist was off again, but like the monster he is, was back on the bench shortly after. After our fourth power play, it was clear that the game was in the bag. The game was pretty much unbearable at the point but to put the icing on the cake, Scottie Upshall blasted home a net front one timer to make the score 3-0. Carter Hutton ended the game with his second shutout against Pittsburgh with 34 shots faced.
- The Power Play: Don’t let the stats fool you; the Pens may have the 3rd best power play in the league, but it was non-existent tonight. We had 5 power plays total (1 with 10 seconds left) and didn’t do much of anything on any of them. We did what we usually do: skate around and pass until we find a pretty shot that might go in. We need to shake things up a little bit. Mike Sullivan is huge when it comes to shooting the puck but it hasn’t quite translated to the power play.
- Size: The two teams may have been relatively equal when it came to hits but the size of the Blues players really was the difference maker. The Penguins are a relatively small and speedy team but couldn’t get out of the neutral zone because of the Blues defense toppling over them.
- Goaltending: Goaltending was a huge factor in this game. It was actually the difference maker. Matt Murray didn’t look too bad in the beginning but toward the end, he didn’t have much support from our defense. On the other hand neither did Carter Hutton, having to save 34 shots and all, but the defense was there when it mattered. Carter Hutton posted only his 6th shut out of his career and his second against the Penguins.
My Three Stars of the Night
- Carter Hutton
- Ryan Reaves
- Dumo’s Mask