Recap: Flames 3, Penguins 2

On a side note before the recap: Thanks to my buddy for hooking me up with free seats for the game. His mom works for the Penguins and I got to enjoy these seats…

Now, down to business.

The game as a whole got a lot more entertaining as it went on. It got really exciting in the third period. Let’s reconvene on the first.

The first period was atrociously bad for both teams. It practically included a bunch of horrible turnovers and sloppy play from both teams. It had the potential to be a 1-0 shootout final score type of game. We’ll forget about that one.

The second period was a disaster for Pittsburgh as they went down 1-0 late in the period after Calgary forward Michael Ferland made a poke check to break up an attempted pass by Sidney Crosby at the blue line and took it on a breakaway that beat goalie Matt Murray glove side.

Less than two minutes later, Michael Frolik buried the biscuit to take a 2-0 lead to the locker room for Calgary.

The third period was all about the Penguins. We all know how resilient the Pens are when down by two goals. They made yet another third period comeback. It started 5:51 into the third when Chris Kunitz scored his gritty, grindy, Kunitz-esqué goal and helped Crosby to his 998th career NHL point. Defenseman Kris Letang also assisted on the goal.

The Penguins wouldn’t stop there. 15:06 into the third, Ian Cole put a puck right in Jake Guentzel‘s wheel house and he slapped it past former Penguins draft pick goalie Chad Johnson to tie the game at two.

The Pens would be the loser of tonight’s game earning only one point as they lost in the shootout after Phil Kessel, Crosby, and Letang failed to convert their opportunities. Murray only allowed one goal in the shootout to Kris Versteeg, the first shooter. That was all Calgary needed to take the ‘W’ with them back home.

The loss also dropped the Penguins behind the Columbus Blue Jackets in the Metropolitan Division by a point as defenseman Seth Jones ripped home the overtime winner against the Detroit Red Wings.

Three Impressions

  1. Players of young and old are contributing. An older guy, Chris Kunitz, scored again tonight as the beneficiary of the Sidney Crosby assist. Young guys like Jake Guentzel scored and helped the Penguins elevate their game in the third. I thought Carter Rowney played an exceptional game as well. He won’t show up on the scoresheet, but he’s a hard worker who’s buzzing around out there on every shift.
  2. The PK Unit was good. The quantity of penalties is still a problem. The Penguins actually did a great job on the penalty kill tonight. Guys like Brian DumoulinMatt Cullen, and Tom Kuhnhackl chipped in blocking shots to show their involvement. The real killer came in overtime, where the Penguins spent 2 of the 5 minutes of 3-on-3 overtime killing a penalty. This kept guys like Crosby, Kessel, Letang, and Justin Schultz off the ice during the overtime period. As a result, the Penguins were outshot 7-0.
  3. Struggles against lower end goalies. For some odd reason, the Penguins struggle to solve solve goalies that aren’t considered among the top 10 conversation. Whether it has something to do with not knowing much about them, or some other odd hockey reason, they just don’t perform well against them. They’ve already lit up guys like Carey Price, Braden Holtby, etc. They faced Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson tonight and could only muster up two goals on 33 shots. Johnson’s stats don’t make him a pushover (17-12-1, 2.48 GAA, .914 save percentage) but they sure don’t scream great goalie either.
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