We’re now 55 games into the season. You know what that means?
It means that you can bank on the Canadian teams all being their downward trend to miss the playoffs.
You have the Montreal firing Therrien because they suck. You have the Leafs changing their locker room slogan because they suck. The Senators are the only ones that seem to have anything together, but that’s like putting out a flaming bag of dog shit with your new boots. Sure, your front porch didn’t burn down, but you still tracked shit all through the house.
Out West, well…Winnipeg is in the basement (again). Calgary think they’re contenders (again). Then, you have Vancouver.
At least with the other teams, they have some redeeming qualities. Price/Julien, the kids in Toronto, Karlsson’s hair, Scheifele/Laine, Gaudreau/Monahan, etc. But the Canucks have…Bo Horvat? The Sedins?
They’re just a poorly assembled team that refuses to sell off assets to actually rebuild in an effort to try to sneak into the playoffs as an 8 seed. Go ask Boston how that’s worked out for them.
If you take anything away from this game, it’s that the Penguins took a team they were supposed to beat behind the shed and put them down. When you find yourself in the midst of one of the easier stretches of your schedule, you’ve gotta take advantage.
They’ve been doing just that.
Right off the hop, you could see Malkin had the motor going in his return from a 7 game absence. Usually when that happens against the Canucks, Alex Burrows tries to respond in the form of being a shit gobbler. He did that exact thing, trying to take a run at Malkin like he was Robin Lehner.
But the real story of the first frame was the goaltending. Murray was certainly tested, having to make 9 saves in total in the goaltending duel.
At the other end of the ice, Ryan Miller, excited about Dashboard Confessional making new music, was dialed in making some big saves. None of his 15 were better than the insane save he made on Guentzel.
The second 20 minutes got started much the same as the first 20; with the Pens manhandling the Canucks as if they were on the receiving end of a Donald Trump handshake. Vancouver didn’t do themselves any favors by giving the puck away on 90% of their clearing attempts, but we aren’t going to victim shame here.
It would take the flightless ones just 5:16 into the 2nd frame to get on the board. Wilson-Malkin-Hornqvist put the Canucks through the spin cycle. Daley and Maatta did their first good things as a pairing, setting up 71 to put his 23rd of the season from the doorstep. 1-0 Pens
The Canucks D-zone coverage reminded me a little of the John Tortarella New York Rangers. Instead of actually trying to play defense, they just piled into the crease and hoped to block enough shots that maybe they’d catch some sort of break. This led to the Pens controlling the puck in the O-zone for sometimes as long as 2 straight minutes, turning every clearing attempt into a turnover. But Miller, despite his natural born tendencies to of having high hopes that a kiss might kill him, stood tall.
This continued into the Pens 2nd PP of the matchup with Edler in the box for slashing Bonino with Miller again denying Crosby his 999th career point on a couple more occasions.
Just 2:27 into the period, 87 would get 999. It came from yet another blown clearing attempt. Guentzel collected it and went right at Alex Edler, making him look like an infant with a drinking problem on an elite give-and-go with Crosby to net his 6th of his career. 2-0
Pens had to kill a penalty shortly thereafter with Letang in the box for knocking the puck over the glass. They’d kill that and get some help from Murray before killing the game with about 6 to play. No words to describe the sorcery that is Evgeni Malkin. Luca Sbisa sucks more than Lisa Ann. 3-0
They weren’t done there, adding a 4th with 1:57 left after Troy Stecher put the puck into his own net because Vancouver. 4-0
- What a return for 71.
- Kessel now with 9 seasons scoring 20+ goals. What a treasure.
- Pens gave up a lot of 2v1s and abbreviated breakaways because of their D activating and pinching in the offensive zone. It paid off with some goals, but didn’t burn them at the other end.
- It didn’t burn them because Matt Murray owns at least like 18 souls. Three shutouts on the season now for the kid with this 29 save blank job.
- Pens improve to 62-0-0 since the start of 2015-16 when leading after 2. Kinda insane, but they finish the job more than a Valentine’s Day one night stand.
Crosby gets another chance at the elusive 1k Thursday night as the Pens play host to another trash chic Western Conference team in the Atlantapeg Jets.