There was once a time when you’d look at the schedule and circle the Canucks as a must watch game.
Gone are those days, but they are not forgotten.
For a city that was so quick to rebuild after burning itself to the ground in 2011, it seems inexplicable that they’d wait years to rebuild their crumbling franchise. But here we are.
It wouldn’t be March without a metric fuck ton of Penguin injuries. Matt Cullen missed the Winnipeg game through injury, having been replaced by Oskar Sundqvist. Then, HagDaddy was a late scratch with some mystery lower body ailment, forcing Sullivan to dress more D than a Mia Khalifa film.
Vancouver kicked things off seemingly opening the scoring just 6:35 on the rush. Canucks outworked the Pens along the wall in their D zone and sprung the twins on an odd-man rush. Chaput got a piece of the DSedin feed as he made some contact with Murray, but apparently there was enough contact with Murray to deem a challenge from Sullivan.
With the onslaught that both Murray and Miller faced, the two were dialed in and making big saves. Pens had a pretty lethargic opening 15 minutes, but Murray kept them above water long enough to get their legs under them late.
In typical Pens/Canucks fashion, it could have and should have gotten out of hand quickly. For a short period, Ryan Miller took his soul back from Crosby and looked like a proficient goalie for the first time in about 4 years.
Despite two powerplay opportunities in the 2nd frame, it wasn’t until 3:36 left that the Penguins were able to cash in on their dominance. Scott Wilson, who has been nothing short of tremendous as of late, led charge. Kuhnhackl tracked down his deflected shot and hit Cole coming late for the twisted wrister right by the Sundqvist screen. 1-0
Pens took a 22-7 (!!!) shot attempt differential in the 2nd period alone. That’s, uhhh, mind numbingly good.
The Penguins did have to deal with 1:54 of a Cole roughing penalty to open up the 3rd period. Shitty teams, if left in the game, will almost always find a way to score. The Canucks did, but it was waived off yet again; this time for a high stick.
It gave the Canucks some life and helped them remember that they were actually playing a hockey game. But, not to be outdone by some crybaby 36 year old, Murray’s glove came out to play with some highway robbery.
As the third wore on, the Pens too wore down the Canucks. About a minute or so after Sheary was denied on a breakaway, his grittiness would double the Pens lead. Goal scorer’s goal from Guentzel, but Sheary’s feed and gritting the hell out of Larsen made it happen. 2-0
With Miller pulled for the extra skater, The Grit Monster would add the insurance goal to cap it off. 3-0
- Murray now with 4 shutouts on the year (in 38 games started), 2 coming against the Canucks. Made 27 saves in total last night. With 4 in 38, it’s got him on a similar pace as the likes of Bobrovsky (6 in 53), Rask (6 in 54), and Dubnyk (5 in 51).
- With Hagelin out a minimum of 4 weeks, Kunitz flanked Malkin with Kessel. That trio was the only line that was below 50% in the possession game (~33%).
- Jackets pissed away a 3-0 lead last night and lost 5-3. Caps dropped a 4-2 game to LA. Pens now sit just one point back of Washington. All this without Hagelin, Hornqvist, Cullen, Maatta, Daley, and Rust. K.
Pens wrap up this junk of a road trip in Calgary Monday night. Last late start of the year. Go Pens.