The Penguins played like hot ass blood last night. That about sums it up.
Largely, they created their own messes by either getting outworked, making bad changes, or just generally fucking up. That sort of shit happens from time to time.
What’s more is they were able to generate more shot attempts at 5v5 than the Habs for most of the night (44-37), it was Montreal that was generating more of the scoring chances. In fact, at 5v5, Montreal had a 20-13 edge in scoring chances and 9-6 edge in high danger looks. And moreover, when you take a look at where their attempts were coming from, you can see why they outscored the Pens 4-1 at 5v5 play (all stats and maps via naturalstattrick.com):
Quite simply, the Penguins weren’t good enough. They allowed the Habs to take up residency in the highest of the high danger areas directly in front of Murr and did nothing all night to stop it from happening.
The good news, though, is it’s only the second game of the season. The road ahead is long enough and full of terrors. No sense showing your whole ass at this stage of the season.
No changes to a Penguins side that topped Washington on Thursday, though, according to HCMS, that may change come next Thursday.
MTL – 1st Pd./11:08 – Gallagher; A: Tatar, Danault – 1-0
After both teams traded of some chances and PP chances in the early stages in what was generally a pretty even steven first 20 minutes, it was the Habs opening the scoring just over the halfway point of the opening frame.
It was a monster of the Pens own creation. First, you take a botched Malkin clearance, pour it into a cauldron of shit, mix in a bad change and Jack Johnson fumbling the puck at the blue line and puking on himself, sprinkle a turnover on top and you have the makings of Gallagher’s deadlock breaker.
The mess sprung newly acquired Tomas Tatar in on a 2v1 with Gallagher on Maatta. Maatta played it well, forcing Tatar to try to take a shot instead of awkwardly forcing a backhand feed to Gallagher. He got in front of it, blocking the shot, but with the forwards all going to the bench and Johnson not being fast enough to recover through his vomit, the blocked shot freely came to Gallagher to smash home.
MTL – 1st Pd./15:56 – Byron; A: Lehkonen, Petry – 2-0
Nearly 5 minutes later, the Pens were down 2. This time, Jack Johnson’s errant stretch pass off the boards was way behind Cullen, finding no one but Jeff Petry at his own blue line. Because of that, a large gap opened up between the trailing Johnson-Maatta and the Cullen-Sheahan-Sprong forward group. Lehkonen checked back to redirect Petry’s feed to an overlapping Byron, whose quick few steps were enough to smoke Maatta and Johnson to just barely beat Murr on a breakaway.
Willing to give Johnson a break on the first goal, but this one was a head-scratcher.
MTL – 2nd Pd./3:43 – Byron; A: Domi, Lehkonen – 3-0
The Pens would end the first with two more quality chances, but weren’t able to find the net behind Carey Price. Then, to open up the 2nd, Montreal tested Murr in the first two minutes before finding a breakthrough just under 4 minutes into the period.
This time around, like the previous two goals, the Pens were an unmitigated mess defensively. A bad lead pass from the Habs turned into what amounts to a dump in. Letang and Dumoulin were both in decent positions, but appeared to have some communication issues that allowed Domi to beat both of them to the puck.
With both Dumo and Letang below the goal line and only Malkin on his horse to get back and help out, Domi was able to find Lehkonen at the side of the net for a quick cross-crease pass to Byron. He missed the net, but Domi was quicker to react to the puck coming off the end wall than Letang, feeding Byron again, still alone in front. Phil! was slow to react and Malkin flamingoed, allowing Byron to double his season total.
MTL – 2nd Pd./14:05 – SHG – Armia; A: Byron, Petry – 4-0
A few minutes after the goal, the Pens really starting tilting the ice in their favor. Easier to do when you’re down 3, but whatever. They’d get 2 PP chances between the 3rd and 4th goals which really would’ve given them more of a chance to get back into this b, but on the 2nd of the two (Kotkaniemi for hooking Simon), it was the Habs extending their lead rather than the Peng notching their first.
With the puck burrowed into the corner and Letang and Malkin jumping in to help Hornqvist try to dig it out, it was Petry actually winning the puck battle to chip it out to Armia hanging out all alone in his own slot. Byron, who was initially there to support Petry’s efforts, took off up the right wing, taking the outlet pass from Armia and heading in on a 2v1 against Phil! with Gene trailing. Phil! got spun around, opening up the lane for Byron to feed Armia. Despite Phil! getting a chunk of the pass, it wasn’t enough to derail Armia from effectively killing the game off.
PIT – 2nd Pd./17:10 – Sheahan; A: Letang, Sprong – 4-1
However, about 3 minutes later, the Pens 4th line gave everyone that little glimmer of hope by finally breaking Price’s shutout bid.
A little bit of a disjointed play in the neutral zone allowed Sheahan to jump in, steal the puck, and combine with Sprong just inside the offensive zone. Sprong swung out and hit Letang at the point for a quick wrister that got deflected on the way in, allowing Sheahan to jump on the juicy rebound and cash in.
MTL – 3rd Pd./10:08 – Hudon; A: Shaw – 5-1
Despite the Pens opening up the 3rd with a chance that saw Guentzel hit the post, the Habs started taking over the final ~16 minutes of the game instead of sitting back and letting the Pens come at and on them, really forcing Murr to turn in some of his better saves of the game.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn’t able to keep the Habs from adding a fifth to their tally. Once again, the Pens were a travesty, a sham, and a mockery in their own end of the ice with Jultz and Sprong losing a corner battle for the puck against Andrew fucking Shaw. Shaw freed the puck up for Hudon to swoop in and pick it up, going for the wraparound and beating Murr to the post. Only one of the 5 goals you can maybe put on Murr, simply because you just cannot get beaten on a wraparound. Still, the Pens had the numbers in the corner and lost the battle in the first place.
- The Pens weren’t entirely good, but were a bit hard done too. Price was very good in his 21 save effort, but both Guentzel and Phil! hit the iron in behind him at key moments that really could’ve put them back into it.
- With the Pens heading into the 2nd period down 2-0, you’d expect them to come out swinging. But when it’s not your night, it’s not your night. At 5v5 in the 2nd period alone, they had 15 shot attempts, limiting the Habs to just 4. The Pens also doubled them up in scoring chances (8-4), but still got outscored 2-1 in the period.
- If you’re reading this and want to lay this at the feet of Murray, please go see a brain doctor.
- After his 3 point effort against Washington on Thursday and his assist last night on Sheahan’s goal, Letang officially moves into first place all time for points among Penguins defensemen ahead of Paul Coffey.
The Penguanos get a few days off to hit the reset and right the ship before Goaltender 29 and the Vegas Golden Knights come to town on Thursday night. LGP.