Following their huge comeback performance against the Canucks on Wednesday night there was a lot of buzz going on around this team on Twitter. Unfortunately, the NHL zapped that buzz by making the team travel to the state nobody ever wants to go to after the holidays. Hey, where are you going on vacation this year, Dave? “Ohio man, I’m stoked!” Words never spoken.
The Penguins streak of starting games with the same available lineup ended at two, as Bryan Rust was injured during the morning skate and was a no go for the game. The Pens called up Joseph Blandisi midday, but he could not get to Columbus in time for puck drop so Jusso Riikola jumped in on the 4th line.
Despite the media attention that followed Alex Galchenyuk’s first goal as a Penguin, Mike Sullivan remains skeptical. Galchenyuk was on the ice for the 4th goal scored Wednesday night that resulted in Matt Murray getting pulled, he played 19 seconds during the Pens third period comeback. Sullivan isn’t fooled by the papers, if it quacks like a duck it’s a duck until proven otherwise.
The Penguins didn’t show up to play until the third period. The Blue Jackets took advantage of the Penguin’s disgust of being in Columbus and scored five minutes into the game. Bjorkqvist with a shot that bounces off the backend of Nyquist and in.
The next 13 minutes consisted of the Blue Jackets dangling the Penguins all over the place. They couldn’t get the second goal, however, and on just their second shot of the period, Jake Guentzel continued his push for team MVP.
JAKE GUENTZEL (15) Assisted by Malkin (14) & Simon (10) @ 17:57
If Guentzel was a normal Penguin he shoots this right into Korpisalo’s chest. When you hear the phrase “goal score’s goal” this is what they are talking about. The pause before the shot, the patience to find an opening, the precision to put your shot in that opening, the ability to do all of this in half a second.
The Penguins would manage one more shot in the period and somehow escaped the frame tied at 1.
This period probably didn’t happen. Evgeni Malkin attempted a no-look drop pass at his own blue line that resulted in a goal 26 seconds in. Things didn’t get better when the penalty kill was asked to kill a Dominik Kahun holding penalty. This time it was Nyquist again to make it 3-1. Things continued looking like your toilet after Thanksgiving when the penalty kill was asked to kill a Guentzel tripping penalty, this time it was Foligno making it 4-1. Having the lead wasn’t enough for Columbus though, they took their fair share of cheap shots including Dubois getting away with punching Tanev in the face causing him to leave the game with a bloody nose.
The thing about this Penguins team is they were yet to show up in this game and you were still watching because of that little ball of hope inside your chest. After the penalty killers were finally able to kill a Galchenyuk tripping penalty the first line got to work. Malkin found Guentzel behind the net, Geuntzel circled out and saw Letang and thought “Boy, this looks familiar.”
KRIS LETANG (6) Assisted by Guentzel (12) & Malkin (15) @ 5:20
Psst, Jake Guetnzel has 27 points in 26 games.
The goal lit a bit of a spark under the Pens but Korpisalo was there at every turn. Eventually, the Pens would pull Jarry and Nyquist would net is hattie. It’s tough to win when you don’t play.
- Jarry did his part in the third to keep the team in it, you can’t ask a goalie to win games if he’s the only one playing
- Sam Lafferty has been meh during this second call up. Sullivan played Lafferty just 6:45 in this game
- Galchenyuk also failed to hit the 10-minute mark. Some will say he isn’t being given a fair chance. That isn’t true, though. Sullivan started the year out giving Galchenyuk over 17 minutes. He hasn’t done anything to deserve more minutes
- Matt Murray vs Jordan Binnington tonight. If there was a time for Murray to bust out of his funk it would be tonight
- A three-game losing streak between October 19th-23rd was the last time the Penguins failed to pick up a point following a loss. They will need their A-game tonight against the Blues, who are coming off a win last night over Dallas