The Penguins were back in action last night when they welcomed the San Jose Sharks to The Paint Can for a 2015-16 Stanley Cup rematch to kick off the new year. Despite losing Jake Guentzel for the rest of the regular season on their December 30th game, the Pens didn’t make any roster moves in the interim and decided to roll with the forwards currently on the NHL roster. As a result, the lineup was as follows:
Dan Potash was in costume, the teams were ready, let’s go.
The Penguins have made a few quick starts in their recent win streak so I was sure to be in my seat right for puck drop. They did not continue their first goal in the first-minute ways in this one, however. Two minutes into the game Joel Kellman went busting into the zone and down the boards, as Letang closed in on him Kellman threw the puck around the boards to an awaiting Brent Burns who had pinched in low. Burns took one look and put a pass right to the stick of Hertl in the center of the paint who nobody in Black and Gold decided was worth watching. Hertl got enough on it to sneak through the legs of Jarry to give the Sharks a 1-0 lead at 2:48.
Following the goal, the Penguins didn’t panic but they just couldn’t figure out Aaron Dell. The Pens would carry play for the majority of the following 15 minutes but in honor of 80’s night they weren’t scoring. Finally, in the final five minutes, the Sharks were slippery in their own zone and Patric Hornqvist jumped on to the ice like… a shark smelling blood.
PATRIC HORNQVIST (8) Unassisted @ 16:51
Patric Hornqvist is the model of consistency. Every year the Hornqvist has played 70 or more games in his career he has scored at least 20 goals. This was his 8th in just his 23rd game of the year. Hornqvist started this play on the bench and simply wanted the puck more.
One minute later John Marino had difficulty carrying the puck out of the defensive zone so he dropped it to partner Pettersson. Pettersson, with no pressure on him, slapped a quick one-touch pass back to Marino who still had pressure on him. This resulted in a turnover and a quick 2 on 1. Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture against Pettersson, Marleau to Couture and Couture beat Murray glove side, of course.
Really odd play by Marcus Pettersson here. The pass from Marino wasn’t the best in the world, but there was no pressure on Pettersson to try and force this pass through. Further, pushing this pass to a defender on the wrong side of the ice should probably throw up some red flags. A defensive breakdown results in a goal. The Penguins wouldn’t be able to tie it up before the period would end and would enter the locker room down 2-1 despite having 25 scoring chances for to just 12 against.
The second period looked like the San Jose Sharks were content with a lead for once and the Pittsburgh Penguins were trying to find their groove without a top 6 winger. Both teams exchanged chances throughout but neither really had grade-A chances.
After 36 minutes of 5v5 play, Evgeni Malkin was called for interfering with Barclay Goodrow and the Sharks powerplay went to work. It was not successful, mainly because 46 seconds into the powerplay Goodrow returned the favor and tripped ZAR to even things up. The minute of 4v4 concluded with no events and the Penguins had about a minute on the powerplay. They wouldn’t score but they would build momentum. Following the kill, the Penguins kept pressuring and it was Alex Galchenyuk and Bryan Rust going to work with the cycle. Rust came out from behind the net, looked up and saw the Horn Dog sitting there in the crease with the little pink thing coming out, Rust fed the Dog, Honk if you’re Horny.
PATRIC HORNQVIST (9) Assisted by Rust (17) & Galchenyuk (10) @ 19:09
As I was saying, Patric Hornqvist continues to be an example of consistency. Another great play by Rust to come out with his head up looking for the play in front.
Neither team would score in the final 51 seconds and the frame would conclude 2-2 after an even 17 scoring chances for the Penguins and 16 for the Sharks.
The third period was the second period. The Penguins carried the play for the majority of the period but just couldn’t get the lead. Six minutes in Joe Thornton tripped John Marino with his walker and the Penguins had an excellent opportunity to go up with the man advantage but it didn’t happen.
Both teams tried, neither succeeded. By the time the horn sounded the Penguins had 16 scoring chances for, the Sharks had 15, the goaltenders were both strong and we were heading to overtime.
If 2020 is about clarity I want to be upfront to start the new year, I hate the phrase “free hockey.” Glad that is off my chest. Less than a minute into overtime Kris Letang gave Couture a tap to the shinpads which resulted in a tripping penalty. Letang shouldn’t have made the play he did given the circumstances, but there is no denying that the 6′ 1″, 200 pound forward fell pretty easily on a standard hockey play.
Powerplays in overtime are essentially death threats, and this one wasn’t any different. The Pens killed off the first minute before Brent Burns ended things.
- Losing in OT on the penalty kill given the circumstances of this game is a win for the Penguins, and shows what state the Sharks are in, yikes.
- Some people are saying it was not Tristan Jarry’s best night, but maybe it’s really tough to ask your goalie to defend odd-man breaks
- Chad Ruhwedel was the only defender with a Corsi percentage below 50, while John Marino once again lead the defense in that stat
- Galchenyuk continues to look more and more comfortable within the system
- The Pens are back in action tomorrow night for Hockey Night in Canada against the Canadiens… would be a perfect game for Sid to come back for.