The Penguins concluded their trip to the west last night by taking on the Arizona Coyotes at the Gila River Arena. With the trip already being a success after winning the first two games, the Penguins decided to toy with our emotions and dangle Sidney Crosby’s potential return in front of our eyes. It didn’t happen, which isn’t surprising considering he only had one full day of practice. With Sid still out, and no update on the other injured fowl, the Pens lined up as such: https://twitter.com/penguins/status/1216487357899296768?s=20 Alex Galchenyuk was welcomed back to Arizona on the fourth line, playing with people Arizona fans have never heard of before. This is similar to Galchenyuk’s career in Arizona.
Your seat was barely warm before Clayton Keller was sitting for 2 minutes for slashing Marcus Pettersson. The Penguins wouldn’t have time to convert on that powerplay chance before Lawson Crouse delayed the game for having a fake name. Suddenly the Pens had a 5 on 3 powerplay 2:25 into the game and 18 seconds later they were on the board.
JARED McCANN (13) Assisted by Rust (20) & Malkin (30) @ 2:43 PPG
The Pens love the low to high movement on the powerplay, it shifts the defenders around and gets them off their lines just enough. If Malkin on the point wasn’t such a defensive liability I would advocate for him to always be there on the powerplay. Hell of a play by Rust as well who continues to shatter even his parent’s expectations.
Following the goal the Coyotes decided that committing penalties isn’t a good idea and we settled down for some even-strength play. After nearly 8 minutes of back and forth, but mostly blah, Pettersson tripped up Carl Soderberg and the ‘Yotes went to the powerplay. They wouldn’t convert on that chance and we went back to 5v5 for 2 minutes. With 5:37 left in the period, Conor Garland took the 7th shot of the game, cumulatively, and it beat Jarry to even things up.
Nobody is entirely sure if the rest of the period happened or not, at the end the Coyotes picked on Malkin who received the superstar treatment and got a penalty called against him.
It’s reported that the Coyotes discussed their first period in the locker room and decided that since taking early penalties resulted in a tied period, they would try it again. After the Penguins killed the first two minutes of powerplay time, Niklas Hjalmarsson slashed Patric Hornqvist and 30 seconds later Hornqvist was slashing his way closer to another 20 goal season.
PATRIC HORNQIST (11) Assisted by Malkin (31) & Galchenyuk (11) @ 3:51 PPG
Hornqvist has always been a shoot first and apologize later type of player, and this approach once again paid off. A few minutes later Christian Fischer interfered with Evgeni Malkin and the Pens had another chance on the powerplay. They wouldn’t be successful on this man advantage but they would pick up some serious momentum. Of course, in hokey momentum doesn’t always mean results, and after 5 minutes of domination the Coyotes would score to even things up.
Good thing Tristan Jarry isn’t named Matt Murray otherwise this goal would’ve been considered a disaster.
After giving up 2 goals on 10 shots Jarry settled down to stop the remaining 3 shots of the period, and get us to the locker room tied at 2.
The third period started off with neither team wanting to make a mistake. Fortunately for Arizona, the Penguins traded for Alex Galchenyuk in the offseason. Galchenyuk took a penalty 9 minutes in, which the Penguins were able to kill off. Shortly after the penalty expired the ‘Yotes used their momentum to take the lead.
Wouldn’t be a good game without the Jack Johnson-Kris Letang pairing getting exposed. Johnson goes for a weird hip poke thing, Letang fills in behind the net, Johnson says “DOH! that’s where I should be” and goes to fill in, both are behind the net with only one Coyote… Two Guys One Coyote, coming to pornhub this spring.
The Coyotes only had one thing to do, and that was to shut down this pesky group of Penguins. Here’s the deal with these Penguins. They are never out of a game. They know they are good. They know they can win every game. Arizona got within 5 minutes of ending the Penguins winning streak before that beautiful ZAR-Blueger-Tanev line once again went to work.
BRANDON TANEV (10) Assisted by Riikola (6) & Ruhwedel (4) @ 16:58
Brandon Tanev is the modern age pest. He is skilled, tenacious, and always wearing the opponent down. It’s like when goons would headhunt in the 80’s and 90’s, but enjoyable because t actually helps the team.
Neither team would break the tie before regulation would end.
Phil Kessel and Taylor Hall could not get the thing done. Kind of embarrassing when you think about it. Neither team would score in OT and we would head to the shootout.
The shootout was about 400 players long. Rust and Hall each scored in the first round of three.
Then we went to a war of attrition where nobody wanted to score. Finally, Tedward Blueger scored in round 8 while Jarry stood tall against Soderberg. https://twitter.com/penguins/status/1216540648855298053?s=20
Full shootout recap: https://twitter.com/penguins/status/1216537411984990208?s=20
- Only one thought, this is a hell of a team playing like a hell of a team that is getting ready to get their best player back. Look out.