RECAP 29: Time for Mike Matheson at forward? Depleted Pens fall 2-1 to Bruins

RECAP 29: Time for Mike Matheson at forward? Depleted Pens fall 2-1 to Bruins


RECAP 29: Time for Mike Matheson at forward? Depleted Pens fall 2-1 to Bruins


PITTSBURGH, PA – MARCH 16: Brandon Tanev #13 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his first period goal against the Boston Bruins at PPG PAINTS Arena on March 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Penguins (18-9-1) came into this game as victors of their past six games. Having already won the first game of the back-to-back with the Bruins, they were playing with house money, and any points accumulated would be chalked up to a success.


Teddy Blueger was a late scratch.

John Marino was placed on injured reserve prior to the game despite a game-time decision designation from Mike Sullivan.

Jared McCann, also dubbed a game-time decision, did not dress.

Casey DeSmith got the start in goal.

1st period

BOS GOAL – Pastrnak (13) A: Marchand, Grzelcyk [3:20] 1-0 BOS

David Pastrnak opened the scoring with a slick backhander past DeSmith. Brian Dumoulin was puck-watching, which allowed Pastrnak to fly down the right wing and slip below the Penguins’ coverage.

PIT GOAL – Tanev (7) A: Rodrigues, Kapanen [15:22] 1-1

Brandon Tanev potted his 7th of the season to tie the game with less than five minutes to go in the period.

The Penguins continue to score at a ridiculous rate with Kapanen on the ice. Here’s a cumulative look at his on-ice goals versus on-ice expected goals at 5v5 this season.

Dan Vladar, making his first NHL start, made a ridiculous paddle save against Colton Sceviour to keep the game tied.

2nd period

Tanev was assessed a 5-minute major and game misconduct for this hit on Jarred Tinordi. The penalty was reviewed, and somehow upheld by the zebra clowns.

Listen, I don’t get upset about officiating often. I’ve succumbed to the fact that it is going to suck more often than not. But I am utterly astonished this was upheld. We’ve all seen Tom Wilson make far dirtier hits than this that didn’t even result in so much as a minor penalty.

The result of the play was unfortunate, but by no means was the hit deserving of anything more than a minor penalty.

Do better, stripes.

3rd period

BOS GOAL – Frederic (4) A: Zboril, Bergeron [7:07] 2-1 BOS

The Bruins took the lead on a seeing-eye shot from Trent Frederic. It was an incredibly smart and well-placed shot through traffic. DeSmith had a snowball’s chance in hell on this one.


Both teams were able to generate a bit more offense in this one. Shot attempts finished 59-47 in favor of Boston, but shots on goal were much closer at 35-33.

They had the expected goals advantage as well (2.73-2.41), per Evolving Hockey.


  • Evgeni Malkin left the game after taking a hit from Tinordi in the first period. He missed a few shifts, came back for a few, then left and never returned. The Penguins don’t have the center depth, let alone forward depth to miss Malkin for any serious amount of time.
  • It’s not realistic to expect a ton of success from a team missing McCann, Marino and Jason Zucker. It’s miraculous the Penguins are where they are in the standings despite their injuries. Subtract Malkin, Blueger and Tanev and you’re left with mediocrity’s finest forward group.
  • Tanev will be back next game, but if Malkin were to miss any chunk of time, I think the Penguins should strongly consider moving Mike Matheson to forward. He has the skating ability and the offensive awareness to do it. The Penguins have two solid options in Juuso Riikola and P.O. Joseph to fill in for him on the left side of the blue line. Drastic times call for drastic measures.
  • DeSmith was solid in goal once again. It appears the Penguins have found some stability in the crease from both netminders.
  • Kris Letang and Dumoulin had another rough outing after a poor showing on Monday night. When they were on the ice at 5v5, shots, scoring chances and expected goals all heavily favored Boston.

The Pens are back at it Thursday night in New Jersey. Puck drop at 7. Gooey on recap duty. LGP.

Thanks for reading! Let’s talk hockey on Twitter. Follow me @shireyirving.

All data via Natural Stat Trick, Evolving Hockey

More Sports

More Penguins