RECAP 46: Exhale; Jarry flounders but Pens survive in wild 7-6 victory over Devils

RECAP 46: Exhale; Jarry flounders but Pens survive in wild 7-6 victory over Devils

Penguins

RECAP 46: Exhale; Jarry flounders but Pens survive in wild 7-6 victory over Devils

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PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 20: Mike Matheson #5 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his Pittsburgh Penguins goal against the New Jersey Devils at PPG PAINTS Arena on April 20, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

Prior to their Tuesday tilt with the Devils, the Penguins got some great news at morning skate as Evgeni Malkin and Kasperi Kapanen both took part in a non-contact capacity.

With a game in hand and just three points behind the East division-leading Capitals, the Penguins are looking like a threat to take control of the division.

It’s likely that Malkin and Kapanen will miss a few more games, but their returns will be soon enough to aid the Penguins in a push for the top spot in the East.

Tuesday’s matchup was the first of three this week between Pittsburgh and New Jersey, let’s get weird.

Mark Recchi setting the tone with a hideous suit and tie combo. Yeesh.

LINEUP

Radim Zohorna comes out for Sam Lafferty, who has yet to score this season.

Tristan Jarry in goal.

1st period

PIT GOAL – Matheson (5) A: Ceci, McCann [3:49] 1-0 PIT

Mike Matheson opened the game’s scoring on a one-timer that resulted from a really nice cycle in the o-zone.

Matheson and Ceci have been racking up the points as of late, just like everyone predicted. They are both near a point per game pace over the past couple weeks.

PIT GOAL – Rust (18) A: Crosby, Guentzel [8:04] 2-0 PIT

The Penguins went up by two on a beautiful tally from Bryan Rust.

Awesome move by Rust in tight to bury it, but what an insane pass from Sidney Crosby to bank it off the boards to spring him loose.

PIT GOAL – Dumoulin (3) A: Jarry [8:49] 3-0 PIT

Less than a minute later, Brian Dumoulin’s backhander from center ice managed to change direction on its way in and beat Wedgewood. Absolutely putrid goaltending.

The attempt had an expected goal value of 0.4%.

PIT GOAL – Carter (9) A: McCann, Letang [17:56] 4-0 PIT

Jeff Carter rounded out the Penguins’ barrage of first period goals with his first tally in black and gold.

He jumped on a loose puck in the slot and rifled it past Wedgewood, who would be replaced by Aaron Dell for the start of the second period.

Rez is getting an absolute kick out of reminding me about my initial thoughts on the Carter trade, but it’s hard to be upset about anything with the way he’s played thus far. He is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.

2nd period

PIT GOAL – Blueger (6) A: Rodrigues, Aston-Reese [1:12] 5-0 PIT

Teddy Blueger added to the Pens’ lead off a beautiful dish from Evan Rodrigues.

E-Rod drew all the attention to himself before slipping a nifty backhander to the slot, where Blueger was wide open and buried the puck into the yawning cage.

PIT PP GOAL – Rodrigues (7) A: Zucker, Marino [15:18] 6-0 PIT

The second power-play unit went to work and sent the Penguins’ lead to six thanks to some nice puck movement.

Rodrigues picks up the tally and he’s looking like an incredible depth piece for the Penguins. Now that he’s finally being deployed in a proper role, the Pens are reaping the benefits.

Since my take on the Carter trade was so off the mark, here’s a decent take I had on Rodrigues over the offseason before the Penguins signed him:

3rd period

NJD PP GOAL – Hischier (4) A: Merkley, Butcher [0:41] 6-1 PIT

The Devils finally got on the board less than a minute into the game’s final frame as their captain Nico Hischier sent a one-timer past Jarry.

Not much the Penguins could do as they were down two men. Stay outta the damn box.

NJD SH GOAL – Sharangovich (11) Unassisted [5:14] 6-2 PIT

The Devils tallied again, this time shorthanded, when Kris Letang made a risky play at the point that was intercepted by Yegor Sharangovich and ultimately taken the other way for a goal.

Bit of a weird play for a goaltender, but Jarry has to come up with that save.

NJD GOAL – Bastian A: Butcher (3) [8:48] 6-3 PIT

Three minutes later the Devils tallied again, this time on a sweet redirect out front from Nathan Bastian.

Part of me wants to let Jarry off the hook for this due to the redirect, but his failure to seal his post ultimately resulted in the goal.

Not the best period we’ve seen from him but the Pens are still in the driver’s seat.

PIT GOAL – Crosby (18) A: Guentzel, Rust [11:15] 7-3 PIT

Crosby lasered a snap shot to the top of the net to put the Pens back up by four.

It was in and out of the net so fast that play briefly continued before the refs noticed Crosby celebrating. If he’s celebrating, you know it was in.

That should do it for this one.

Or so I thought…

NJD GOAL – Hughes (10) A: Sharangovich, Kuokkanen [12:52] 7-4 PIT

The Devils refused to go away, as Jack Hughes ripped the puck past a sprawling Jarry to cut the lead to three.

The Penguins’ coverage had a bit of a breakdown here, but Jarry absolutely has to come up with this save. I’m not sure how he got so far off his angle.

Quite the lack of focus and attention to detail in the third.

NJD GOAL – Foote (1) A: Merkley, Severson [13:56] 7-5 PIT

Now this is just getting ridiculous.

The Devils came within two thanks to Nolan Foote’s first career goal.

It was actually an awesome passing play, but Jarry sold out for the shot from Nick Merkley and left himself extremely vulnerable to Foote, who received the pass and sent it to the back of the net.

NJD GOAL – Johnsson (4) A: Wood, Butcher [19:19] 7-6 PIT

Jarry managed to go five whole minutes before surrendering another horrible goal.

This time, it was Andreas Johnsson on a weak attempt from below the goal line.

I’m no goaltending expert but this seems to be a complete lack of awareness in such a high leverage situation.

Luckily, time had all but run out on the Devils, and the Penguins slipped away with the victory.

FINAL: 7-6 PIT

The Devils had six high-danger chances in the third period, but that’s no excuse for Jarry unravelling.

Since they spent most of the game battling back, the Devils led in shot attempts (55-47) and scoring chances (30-25).

Evolving Hockey gives the Devils a 2.92-2.01 expected goals advantage. Somehow, the Devils got worse goaltending than what the Penguins got from Jarry in the third period.

Notes

  • Giving up six goals in a period goes without saying, but that was an embarrassing performance from Jarry. Flopping all over the place because he was constantly off his angle due to playing too deep in his crease. Casey DeSmith gets the next start without question.
  • After the game, Pens Twitter went into a frenzy about how “embarrassing” the game was, but if they get anything close to average goaltending from Jarry, there’s not even a discussion to be had.
  • The Carter line picked up two more goals despite the Devils creating quite a bit of offense when they were on the ice. It was the first time in four games together that they controlled less than 50% of the expected goals, but in this one it was the unexpected goals that went their way.
  • Crosby’s line turned in a dominant performance, scoring twice and controlling a hefty share of the shot attempts and expected goals when they were on the ice. I believe this line isn’t a trio that has to stay together, but if they consistently turn in a performance like that, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t.
  • The Penguins are now one point behind the Islanders and Capitals who are tied for the East division lead. Thanks to five straight victories, the Bruins are all of the sudden pushing for the division title as well. This race will likely come down to the final day of the season.

Same teams, same place, Thursday night. Puck drop at 7. LGP.

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

All data via Natural Stat Trick and Evolving Hockey

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