R1G6 Recap: Finishing blow; Tristan Jarry single-handedly eliminates Pens

R1G6 Recap: Finishing blow; Tristan Jarry single-handedly eliminates Pens

Penguins

R1G6 Recap: Finishing blow; Tristan Jarry single-handedly eliminates Pens

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UNIONDALE, NEW YORK – MAY 26: Kyle Palmieri #21 of the New York Islanders (L) celebrates his goal at 12:25 of the first period against Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins and is joined by Travis Zajac #14 (R) in Game Six of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum on May 26, 2021 in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Wednesday night the Penguins were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the New York Islanders in six games.

It’s now been four postseasons since the Penguins have even won so much as a series. They’ve had incredibly poor shooting luck in the postseason over that time and their goaltenders haven’t been able to keep the puck out of the net.

The Penguins undoubtedly deserved to win this series, but were ultimately sunk by their biggest question mark coming into the postseason: Tristan Jarry.

Jarry surrendered 21 goals on just 13.06 expected goals this postseason, per MoneyPuck.com.

His -7.9 goals saved above expected puts him dead last among postseason goaltenders.

For comparison’s sake, Marc-Andre Fleury has faced 13.02 expected goals against in six games this postseason and has surrendered just 10 goals. (This is not a hurrrdurrrr comment about keeping Murray).

While you could point to Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel largely being held off the scoresheet (despite dominating territorial play), or to a handful of other trivial things that happened this series, the reason they are not advancing is simple:

Tristan Jarry lost them the series.

It’s a devastating blow to see this team go down in such miserable fashion not because it’s another year without playoff success, but because this was easily the best team they’d had since winning back-to-back Cups, and they truly could have made some noise had they even gotten average goaltending.

Don’t galaxy brain this loss.

Jake Guentzel doesn’t need to be traded, and Kris Letang has at least one more season of exceptional play in him.

While the blue line will almost certainly look a bit different next season, this forward group is as good as the Penguins have had, and quite frankly, doesn’t need to be touched.

When next season starts, Crosby will be 34, Letang will be 34, and Evgeni Malkin will be 35.

This season figured to be their last legit chance at a Cup, but if they’re making another run it pretty much has to be next season.

Ron Hextall and co. need to do whatever they can to make it happen.

LINEUP

Rocking the same look once again.

1st period

PIT GOAL – Carter (4) A: Kapanen, Zucker [1:27] 1-0 PIT

Big papa Jeff Carter got the scoring going with his 13th (!!) goal in a Penguins uniform in just his 20th game.

He teamed up with Kasperi Kapanen, who made a nice dish off the rush to open up space for Carter.

He’s only getting the secondary assist on the box score but Jason Zucker deserves a ton of credit for this goal as well. He intercepted a cross-ice pass in the defensive zone then immediately started to move the puck up ice.

NYI GOAL – Beauvillier (3) A: Nelson, Bailey [5:16] 1-1

It didn’t take long for the Islanders to strike back.

Less than four minutes later they beat Jarry on their first shot of the game.

Kris Letang’s pinch left Brian Dumoulin and Sidney Crosby as the only Penguins skaters back, and Anthony Beauvillier eventually toasted Crosby on his way to the front of the net.

Once Beauvillier got around Crosby, Brock Nelson fed him a pass and he went backhand high-glove on Jarry to tie the game.

PIT PP GOAL – Guentzel (1) A: Letang, Malkin [11:12] 2-1 PIT

The Penguins finally got a little bit of puck luck and regained the lead on the powerplay halfway through the period.

It took them a while, but the Penguins eventually worked the puck to the middle of the ice and found Jake Guentzel for one of his patented back-foot one-timers.

The puck hit Ryan Pulock on its way in, and and fluttered past Sorokin.

Great to see Guentzel get on the board as he’d generated a ton of chances without converting up to that point.

NYI GOAL – Palmieri (3) A: Pageau [12:55] 2-2

It took less than two minutes for the Islanders to strike back.

J.G. Pageau threw a weak attempt at Jarry that ended up as a juicy rebound on the doorstep for Kyle Palmieri, and he made no mistake sending it right back to the open cage.

Horrendous rebound control from Jarry,

Cody Ceci has to be better here as well. He turned the puck over moments before the goal, then failed to pick up Palmieri on his way to the net.

Kapanen had a dazzling opportunity late in the period, and even had Sorokin beat, but Travis Zajac poetically swooped in at the last second and got the puck out of danger before it could cross the goal line.

I’ll spare you the metrics, but this period might as well have been any other period from the series.

The Penguins controlled play and had more chances, but couldn’t get Jarry to come up with a save.

2nd period

Mike Sullivan opted to stay with Jarry in net for the start of the second.

PIT GOAL – Zucker (2) A: Ceci, Malkin [1:53] 3-2 PIT

Zucker put the Penguins in the driver’s seat once again with a beautiful deflection out front.

As the Penguins worked the puck around the offensive zone, Ceci fired a low shot toward the goal, presumably looking for a tip, and Zucker did just that.

For about six minutes it felt like the Penguins could really take control of the game.

NYI GOAL – Nelson (2) A: Bailey, Beauvillier [8:35] 3-3

The Penguins had a bit of a breakdown in rush coverage while Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey teamed up for a pretty goal.

This is the one goal of the evening I’m willing to give Jarry a pass on.

He still seemed a bit slow to react to the cross-ice pass, but I reckon not too many goaltenders are stopping that one.

While the Penguins did have a breakdown, it’s also okay to acknowledge when the other team does something well, and I think that’s exactly what happened here.

Clench those cheeks.

NYI GOAL – Pulock (2) A: Pageau, Zajac [8:48] 4-3 NYI

Thirteen seconds later, Pulock’s one-timer off a faceoff beat Jarry on the short-side.

Inexcusable goal.

There’s nothing else to say.

If I were Sullivan, that would’ve been the end of the leash for Jarry, but he maddeningly remained in the game.

NYI GOAL – Nelson (3) A: Beauvillier [11:34] 5-3 NYI

Just under three minutes later, the final blow came off the stick of Nelson to give the Islanders a two-goal advantage.

Similar to his goal in game one, Nelson walked the puck to the slot and used the Penguins’ defense as a screen before sneaking the puck along the ice and between the legs of Jarry.

I get that Jarry had a bunch of traffic in front of him, but at some point he has to come up with a meaningful save to keep the Penguins in the game.

At this point, the damage had been done.

3rd period

The Penguins failed to even so much as get within striking distance before time expired on their season, but it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

They spent the entire period in the offensive zone, as whenever the Islanders got the puck they just threw it down ice.

The final frame saw the Penguins out-attempt the Islanders 29-6, while the Penguins also generated 11 scoring chances and two high-danger chances, but Sorokin stood tall.

FINAL: 5-3 NYI

It’s been an absolute pleasure covering the Penguins and getting to know so many awesome people in the community.

To anyone that has taken the time to read/watch any of my work, I appreciate the hell out of you.

Big things on the way for next season.

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

All data via Natural Stat Trick, MoneyPuck, and Evolving Hockey

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