In the aftermath of a late night game back here on the east coast, the Pittsburgh Penguins dropped a 2-1 decision to the San Jose Sharks in a building that they just can't seem to win in. The Pens haven't won in San Jose since 1997 and that streak will extend on another season.
But it wasn't all bad news, as the Pens peppered 93 shot attempts on the Sharks and really played a great game.
Can't complain about that. A few more quick thoughts on the game:
- Steve Downie hasn't endeared himself much to the coaches of late, and taking a needless first period tripping penalty in the offensive zone can't help his case to stay in the lineup. But, then again, they also chose him to shoot over Derrick Pouliot in the shootout. Conflicting views, but it wouldn't be shocking to see Craig Adams rotate back into the lineup for Downie if he keeps taking bad penalties.
- Speaking of Pouliot, he was great and nearly won the game for the Pens, ringing a shot off the post with just 7 seconds left in overtime. Pouliot played more minutes than any Pens defensemen not named Kris Letang and is growing quickly into a key part of the team.
- Amazingly, the first goal of Sidney Crosby's vaunted career against SJ. Nice timing too.
- The Pens remain winless in games when trailing after 2 periods. You can take this stat with a grain of salt, since they were a shootout away from a W (and also forced a shootout vs. CHI when losing after 2) but it remains a point of contention that Pittsburgh is a team much better playing from in front, rather than having to chase and play catch-up.
- The Pens PP remains another sore point, going 0-for-the-roadtrip including 0 for 3 tonight with a chance to win the game late in the 3rd and in OT when Tommy Wingels shot the puck over the glass. The missed opportunity cost the Pens a point in the standings.
- Interesting to see the Pens basically flip Brandon Sutter and Maxim Lapierre. Very clear they are searching for the right combination and pairings in their bottom 6's. We like the idea of keeping Daniel Winnik and Beau Bennett together as a winger combo, but is Lapierre strong enough to center them?
- 93 shot attempts are great but Pittsburgh missed the net 26 times. That's not ideal. 5 each for Chris Kunitz and Patric Hornqvist. Can't score if you don't hit the net.
- A 2-1-1 western swing isn't bad at all, especially considering the roadie started with a dud of an effort in Colorado. The Pens played very well in the 3 California games and it's easy to see the pieces of their team are coming together with a lot of the guys they need to play strong having great performances, from the goal on out.