Ironically, there was only one goal scored on a night that the Los Angeles Kings held a celebration to unveil a statue for Luc Robitaille. Fortunately for the Pittsburgh Penguins, it came off the stick of Patric Hornqvist .
Hornqvist's goal with 1:44 finally broke the scoreless tie. After Paul Martin lifted the stick of Tyler Toffoli, the puck was sitting right there for Hornqvist who ripped a shot past Jonathan Quick.
For the Penguins it was only their 18th shot on goal, but it sure didn't feel like it. Captain Sidney Crosby agreed, "I didn't feel like we lacked chances," hes aid. "Maybe we missed the net in the first, I don't know. I thought we had some good looks and didn't hit the net. I think teams, when you're coming off a back-to-back night they're really going to try to wear you down early on and take away your time and space. Maybe that has something to do with it with the way they play."
It was a back-to-back for the Pens, but not for the Kings, who certainly displayed a more consistent level of play through the whole game. For the Pens, it was more about spurts. They weren't good in the first 10 minutes of the game, but closed the period fairly well. Ditto the second period, where the Pens had 2 power play and should have gotten something going but didn't. Their best scoring chance came off a Brandon Sutter stuff attempt on a Kris Letang rebound that somehow Quick was able to stop.
The Kings scored a goal early in the third period but it was disallowed when it was ruled that Dustin Brown interfered with Marc-Andre Fleury. If the Penguins were uneven all game, Fleury was not, stopping all 31 shots he faced for his league leading 9th shutout of the night.
"We want to get ready for the playoffs," Fleury said. "They're coming pretty soon, so I think that was a good challenge."
That it was, with a good ending to boot. A few more thoughts on the game:
- Hornqvist's goal was his 3rd in 2 games for his 22nd of the year. Nice to see him kick it into gear this time of year.
- 17 of the 18 Penguins shots on net came from either top 6 forwards or top 4 defensemen. The lone exception was a weak Rob Scuderi shot. Pittsburgh obviously needs more out of the bottom of their lineup than that they got in this game.
- Cool stat from the Penguins team: this was the 10th straight game that Sutter has been 50%+ in the faceoff circle. He was 10 of 19 tonight.
- Crosby hit the cross-bar in the first period and put a pretty good shot on the net on a breakway late too. But the Pens PP went 0-for-4 with Crosby continuing to lose the opening faceoffs and negating the advantage given there.
- The hit battle was 37-36, very physical tough game played by both sides. As you could guess from a game that was 0-0 until the very end, there wasn't much space out there and nothing was given up easily.
- Fleury has 9 shutouts in 51 games this year, he had 9 shutouts in 164 games from 2011-12 - 2013-14. Amazing season for MAF to shut the door and pitch shutouts. Definitely helped the team win tonight in a tough game.
- Tonight's game broke a 7 game point streak for Evgeni Malkin. A shame but if he keeps it up, won't be too long before he starts another streak.
One more game for the Penguins in California, as they look for the Sunshine sweep in San Jose.