With a 2-0 lead in the game, late in the second period, the game didn't feel out of reach for the Penguins. I had even just told a friend that "I just saw someone say that this game feels like whoever scores the next goal is going to win, and I tend to agree." Not even seven seconds later, Jonathan Drouin rocketed a puck into the back of the net and it was 3-0. Talk about a buzzkill.
So, that's the goal that i decided to breakdown and look at what went wrong and what could have been done better to prevent this goal from happening.
Like I had said, it was late in the period, and the Penguins were desperate to get a goal past Andrei Vasilevskiy.
With 3 forwards deep inside the face-off circles, Brian Dumoulin and Kris Letang were set up on the outside edge of the offensive zone. A puck came to Brian Dumoulin and I honestly am not sure that he was expecting to get it, based on how quickly it bounced off of his stick.
After it bounced off of his stick, it kind of just sat in no-man's land for a while, catching Kris Letang flat-footed, and giving Valterri Filpulla enough time to get to the puck. I believe that if Dumoulin had sensed this puck coming to him, he would've been able to put more force on it to get it to Letang, or dumped it back towards the net.
Letang was almost able to use his speed to get to the puck and keep it in, but almost doesn't count here. Filpulla, in one single motion, chips the puck past Kris Letang, and also takes the contact from Letang and removes him from the play.
Ondrej Palat corrals the puck and heads up ice, with Filpulla in the middle, being chased by Letang, and Jonathan Drouin on the right. Brian Dumoulin is back.
This 3-on-1 is essentially neutralized into a 2-on-1 thanks to the speed of Kris Letang. In some cases, taking away the third man could be a vital play to saving it from turning into a goal. This is not one of those cases.
Brian Dumoulin stays square to Palat, staying in the passing lane, and letting his goaltender Matt Murray also stay square for a shot. As soon as Dumoulin correctly reads the pass, he attempts to break it up. He probably did all that he could, but Palat makes a ridiculous saucer pass over his stick to Drouin, that lands right on the tape of the goal scorer.
What a remarkable pass this was from Palat, when seen from the second angle, and realizing how much air he needed to get under it to get it to Drouin without airmailing it past him.
Drouin wastes no time getting this puck on net, and manages to get a rocket of a shot off, despite the puck kind of bouncing, and even being a little bit up in the air.
Matt Murray never stood a chance. It's commendable to consider how much leverage and torque that Drouin was able to get on this puck, considering the shooting angle and the fact that the puck was not even remotely laying flat for him.
The entire play can be seen below:
So, just like that, it's 3-0 with 1:30 left in the second. The Penguins were able to get a power play goal before the period ended, but that was as far as back as they were able to climb.
Chalk it up as a strange bounce to start the play. But that doesn't excuse Letang's over-aggressiveness and not getting the puck. Nothing but credit to Palat and Drouin on the finish, though.
We have still yet to see the Penguins drop consecutive games since mid-January, and so far in this playoffs, the Penguins have responded very well to bad games with good ones.
Game 2, Monday night, same time, same place.