The defensive game of musical chairs continue with Cameron Gaunce making his NHL season debut, because why not? Also Eric Fehr replaces the injured Matt Cullen as 4th line center.
Let's do this.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2017
Welcome to the lineup, Gaunce! pic.twitter.com/izYTssQnUz
Pretty boring start, but the Penguins strike first. Evgeni Malkin passes to Ian Cole and the defenseman mostly known for defense rips a nice shot by Carey Price, hat tip the nice screen provided by Patric Hornqvist. 1-0 Pens.
Ian GOAL! pic.twitter.com/xDDZWCDOXq— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2017
No penalties and not much going on, shots 11-7 Pittsburgh, but shot attempts are closer at 22-21 Pens.
The new-look 4th line strikes after a good sequence of work in the offensive zone, Chris Kunitz finds Fehr and he quickly snaps a puck past Price. 2-0
Fehr factor. pic.twitter.com/e4YdPdyS5D— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2017
Then the second line strikes again, Jake Guentzel and Hornqvist get in on the forecheck, cause a turnover and get the puck back to Gaunce at the point. Gaunce flips a pretty innocent looking shot on net that Guentzel goes to the front and tips home. 3-0.
The Canadiens finally wake up and score their first goal just 33 seconds after the Guentzel goal, Sven Andrighetto scores his second goal of the season to make it 3-1 1:49 before the end of the period.
Pretty dominant period for the Pens, shots 12-5 in the second frame, a shame Montreal was able to get on the board late otherwise this one would seem like it'd be just about over.
Teams trade power plays but no scoring until Conor Sheary makes a (trigger warning, Capitals fan) trip on Jeff Petry behind the net and passes back to the point to Olli Maatta. Maatta scores his first goal in 61 games and gives the Pens a 4-1 lead in the game's dying minutes.
Sheary is credited with the assist on the Maatta goal.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2017
No further scoring and the Pens take home a win!
- The Pens new 4th line was doing good work all night long. Adding a big plodder like Fehr mixed well with Kunitz (always good along the boards) and Wilson (good motor himself). Those guys seemingly spent their whole night in the offensive zone doing hard work, always a welcomed sight for any 4th line to have.
- Guentzel impressed, looking physical all night (leading team again in hits) and doing a lot right on his goal playing physical to help create a turnover, passing to the point and then tipping in a goal. If he keeps on the scoreboard it's bound to figure he'll keep in the lineup.
- Classic road-game through 40 for the Pens, a lot of grinding (not surprisingly led by the respective Kunitz and Hornqvist lines), a lot of good puck management and decisions and some actual shot suppression for once as they were able on to give up many, if any 2on1, 3on2's that have been all too common in recent games.
- No penalties either for the Pens early in the game, lasting 47 minutes before going to the box. Good way to keep safe from Shea Weber slapshots.
- On the flip side, 2 very forgettable power plays for the Pens with nothing to speak of for scoring chances for. Isn't going to click any night, and at least tonight was a game they didn't need to get one, so we'll about leave it at that.
- Maatta's goal wasn't anything special, but possibly an important one. After it happened, noticed he fired another shot in from the point with a lot of authority. Getting a goal, maybe, hopefully will help spark some confidence, and who knows, could lead to some more.
- Only 20 shots on the night so not much for Matt Murray to have to do. Team owed him that after the defensive "effort" from the Washington game last time out Murray's rebound control (which got worse as the Caps game went on and he was shelled and shell-shocked) but was much better tonight in the limited saves he needed to make.
The road trip comes to an end in Carolina on Friday.