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RECAP: Penguins Fall to Wild in Tight Game; Lose 2-1

The Penguins began a 5-game road trip by heading to the North Star State to take on the Minnesota Wild. The Pens also came into this game looking to earn their third straight victory. How would the Penguins respond to these factors? Let’s take a look!

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports


The Penguins (7-3-1) weren't looking to drastically change their formula that allowed them to win their previous two games. This is what the Pens’ lineup looks like:

The Minnesota Wild (3-3-2) are looking for their second win in a row. Here is their starting lineup:

1st Period

Both teams produced a very fast, back-and-forth pace early on. Nearly 7 minutes in, the Penguins were awarded a power-play after Evgeni Malkin was tripped by Eric Staal. The Penguins failed to really establish a flow on the PP, and as such, the penalty expired. Matt Murray made a huge save as soon as the penalty expired when the Wild were transitioning to the offensive zone to keep the game scoreless.

With 9:21 left in the period, Conor Sheary was tripped by Mikko Koivu, giving the Pens their second power-play of the period. This time around, Evgeni Malkin was able to score on a deflection, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead. Kris Letang and the Minnesota Golden Gopher, Phil Kessel were credited with the assists.

The Wild would answer back, however. At the 13:36 mark, former Penguin, Daniel Winnik, tied it up at 1. Dad, a.k.a. Matt Cullen would receive the assist on the game-tying goal.

Matt Murray would continue to shine and make some key saves as time dwindled to end the first period with a 1-1 tie.

Here are some numbers from the first period of play:

2nd Period

With 14:44 left in the period, Olli Maatta was called for holding, sending Minnesota to the power-play. 2 minutes later, the Penguins penalty-kill unit stood tall and even-strength play recommenced.

The pace of play become considerably slower as the period progressed. By the halfway point of the period, scoring chances became minimal outside of the Minnesota power-play.

With 6 minutes left in the period, the Penguins were granted their third power-play. Minnesota’s Mike Reilly was sent off for goalie interference. The penalty was successfully killed to resume 5-on-5 action.

At the 18:03 mark, Evgeni Malkin was sent to the sin bin for interference. At the same time, Malkin appeared to have injured his elbow when bracing himself for a hit.

Matt Murray was standing on his head and making superb saves as time wound down to the period’s end. Minnesota would then take 3 seconds of power-play time to the third period.

Here are the numbers through two periods of play:

3rd Period

The penalty that carried over from the previous period was killed off with the score still at 1-1.

At the 4:01 mark of the period, Bryan Rust was sent off for a slashing call. The penalty was successfully killed for the Penguins and Rust came zooming out of the box on a breakaway, but could not convert, keeping the game at a stalemate.

At the 9:03 mark of the period, Mikko Koivu redirected a puck, got it past Murray, and the Wild would take a 2-1 lead.

Matt Murray looked to have been injured in a net-front scrum with about eight minutes left in regulation. Replay showed that Mikael Granlund had kneed Murray in the head, but Murray continued to fight on.

The Penguins created a quick 2-on-1 with four minutes left in the game, but the puck was soon deflected leaving the Penguins to continue to fight for the game-tying goal.

Ian Cole was called for hooking with 1:27 left in regulation. There was no power-play conversion and regulation time soon expired.

The Minnesota Wild would hang on and take a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh. They are now 4-3-2 on the season and the Penguins are 7-4-1.

Final Thoughts

  • Matt Murray was marvelous tonight. Even in a losing effort, Muzz made many big saves to keep this game even.
  • When looking for positives, the penalty-kill was 3-for-3 tonight.
  • The bulk of this game can be described as a tight, close checking affair and the scoreline certainly reflects that. All in all, this isn't a game to be too concerned with. The Penguins had their share of chances to convert, but you can't win every game.
  • The Pens have a chance to right the ship tomorrow when they travel to Winnipeg to try and cool the Jets for the second time this week.