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Recap: Penguins vs. Canucks. Pens are the turkey boys in listless 5-2 loss

Brock Boeser loves scoring goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins. A recap of another loss.

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Evgeni Malkin (undisclosed upper body injury) misses his first game of the season, so Jake Guentzel slides into a center role for the first time as a professional to keep the top-6 with skilled players. Josh Archibald gets a jersey for only the second time all season.

1st period

Brock Boeser just loves playing against PA teams. Scored a hat trick against the Penguins when they played in Vancouver...Scored 2 last night against the Flyers. Opens the scoring here by skating past Brian Dumoulin’s poor diving/falling effort and then beating Matt Murray with a nice shot. Kid can play, 10th of the year and it’s 1-0 Canucks early.

Shots start out 7-1 VAN before the Pens head to the first power play of the game. And they strike, Phil Kessel hits Jake Guentzel absolutely flying through the zone. Anders Nilsson does well to stop the first shot, but Guentzel is able to put on the brakes just enough to find the loose rebound and poke it home. 1-1 game.

A very weird play and some bad luck for the Pens- first Sidney Crosby breaks his stick and drops it, no worries at this point, right? Except the discarded stick gets caught up with Phil Kessel who’s trying to move the puck but loses it. The Vancouver forecheck gets a gift and they score when Loui Eriksson’s shot goes off the knob of Murray’s stick and still stays true to target. 2-1 on a strange one.

Shots on goal end up 18-18. We have played 20 minutes!!

2nd period

The Pens take a penalty and almost kill it off but with 2 seconds left, former Pen Derrick Pouliot takes a shot in the general direction of traffic and the puck hits off Dumoulin and goes into the net. 3-1 Canucks.

Soon after, the Pens take another penalty and don’t come close to killing it off this time, and there’s that man again. Brock Boeser scores his 5th goals against Pittsburgh in a game and a half at this point. 4-1 VAN.

Shots at the end of 2 end of being 30-23 Pens. 4-1 in the bad way on the measure that counts, though.

3rd period

The Pens earn an early power play and cash in quickly with Guentzel getting his second goal of the game using his skate in a non-kicking motion to deflect a Phil Kessel effort in past Nilsson getting a little luck of their own. 4-2 with plenty of time left and a little bit of hope for the home team.

Time ticks on. Pittsburgh gets another power play but doesn’t score. Takes a penalty but get a rare kill. Tick, tick

Brandon Sutter tacks on an empty netter because why not. 5-2 final

Some Thoughts

  • Nice to see Guentzel (filling in on the top PP unit for the injured Malkin) to make a mark there immediately. Nice pass from Kessel, who’s made that similar sort of short-pass zone-entry to Malkin for goals. New name, same result.
  • As far as the Guentzel-at-center experiment, we didn’t really learn too much. They protected him from faceoffs (Jake only took 7 all night, compared with Crosby’s 23 faceoffs or Riley Sheahan with 20, shoot even 4th liner Greg McKegg had 12), the Guentzel line was on-ice for 1 GA (the Kessel misplay/turnover from the broken stick), and didn’t really generate much offensively of note. Not a disaster but nothing of note to take positively either.
  • In the “hey he’s doing some little things” file, Crosby drew four power plays tonight. He got 1 PP assist and surely is slugging through a frustrating first two months of the season but the underlying work still seems to be there.
  • We were tough here on Pouliot but give him credit he ended up with 25 minutes tonight, mostly uneventful except for his goal. He looked the part of a top-4 guy tonight. Then again, last week a couple of really flattering articles about him were written and then he promptly was a -5 in the next 2 games with a couple bad mistakes in there, so consistency of performance still is something to prove. Great game for him tonight, so we’ll see what he’s got moving forward.
  • Pouliot, Sutter and Cameron Guance all in Van City? Wow, all they need is to add Brian Gibbons, Bobby Farnham and Jeff Zatkoff and they’re like the Island of Misfit Penguins out there. (OK, wrong holiday to reference).
  • Another one of those games where the Pens start dreadfully slow, turn the puck over at horrible times, take ill-advised penalties- don’t kill enough them off and then create nothing tangible at even strength. Happy holidays!
  • For all the complaining among Pens fans about back-to-back games and how tough they are...Tonight was a the second night of a b-2-b for Vancouver. If you weren’t told, you wouldn’t have known. Shoddy effort and energy level by Pittsburgh tonight and no one to blame but themselves.
  • For the 5th time in the last 6 games, the Pens give up multiple goals while on the PK. As a team struggling to score at even strength, this is a recipe for disaster.

This should have been the easy game (at home, rested, against tired team). Immediate future looks rough with an odd 1 PM start (first day game of the season) on Friday in Boston, then a game Saturday for the dreaded b-2-b and again versus Tampa.