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RECAP: Penguins End Road Trip With Another Loss

The Penguins were looking to end their 5-game road trip with a win against the Vancouver Canucks.

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports


Nothing is better than getting these incredible bits of history from the Penguins Encyclopedia, Bob Grove.

Speaking of Evgeni Malkin, he was recently highlighted in a Sportsnet feature, which you can see HERE.

The Penguins look to be rolling with similar line combinations from the last game against the Calgary Flames. Matt Murray will be between the posts. Here is the lineup:

The Canucks, along with former Penguins Brandon Sutter and Derrick Pouliot, will roll with this starting lineup:

1st Period

A quick net-front scrum erupted 50 seconds into the game, but alas, there would be no goal here. The puck trickled past the goaltender, Jacob Markstrom, and wobbled about halfway across the goal line, but it did not cross completely.

Jake Guentzel was hooked nearly 2 minutes in by Alex Biega. After a turnover in which the puck rang off of Matt Murray’s post, the Penguins quickly transitioned back into the offensive zone where they proceeded to put on a passing clinic, and then, a goal was scored.

Penguins broadcaster, Steve Mears, described the action as Harlem Globetrotters-esque, and Jake Guentzel buried the one-timer goal for an early 1-0 lead at the 2:53 mark of the period.

Soon after the PP goal, Ryan Reaves drew a high-sticking penalty to give the yet another power-play. Malkin turned over the puck to Bo Horvat, but Murray was able to make the save on the shot. This penalty was soon killed off by the Canucks to resume 5v5 play.

With 12:53 left in the period, the ‘Nucks rookie, Brock Boeser, buried a puck on the backhand to tie the game up at 1.

Olli Maatta was tripped by the goalscorer, Boeser, with 8:10 left in the first, giving the Penguins their 3rd power-play of the period.

The Penguins spent much of this power-play in their own zone, trying to set up the proper transition into the offensive zone. As such, this penalty was killed with no goal for the Penguins. Thomas Vanek rang the puck off the post as soon as the man advantage ended, but the puck flew out of play because of the shot.

Time would wind down and both teams kept up this fast pace by trading a few chances back-and-forth, but the score would remain tied at 1 at the end of period 1.

Here are some numbers through the 1st period:

2nd Period

Kris Letang went into the boards nearly 3 minutes into the period and was seen in some pain on the bench. Frank Corrado was then driven face-first into the boards by Derek Dorsett. If you saw this live, it looked horrific. Corrado was able to leave the ice on his own power, however. Replay showed that he lost his footing near the boards. Corrado would return later in the period.

At the 3:52 mark of the period, Letang returned to the ice.

Much like the end of the previous period, the netminders continued to shine and keep the score even.

With 12:46 left in the 2nd, Brock Boeser would score again to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead. The puck was turned over in the defensive zone by Letang and after a few passes from Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi, Boeser buried it. Murray had no chance here.

Brian Dumoulin was tripped by Baertschi with 9:31 left to give the Pens their fourth power-play of the evening. 2 minutes later, Jacob Markstrom stood tall to get the Canucks back at even strength.

Phil Kessel took a nasty bump in the offensive zone and snapped his head back on the ice. He appeared to lose his balance and would leave the ice in a lot of pain.

Ian Cole would interfere with Michael Del Zotto to give the Canucks their first power-play of the evening. The Penguin penalty-killers, in their first appearance of the evening, took care of business to recommence 5-on-5 play.

After a slew of scary plays from both teams, time expired to end the period with the Canucks clinging to a 2-1 lead.

Here are some stats through 2 periods of play:

3rd Period

Jacob Markstrom was caught out of position, but found a way to rob Bryan Rust from the tying goal four minutes into the period.

Ryan Reaves took a shot from the blue line at the 4:49 mark of the period to tie the game at 2. The shot was revealed to be deflected by the stick of Greg McKegg, and just like that, the Penguins were even.

One minute later, Brock Boeser took a shot from the high slot to quickly regain the lead for the Canucks. And in the process, the rookie had gathered enough goals for a hat trick, the first of his career.

At the halfway point of the period, Jake Guentzel was called for goalie interference. The Canucks were given their second opportunity with the man advantage. The penalty-killing unit was successful in doing their job.

With 6:12 left in the period, Markstrom was seen committing robbery on Phil Kessel and Jake Guentzel to maintain the 3-2 Canuck lead. At this point, shot totals of the period were 11-2, in favor of Pittsburgh.

With 3:31 left in the game, Bo Horvat took a pass from Sven Baertschi to extend the Vancouver lead, 4-2.

With the 6-on-5 advantage, the Penguins couldn't complete the complete the comeback and would fall to the Canucks by a score of 4-2.

Final Thoughts

  • 5-on-5 play continues to be a struggling aspect with this team. One even-strength goal throughout an entire game will not cut it.
  • There were numerous scary moments/injuries that were sustained throughout the game, especially on defense. Not exactly what the Penguins can afford at the moment with Matt Hunwick and Justin Schultz out.
  • Brock Boeser certainly looked like he belonged in the NHL with a very impressive hat trick to power the Canucks offense. Jacob Markstrom looked very confident in the net as well.
  • I’m certain the Penguins are thrilled to put this road trip in the rear-view mirror. They finish with a 1-3-1 record on this trip. Not ideal! They are back in action on Tuesday when they return home to battle the Arizona Coyotes.