Nick Bonino (sick) misses his first game of the year so Carter Rowney is able to get back in the lineup. Steve Oleksy and Cameron Gaunce continue their shuffle, with it being Oleksy's turn to play.
Let's Go Pens! pic.twitter.com/KcentbaaeF— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 21, 2017
Scott Wilson gets the party started with a nice tip on a Patric Hornqvist shot past Cam Ward. 1-0 Pens
Right place, right time. Wilson makes contact in front of the net and deflects the puck past Ward. pic.twitter.com/VElmQrIUWa— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 22, 2017
Evgeni Malkin takes a hooking penalty and the Penguins kill it. But then as soon as he gets out of the box Malkin high-sticks a player and goes right back in to the box. Pittsburgh's penalty kill literally tires before our eyes and 40-year old Matt Cullen had a long shift and eventually turns the puck over and that's one mistake too many. 1-1.
Jeff Skinner 20 (power-play) (Assists: Lee Stempniak 17, Phillip Di Giuseppe 2)— Tracer (@OftenBlunders) February 22, 2017
The Penguins get pinned in a lot, a combination of the Hurricanes playing well and also seemingly the AHL portion of the lineup getting outclassed at times. Matt Murray makes a great save on Joakim Lindstrom on a breakaway after a decidedly non-AHL level player in Kris Letang falls down so it's looking like "one of those games."
Shots 14-7 Carolina after one. 13-3 after Pittsburgh initially was out 4-1 on them.
No Trevor Daley on the bench to start the period. Malkin back to the penalty box for the 3rd time, this for delay of game, Pens able to kill it off.
Not to be outdone, Crosby takes his second penalty of the game out of frustration with a retaliation slash. Dumb but if anyone's built up the reserve of good will....
The penalty tides turn, the Canes take two in a row setting up 1 minute of 5v3 play. The big dogs bumble around a little but finally get setup in the zone. Phil Kessel wheels around in to the middle of the ice, fires a low shot that Sidney Crosby deflects from in front of the net to give Pittsburgh a lead.
Kessel ➡️ Crosby ➡️ pic.twitter.com/AhF8SNwVQj— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 22, 2017
Shots 24-13 Carolina, but Pittsburgh (somehow) up on the scoreboard 2-1.
The 3rd period slogs along without much interesting. Still down to 5 defensemen (and a couple of them not being the greatest NHL options) PIttsburgh gets caught in the d-zone more than they'd like. Then an offensive zone faceoff and Carl Hagelin speeds around the net. He centers a nice pass. There's Malkin.
Blink and you miss it. 3-1.
Malkin: "HMK Line, coming at you... sometimes." pic.twitter.com/0RoNFb5blv— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 22, 2017
And that'll do it
- First goal in 20 games (since January 8th) for Wilson, his 5th on the season. He's got his share of assists on the season but hasn't hit the net that much in his first full NHL season
- As usual, the Canes chose to match Jordan Staal against Sidney Crosby, theoretically freeing Malkin up against (whistle) whoops Malkin took another penalty before I could finish this bullet point
- Pretty wild that Crosby+Malkin take 10 minutes worth of penalties, putting the team down a man for 9:51 (a little short due to Carolina scoring on one of the Malkin penalties). Huge chunk of the game.
- If Daley is injured, that makes 5 out of the top 6 defensemen on the team who have missed time to injury in the past month. Only iron man is Ian Cole (who touch wood, hasn't missed a game all season).
- Murray was good early when the rest of the team was either getting trapped in the zone, skating to the penalty box, or killing penalties.
- Starting to notice a pattern for Kessel, usually on the power play when he gets space to wheel from the left side of the ice (puck in a shooting position for him since he's right-handed) out to the middle and snapping it on net. That's generated a few goals of late. The one in the 2nd period the lowness of the shot was begging for a tip, which was perfect since Crosby and Patric Hornqvist were both posted unmolested in front of the net on the 5v3. Well executed all around.
- In the 3rd period, Sullivan bumped Hornqvist up to the top-line and Guentzel fed him with a great scoring chance. Interesting to see them go back to Guentzel on the LW and put Hornqvist up with Sid for the first time in quite a while.
- It's almost forgotten now that HBK took off, but when Hagelin was acquired last January, he played a lot with Malkin-Kessel prior to the subsequent Malkin injury. The trio was reunited in Sullivan's 3rd period mixing and did well.
- Pens like 1,000,000-0-0 now since 2015-16 when leading after 2 periods. Another one in the column tonight
Limping home to another win with only 5 defensemen, seems like it happens a lot lately. Great goaltending by Murray and the big boys stopped taking penalties and started scoring goals. Pittsburgh gets a break, inactive now until the special game against the Flyers lol under the lights at Heinz on Saturday night.