A little late on the recapping game, those late night games are brutal. As you’ve seen, the Pittsburgh Penguins downed the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 last night to get back on their winning ways after losing the night before in Anaheim.
The game started very fortunately with Patric Hornqvist tossing a routine shot from a fairly innocent shot on the ice that may have clicked off a defender and somehow snuck under the pads of Jonathan Quick. And thus the advantage of being a volume shooter- sometimes shots that almost never go in, do go in! 1-0 Pittsburgh just 43 seconds into the game.
Well, that escalated quickly. pic.twitter.com/uLBPRA8tvh— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2018
The game kind of got boring after this and your faithful recapper might have fallen asleep. But, so too did the Penguins who only had 3 total shots on goal, 2 of which came in the opening minute of the period (including the goal above). Luckily, in his first NHL start, 26-year old Casey DeSmith was dusting off some magic playing well as an under-sized goalie, known mostly for his work in the minors and wearing #1.
History doesn’t repeat itself (he doesn’t have a blue mask and a cool nickname, after all) but it does rhyme.
Anyways, the 2nd period was next which is dreadful for the Penguins since it’s their worst period. Pittsburgh actually outshoots LA 14-8 in the second, but the Kings score the period’s only goal when rookie Adrian Kempe races past Brian Dumoulin and beats DeSmith on a breakaway.
Tied 1-1 after 40, the Pens could have been tired and slumped out of this game. They were on the road, a tired team and playing a rest opponent. As we pointed out, it was a tough situation to be in, considering the out of town scoreboard basically delivered a worst case scenario of results on the evening.
All teams in the Metro (except Carolina) played tonight. Pens didn’t get much help, division opponents went 4-1-1 on the night. Gonna have to dig deep against heavy legs and get a result tonight to hold serve— PensBurgh (@Pensburgh) January 19, 2018
Pittsburgh needed a hero, and Superman wears a #71 jersey. Check this on the first shift of the 3rd period
Then Dustin Brown put a really nasty hit on Justin Schultz, Brown would rightfully get kicked out of the game and give Pittsburgh a 5-minute power play which they would use to kill time and Hornqvist scored an insurance goal to put Pittsburgh up by 2 with 10 minutes left.
We'll stay up all night for goals like this. pic.twitter.com/8KV65sOE5I— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 19, 2018
I love in the slow-mo replay above you can almost see Quick thinking “oh no way this bastard beats me low again” and crouches juuust enough for Hornqvist to place a shot over his glove.
That would be it for the game.
- Daniel Sprong was a healthy scratch for this one, upsetting many. We’ll have more on this later, in the big picture growing pains and a coach trying to get a message through to a talented young player is a story as old as time in the NHL. It’s basically a part of the progression at this point.
- As mentioned above, Malkin has 16 points in his last 11 games. That’s just unreal. Phil Kessel is getting a lot of attention for his wonderful season (which you can never knock, Phil is awesome and deserves all the accolades), but you would have to think that Malkin flipped the switch recently, and when he does that he’s arguably the best player in the world. He seems dogged to will the Penguins to the playoffs at this point.
- DeSmith got #2 star of the game with 28 saves on 29 shots. That’s huge. Who knew what to expect in his first ever start and after a couple of shaky relief appearances, but DeSmith was awesome and played a great game on a night the Pens needed their goalie to be better than just average.
- Carl Hagelin didn’t have too much to do with the first goal but still made a pass and got an assist on it, boosting his point-streak to 5 games. Which is significant since 5 games ago he only had 6 total points for the whole season.
Pens move up the state to take on San Jose on Saturday night.