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Pens vs. Bruins Recap: Halak’d again..Pittsburgh falls in overtime

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The Pens play a tight game in Boston but fall in OT

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Lineup

Welcome back to the show, Tristan Jarry! And Derek Grant (undisclosed injury) unable to go in this one so Daniel Sprong cycles back into the lineup.

1st period

A fairly dead period, no goals or penalties. Jarry is sharp when he has to be, including a nice toe saving kicking away a Brad Marchand effort on a centering pass from David Pastrnak.

Shots are 12-9 Bruins in the first.

2nd period

The Penguins earn the first power play of the game when Juuso Riikola gets tripped in the defensive zone, and the big boys go to work. Great zone time and puck movement is capped off by Evgeni Malkin hammering a one-timer to the top corner past frequent nemesis Jaroslav Halak to open the scoring at 13:51 into the 2nd.

The game opens up a bit after that with both teams exchanging some scoring chances and then off a rush Boston scores on their 22nd shot of the game with Jake Debrusk shooting a puck past Jarry to make it 1-1 with just over 6 minutes left in the period.

Kinda looks like Sprong gets caught puck watching and collapses down a bit, then Krejci makes a nice pass and Debrusk has all sorts of space at the point area where Sprong abandoned. Not great.

With 2:35 left Boston comes close to scoring again. David Backes throws the puck at the net, it might have slipped past Jarry but in the scramble there was no good angle. Refs blow it dead with the puck about on the line before the B’s could punch it in. After a lengthy review, nothing conclusive could be found which is possibly a break for the Pens to keep the score at 1-1.

Pittsburgh and Jake Guentzel gets a few great chances late in the period but don’t score, because Jaro Halak.

Shots end up 16-13 in the period for the Pens.

3rd period

Time ticks down and the Pens catch a break and get the game’s 2nd power play (and their second) when Boston clears the puck over the glass. Sidney Crosby gets a backhand chance from in close, but Halak happens.

Overtime

Pittsburgh has the all-important control of the puck for the first shift, Crosby shoots but is stopped. Boston possesses the puck for the 2nd shift, which spells bad news as they tire down the defense, and make some nifty passing with Torey Krug finishing the game with a shot/pass to Joakim Nordstrom that the Swede redirects over Jarry to win the game for Boston 2-1.

Some Thoughts

  • Bryan Rust is using his legs to generate speed but he just can’t seem to finish anything at all (like a breakaway early in the 3rd period). Tough to see.
  • Think Sprong got blamed for losing control of his area on the first goal against? It happened with 6:20 left in the period, he didn’t get another shift in the period. Only took 1 more shift for a whole 8 seconds in the 3rd period. Some of that is probably a close game in late, but being on ice for a goal against like that (again) can’t bode well for the coaches entrusting him with more opportunity.
  • Patric Hornqvist absorbed a big hit into the boards in the 2nd period from Kevan Miller, he didn’t play in the 3rd period. Rust replaced him on the top line. Hopefully there’s no lasting damage for Hornqvist going forward, but certainly not a good sign to be knocked out of the game.
  • Pittsburgh hasn’t won a game in Boston since 11/24/2014, losing 5 straight in regulation since then before at least falling in OT tonight. Perhaps fortunately this is only Pens/Bruins matchup in Beantown this season, so the Pens won’t have a chance to lose another game in Boston until at least next October.
  • The Dominik Simon - Derick Brassard - Zach Aston-Reese line was strong for Pittsburgh. Their Corsi For% was 57-58% each. They were on the ice for 5 scoring chances for, none against. No finish for them on the night (one ZAR shot on a 2-on-1 stands out as an especially good opportunity) but it was good to see that line buzzing at least and doing good things.
  • As usual, some tough times for the Pens regaining structure and getting out of the zone for all pairs not Dumoulin-Letang.
  • Tough game to lose, 5v5 scoring chances were 24-18 Pens, high danger chances were 8-6 Pittsburgh. They didn’t take a single penalty. But Halak (36 saves on 37 shots) happened.
  • Jarry looked good in his first NHL game. He saw a lot of rubber making 35 saves on 37 shots and kept the team in the game when they were unsteady.
  • Rust seemed to get banged up at the tail end of regulation as well.

In the end...At least it’s a point on a night the team only scored 1 goal (and nothing at even strength)? I guess at this point you’ll take it but frustrations probably mount further given the result is another loss.

Still, if you’re looking for a silver lining, the Pens are 1-0-2 in the last three games and that’s a 109-point pace in a full season. Getting something in the standings on the road, against a red hot goalie is better than coming up empty handed. Not sure that’s much consolation with where they’re at right now, but it’s all that there is right now.

There’s no time for delay, as the Pens play tomorrow against a Columbus team that won 4-2 tonight on their own against Toronto. Let’s see if Hornqvist and/or Rust will be able to answer the bell, could be some reinforcements needed from the AHL.