Following a 2-minute penalty for slashing issued to Brian Dumoulin, the outlook the Penguins were facing was grim — the Colorado Avalanche 4-man power play unit featured Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen, and Cale Maker. The Penguins penalty killers were Teddy Blueger, Zach Aston-Reese, and Jack Johnson.
The 3-man unit ended up defending the shorthanded situation well, and ended up getting a nice scoring chance out of it even. Shortly afterwards, Blueger and Aston-Reese came off for a change, and onto the ice came Sam Lafferty and Brandon Tanev.
Fairly quickly, defense turned to offense for the Penguins with Tanev and Lafferty pushing up the ice, with Cale Makar back defending for the Avalanche, as Gabriel Landeskog is trying to get back into the play (OH BOY, WOULD HE EVER)
As Tanev enters the zone, he slows up a little bit, which seems like a good move, given Cale Makar’s skating ability and gap control. Lafferty drives towards the net, forcing Landeskog to stay with him and not attack the puck carrier.
Tanev taps the brakes and moves across to the other side of the ice, just briefly catching Cale Makar flat-footed enough to gain a step on him. Lafferty continues driving the net.
Tanev edges his way around Makar to get himself at least in position to throw a shot on net. Landeskog has defended Lafferty well to this point, and is in front of the net to attempt to clear a loose puck.
Unfortunately for Landeskog (and fortunately for Tanev and the Penguins), that is exactly not what happened, as the puck bounced off Landeskog’s stick and directly across the goal line.
That feeling when you scored your first goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin.
Bounces come and bounces go — the motor to get past a guy like Cale Makar should not be understated. Just being able to get in position to put a shot in play there was the key. Getting the bounce off of Landeskog’s stick is something that will surely happen against the Penguins in the opposite direction at some point during this season, so take it while you can get it. The fact of the matter is that Tanev’s drive (and not to mention his ability to draw penalties) is something the Penguins were sorely missing in their home stretch of the end of the regular season last year, and obviously during their playoff series with the New York Islanders.