Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena, the Penguins defense did not show up well enough in front of goaltender Matt Murray, allowing the Winnipeg Jets to score four times en route to a victory over the home team, who are 1-2 after three games played.
What is going on with this team defensively? (aside from the lack of quality defenders in the lineup).
Did Matt Murray have a flat-out bad performance? Did the defense hang him out to dry? Was it a little of both? Let’s take a look.
On the first Winnipeg goal of the game scored by Ville Heinola, the Penguins found themselves chasing the puck, with four players on one side of the ice. In a scramble to get back in position, Heinola was met with a fantastic pass from below the dots and put a shot on net that Matt Murray had clear sight of and should have stopped. The defensive alignment ended up allowing Heinola a clear look at net, but it was in Murray’s sights the whole way.
On Winnipeg’s second goal that was scored unassisted by Nikolaj Ehlers, a horrific zone exit pass was the main flaw here, sending him into the zone untouched where he was able to get a great shot past Matt Murray. What in the world were you thinking here, Zach Aston-Reese?
Ehlers played the angle perfectly, using the screen to his advantage against Murray, and wiring a clean shot inside the post.
Next up: an unmitigated tire fire! On this goal scored by Tucker Poolman (who may or may not be a real person), the Penguins were chasing the puck left and right, back and forth, any and every which way.
Jesse Marshall, of The Athletic Pittsburgh, broke this down a little more detail.
Here's the Penguins defensive effort in a nutshell. An entire five man unit just puck watching. Poolman entirely unaccounted for as he sneaks in a scoring area. No attention to detail. pic.twitter.com/PkVrC6NODp— Jesse Marshall (@jmarshfof) October 9, 2019
Lastly, on the final Winnipeg goal of the night, Neal Pionk was able to get all up in Murray’s business without any pushback from any of the Penguins around him.
All in all, the Penguins need to do an inherently better job in front of and around Matt Murray, but the fact of the matter is until the personnel changes, I’m not sure you can expect much better.