After a very bad team effort last night in Columbus, the Penguins switch the lineup up a bit. Joseph Blandisi is with the team and able to take over at forward for the misplaced Juuso Riikola, and Chad Ruhwedel cycles back in for Zach Trotman on defense. Matt Murray is in net after Tristan Jarry was last night.
Early in, Brian Dumoulin leaves the game with a lower body injury after getting tangled up and needing assistance to get to the back on his first shift. Dumo would not return. Yoi and double yoi!
After an even start, Ruhwedel takes a slashing penalty (which won’t endear his cause to staying in the lineup). The Blues hit a cross-bar on Murray, who makes two more big stops and the penalty expires. But the Pens can’t escape the sequence, Ryan O’Reilly shrugs off Jared McCann and finds Justin Faulk at the right point. About three seconds after bowling Murray over, Zach Sanford sets up shot right in front of him and Jack Johnson can’t move him away (imagine!) and Faulk’s shot beats Murray over the pad. 1-0 St. Louis 7:52 in.
Dominik Simon gets a few good chances from in front, but Jordan Binnington is there to match them.
In a scary moment, and reminiscent of what happened to Olli Maatta a few years back, Brandon Tanev takes a tumbles through an open door on the Penguins’ bench, which is never a pretty sight or good thing. Luckily Tanev doesn’t miss a shift on a play that looked like it could have been pretty bad news.
Shots in the first are 9-7 STL.
Pittsburgh gets on the board, Sam Lafferty absolutely clowns former Penguin Derrick Pouliot, then Lafferty dekes to his forehand and tucks the puck in past Binnington to make it a tie 1-1 game.
BUY SAM A DRINK AND GET HIS DOG ONE TOO!— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 1, 2019
Sam Lafferty flies past Pouliot and beats Binnington. He makes it look easy. Sensational goal. pic.twitter.com/et1BNYzrZK
Pouliot continues the best game he’s ever had for the Penguins when he very blatantly trips Joseph Blandisi but the Pens can’t score on the ensuing power play.
The Blues strike next though, Nathan Walker and Jack Johnson both swing at a floating puck (guess which one succeeds) and the result is a puck that bounces off the ice and skitters past Murray. 2-1 STL.
Shots on goal in the 2nd are 19-8 Pens, big advantage there, but it’s the Blues that carry a 2-1 lead into the second intermission.
Third doesn’t start better, Murray is beyond the top of his crease but Ivan Barbashev beats him anyways up high to make it 3-1 just 2:54 in.
The Blues push the lead further, Jacob de la Rose throws a pass through Jack Johnson and Mackenzie MacEachern is there on the doorstep to shovel it home and make it 4-1.
The Pens get a goal back at just over 7 minutes left, on only their 4th shot of the period when Kris Letang scores. Yay. 4-2.
The More You Know ⭐️ →— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 1, 2019
Kris Letang has 13 points (2G-11A) in 15 career games against the Blues. He also has goals in three straight games. pic.twitter.com/TvdAnSZZYD
Chad Ruhwedel takes a second penalty of the night (cool!) and the Blues eliminate drama that wasn’t there in the result of this one. David Perron makes a great pass down to Jaden Schwartz who is all alone and can flip one more past Murray. 5-2.
Thankfully, that’s it for this game.
Three final thoughts
Swimming upstream. The Dumoulin injury on the very first shift hurt big time. Ironically enough, the Pens dressed 7 defensemen last night and would have been able to withstand it a little more easily yesterday. Instead, tonight they had to play with 5D pretty much the whole game, and the missing man was a very important one. It showed. Dumoulin’s absence meant more ice time for Jack Johnson who was on ice for 3 of the 5 STL goals on the night.
More power play struggles. With the score tied 1-1 Pittsburgh got a power play in the second period. They had another when losing 2-1 in the second period. Get a goal there, it changes the course of the game. They...didn’t get a goal and the man-advantage again proves to be opportunities lost for the Pens right now.
Two painful days. The Pens went 0-2-0 in the last two days. Worst than that, they lost both Brian/Bryan’s to injury. Not to repeat the earlier talking point, but that’s pretty much all that matters was the bad news to suffer more injuries on top of the Crosby, Bjugstad, Schultz important injuries they already have. Tough weekend for the Pens.
Now, at least, three days of rest before the next game. Hopefully a Brian/Bryan (or two!) will be back.