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Penguins/Canadiens Recap: Poor second period dooms Pittsburgh in 4-1 loss

The Pens give up three straight goals in the second period and end up dropping the game 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images


Here’s how the Penguins look for the game, same lineup as Saturday night, with the exception of Tristan Jarry back in net looking to extend his 2+ game shutout streak.

And here’s how the Canadiens will be:

First period

The Pens strike first and early just 2:59 into the game, the Canadiens pinch in a bit and fumble the puck. In transition, Evgeni Malkin makes a pass up to Bryan Rust who uses his speed to blow past Ben Chariot and basically make it a 2-on-none for the Pens. It’s an easy feed for Rust to put Carey Price in a variable unenviable spot to have to move laterally, opening up a full net for Jake Guentzel to rip it into the net. 1-0 Pittsburgh

The Habs kinda get screwed into a penalty, the linesman verbally warns Max Domi before a faceoff but doesn’t kick him out. Then Domi balks again and the linesman again has to stop to talk to him. Jared McCann alertly skates away, since two misfires = a penalty in one of the dumbest rules on the book. Usually that comes with a player getting tossed out of the circle, which didn’t happen, so the Montreal bench was big mad. Unfortunately for them, the refs followed the letter of the law and rung them up for a penalty.

The Pens didn’t score, and later on in the period Brandon Tanev got his stick slashed out of his hands and Marcus Pettersson was clearly interfered with, with no calls made. So hopefully that was evened out the hard way.

Shots in the first were 10-5 PIT. Controlled play and didn’t really allow Montreal to get much of anything going, with the Pens’ big first line really tipping the balance of the ice and being the best group, by far, on the ice in the first period.

Second period

Early in the second Tristan Jarry sets the Pens’ all-time shutout streak record but his streak is broken on a Montreal power play. After Malkin gets called for a slashing penalty, the Habs strike on their first power play of the game with Tomas Tatar getting the puck on a bit of a broken play after a failed Chad Ruhwedel block pulls Jarry a bit off his angle for a short-side shot to sneak in and tie the game at 1 with 7:38 left in the period.

It was a great run for Jarry though, this goal marked the first he’s given up in the month of December!

Jarry’s next shutout streak doesn’t last four minutes, Joel Armia catches up to a bouncing puck that Kris Letang can’t control and Armia pulls a curl-and-drag move on the rush that beats Jarry with 3:43 left in the second to make the score 2-1 Habs.

Pittsburgh’s nightmare second continues when John Marino doesn’t really track with Shea Weber’s zone entry and allows a free lane for him to cut around the net. Jarry is not prepared to defend cross-crease to take away the wraparound and that’s exactly what Weber does. On his backhand. Weird one. 3-1 MTL with just 14 seconds left.

After so many strong periods in a row, the Pens have a real stinker, giving up three goals on 17 shots and scoring no goals on 11 shots of their own.

Third period

Well, it happened. The Guentzel-Malkin-Rust line was very good and created a few chances on extended zone time. But Price was sharp and they didn’t score.

Montreal did on an empty net at the end to remove any doubt about the outcome.

Two final thoughts

A night of broken streaks. Jarry’s awesome franchise long shutout streak extended for about half the game, then came crashing down in the second. It was a shame the Pens’ good start to the game only netted a 1-0 lead, they were poor in the second as if the game was already decided. Which it wasn’t. As a result, the team’s three game winning streak also came to an end.

Special teams again a major problem. The Pens’ slumping PK gave up a goal on the only chance they saw. The ineffective power play didn’t score in it’s only chance. Throw it into the column of another night where poor special teams dooms Pittsburgh. Any game you don’t have Sidney Crosby, you obviously miss Sidney Crosby, but this one really stands out as a night where having Crosby might have been able to tip the balance of the game earlier on.