Hockey can be a funky sport. It’s a game of chance, luck, bounces and fortune as much as it is anything. After two games between the Penguins and Canadiens the teams are deadlocked with one win a piece.
Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have been clicking, much to be expected, scoring three of the team’s five goals. Kris Letang leads the Pens in ice time. John Marino is playing well. Bryan Rust and Jason Zucker have flashed at moments. All of these things are pretty standard, predictable even.
However there have been a lot of developments that aren’t as predictable. Let’s start with a few and feel free to add your own.
- Evgeni Malkin, no points in two games. Malkin does have a whopping 15 shots in just two games. He hasn’t been playing poorly. But who would have guessed he wouldn’t have found the scoreboard at all? A two game point drought happens, even to the best players, but given how great Malkin looked in July, and has played in August as well, it’s a surprise.
- The Pens’ power play going 1 for 12 and being a tough momentum buster at times for the team. Pittsburgh’s power play wasn’t good good in the regular season, but it was respectable amount.
- 0 goals for Montreal’s top line. The Canadiens are pretty dependent on scoring from their star line of Tomas Tatar, Phillip Danault and Brendan Gallagher. In the regular season they were first, second and fourth on the team in scoring, respectively (and Gallagher would have been higher had he not missed time with injury). Yet Tatar has no points, Danault and Gallagher have an assist a piece.
- Carey Price channeling 2015 mode. It’s no surprise that Carey Price is playing well, he’s one of the most talented goalies in the league. But he hasn’t shown form like this in a while and rocking a .945 save% is quite the different level. The Pens expected goals through two games is over 9. Yet they have just five goals (one of them in an empty net). Price is probably the series MVP through two games.
- Matt Murray regaining a solid playoff form. Similar to Price, Murray was coming off a down year in 2019-20 and an unknown entering the series. But with a .935 save%, Murray is basically matching Price as a very strong presence in net.
- Kotkaniemi’s emergence. If the season played out as normal, Jesperi Kotkaniemi was tabbed to remain in the AHL, perhaps go on a playoff run and gear up for 2020-21. However he found some confidence and has scored a goal in each of the early games of the series. He’s gone up mostly against the Pens’ Jared McCann line, and been the most productive player in the matchup.
If you have other ideas, chuck ‘em in the running, otherwise what’s stood out as the most interesting early development of this series so far?
What’s been the most surprising development so far?
This poll is closed
Evgeni Malkin no points
Heavy struggles of the Pens power play
Montreal’s top line failing to score
Carey Price playing at MVP-caliber level
Matt Murray playing very strong
Jesperi Kotkaniemi producing goals