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Pens/Canucks Recap: Thankful for a fourth straight win. Pittsburgh downs Vancouver 4-1

A three goal outburst in the second period spurs the Pens on to another win as they defeat the Vancouver Canucks by a 4-1 final score

NHL: NOV 24 Canucks at Penguins Photo by Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Pregame

It’s the same lineup we’ve been used to seeing the past few games for the Penguins, down to Tristan Jarry back between the pipes.

First period

Just 3:25 in the Canucks started what would be a game-long parade to the penalty box. The Pens didn’t score on this one but kept up the pressure and had a strong first period, continuing their strong run of play over the last year.

The best chance in the first with Pittsburgh on the power play might have gone for Vancouver, but fortunately Tristan Jarry held firm and kept the puck out.

Overall though, at 5v5, it was a strong period for the Pens who threw 16 shots at Thatcher Demko and the Vancouver goalie was very strong early. Jarry was just as good, making nine saves in a scoreless first.

Second period

The second wouldn’t stay scoreless for long. Bryan Rust notched just his second goal of the season 49 seconds into the middle frame on a carryover power play from the first period. Behold, a Pens PP goal! God bless us, every one! (Oops, wrong holiday).

Pittsburgh added a second goal a few minutes later when Vancouver just showed no interest in pressuring Evan Rodrigues at all, so he took advantage of it, stepped into a shot that was really well placed. 2-0 Pens. Just watch this and what are Tyler Myers (57) and especially Vasily Podkolzin (92) thinking? Great snipe by Rodrigues, but nice of the Canucks to be in the giving spirit to allow him all that time and space.

Before the period could end, the Pens tack on a third goal. Nice play by Teddy Blueger to win a puck ahead for his linemates who go ahead on a rush. Brock McGinn feeds Zach Aston-Reese who (wipes eyes), actually finishes?!?! It’s Aston-Reese’s first goal of the season, a Christmas miracle! Gah, again, getting ahead here on holidays.

Jarry was very good in the middle frame, stopping all 16 shots that Vancouver threw at him. Pittsburgh had a ton of pressure and chances on Demko, and it felt like it was just a matter of time before they opened up the dam and that did happen with three tallies in the second period.

Third period

It takes the Canucks ten minutes into the period to get any shots, but then they get two in quick succession but the lack of work and then quick testing can’t fool Jarry who stays sharp.

With 5:08 left, Bo Horvat spoils Jarry’s latest 100+ minute shutout streak with a great effort to take the puck in by himself and place a great shot into the net after a power move. 3-1 Pens to give the Canucks just the slightest sliver of hope.

Not much drama though, VAN pulls the goalie and McGinn sets the turkey on the table with an empty netter to make it 4-1. Finally got it right!

Some thoughts

  • Nice to see some fresh faces get in the action and kick in. It’s been a rough year for Aston-Reese, who seemed to take the longest to bounce back from his bout with COVID earlier. Great to see him get on the board, goals tend to come in flurries, maybe he will get another here soon.
  • Similarly, Rust has been great at setting up goals, but only had scored once of his own before tonight. It’s been all Guentzel, Guentzel, Guentzel lately with a five-goal scoring streak snapped tonight for Jake. Good to see the “other” first line winger keep that streak alive at least for the top line.
  • Jarry is a treat right now to watch. He has been all season really, outside of one or two poor outings (which were also poor for everyone else on the team). He’s been in the zone and his confidence seems to be growing and picking up momentum as the season goes along.
  • Win streak up to four, and the Pens have been in a great groove and rhythm with their game lately. It’s great to see the process bring results as of lately.
  • Evan Rodrigues’ career-high in goals is nine. He’s already at seven (in just 19 games) this season, with 14 points to boot. Everything just clicking for him right now, like Jesse Marshall remarked tonight really aptly, it’s like a light bulb went off for the 28-year old. Tough to explain or figure out, but impossible to not see or recognize. Just a very capable player right now playing a tremendous game every night.

The Pens are in a groove, and it’s a good thing because the games are coming fast and furious right now for them. It’s over to the Island on Friday before coming back to the ‘Burgh for a game against Montreal on Saturday. Lots of action coming up, but now that it’s a four-game winning streak to keep rolling with. Happy Thanksgiving!