Playing for a second time in as many days, the Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t look quite like they had their “A” game going on Saturday night, but they still found a way to grind out a 1-0 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.
The only goal of the game would come fairly early in the first period. Zach Aston-Reese made a nice zone entry and an impressive cross-ice pass over to Brock McGinn. McGinn quickly one-timed a shot to score goal for the second game in a row to put the Pens ahead 5:12 into the game.
BROCK ON pic.twitter.com/fXzS2bRi6v— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 12, 2021
It turned out, they wouldn’t need any more. Backup goalie Casey DeSmith posted a shutout, stopping all 33 Anaheim shots he saw. DeSmith put an exclamation point on the game, kicking out a Ryan Getzlaf drive in the closing seconds of the contest.
For the Pens, the key for tonight was a team effort after a taxing, fulfilling but draining victory last night in Washington. Coming back home to play against a random Western Conference team would be a challenge to “get up” for, but they found a way.
Zach Aston-Reese said they talked before the game about re-investing their emotions following a road win over rival Washington last night. "We knew tonight was gonna be a battle, and I think all the guys took pride in that. It was a good team win."— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) December 12, 2021
That was a good way to put it by Aston-Reese, it was a nice team win for the Pens to dig deep, and do what it took to secure a win. Mission accomplished for a fourth straight win.
- The Pens were pretty lucky to get out of this one unscathed. Anaheim’s Troy Terry was probably the most dynamic player in the game, using his legs and hands to dance around Brian Dumoulin and forcing DeSmith to stop him. Later, Terry deked right around Kris Letang, but fortunately the puck rolled off Terry’s stick before he could tuck it around DeSmith. Terry had a game-high five shots on goal and seven total shot attempts. It seemed like a matter of time before he scored, but he ran out of time and DeSmith was there to deny him.
- Two more successful penalty kills tonight to run the tally up to 30 straight PKs for the Pens. The franchise-record streak if now up to 13 games and counting without conceding a goal while shorthanded, and it hasn’t shown and signs of running out of gas either.
- As Grover pointed out, tonight is the fourth time already the Pens have recorded a GWG within the first six minutes of a game. When they jump out to a lead (now 13-1-0 this year when scoring first), this team is very tough to beat with a good defensive structure and lately some incredible goaltending.
- And a lot of that credit has to go to coaching. No Malkin, no Guentzel, no Rust. Back-to-back with travel, while the Ducks just sat in Pittsburgh yesterday waiting on the Pens to get back into town. The Pens found a way to pull out the W, despite a lot chalked up against them in this one. It’s a direct reflection of how the Pens are prepared and coached.
- The alternate jerseys looked really sharp on the ice again after all these years.
Just a couple veterans throwing it back. pic.twitter.com/CL1ayOCTp7— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 12, 2021
Two big wins will make for a very successful weekend and now the Pens get to rest up a bit and prepare for the Montreal Canadiens coming to town on Tuesday night.