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Recap: It’s Jake Guentzel’s world, we just live in it. Pens win 4-1

Jake Guentzel records a hat trick and adds an assist as the Penguins beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-1

Pittsburgh Penguins v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images


The Penguins mix up the lines a little and sit Sam Lafferty to get Drew O’Connor back into a game.

First period

A fairly quiet first period. Pittsburgh plays pretty well and gets the majority of the shots and chances, but no goals. The Pens get the game’s first power play when Brock Boeser slashes Teddy Blueger. It’s short-lived after Kris Letang takes a retaliation minor to even things out. No harm or foul though.

Shots in the first are 12-7 PIT.

Second period

Early in the second, Jake Guentzel extends the NHL’s longest point streak to 12 games. It’s a fortunate bounce as Brian Dumoulin’s slap shot drive bounces right over to Guentzel who quickly throws the puck on net. Oliver Ekman-Larsson is tying Sidney Crosby up in front of the net, but the puck bounces off him and past goalie Thatcher Demko. 1-0 Penguins.

The Canucks get the first long power play of the game and while the Pens’ league-best penalty kill does kill it off, Vancouver scores just after it expires. Ekman-Larsson shoots and Vasily Podkolzin gets a stick on it with some Tanner Pearson traffic in front the puck ramps up over Tristan Jarry’s shoulder and flutters into the net. 1-1 game.

JT Miller goes to the penalty box to give the Pens what ends up being their first long power play and though they get some looks, no goals. Pittsburgh gets another chance at a power play. No dice. Vancouver had a historically bad 64.5% PK coming into tonight.

It’s another Pens’ PP when Tyler Myers closes his hand on the puck. Then while hounding Letang on the forecheck, Tyler Motte goes for cross-checking, giving Pittsburgh a 90 second 5v3. Vancouver has no more Tylers left to get a penalty, so a Tucker has to suffice when Tucker Poolman clears the puck over the glass for just obscene 5v3 time.

Guentzel strikes again for his second goal of the game, and the second goal that again hits off Ekman-Larsson on the way to the net. 2-1 Pens now and they keep a 5v3 power play.

Guentzel completes his hat trick, still on the 5v3 as the Pens have just worn out Demko and the Canucks. Another shot that goes off a Vancouver defender, Luke Schenn this time trying to block a shot, but only makes life worse on his goalie. 3-1 Pens.

Pittsburgh still has 51 seconds left on a power play

Shots are 34-12 Pens after two periods. 12 shots on the power play have skewed things, but it’s still a 2-1 margin otherwise. But no matter how it happened, Pittsburgh broke the game open courtesy of Guentzel and the power play.

Third period

The Pens put it in neutral and start coasting a bit. Jarry picks up the slack stopping a 2-on-1 and a few more when Vancouver gets the first five shots of the third period.

The first line gets back at it, after Guentzel bumps a pass over for Letang, the defender uses his vision to make a sweet cross-ice pass and then it’s just an easy tap-in for Crosby. 4-1 Pens.

The refs ring John Marino up for a penalty with three minutes left, because, sure, why not. Vancouver pulls Demko to make it a 6v4 edge. It doesn’t work. Game over.

Some thoughts

  • Vancouver has the worst PK in the league, and you could see why in this game. They had some bad luck (broken sticks, puck cleared over glass) but made their breaks worse by having players be too aggressive for no reason, or panic and close hands on the puck. When nothing is going right, nothing is going right.
  • There’s some twisted humor where we write about how so many other top players are having no finishing luck/ability right now, and then Guentzel is just firing three pucks in off opponents and it ends up in the net. Helps when a player is shooting a lot, but just funny how for Guentzel (12 game point streak) everything is going right. For many others, not so much.
  • In addition to that 12 games in a row point streak for Guentzel, he also has another streak of at least a point in all 11 of the Pens’ road games this season. And it’s 10G+6A in those 11 road games this season. That’s some silly numbers right there.
  • Crosby got two assists on the second and third Guentzel goals to move Sid up to 1,335 career points. That ties Mike Gartner for 32nd all-time. Sid’s third period goal moved him past Gartner with 1,336 points.
  • From Bob Grove, the Pens had not scored on their last seven 5v3 situations. That feels impossible. Guentzel notched two 5v3 goals tonight.
  • Per the Sportsnet broadcast, the Pens fired 22 shots on goal in the second period, only Florida (23 vs Colorado) have had a more prolific shooting period this season. Vancouver taking five penalties in that period helped out quite a bit.
  • Very loud “Fire Benning!” chants in the last minute of the game directed by the fans about the general manager. Tough times in Vancouver tonight.

Pittsburgh gets one more win out of Canada to go 1-1-1 in the western portion of the neighbor to the north. Next up: seeing some old friends in Brandon Tanev and Jared McCann and playing Seattle for the first time on Monday night.