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Recap: Guentzel’s goal cracks scoreless tie. Pens down Bruins 1-0

The Penguins and Bruins square up in a tightly fought defensive matchup on Sunday afternoon. Pittsburgh skates away with a 1-0 win.

NHL: Boston Bruins at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


The Penguins are able to use the same lineup as last game, which is a fortunate thing considering it looked like Kasperi Kapanen and Teddy Blueger suffered some various little nicks along the way yesterday. Tristan Jarry in net.

First period

A very even first period. Each team records 10 shots on goal. No penalties or goals happen, just a nice, solid period of hockey. Jarry and Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman are solid, both teams skate hard. It’s not a period devoid of entertaining hockey, just not a lot of noteworthy events.

Second period

The second is a lot like the first. Both teams are battling hard, no penalties and no goals are scored. Shots are 11-8 Pittsburgh and it feels like the Pens do control the better and more numerous chances and have possession of the puck a bit more. But they can’t solve Swayman just yet.

Third period

4:03 in, mercifully, we have a goal. Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel work a give and go. Crosby from deep on the left side passes back to Guentzel. It looks a lot like the setup of the famous Chris Kunitz 2017 2OT Game 7 goal. Except where Kunitz’s shot was flubbed and a fluttering puck that went short-side, Guentzel’s release is much cleaner and harder and straight to the far corner. 1-0 Pens.

The game continues on as both teams intensely keep going. Boston eventually pulls Swayman but Guentzel gets high-sticked by Patrice Bergeron and the refs have no choice but to call the first power play of the game with just 1:28.

That essentially ends the game, as the Bruins pull the goalie again to make it a 5v5 on ice but the Pens can’t score and the final whistle blows.

Some thoughts

  • According to the NBC broadcast this was the first NHL game all season with both zero goals and zero penalties in the first two periods of the game. There was a lot of good skating and action and puck management and smart backchecking and good structure by both teams. there wasn’t any goal scoring action.
  • It kinda felt like a heavyweight boxing match with great footwork, and both teams just sending in some jabs all day long, testing their opponent but never getting to have any huge explosive shots. No huge haymakers attempted or landed, at least until Crosby setup Guentzel. Just an almost cautious but more-so technically sound performance from both teams today. You don’t see that too often in the NHL, but two solid teams with excellent control just kinda punched and counter-punched all game long.
  • Jarry was solid in his first shutout of the year, stopping 30 Bruins shots. Other than that dreadful third period against New Jersey last week, it really feels like Jarry is playing so strongly and rounding into a top form right now, just in time for the playoffs. The Pens have to be thrilled about their goaltending situation now.
  • Pittsburgh played yesterday, Boston didn’t. And yet, the Pens were probably the better team in the second and third periods. There is always a worry a team on a b-2-b when the other isn’t might fade or get too heavy of legs later in the game, but that wasn’t the case for Pittsburgh. They did well to keep it up and play a full 60 minutes.
  • Speaking of, a look at how Pittsburgh kept Boston away from the net, and did well to get there themselves. This look is doubly important given that the first 59 minutes of the game was played at 5v5:
  • They didn’t score, but the Jeff Carter line had another great game with carrying the expected goals rate. Jason Zucker seems a little snake bit, he had a few great chances here today. If this line keeps it up, they will be cashing in pretty soon.
  • Kapanen was a fireball of energy too with a team-high 5 shots on goal (in just 14:23) and throwing his body around. Great to see his energy level high after falling face first yesterday.

Well, this game was an intense, high-speed defensive chess match for a full 60 minutes between two solid teams. It’s funny that the last time these teams met it was a 7-5 game. Today was the total opposite style of game. The Pens and Bruins get a rematch on Tuesday for their last regular season battle.