Fourth straight game and the fourth straight lineup of skaters in the same order for the Penguins.
Los Angeles starts out with more jump than Pittsburgh and holds onto the puck a lot early and gets the game’s first four shots. So, wouldn’t you know it, an innocent enough looking play and low velocity shot by Jan Rutta ends up eluding goalie Cal Petersen and slips right into the net.
The rest of the period features bad process for the Pens, but good results. At one point shots are 11-3 in favor of LA, who pretty much owned the puck. Pittsburgh had no ability to break out of their zone and were trapped for extended periods. They went over six minutes without a shot.
Naturally, it’s Pittsburgh who scores. Finally getting the puck into the offensive zone, Kris Letang makes a nice pinch and extends the play with his legs. Petersen slides out of the net and it’s an easy finish for Jake Guentzel from in the paint for his third goal of the season into a net only guarded by Drew Doughty to make the score 2-0 in favor of the Penguins. It could easily have been 2-0 for LA based on the number of chances in each direction, but what can ya do?
The Pens tack on another, and it’s more great work from right in front. Jeff Petry rips a shot from the point and the puck is left loose in the crease. Rickard Rakell makes a great effort to drive to it and gracefully fling it into the net as he jumps and crashes down. Pretty play and it’s 3-0 home team with the visitors understandably wondering just how this game could have possibly unfolded like this.
Shots in the first end up 16-9, with the ice slanted towards LA’s favor. The scoreboard, however, tells a much different story with a 3-0 Penguin lead after 20.
Jonathan Quick replaces Petersen for the start of the second period. It comes in handy, Quick makes a great stick save to stymie Sidney Crosby on the power play. Unfortunately for Quick though, the second Pittsburgh power play converts later on. This time it’s Jeff Petry striking from distance (with Zucker again in front of the net) to extend the lead to 4-0.
Bryan Rust appears to score, but bumped Quick too much so it doesn’t count and the score stays 4-0. LA gets their first power play of the game soon after and it is a potential real changing point for a game that was close to being 5-0 suddenly shifting into a possible 4-1, but Tristan Jarry and the Pens’ PK doing the job.
Guentzel sends the Pens back to the PK for four minutes following an offensive zone high stick, but Jarry is excellent as the second ends to keep the Kings at bay.
Shots in the second period were 16-13 LA, and 32-22 overall, but Jarry’s control and command through 40 was flawless.
The Pens kill off the rest of the Guentzel penalty and then strike again. Kasperi Kapanen springs Jeff Carter on a mini-breakaway after Carter slipped behind the defense. The wily vet beat his two-time Stanley Cup winning teammate in Quick with a smooth finish to the five hole to put the Pens’ fifth goal of the night.
That's a big burst of speed from Big Jeff Carter.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 21, 2022
He makes his former team pay and gives the Penguins the 5-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/haoJxeu2NS
Crosby take an offensive zone penalty, but it doesn’t even matter on a night like this. Ryan Poehling joins the “first goal on the team” club by picking off a pass and then firing a slap shot through Quick’s blocker side. 6-0 Pens.
Guess how many Penguins have points tonight?— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 21, 2022
Spoiler: It's 13. The answer is 13. pic.twitter.com/oz1CUW1VZa
Guentzel takes some pain, catching a high check from Brendan Lemieux and then catching the puck with his ear via a slapshot from Kris Letang that bloodied him and would knock him out of the game.
Pierre-Olivier Joseph takes a late penalty, and on the Kings’ 40th shot of the night, they finally beat Jarry for a goal. Makes the game 6-1, which only matters to ruin the shutout and anyone who bet the over.
- There was a lot to be nonplussed with regarding the Pens’ forecheck and ability to exit the zone in the first period. Perhaps just general energy and apparent “give a crap” levels. But once they got the puck in the Kings’ end, good things started. And check all the early goals they have something in common: Zucker right in front of the goalie (still think he tipped it). Guentzel scores literally in the crease. Rakell scores, again, right in the crease. It can be a fairly simple formula in the NHL to score goals, you go to the front of the net. When the Penguins could actually get there, it was adding up nicely.
- Pittsburgh’s fourth goal? Zucker again right in front of the goalie. Didn’t get a point on that play, but it doesn’t matter. Zucker is going to the net, good things are happening. His start to this season has been so encouraging after all this time and mis-fires along the way.
- Rutta had 12 career goals in 241 games coming into tonight. In 158 regular season games in Tampa for his last stop, he scored all of four goals there. (Rutta did add three goals in 49 playoff games, really steps it up when it counts!)...Now Rutta gets his first career goal as a Penguin at the beginning of his fourth game. Probably should warn the rest of the boys not to get used to it — but, hey, good sign for him to get pucks to the net when the screens arrive. Can’t go wrong with that.
- Rutta scoring a goal before Petry as a Penguin was not something I would have chosen on my bingo card. Luckily Petry didn’t wait too much longer before he got his first of the season. Here’s betting he’ll get his second goal before Rutta..
- Nice of Poehling to join the party on “new guy score a goal night” too. Now every skater on the team has scored for the Pens (counting Josh Archibald’s first stint).
- Great job by Jarry to hold the team in early when they were not playing well. The Kings were in the “more quantity than quality” train of thought though, with 26 shot attempts, 14 shots on goal, 2 high danger chances and an expected goals of 0.53 (per Natural Stat Trick). They were flinging a lot of rubber in the direction of the goalie, which can be its own danger, but overall not many looks were coming from the center/slot or inside areas. Still, without a quality goaltending performance, the Pens don’t escape the first period unscathed and the rest of the game unfolds much less favorably from there. Great night from Jarry to just quietly go about his business of holding his team in the game, as is usually the case.
- As soon as the Pens took that late penalty, did anyone else just feel the dread that the shutout bid was about to end? That was a sinking feeling. And a cheesy goal to boot (aren’t they always in this situation) with the puck going off the back of the skate and right to the open trailing player. Sucks for Jarry, he deserved the shutout but will have to settle for the dominant win. On a good note, another game passes with Jarry keeping the sheet clean at 5v5.
Three home games, and three games of scoring six goals a piece. The Pens are a juggernaut at PPG right now, but the next five games they will be away from the friendly confines and having to embrace new environments and challenges.