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Penguins/Canucks Recap: A nothin’ happenin’ night. Pens lose 5-1

It doesn’t feel like a lopsided game, but the score ends up that way as Pittsburgh loses a third straight game.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Vancouver Canucks Photo by Derek Cain/Getty Images


The Penguins shuffle in P.O. Joseph back in the lineup for Chad Ruhwedel and Tristan Jarry gets the start.

First period

Not much of a start for either team, Josh Archibald takes an offensive zone penalty 7:32 into the game but it is quickly neutralized by J.T. Miller of the Canucks taking a penalty of his own shortly thereafter to even it up.

Not long after those penalties wash out, Joseph goes to the box for a minor and while the Penguins kill it off, soon after it’s over ex-Penguin Tanner Pearson taps in a hard pass from Ilya Mikheyev to open the scoring for Vancouver.

In the last minute of the period, Mike Sullivan elects for a rare decision from him: uniting Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby at even strength for an offensive-zone faceoff. It backfires, as Malkin gets a penalty for hitting Miller on some retribution for Miller smacking Geno a bit after a play.

But Pittsburgh makes it to intermission. Score is 1-0 VAN, shots are 10-5 Canucks. Jarry made a few nice saves along the way, but the Pens did very little to get sustained pressure on goalie Spencer Martin.

Second period

While still on the power play from the Malkin penalty, Vancouver strikes early. Ryan Poehling tries a wrap-around on the rush and the play goes the other way. It results in Bo Horvat having space and he blows a quick shot past Jarry to extend the Canucks’ lead to 2-0 just 32 seconds into the second.

Pittsburgh gets their first full power play and extended look for the first group, they get some zone time but no dice.

Miller goes back to the box for high-sticking Crosby and this time the Pens’ PP gets on the board. Evgeni Malkin passes over for Bryan Rust who shoots it on net. Goalie Martin can’t control the rebound and Rickard Rakell is there to quickly swipe in the loose puck to bring the score to 2-1.

The Pens go right back to the power play when Tyler Myers roughs up Poehling. No results but lots more zone time. Conor Garland blasts a slapper just as time expires, it beats Jarry but doesn’t beat the clock so the period ends at a 2-1 Vancouver lead.

Shots after two are 20-19 in favor of Pittsburgh.

Third period

The third starts with a fast pace and no whistles in the first seven minutes with the Pens mainly controlling play and pressing hard to make it happen.

Elias Pettersson intercepts a Danton Heinen clearing attempt and before long the puck gets to the point. Luke Schenn fires and Andrei Kuzmenko catches a piece of it in front to deflect in past Jarry and extend Vancouver’s lead to 3-1 with 9:31 left in the game.

With time running down, Josh Archibald takes Kyle Burroughs hard into the boards for a minor with 3:32 remaining. Horavat get some insurance with a power play goal tipped in from an Oliver Ekman-Larsson shot.

Frustrations boil over with Bryan Rust roughing Ekman-Larsson and they both go to the penalty box. The Pens pull their goalie for a 5v4. Miller scores a long range empty netter to make the score look worse at 5-1.

Some thoughts

  • Early in the second period, Danton Heinen jumped up on the Crosby-Rust line and Rickard Rakell moved down with Malkin-Carter. It’s probably been a long time coming, Rakell only had 1G+1A at 5v5 with the Crosby line in 7+ games to start the season.
  • The one change the Pens would really like to make has to be having No. 59 back in there. Really missing Jake Guentzel in a game like this one where they’re chasing a goal.
  • Two offensive zone penalties for Archibald tonight. Gotta drive the coaches crazy with that.
  • Just tough times for the Pens, try as they may right now not much is going right and timely turnovers or penalties are seeing the puck end up in their net.
  • Spencer Martin ends up with a good night stopping 34/35 shots, but it didn’t really seem like there were that many difficult ones or extremely good chances.

It hasn’t been a great Western swing so far, but the Pens get one more crack at it tomorrow night in Seattle.