Both Jake Guentzel and Jason Zucker are able to return for the Penguins in a happy occurrence. Casey DeSmith is in the net on the second half of the back-to-back.
No goal, no penalties in a drab first. The Kraken out-shoot the Pens 12-9.
Seattle scores on DeSmith, but Sullivan challenges from the bench for off-side and (as usual) he is correct. No goal on the play.
Guentzel gets on the board in his return to open the scoring. An ill-advised pass from Jamie Oleksiak lands right on Jake’s blade and he rushes down the ice and fires five-hole on Martin Jones and the visitors take the 1-0 lead.
It doesn’t last long, as the Kraken score on DeSmith again. But wait - there was an uncalled high stick played on the puck by a Seattle player that the Pens’ notice. A second video review leads to a second wash out of a goal.
But Sullivan can’t save DeSmith and the Pens’ defense forever. Jan Rutta loses the puck behind his net, Pierre-Olivier Joseph is doing...well, not really sure what he’s doing out front and it’s an easy tap in for Penguin killer Jordan Eberle, who is given the whole net by DeSmith to work with. In the replay, DeSmith is no where to be seen after sliding all the way out of the crase. 1-1 game.
Before the intermission, Pittsburgh gives another gift to the Kraken. Kasperi Kapanen throws a dreadful spinning backhand pass through the middle of the ice that is perfect for Vince Dunn to intercept and start the counter-attack. Daniel Sprong puts a soft shot on goal that DeSmith leaves a big juicy rebound from. Morgan Geekie pounces on it and buries it to the top of the net and the Kraken have a 2-1 lead.
Seattle out-shoots the Pens 11-8 in the period, and 23-17 overall.
The Pens can’t score to start the third on a power play, but Martin Jones isn’t having it with Sidney Crosby in this game.
A bit later Kris Letang gets beat and has to take a penalty to give Seattle a chance. They hit a post but can’t score.
Danton Heinen matches that with a post of his own.
The Pens pull DeSmith and Crosby at the front of the net can’t make it go. That’s as close as they get because Jaden Schwarz hits the empty net from long range to tack on insurance and set the final at a 3-1 score.
- Jeff Carter did not return for the second period after apparently suffering some sort of injury in the first period of the game. Nothing blatant stood out.
- Is a game going to go by where Josh Archibald isn’t going to go to the penalty box? At least he also drew a power play in the second period to even it out.
- DeSmith needs to buy Sullivan and the video review staff dinner after getting two goals off the board in this game. You can always tell it’s going to be a choppy DeSmith game when he doesn’t have a good grasp on staying anchored at least somewhere near the crease and that was on display several times.
- No points in now three games for Sidney Crosby, you don’t see that all the time. Jones totally robbed Crosby early in the third on the power play — huge turning point in the game. It’s crazy how good Martin Jones is against the Penguins lately.
- As a result of the Carter injury, Crosby had to play 22:33 tonight. This coming after playing over 23 minutes just last night in Vancouver. As Steve Mears on the AT&T Sportsnet broadcast pointed out, that would be among his high marks in TOI from last season. Lots of heavy minutes on the captain these days early in the season.
- Did the Penguins leave their game in the Eastern time zone? I guess we’ll see. Just a sloppy trip, the defenders always seem to be about a beat behind and the attackers are not making the best of choices with the puck, and they’re paying big time.
- Tonight was the second game in a row Sullivan experimented with in-game defensive pair changes. Joseph again jumped up to join Letang, Dumoulin was partnered with Petry and Pettersson worked with Rutta. It remains to be seen if he’ll have more of an appetite to stick with these for a while, or just feels it’s a lever worth pulling only when the established pairs aren’t performing well.
The good news is the dreadful road trip is now over. Pittsburgh returns back home, but the bad news is they will be seeing one of the league’s hottest teams in the Boston Bruins when they get back at it on Tuesday.