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Penguins/Bruins Recap: Slow start dooms Pens in 2-1 loss

Pittsburgh gives up two goals in the first two minutes of the game and never is able to get on track after that, losing in Boston by a 2-1 final score

NHL: Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Casey DeSmith experience got off to a horrible start, with the Bruins scoring two almost identical goals in the first 2:01 of the game. Just 49 seconds into the contest, Boston got on the board. Craig Smith fired a high, hard shot that DeSmith couldn’t handle the rebound and also lost his crease, sliding right out. That opened up plenty of space for Trent Frederic to just tap in an easy goal.

Two shifts later, a similar play bit DeSmith, who again couldn’t control a rebound or stay anchored in his crease and Erik Haula follows up on his initial shot and centers a puck that bounces into the unguarded cage to make it 2-0 Boston in the early moments of the game.

Unsurprisingly, the Pens responded with a deflated effort in the first period, on their way to being out-shot 11-6 in the opening frame. DeSmith actually responded and made a few really nice saves to keep his team somewhat within striking distance.

That would come in handy in the second period, former Bruin Danton Heinen — who scored two goals against his ex-team in the first matchup of the season — popped back up again with another goal. Teddy Blueger dropped the puck and high in the zone Heinen was able to release a quick shot that Bruin goalie Jeremy Swayman could not pick up to get Pittsburgh on the board.

From there, neither team would score again over the last 35+ minutes on the contest, despite a few power plays and chances here and there. The Pens’ last chance of pulling DeSmith for an extra attacker couldn’t find a goal before time expired.

Not the most fun game to watch or witness. The Penguins get four days off now to rest and regroup.

Some thoughts

  • The Casey DeSmith era as injury-promoted starting goalie with Tristan Jarry out week-to-week got off to a rotten start. The start today was simply not NHL caliber goaltending. Luckily he got it together for the rest of the way, but spotting the other team two really easy goals early makes winning at this level almost impossible.
  • Down 2-1 and about mid-way through the second, Pittsburgh had two power plays and a magnificent opportunity to tie the game. It slipped through their fingers, too. A third chance in the third period went by the wayside as well.
  • Heinen scored against his former team again, setting a new career-high of 17 goals along the way. Heinen been a very streaky scorer for the Pens, this is his second streak of scoring a goal in three-straight games (which he accomplished in the very first three games of the season). The streak is hot right now.
  • Quiet game from the Pens’ offense. The Zucker-Carter-Rust line only combined for one shot on goal (by Zucker). Five of the defensemen (Letang, Matheson, Marino, Dumoulin and Ruhwedel) combined for two total shots. Just not a lot going on from anyone. The level of McGinn, Kapanen, Rodrigues type players were mighty invisible as well.
  • The members of the Guentzel-Crosby-Rakell line did generate 11 of the team’s 24 shots, but were all held off the scoreboard. There’s a lot of pressure on those guys to produce right now, and when they don’t, chances are the Pens are going to lose.

Overall, a dull game and the Pens absorb a loss, at the end of a hectic stretch that saw them play seven games in 12 days. It still feels like the bigger loss came earlier in the day, with the announcement that Jarry’s injury will have him sidelined for a week-to-week basis.