Early day of hockey, the Penguins are going with the following lineup. Noel Acciari is back after a missing one game. Tristan Jarry in the cage.
Meanwhile, the Seattle Kraken bring a nine-game winning streak into the game but are without some key players due to injury. No Matty Berniers or Andre Burakovsky and their leading pont-scorer Vince Dunn is out too.
Not much happening early, aside from Brian Dumoulin getting his welcome back to Pittsburgh video.
The Kraken very much looking like it’s a game at their 10am local time. Shots in the first are 12-6 Pens. Pittsburgh also had a power play in this period, but it escapes words to talk about at this point.
Pittsburgh makes up from the lack of early fireworks by opening the scoring in the opening minute of the second. Evgeni Malkin sends Bryan Rust into open ice and a late-breaking 2-on-1 with Drew O’Connor. Rust sets O’Connor up and he opens up his left handed stick from the right side with a quick shot that beat Joey Daccord. 1-0 Pens.
WHAT. A. PASS.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 15, 2024
Malkin, Rust, and O'Connor connect to give Pittsburgh the lead! pic.twitter.com/ABdDpb2TIm
The Pens build on the momentum, Sidney Crosby from the right with his patented move to drop to a knee and whip the one-timer, this time for goal No. 25 of the season. The lead is doubled to 2-0, 3:32 into the middle frame.
Pittsburgh kills a Seattle power play and it’s all systems go through 40 minutes.
Chad Ruhwedel gets slammed into the end wall from behind, two minute penalty to Eeli Tolvanen and a slow trip back to the lockeroom for Ruhwedel.
The Kraken pull Daccord, Rickard Rakell gets the puck to Crosby and that’s curtains for this one. 3-0 Pens.
- For a team on a nine-game winning streak, the Kraken sure looked limp and uninspired. They’re on a long road trip, some injuries, late change to an early start and had lots of reasons to not look that great. But they didn’t look very impressive on this day.
- That said, the Pens weren’t exceedingly sharp either, outside of a short flourish in the second period. Fittingly, it was Malkin and Crosby involved in the scoring. How many teams in the last almost 20 years have the Pens been about even with their opponent, but then 71 and 87 score points and Pittsburgh wins? Another example today.
- Further, this season in many of the Pens’ wins have been largely aided by Crosby and Tristan Jarry being reason No. 1 and 1A for Pittsburgh’s success. That was also the case today as far as the two most visible players and team leaders.
- Fifth shutout of the season for Jarry, the Bob Grove stat of the game is that the record is 10 by Marc-Andre Fleury. Season is right at halfway, so who knows. Crazily enough, nearly half of Jarry’s wins this year (5/12) are by way of the shutout.
- Jarry was obviously flawless, but he didn’t have a lot to do. Only 21 saves, Moneypuck saw just 1.21 expected goals generated by Seattle.
- That said, lots of credit to the Pens’ defense and even forwards up the ice making smart decisions with the puck and with their sticks and positioning. They didn’t give the Kraken much of anything to work with, and the Kraken weren’t able to generate many chances on their own today.
Big break now for the Pens, they get to enjoy a few days off here and gear up for a Western trip to the desert to Las Vegas and greater Phoenix.