I actually just like the Penguins’ white alternate jerseys. Very clear.
Want I may say the identical about our sport final evening, from our weak three-shot first interval to our somewhat meek capitulation within the shootout.
Kris Letang, who assisted on our lone purpose, summed it up greatest.
“In case you have a look at the general sport, I don’t assume we performed properly for 60 minutes,” he stated. “We had some bursts right here and there. Perhaps the truth that we didn’t play for 3 days confirmed a bit of bit. We’re used to enjoying each different day. Perhaps it’s a bit of little bit of that. However now we have to search out our sport the place it was earlier than.”
Amen, Tanger. I’ll concede that enjoying our first sport following three days off…an eternity on this COVID-condensed marketing campaign…contributed significantly to our rust. No slight to a well-liked winger who wears No. 17.
In line with our retro uniforms, we performed a retro sport, harkening again to the darkish days of January when perimeter play dominated and we spent valuable little time inhabiting the prime scoring areas between the circles. Within the course of, giving a decidedly shaky Carter Hart time to search out his sea legs and switch in a powerful efficiency, eclipsing a stable 26-save effort by his good pal and counterpart Tristan Jarry.
Too, I assumed our backside three strains had been out of sync and largely ineffective, with the obtrusive exception of newcomer Jeff Carter. True to scouting studies, he stored it easy and performed a north-south sport, using the middle drive on quite a few events (anybody else paying consideration?) to generate scoring prime probabilities. He additionally received 69 p.c of his attracts and killed penalties.
Maybe we will count on good issues from Jeff.
On to the particulars.
Sidney Crosby scored our lone purpose on a busted play at 5:04 of the second interval…with an help from an unlikely supply. After handing his persist with Brian Dumoulin, Sid buzzed previous our bench in his never-say-die model and grabbed a brand new stick from the fingers of apparatus supervisor Jon Taglianetti, son of former Pens defenseman Peter.
Sid then raced to the Flyers’ web, the place he jammed a free puck between Hart’s pads. Since Dumoulin began the sequence with a move utilizing Sid’s stick, you may loosely argue that No. 87 assisted on his personal purpose.
Lengthy-time nemesis Jakub Voracek tied the sport for Philly early within the third interval, steaming in from the highest of the precise circle to beat Jarry by means of the five-hole.
Getting into the shootout following an thrilling however scoreless additional time, we appeared to carry the excessive playing cards, particularly after Jake Guentzel struck to present us an early edge. However Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier victimized Jarry with mesmerizing strikes whereas Hart held the fort in opposition to Crosby and Letang to earn the Flyers a 2-1 victory.
Following a sluggish begin, the Pens outshot Philly 32-27. The Flyers held the sting in faceoffs, successful 52 p.c of the attracts. Every workforce was 0-for-3 on the ability play.
Getting into the sport, the Pens’ power-play had transformed at a piping scorching 30.6 p.c since March 1.
Jared McCann led the best way with seven pictures on purpose, adopted by Crosby (5). The third and fourth strains generated solely 4 pictures on purpose mixed. Two by Teddy Blueger.
Cody Ceci’s streak of 28 consecutive plus and even video games was snapped. Throughout that span he was a plus-14. Dumoulin prolonged his stunning factors streak to 6 video games.
The Pens presently maintain third place within the MassMutual East with 57 factors, 5 factors up on Boston (two video games in hand). Don’t look now, however the fifth-place Rangers (48 factors) are 6-2-2 of their previous 10 and are beginning to make a transfer.
Subsequent up, a pair of matinee video games on Saturday and Sunday at Buffalo. Beforehand simple pickins’, the Sabres are on a 5-2-3 roll.
I used to be fairly impressed with Carter final evening. Together with his formidable dimension and elite pace, he cuts a dashing and imposing determine on the ice to say the least. At first blush, I feel he’ll match properly into our scheme.
When Evgeni Malkin returns and Carter bumps to the third line, it ought to create matchup nightmares for opponents, much like the HBK dynamic in 2016. Or Jeff may be part of Geno on a super-charged second line.
The Fallacious Z
I’m going to echo a priority expressed by Different Rick on quite a few events. Frankly, I’m frightened about our personnel selections among the many forwards, particularly as guys get wholesome. Coach Mike Sullivan sounded the alarm final evening when he scratched rookie Radim Zohorna.
To my eye, the large man is extra succesful and expert than any variety of gamers who dressed final evening, together with the whole fourth line of Mark Jankowski, Sam Lafferty and Colton Sceviour.
I’ll throw one other title on the market…Jason Zucker. I stored a detailed eye on him. And whereas he made a hustling, diving play on the finish of a shift to interrupt up a possible scoring alternative in additional time, I used to be decidedly underwhelmed by the remainder of his sport…once more.
His passes? Virtually uniformly exhausting and troublesome to deal with. And incoming passes clank off his blade with mind-numbing regularity. Neither is he significantly good alongside the wall or on the cycle.
Sure, I do know…Jason was enjoying the off wing. And possibly I’m lacking a few of the finer particulars in his sport. However it’s been my total impression for some time that he does little or no to contribute to the workforce’s success. Did I point out his team-worst minus-nine?
There have to be participant in there someplace. You don’t rating 20 targets on this league by chance, not to mention the 33 he potted again in 2017-18. However truthfully, I simply don’t see any indicators that Zucker’s going to be an asset for us.
Which leads me again to Zohorna. Even Blind Bartimaeus may see this child is expert. He has mushy fingers, each for passing and capturing and a fast launch. To not point out good consciousness and hockey sense and a low panic threshold. Better of all, he’s a horse (6’6” 220 kilos) who can skate.
Attributes Zucker doesn’t possess.
Zohorna ought to be enjoying…interval.
I do know it’s powerful to scratch $5.5 million. However for goodness sake, play the fellows who’re enjoying one of the best, not those you’re paying essentially the most.
Our postseason may rely upon it.
*Remember to take a look at Rick Bukers books,
accessible at TriumphBooks.com,