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It takes two... to ruin a solid team performance

March 15, 2023, 3:09 PM ET [102 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A lot of things were positive for the Penguins last night

Their opponent had lost seven consecutive games and played the night before while the Penguins were home resting

The Canadiens were missing Cole Caufield, Christian Dvorak, Kirby Dach, Brendan Gallagher, Sean Monahan, and Juraj Slafkovsky

They scored four goals

They had a 2-0 lead less than five minutes into the game

Had an xGF% 74.28

Outshot Montreal 43-22

The power play went 2-4 and has looked way better as of late

Evgeni Malkin scored again on his one-timer which has returned as a deadly part of his arsenal.

Jake Guentzel scored 20 seconds into the game and again later on the power play

Kris Letang had three points

Casey DeSmith stopped 13 out of 14 shots

Most times this would results in two points. In fact, the Penguins are the only team this year who could possibly find a way to fail in earning the standings points

So yeah, it was a horrendous loss. Unfortunately, it only takes a few players to spoil what was a decent effort.

Tristan Jarry was atrocious. He gave up four goals on only seven shots for a save percentage of .429. It is the third time in nine starts since coming back from injury on February 20th. Is he still hurt? Is he just playing bad? Either one puts the Penguins in a horrible spot. DeSmith is not capable of handling a 1A role and the way Jarry is playing he almost has to. Jarry has given the Penguins some great caliber play over stretches in his career, but it seems like when the team needs him most he hasn’t been able to meet the moments. I don’t know how you commit term and money to a goaltender who has absolutely no playoff success, is injured often enough, and takes a while to get back up to speed after those injuries. You can’t win games no matter how well you are playing if you goalie is giving up four goals on seven shots.

The good news, Jeff Carter’s ice time was the lowest it has been since October 29th. He only played 8:28. What we learned is you can do a lot of damage in only 8:28 of ice time. Carter was on the ice for four of Montreal’s five goals in his limited ice time. He was on the ice for three Montreal goals in the first period alone when the Penguins 2-0 lead evaporated. The last goal was a direct result of the thing he’s supposed to be good at, faceoffs

Stop playing this guy because of his faceoffs. He is a completely washed hockey player. No amount of faceoffs are going to overcome this fact. If your sole contribution is faceoffs then you can’t be losing draws clean in the final seconds of the period in the defensive zone. This situation is some of Mike Sullivan’s worst work as Penguins coach. If you aren’t going to use Crosby for the draw, maybe use the guy you just traded for

Anyways, faceoffs are obviously not the only issue with Carter. The three goals against Carter was out for were in only 4:48 of ice time. He was on pace for ~15 minutes, but Sullivan finally pulled back and Carter only played 3:40ish for the rest of the game. It was still long enough for him to be on the ice for a fourth goal against. Some of those limited minutes came with about two minutes left and the Penguins trailing by a goal. It is insane he keeps getting put in high leverage situations. You might feel like this is me nitpicking him. It is not. His level of play is such that it can’t be ignored. He is performing at a historically low level right now. Very few players have “accomplished” what Carter did last night in recent memory.

He and Jarry washed what was an otherwise solid performance.

On to MSG for two against the Rangers.

Thanks for reading!
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