It wasn’t an easy back to back situation, but the Penguins were able to come away with two points after defeating the Boston Bruins by a score of 4-2. This keeps the Penguins in a comfortable situation where it would take quite a losing skid to find themselves out of the playoffs. The team does need to keep winning because if they end up in the second wild card it is likely their playoff stay would be very temporary.
Mike Sullivan went back to Matt Murray in a back to back situation and it worked out quite well. Murray was fantastic again. A huge reason why the Penguins have been able to function without the services of Kris Letang is because Matt Murray is playing like he did on the two successful playoff runs to start his career. The decision to hold Matt Murray out of action to let whatever injury he had heal was the best decision. His play is night and day
Things were not goo to start the year
His first 11 starts were terrible. It didn’t look good and it wasn’t a good encore for what was a subpar 2017-18 season. The 27 games since sitting out for a month? Awesome. It’s tough to lose games when your goalie is playing so well. This has been a huge development in the Penguins season.
Jared McCann scored another two goals. The first was a beautiful shorthanded goal. McCann’s speed and hands are not only useful in regular situations even-strength situations, but come in handy for shorthanded situations as well.
Most of the players who fit the “PK specialist” billing can’t do things like that.
McCann is earning an extended look up on the Crosby line. I have no problem with seeing how things play out there. He’s fast, he looks to make plays, and his hands are decent. That’s a pretty good recipe for success with 87.
Erik Gudbranson has been… good in his first six games as a Penguin. There is not a lot to complain about other than the goal he tipped into the Penguins net against the Panthers. His possession which has been an obvious weakness his entire career is right around 57%. I have no idea how long that is going to last. I don’t predict Gudbranson will all of a sudden be a legit play driver, but for six games he’s been fine. It does deserve to be mentioned that his on-ice save percentage is .976 and we know how on-ice save percentage can really skew player perceptions for the people who don’t care about those kinds of things. Gudbranson could be a complete tire fire and still come out OK with a .976 on-ice save percentage. He hasn’t been a tire fire in this six game sample. We’ll see where things go. It is still going to take more than a six game sample to dismiss the 448 games he has played prior.
Jake Guentzel has an outside shot at 40 goals. He picked up goal number 34 last night courtesy of Sidney Crosby
The pass if obviously good, but so is the reception. Guentzel has the goal scoring touch that players either have or they don’t. He’s a natural around the net. He makes it look so easy, but to take the puck on the backhand and maneuver his wrists for a forehand top shelf shot in one motion is really good. In 191 games he is a 16.4% shooter. The sample isn’t large enough to know if this is his true level. It is encouraging.
Coming up the Penguins will get the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Those games never disappoint. On Thursday Pittsburgh catches a break because Jack Eichel will be out due to his two game suspension for hitting Carl Soderberg in the head. The Sabres are not doing so great and that is even with Eichel in the lineup playing well. Anything other than a regulation win on Thursday would be a head scratcher.
Thanks for reading!