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Unexpected win with help from an unexpected source

March 23, 2023, 1:53 PM ET [84 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
In a season full of extended losing streaks, a few extended winning streaks, and unacceptable losses last night’s convincing win over the Colorado Avalanche feels right on brand for the 2022-23 Pittsburgh Penguins. The highs are high and the lows are low. This was one of the higher highs of the season. It was a much-needed win in lieu of disappointing losses to the Rangers (x2), Canadiens, and Senators. It wasn’t a fluke victory, either. The Penguins had the 55.37 xGF% advantage. With the unexpected victory they went from 44% to make the playoffs up to 57% per Moneypuck.

Considering the victory was unexpected it makes total sense we had some unexpected contributions. Jeff Carter scored two goals in the victory. One of those goals was assisted by Brian Dumoulin. I know it’s crazy, right? It just goes to show what teams can accomplish when their depth players can contribute. It hasn’t been the norm this year. The goals yesterday were 18% of his season goal total. People wouldn’t be overly critical of his play if he had been mixing in some positive moments like last night. It’s been a rough year. Last night was a good night. Do it again.

The two goals put the Penguins in uncharted territory

Sidney Crosby gave us something we don’t get to see as often anymore. He took on a defender on the rush and left him in the dust. Sam Girard was momentarily transported back to 2009 when Sid was turning guys around like this nightly. What a goal for #30 on the year.

Crosby likely owns the best backhand the league has ever seen. This is just further evidence. There are a lot of guys who’d like that to be how they can shoot on their forehand. His backhand shooting for his career is flat out ludicrous

He’s basically scored 18 more goals than expected on his backhand. Those are great numbers for any shooter.

Sid’s 30th goal tied him with the man himself, Mario Lemieux

He broke another record

Tristan Jarry was a big part of the victory as well. He stopped 28 out of 30 shots for a .933 save percentage. Things have been rough for him. This is a very good start against a team who can definitely make goalies question their existence. Things were going so well that Jarry took to attempts at scoring a goal, something he has accomplished at the AHL level. This is the kind of start he has to build off of. The team desperately needs him to find this gear.

The Penguins don’t have time to feel good about themselves. They have the first place Dallas Stars tonight. They need to string together some wins. Last night was a huge development. Those were two points even the biggest optimist would have conceded based on how things have gone. A win against Dallas would be another step towards the playoffs. We’ll see what they have in the tank.

Thanks for reading!
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