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Vegas busts in Pittsburgh

November 20, 2023, 2:13 PM ET [38 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Pittsburgh Penguins had to navigate their first difficult stretch of the season this past week when they went up against New Jersey, Carolina, and Vegas. I was hoping for the Penguins to earn three out of a possible six points. They laid an egg against New Jersey and gave Carolina a better effort until they were worn down leaving Vegas as their only chance to pick up some points. While they didn’t hit my three point goal they did earn two points in emphatic fashion last night when they defeated a very dangerous Vegas team 3-0.

It was a much needed win after dropping points in consecutive games. Their five game winning streak was necessary to undo some of the earlier losses in the season. It didn’t create a ton of future wiggle room. They needed to get back to their winning ways and did. It was one of their best performances of the season.

Alex Nedeljkovic has had himself a week. While down in WB/S on a rehab assignment he ended up scoring a goal, his second career goal. In his first game action back with the big club he earned a 38 save shutout against the Golden Knights. A tremendous performance and a tremendous week for the Penguins netminder. This marks the fifth shutout of the season in only 17 games. Five of their nine wins have come via shutout. This is a pretty crazy stat considering they only had two shutouts the entirety of last season. It also highlights the volatile nature of the position considering there have been quite a number of games where the goaltending has been outright bad. Consistency won’t be the name of the game. The team is going to have to take the great performances like last night while balancing the lows. Marc-Andre Fleury may not be a Penguin anymore, but it sure has that vibe.

We had a couple of firsts last night when Ryan Graves and Noel Acciari scored their first Penguins goals. Which means we are whittling away at the number of Penguins regulars who have scored before Rickard Rakell has scored his first goal of the season. Players with double digit games played who are left to score are: Jeff Carter, Marcus Pettersson, Chad Ruhwedel, and Ryan Shea. It has been one of the most unfortunate starts to a season I’ve seen in recent years because while Rakell hasn’t been great in every game he’s been good in the majority of them. If he finally gets going it would really help this team out.

We’ve seen quite a bit over the years watching Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Last night we saw both players attempt show off their soccer skills

Neither player had luck when they went to retrieve a replacement stick. Malkin was given Jeff Carter’s right-handed stick and Sidney Crosby reached for what ended up being Evgeni Malkin’s stick. Given how particular Sidney Crosby is about his equipment I thought it was pretty hilarious he got what is probably one of the more extreme options out there. He definitely noticed and hit return to sender

Sidney Crosby’s 11 game point streak came to an end in victory last night. During those 11 games he put up nine goals and 17 points. He’s had a lot of point streaks over the years. How many of them came with more goals than assists? Impressive stretch of play by Sid.

These stats were posted before the game last night, but it puts context to how great Sid has been

Lastly, Kris Letang hit an impressive career milestone in Saturday night’s loss to Carolina. He joins quite a list when he recorded his 700th career point, all with one franchise.

Given everything Letang has had to navigate in his career this is a super impressive accomplishment. Congratulations.

Penguins get another divisional game next against the New York Rangers on Wednesday night.

Thanks for reading!
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