Flower Stones Penguins, Penguins Fall 3-0 to Vegas
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Flower Stones Penguins, Penguins Fall 3-0 to Vegas

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Penguins score Dominik Kahun

PITTSBURGH — One isn’t the loneliest number when it earns two points. Former Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury refused to allow a Penguins score and got a little help from his posts and defensemen in the process. The Penguins (5-3-0) allowed only one goal until William Karlsson scored a shorthanded empty-net goal, then Vegas winger Mark Stone scored another empty netter in the final moments as the Vegas Golden Knights (6-2-0) beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 at PPG Paints Arena Saturday night.

The loss ended the Penguins five-game win streak.

UPDATE: Technically, Jarry was on the ice, although he was near the bench for the third Vegas goal, so he was charged with a goal against. Stick tap to Seth Rorabaugh from the T-R for alerting everyone to that technicality.

The Penguins penalty kill which has been stellar this season faltered early in the second period. Defenseman Erik Gudbranson wasn’t able to play the puck along the wall and the Penguins lost the puck battle at the midwall. The result was a two-on-none in front of the Penguins net. Paul Stastny (4) easily ripped a wrister into the yawning net.

Fleury clowned the Penguins before the game, and during the game, too.

Fleury, who spent the first 13 years of his career with the Penguins, was the difference. After some pregame hijinx which included tangling the mic cables of TV host Dan Potash, Fleury lingered on the ice after warmups as a small prank to long-time teammate and friend Kris Letang, who prefers to be the last player off the ice. Letang took a couple of extra laps before he realized Fleury wasn’t going anywhere, so Letang softly shot a puck towards Fleury, who gloved it to cheers from the crowd.

The goalie is still a fan favorite in Pittsburgh based on crowd reactions. The Penguins 2003 first round draft pick (1st overall) robbed Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist with a sliding pad save. Fans at first groaned at the lost goal, then cheered the save before remembering Fleury was playing for the Penguins opponents.

RedBeard's Pittsburgh

Fleury also made showy saves on Dominik Simon near the net and a windmill glove save on Sam Lafferty. The Vegas goalie also had to show some love to the post after Penguins defenseman Kris Letang nearly completed a slick misdirection play but his wrist shot from the right-wing circle clanged the post. Winger Zach Aston-Reese also clanged the crossbar seven minutes into the third period.

“You can’t always control the outcome, but you can control your effort and execution. That was all there,” said head coach Mike Sullivan.

Penguins defenseman turned emergency forward Juuso Riikola nearly beat Fleury midway through the third period. On the power play, his right circle shot glanced off Fleury and fluttered toward the far post, but Vegas defenseman John Merrill swatted it away from harm.

Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb did the same on the Penguins’ second consecutive power play midway through the third. Patric Hornqvist defected a fluttering puck past Fleury, but McNabb made his own glove save and the Penguins were stymied again.

Fleury also earned boos as he appeared to intentionally take off his mask as he laid in the crease during a net-front scrum in which he was out of position and the Penguins had the puck. Fleury was hit by his own defenseman so the loose mask was just plausible enough to avoid a penalty.

The Penguins otherwise held Vegas to nine shots in the first 30 minutes of the game. And again dominated Vegas at the beginning of the third period, but they were beaten by Fleury.

Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry allowed only one goal and was otherwise spectacular, too.

Injuries also mounted for the Penguins, too. Defenseman Brian Dumoulin was unexpectedly scratched after warmups and Jack Johnson was inserted into the lineup. Penguins forward Jared McCann was also absent due to injury, which was the second time in three games he was out of the lineup.

More from the locker room.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Matt Luda

    October 19, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    This one is on Crosby (again). He absolutely refuses to shoot the puck especially on the PP. It has gotten to the point that defenses don’t bother to cover him any more. And he shoots even less against Vegas because he’s so buddy-buddy with Flower, although he has plenty of company there. Give me Ovechkin any day, warts and all. More than any star player, he understands the object of the game is to score more goals than the other team. Sid is more interested in Show Time.

    • Dan Kingerski

      October 20, 2019 at 11:19 am

      You just blamed Sidney Crosby for a loss because you think he passed up a shot on the PP. Go to your room and think about what you’ve done.

  2. Matt Luda

    October 20, 2019 at 11:30 pm

    I know you didn’t watch the game, but Crosby passed up multiple shots on a PP that was zip for four in a game that his team was shut out.

    If all Crosby can do is make 15-foot passes from the left circle to the center point all night, then he needs to take a seat and work on his shot until he can make a tangible contribution. Real goal-scorers snipe from that area with regularity. I can’t recall a time when he even attempted a one-timer let alone scored on one.

    BTW, this is the second consecutive season that he has averaged less than 3.0 shots per game. Defenses know that he’s so pass-happy that they back off him now, which means his team basically plays 4-on-4 on the PP, and that reduces its effectiveness greatly. Of course, nobody in the Pittsburgh media has the testosterone to write this, so I’m glad to do it for them.

    • Dan Kingerski

      October 21, 2019 at 3:30 am

      I try to be nice, Matt. I’d recommend the same and a little less negativity.

  3. Matt Luda

    October 21, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    Your job isn’t to be nice. It’s to provide the best objective analysis for the readers. If it means being critical when warranted, so be it. Bet you would get more subscribers that way.

    • Dan Kingerski

      October 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm

      I was trying to be nice to you, despite repeated and endless comments which border on ignorance or insanity. How’s that?

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