Surely, you can’t be serious. The Pittsburgh Penguins without its top three centers including Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, without Patric Hornqvist and Brian Dumoulin, and forced to roll with left winger Jake Guentzel as the top center beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 1-0 at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday. They did it with smothering team defense, simply plays and spectacular goaltending.
I am serious and don’t call me Shirley.
When Bryan Rust (10) scored in overtime, each team had already earned a point, but the Penguins had proven their commitment, too.
The hockey gods have stopped claiming Penguins on a long term basis, at least this week, and instead unleashed the latest plague upon their house in the form of an illness. Malkin was the latest to contract the sickness which has also claimed Jack Johnson, Zach Aston-Reese and Chad Ruhwedel. A couple of other players were clearly battling it this week, too.
Tristan Jarry stuffed Columbus on four breakaway attempts, and the Penguins held Columbus to only 17 shots on goal.
“Just thrilled with (the shot total). Just thrilled with it. That’s a great question, too,” Columbus coach John Tortorella fired back at reporters.
The Penguins and Columbus engaged in what defenseman Jack Johnson called a defensive slugfest. It may not have been the most exciting, engaging game of the season, but the Penguins didn’t have the horses to gallop in a free skate, either. The teams were scoreless for 63 minutes.
“You can’t lose your concentration. The first team to crack is the one that’s going to go home unhappy,” Johnson said. “And when we did, Jarry bailed us out.”
Jarry was perfect Thursday night. He only had to make 17 shots, but Columbus made a handful of those dangerous scoring chances. More on Jarry’s performance in the report card segment. The win was Jarry’s third shutout in four games.