The Pittsburgh Penguins (32-14-3) shut down and shut out the Boston Bruins (27-14-6) on Sunday afternoon in a dominant 1-0 win at PPG Paints Arena. Head coach Mike Sullivan called the win a “blueprint,” as the Penguins owned the scoring chance tally and kept Boston away from goalie Tristan Jarry.
They reduced their magic points number to clinch a playoff spot to just four points. The rematch is Tuesday, 7 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena. Steel cage not required.
“That’s the type of game in my mind that I think is really a good blueprint for us moving forward,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “And it does give us a real tangible reference point when we’re having conversations with our players from here on out.”
The Penguins have won four in a row and are a 100% lock to make the playoffs, according to MoneyPuck.com, but the pecking order on paper and mentally began Sunday.
The Penguins balanced their record against Boston, 3-3-1, and could win the season series with another win. They can also clinch a playoff spot on Tuesday with a win and a New York Rangers loss.
The Penguins lead Boston by seven points in the East Division and are currently in first place, just one point ahead of Washington Capitals, though Washington has played one fewer game.
Sullivan said Tristan Jarry, who has allowed just one goal over his last two games, will make his second straight start.
Tuuka Rask will start for Boston.
Pittsburgh Penguins Lines and Special Teams
|Jake Guentzel||Sidney Crosby||Bryan Rust|
|Jason Zucker||Evgeni Malkin||Kasperi Kapanen|
|Jared McCann||Jeff Carter||Freddy Gaudreau|
|Zach Aston-Reese||Teddy Blueger||Brandon Tanev|
|Brian Dumoulin||Kris Letang|
|Mike Matheson||Cody Ceci|
|Marcus Pettersson||John Marino|
|Brad Marchand||Patrice Bergeron||David Pastrnak|
|Taylor Hall||David Krejci||Craig Smith|
|Nick Ritchie||Sean Kuraly||Charlie Coyle|
|Trent Frederic||Curtis Lazar||Chris Wagner|
|Matt Grzelczyk||Charlie McAvoy|
|Mike Reilly||Kevan Miller|
|Jeremy Lauzon||Steve Kampher|
|TEAM||Power Play||Penalty Kill|
|Pittsburgh Penguins||23.7%, 4th NHL||77.4%, 27th NHL|
|New York Islanders||18.8%, 21st NHL||83.7%, 6th NHL|
What to Watch
The Penguins used their speed to great advantage on Sunday. The Penguins also had a full commitment to defense, especially low in the defensive zone. Boston did not have a shot on goal within five feet of Jarry, which also means no rebound chances.
The Penguins game was complete and thorough. Can they do it again?
“We created offense from playing hard defense,” Marcus Pettersson said on Tuesday morning. Will
Boston will have a response. Head coach Bruce Cassidy is no dummy. Expect Boston to crash the net and exert their superior physicality on the Penguins. If the Penguins want to crash and defend, Boston will make them pay the price.
Expect the battle of wills. Can the Penguins speed escape a second time and make the Bruins chase again?
The Penguins coaches also had a couple of chalkboard wrinkles. The Penguins deployed two-zone passes out of their own zone to stretch Boston and create space. But you also noticed Sidney Crosby and Jeff Carter, especially lugging the puck with speed out of the defensive zone. Because the Penguins had the advantage, as Boston adjusted, so did the Penguins, and they were always one step ahead.
Doing that a second time ain’t so easy, but it’s not impossible.
Pittsburgh Penguins Game Notes
Position, Player (Consecutive Games Missed, Total Games Missed)
Evgeni Malkin (20 consecutive, 20 total)
Brandon Tanev (10 consecutive, 16 total)
Frederick Gaudreau (6 consecutive, 6 total)
2020-21 Total Regular-Season Man-Games Lost: 249
*The Penguins have won eight of their last nine games (8-1-0) against the Bruins at home dating back to Dec. 14, 2016.
*The Penguins have earned points in 16 of their last 19 games overall (14-3-2).
*A win tonight could give the Penguins their third five-game winning streak of the season. Colorado, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Vegas are the only other NHL teams with three winning streaks of five or more games.
*The Penguins are the first team in the league with 20 home wins.
*Kris Letang leads all Pittsburgh defensemen in scoring in April with 12 points (1G-11A) in 13 games. Since the beginning of April, no team has more point production from their defenseman than the Penguins (46).
*Bryan Rust is two goals shy of his 100th career tally.
*The Penguins’ 52 goals and 4.00 goals-per-game in April are most in the NHL.
How to Watch, 7 p.m.:
TV: AT&T SportsNet; Radio: 105.9 The X