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3 Good Things and 3 Things That MUST Change for Game 2

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pittsburgh penguins trade rumor, expansion draft,betting, new york islanders, Tristan Jarry

A few Stanley Cup contenders lost their Game 1s. From Vegas Golden Knights, the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins were on the wrong side of the scoreboard in Game 1 despite being favored to win. Losing Game 1 generally gives the victory big odds to win the series, but the situation can also change by Game 3.

But things must change.

And for the Pittsburgh Penguins, a few things must change, but there are also a few things to build upon for Game 2.

3 Things Must Change, 3 Things to Build On

3. Build On: Early Effort. The Penguins first 40 minutes were as good as they could get against a stingy New York Islanders team. They exploited New York’s forecheck and their neutral zone traffic for scoring chances. The Penguins had 71% of the scoring chances over the first two periods and 75% of the high-danger chances.

Must Change: Secondary Production. The Penguins top line with Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Jake Guentzel provided most of those chances. The Penguins’ top-line outchanced their rest of the team, combined. Actually, the Penguin’s top line had nearly as many scoring chances as every line from both teams combined (17-20).

Stats according to NaturalStatTrick.com. 

The Penguins second (Jeff Carter) and third line (Frederick Gaudreau) have to chip in more puck possession. Carter’s line especially has to be stronger throughout the game. Carter’s line got stronger in the third period, but when the Penguins had the advantage, the line was not impactful and was on the ice for a pair of goals against.

If the Penguins got a third goal when they had momentum, they could have weathered the Islanders’ pushback differently. Or broken New York entirely.

“I don’t think there was any moment where the game turned. I think there were surges on both sides. There was momentum swings and that’s playoff hockey,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “You’ve got to try to simplify the game and get back on your toes when you’re on your heels and the other team surges. You’ve got to try to ride the surge…In the second period–we had a handful of shifts there in the offensive zone where we were good.”

The game, perhaps the series, was there for the taking.

2. Build On: The Core. Kris Letang was brilliant. Sidney Crosby was fantastic. See above. The Pittsburgh Penguins core players were, in fact, great in Game 1. They were the Penguins best two players. Empirically, and visually, Letang nullified several Grade A chances and created a few for the Penguins.

Must Change: Transition. New York busted the Penguins line changes.

“They caught us in transition a couple of times just from pucks that we didn’t get in and (we) kind of got stuck on the ice,” Cody Ceci said.

That wasn’t an accident or something the Penguins did wrong, necessarily. New York’s third period adjustment was not only tighter gaps but to attack the Penguins dump-ins. We jumped into more detail in the Report Card. By attacking the Penguins attempts to chip it forward, New York blocked, deflected, and stuffed more than a few attempts which created a transition opportunity.

Brock Nelson’s go-ahead goal was a prime example.

 

A Penguins three-on-two became a New York goal because New York played a tight gap and attacked the entry.

1. Tristan Jarry

Build upon and Must Change.

Jarry made 37 saves, including a bevy of good saves on the doorstep. But those four goals. Each was a great shot, well placed, and not an easy save. But each was stoppable with better positioning or tighter mechanics.

Jarry’s rebound control was spotty, too.

“I thought Tristan made some big saves throughout the course of the game to keep the game where it was,” Sullivan said. “There were some good saves on both ends of the rink. You know, I just think we have to be better as a group.”

Build on: The great saves and get past the first game nerves.

Must change: He’s got to be better. If he doesn’t win the goaltending battle, Jarry must at least be even. If Jarry doesn’t elevate, the Penguins are in trouble. Playoffs are about goaltending and defense.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Claude
Claude
4 months ago

If they dont win the next game it is over. Shouldve kept Fluery, dumped Letang and Malkin and maybe we’d have someone with a glove hand in goal. Was that Murray in goal today. Lets hope this loss was because of the time off not the way the rest of the series will go.

crazyhorse87
crazyhorse87
4 months ago

Shoot from everywhere on the powerplay, it is really discouraging to watch, scoring once on the pp would’ve made a big difference.

Steve
Steve
4 months ago

I’m glad you wrote that about Jarry, Dan. Shots just under the bar, or even off the bar, are perfectly placed shots and tough to stop. Wasn’t that where Volek’s shot went? Guentzel against Rinne as well, I believe. But they are probably the hardest of all the unscreened shots, from that distance. I just feel like I’ve seen many of them, enough to make me think it’s not as easy a save as too many people make it out to be.

David Heyl
David Heyl
4 months ago

Sullivan system is built for regular season play. 3 on 3 OT & shoot outs. This is great when a team has top end talent however playoff grit & size are needed in the playoffs. When an opponents teams 4 TH line worries you because of size & push back, that is a problem. Time to move on as the new GM attempts to retool. Ryan Reeves continues to perform in Vegas!!!!!

Katz
Katz
4 months ago
Reply to  David Heyl

Vegas wins the Cup. And Sprong blossoms in Washington.

Eric
Eric
4 months ago
Reply to  David Heyl

Lol.

Katz
Katz
4 months ago

Sometimes the past is prologue . Perhaps Trotz is a better strategist. His team follows his plan because they understand from history their Coach seems to be able to succeed and defeat vs Sullivan? I wrote Trotz is the better coach and Pgh has the better talent. Which gives? Unless Pgh alters their approach the Islanders plan (Trotz) will generally be successful vs Pgh. So Pgh needs to have the following to win. 1) Jarry needs to be better , much better 2) Pens need shoot first , seriously no curl and drag , no passing late in the 2… Read more »

William Maloni
William Maloni
4 months ago
Reply to  Katz

Drop Jarry behind whichever goalie is healthy, DeSmth or Lagace.

Frank
Frank
4 months ago

Pure and simple the loss yesterday can be traced in a straight line to Jarry. No one is going to say that but I have been watching hockey a long time and I know poor goaltending when I see it. Spectacular saves are essentially useless when they are balanced by 3 or 4 VERY soft goals. All that said, let’s see what happens Tuesday. I am not quite ready to say they are cooked if they lose . .. but . . .the pot certainly will be boiling. Barring something miraculous I think the next time you see DeSmith in… Read more »

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Everyone has been saying it.

SD Pens Fan
SD Pens Fan
4 months ago
Reply to  Frank

They have actually won 7 playoff games over the last three years. You don’t get to count one game into this years playoffs as a year genius.

Richard T Tilves
4 months ago

Carter did not play like a 2nd line Center & Jarry was possessed by the “demon Murray glove”. Better improve & win tomorrow or it could be, as one man said, “dejavu all over again” like 2019. Done in 4 straight.

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