Penguins Self-Destruct in 6-4 Loss to Montreal
The Pittsburgh Penguins earned seven points during the five-game homestand that ended Tuesday night.
It’s the three that got away from them, however, that they figure to remember most.
Relinquishing one to the New York Islanders last Thursday, when the Penguins surrendered a two-goal lead in the final six minutes of regulation before losing in overtime, stung.
Handing over two to Montreal in the finale of the homestand, a 6-4 Canadiens victory, had to hurt even worse.
Not only were the Canadiens, whose injured list could be mistaken for a roster, coming off an 8-4 loss to Colorado at the Bell Centre the night before, but they spotted the Penguins a two-goal lead in the first five minutes of play,
That, however, was not enough for the Penguins, who had a 42-21 edge in shots, to avoid being swept in the season series by Montreal, which is marooned near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
“I thought we worked hard throughout the game,” Mike Sullivan said. “We didn’t always work smart.”
In addition to the two points, the Penguins lost two defensemen, Jeff Petry and Jan Rutta, in the third period.
It is not known what Petry’s issue was, while Rutta appeared to be struck on the inside of the left knee by a shot.
Sullivan said he did not have an update on either, that they still were being evaluated.
During the early minutes of play, Montreal looked very much like a bottom-feeding team that had been beaten soundly 24 hours earlier, had to travel after that defeat and was relying on a lineup that has been gutted by injuries.
Which, of course, the Canadiens were.
So it really wasn’t all that surprising when Jake Guentzel swiped a Bryan Rust rebound past Montreal goalie Samuel Montembeault just 21 seconds after the opening faceoff for his 28th goal of the season and 400th point in the NHL.
It also was less than shocking when Evgeni Malkin scored from above the right dot at 4:49, 40 seconds after Canadiens winger Josh Anderson was penalized for interference.
At that point, the only suspense figured to be precisely how long it would take the Penguins to get to double-figures, but the game turned in Montreal’s favor almost immediately.
The Penguins have made a habit of giving up quality scoring chances on the shift following one of their goals for much of this season, and they did it twice in the opening period.
Shortly after Guentzel’s goal, Tristan Jarry had to deny Denis Gurianov when he was allowed to break down the slot unimpeded.
Jarry wasn’t so fortunate in the wake of Malkin pushing the lead to 2-0, as Montreal’s Mike Hoffman beat him on the short side from the left hash just 32 seconds later.
And things deteriorated from there for the Penguins. A lot.
Jesse Ylonen put a shot from above the left hash through traffic and into the net at 7:13 and Gurianov moved the Canadiens in front, 3-2, with a backhander from a few feet in front of the crease at 11:31.
Having their lead dissolve into a deficit so quickly was bad enough for the Pittsburgh Penguins, but things got even worse with 11 seconds to go before the intermission, as Joel Edmundson beat Jarry from the blue line to give the Canadiens a two-goal advantage.
It was the second time in eight days the Penguins were scorched for four unanswered goals by a team that’s been all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. (Remember Columbus?)
Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry, who stopped just three of seven shots, for the start of the second period, and made a good skate save on Jonathan Drouin about 90 seconds after play resumed.
Montembeault preserved the Canadiens’ two-goal lead with an excellent stop on Jason Zucker, who had burst between the Montreal defense, at 10:38, but Kris Letang got the Penguins back within a goal 19 seconds later on a wrist shot from the high slot.
The goal, Letang’s 10th, netted assists for Marcus Pettersson and Rickard Rakell.
Guentzel made it 4-4 at 18:05, when he set up at the right side of the crease and deflected a Malkin shot past Montembeault. Guentzel’s second of the game came just six seconds after Montreal defenseman Justin Barron was called for high-sticking.
Anthony Richard scored what proved to be the game-winner at 3:05 of the third period, when he got behind Penguins defenseman P.O Joseph, pulled in a long pass from Barron and beat DeSmith from inside the right dot.
Josh Anderson sealed the victory by scoring into an empty net with 34.6 seconds to go.
Shortly after the game, the Pittsburgh Penguins called off the practice that had been scheduled for Wednesday at noon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. They will, however, travel to New York Wednesday afternoon for games against the Rangers Thursday and Saturday.
This is Lucy holding the football for chuck brown, excited to play but falls flat on their back.
hilarious loss. should have pulled jarry after 2.
This team is so fragile do we want them to get in the playoffs and get swept this season was a reality check for sure please no stupid contracts next season just watch and learn from their mistakes also hard to win loosing 2 defensemen and Jarry injury.
Penguins need a quality goalie that can get through the season and elevate his game when needed the most. It is NOT Jarry nor DeSmith.
Be a decent write-up with an injury report.
This veteran team reminds me of another Pittsburgh sports team under Coach Bravado that never gets up for the underdog games. This just should not happen. The defense is pitiful!!!
I barely remember Montreal having the puck in our zone all game and somehow…they scored 5 goals…
The Pens have absolutely no situational awareness.
Sad D coverage from the forwards on the fifth Habs goal. What was Carter doing floating in the Offensive zone while the Habs had the puck? He should have been getting back as the high forward.
Starts with Malkin and Letang, who have the hockey I.Q.s of a hockey puck.
Exactly why they shouldn’t have resigned both Letang and Malkin. When two of the “core” that for some reason has to stay together for 20 or 30 years have situational awareness IQs at near moron level even in their late 30s, how can it not infect the rest of the team.
Yeah blame the 2 guys that are playing great and helping the team get points. It’s not the other guys who are performing poorly like carter jarry. And everyone not 59,87,71,58,67,16 everyone else is playing poorly.
I agree – they should have only signed Letang! Malkin should also be removed from the PP, as someone (Sully, I expect) has told everyone to give him the puck, instead of shooting it themselves. The amount of, or I should say lack of, shots on the PP is beyond pitiful! And when is Sully going to put Rackell back on his own line with Sid where he belongs??? We can’t afford to be losing games at this point, nor do we need to be! I think someone mentioned it may be time for Sully to go – I have… Read more »
No goalie, no party. How many times have I heard the frase: “The better goalie won.”. It’s just that it’s never our goalie that beats the other one. You score 4 on 40+ shots and concede 6 on 21. You do the math and tell me where the problem is with this team, and other, far superior, teams that got bounced in the 1st round dominating play throughout the series. I don’t blame the goalies, but the management that thinks that the most important position on a team shoud be the one where we save money. You cannot outscore your… Read more »
How many times is Jarry gonna suck so bad that he’s pulled from a game? If he’s not healthy enough to do his job, then put him on LTIR and promote somebody to back up DeSmith, who’s obviously the No. 1 right now. Should have acquired a veteran before the deadline. It’s an embarrassment to be in this position for the second consecutive season. #Hexed
3 consecutive seasons with the goaltending
Exactly, if he is still injured, get him out of the net for rehab….if he needs to get his head together, ship him down to Wilkes Barre and call the AHL goalie up. At this point in time, the team needs consistent goaltending and a loss is a loss regardless of who is playing in net. Why even bother with the playoffs? We will either face the Hurricanes or the Bruins and based on the current level of compete, our exit will be in 4 games (reminiscence of our series with the Canes 4-0 ). Let’s face it, there still… Read more »
Hope the delusional fans who were crowing about catching the Rangers after Sunday’s game show up tonight.
Get used to it that’s what you’re going to see for the next three years I like it or not now.
When a coach keeps repeating him or herself with the same observation of the team and the team still loses the coach is out of ideas to improve and doesn’t know how to implement changes to improve team performance PERIOD. If the coach doesn’t not know how or coach’s staff doesn’t know how to fix the team it is time to make changes. This team has enough good players including goalies to be a consistent contender in every game they play however they do not play as a team. Loosey goosey on defense and ready to celebrate after making A… Read more »
The Pens have D problems. But the goalies have not made saves they ought to make. Jarry has been pulled in 3 of his last 8 starts. He has given up 18 goals on the last 107 shots. That is a .831 save percentage. He has lost it. Either sit him out for awhile or plan on an early exit from the playoffs — which may happen regardless. The Pens will play Boston, Carolina, or New Jersey, in the first round. Can’t see them beating any of those teams 4 out of 7.
Pens might want to look at Carter Hart — Philly is shopping him. He is only 24. His numbers are not that great, but he has played for a lousy franchise. His salary is in the low $3 million per year. I say look at him because there isn’t much out there that they can afford. Jarry is an UFA after this season — they would be insane to resign him. CDS isn’t a starting goalie. They need someone.