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Penguins Pile of Penalties End Win Streak, Lose to Vancouver 4-1



Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray Penguins score

The Pittsburgh Penguins first shot wasn’t registered until early in the second period. The Penguins had already taken four penalties and overturned one Vancouver Canucks goal due to offside. Of course, the first Vancouver shot didn’t happen until after the midway point of the first period but Vancouver scored four goals on 14 shots and ended the Penguins four-game winning streak. Vancouver beat the Penguins 4-1.

The Penguins outshot Vancouver 29-9 after the first period, but were outscored 2-1.

“It is what it is. That’s hockey,” Penguins goalie Matt Murray said.

Murray made his first start since Dec. 7 against Detroit. He stopped only 10 of 14 shots, but made a handful of sparkling saves in the first period, including several that counted, and a couple which were erased due to the time erasure after an overturned goal.

The Penguins penalty parade began in the middle of the first period. First. Dominik Simon may have earned a double-minor high-sticking penalty. The ambiguity arrived via Vancouver defenseman Troy Stecher who lifted Simon’s stick most of the way. After a video review, the call stood.

Just 41 seconds later, Brandon Tanev was called for holding after he raced past a Vancouver defender on the forecheck, but used his hands to aid the process.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of period like that. It was bizarre,” said Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan. “I don’t think we had a lot of jump early on. Obviously, the penalties put us in a difficult spot. Having said that, I disagreed with the first call–the double minor on Dom Simon. He gets his stick lifted by their defenseman. For me, that’s incidental contact.”

“Anyway, it is what it is.”

The teams played 1:02 of a five-on-three until J.T. Miller beat Penguins goalie Matt Murray. However, the goal was waved off due to an off-side call. The minute-plus and five Vancouver shots were erased. However, both Vancouver and Miller would be rewarded.

After the clock rewind, Jack Johnson took a tripping penalty 46 seconds into the five-on-three. After 15 minutes, three penalty calls, a disallowed goal and only a few shots on goal, Vancouver finally lit the lamp for real. Jake Virtanen (10) snapped it past Murray from 15 away.

Miller (14) got his in the final minutes of the period. He re-directed a shot-pass from defenseman Oscar Fantenberg.

“It feels like forever since I played, but it is what it is,” Murray said. “I thought we got a little bit unlucky there in the first period with some of those calls, but that’s a tough situation to be in–taking all of those penalties.”

In the second period, the Penguins peppered Vancouver goalie Jacob Markstrom with 19 shots and allowed just six on Murray. After the Penguins finally got their first shot on goal, they gained and kept the momentum for most of the period, but the teams traded goals.

With just over four minutes remaining in the second period, Jake Guentzel (18) finished a rebound for a power-play goal. Guentzel also drew the four-minute high-sticking double-minor on Adam Gaudette when he showed blood to the officials.

However, one minute later, dynamic Vancouver winger Elias Pettersson snared a big Murray rebound on the right-wing circle and ripped it past Murray.

Vancouver didn’t need many shots in the third period. Penguins winger Bryan Rust missed a pair of wide-open nets and the team didn’t generate an abundance of Grade A chances.

The Vancouver top line with Pettersson and Boeser struck at even strength to apply the death knell later in the third period. Pettersson jumped on the Penguins defensemen including Juuso Riikola, who couldn’t clear the defensive zone. Pettersson and Boeser (13) worked a give-and-go for Boeser’s one-timer from the circle.

Guentzel and Rust led all players with five and four shots, respectively.

Markstrom was very good. He stopped 28 of 29 shots, including a few sneaky chances. The Penguins outshot Vancouver 29-9 after the first period.

The Penguins and NHL will take a holiday break. The Penguins’ next game will be Friday in Nashville.

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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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1 year ago

MATT MURRAT COST THE GAME! He should have stopped the first goal as it was a clear shot from an angle and he slid out of his crease.The second goal was a great tip but if he was not doing his best Anti Niemi crouching like a GARGOYLE impression he would have had a chance and the Canucks had only 9 shots the rest of the way with two stoppable goals going in.YOU CAN NOT LET $ GOALS IN ON 14 SHOTS.

1 year ago

That should be Matt Murray not Matt Murrat.I should have typed MATT MURRAY LANGSTON because like the unknown comic he is about to become the unkown goalie.If nobody gets that reference look up Murray Langston .

1 year ago

MURRAY is now 50th in save percentage out of 53 goalies in the NHL who qualify.The Nhl only has 31 teams and he is 50th.He has over a goal a game more on his average as compared to Jarry who is facing more shots per game.If this keeps up he won’t even recieve his qualifying offer, so forget a big extension.Trade him now while he still retains value as i am sure teams out there still see him as a pure number 1 goaler and they may be right but they may be crazy.According to Murray’s poor practice habits… Read more »

1 year ago

What upsets me the most is everybody assuming Murray will get it back, he may but he may not.Look no further than the Sharks who have the worst goaltending in the NHL with one of the best rosters in the league.Just 3 years ago Martin Jones was great but now-not so much.All sports is littered with guys and gals who peaked early.Mike Tyson was susposed to be the greatest fighter but after a quick explosive start he lost alot and got exposed the same can be said for Genie Bouchard the darling of tennis a few years ago.How many guys… Read more »

1 year ago

I did not imply he had personal demons in any way shape or form, i just listed why some people seem to drop in performance.The man lost his father last year and some times personal loses are the worst.In my opinion i subscribe to the point of view the league has adjusted to him and he has not adjusted to the league.I also enjoy curt answers but if they reflect an inability to critique his own game then what we would enjoy would be a detriment to him and the team.Has he grown or has he just learned not to… Read more »

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