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Penguins Room: McGinn Changes Game; Jarry Smiles

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Tristan Jarry

Brock McGinn didn’t score a goal in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-1 victory against Ottawa Friday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Didn’t set one up, either. For that matter, he didn’t even record any of the Penguins’ 44 shots on Senators goalie Cam Talbot.

But he might well have been responsible for turning the game in his team’s favor.

The first half of the opening period, you see, had been a nice, conventional 10 minutes. Good structure by both teams, and not many high-danger chances for either.

But that was before McGinn dropped Ottawa defenseman Erik Brannstrom with a hard hit, which prompted an immediate response from his teammate, Travis Hamonic.

Hamonic went after McGinn and the two traded punches to earn matching fighting majors. For starting the altercation, Hamonic also picked up an instigator minor and 10-minute misconduct, and the game he came back to early in the second period was a lot different than the one he had left.

Rickard Rakell put the Penguins in front to stay while Hamonic was serving his minor and, coincidentally or otherwise, the game opened up after that fight.

“That kind of got us going,” defenseman Jeff Petry said. “Got us a power play there, and we were able to score, capitalize on that. That was a positive. The second half of that first period did kind of open up.”

Jake Guentzel echoed that feeling.

“That (fight) is a big-time play in the game,” he said. “We score on the power play there. It gets the building riled up. … Big time play by (McGinn) there. It got us going.”

Jeff Petry:

Petry was in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup for the first time since being injured Dec 10, and acquitted himself well.

He played 25 minutes, 25 seconds and assisted on the Rakell power-play goal.

Still, Petry’s comeback was overshadowed by that of goaltender Tristan Jarry, who stopped 44 of 45 Ottawa shots while making his first start since being injured at the Winter Classic in Boston Jan. 2.

“I thought he was great,” Petry said. “He made some big saves, and he looked like he didn’t miss anything at all. He was moving well. … I thought he played really well.”

 

Tristan Jarry:

Jarry wasn’t exactly able to ease his way back into the lineup after being out for about 2 1/2 weeks.

Not when the Senators launched those 47 shots at him, including a dozen in the first period and 21 during the third period.

“I thought I was seeing the puck well,” Jarry said. “I guess it helps to get that many shots early, just to get into the feel of the game.”

Jarry joked about being “well-rested,” but made it clear it was difficult to be unable to help his teammates while he recovered from his injury.

“I’ve had a little bit of time off,” he said. “Obviously, it’s never easy having to watch games. It’s never easy to watch guys go out every night and give it their all and you can’t be out there with them.”

 

Jake Guentzel:

The Pittsburgh Penguins still are missing some key players, a group headlined by Kris Letang, but having Jarry and Petry return gave their teammates a psychological boost, as well as the practical one that comes from having other guys slotted into more familiar roles.

“It feels good,” Guentzel said. “Guys who play big minutes, and our No. 1 goaltender. It’s special to have them back. Great guys in the locker room. You can tell, the morale in the locker room … It’s nice to have them back.

“Injuries are part of the game. You know they’re going to happen at some point. We feel we have good enough depth to handle it.”

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Zach
Zach
7 days ago

McGinn draws a lot of criticism because of his contract, but he does a lot of little things that go under the radar. He’s a good shot blocker, good penalty killer, sound defensively in his own end, and as we saw tonight plays a physical game.

I would say next to Blueger, he’s probably the second best defensive forward on the team. He definitely set the tone tonight and changed the game with that hit.

Joseph Iwasevic
Joseph Iwasevic
6 days ago

The Joseph family stole the show. My wife and I laughed our asses off.

These games remind me of how awesome the Pens used to be. GO PENS!!

Fredrick
Fredrick
6 days ago

This is what this team lacks besides Friedman. I think this is what Hextall should be looking to bring in for our bottom six via trade. I’m glad McGinn stepped into that role for this game. I think we need a Greenway, Lucic, or Reaves type. Someone with some big hits and fighting to get this team going.

Alan Smith
6 days ago

Good game to watch! Petry and Jarry were the difference! Looking forward to Letang, Rutta and Poeling being back as well! When they were healthy they could play with qny team in the league! Good article, thanks!

William Paul
William Paul
6 days ago

Good win and great read!