Penguins

Rally flames out in 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary

Sidney Crosby got a point. So did his Penguins.

Micheal Freland blows past Sidney Crosby before scoring on a breakaway. — MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Sidney Crosby got a point. So did his Penguins.

All wasn’t lost on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena, but Crosby fell two points shy of reaching 1,000 for his career and the Penguins, despite a spirited comeback in the third period, fell to the ordinary Flames, 3-2, in a shootout.

Chris Kunitz and Jake Guentzel scored in the third to help the Penguins rally from a 2-0 deficit. Phil Kessel, Crosby and Kris Letang failed to score in the shootout.

Matt Murray took the loss in the shootout and wasn’t happy about it:

The first period was among the most nondescript periods of the season for the Penguins. Almost literally nothing happened at either end of the ice.

Calgary took command in the second period, scoring twice with Crosby’s line on the ice. In fact, Crosby was responsible for the game’s first goal, as he committed a bad turnover to Micheal Ferland, who did the rest:

 photo ferland_zpsfbtzx7ai.gif

The Penguins were then victim to a pretty goal by Michael Frolik, a free agent target of Jim Rutherford’s two summers ago:

 photo frolik_zpsxeivghxo.gif

However, the Penguins roared back in the third period, as they’ve done so many times this season.

Crosby set up Chris Kunitz to give the Penguins life:

 photo kunitz_zps3egewhgc.gif

Then rookie Jake Guentzel buried an Ian Cole feed to even the contest. But goalie Chad Johnson was simply outstanding all night for the Flames, and he slammed the door.

JOSH’S THREE THOUGHTS

1. It was a rough night for the captain.

Everyone had their eyes on Crosby at PPG Paints Arena, as he was three points from reaching 1,000 points for his career. It will have to wait.

Crosby did receive the primary assist on Kunitz’s goal in the third period. And oh, did he have his chances.

He raised his arms to the heavens following a wrist shot from the slot, assuming it was in the goal. But it caromed off the inside in the post.

In the second period, he was robbed.

Crosby didn’t play with his customary speed but was unusually physical, knocking three Flames to the ice on the night.

The Crosby/Kunitz connection is seemingly alive and well.

“Anybody playing with Sid is going to have chemistry with him,” Kunitz said. “He’s running real hot this season. He’s going to give you pucks in good areas. But we still have to be better. We gave up two when we were out there tonight.”

Crosby coughed up the puck on Calgary’s first goal.

2. The Penguins had some seriously mixed views about this one.

The Penguins weren’t exactly no shows in this game and, in fact, were really good in the third period in overtime. However, there was a relative indifference to their game during the first 40 minutes.

Usually players are on the same page after games. Not this time.

Consider this assessment for Crosby:

“I thought we did some good things,” he said. “Obviously we made some mistakes. I turned the puck over in the second there. We gave them their opportunities. But we had more than enough chances to win the game. I think we deserve credit tonight, to be honest with you. We put ourselves in a good position to win.”

Crosby did hit a post in the first period. He was robbed in the second period. Without question, he had his chances.

Were posts a big deal in this game?

“Multiple,” he said. “We had some really good looks, open nets. Their goalie made a couple of big saves. That’s going to happen sometimes.”

Indeed, the captain wasn’t upset with this one.

We did a lot of good things,” he said. “We had more than our fair chances to win the game. It’s too bad when you feel like you deserve better.”

Now, consider Cole’s thoughts on the game. In particular, I asked if the Penguins simply didn’t have their legs in a horribly dull opening two periods. This has been a theme in recent losses.

“I think the easy answer would be to say ‘yes,’ Cole said. “I think we need to figure out ways to have legs every game. We have to figure out solutions to combat that. Yeah, it’s a long, hard season. But it is for everybody. We’re one of the fastest teams in the league. We didn’t play like it. We have to figure out why and correct it.”

 photo phil_zps6kxc5yud.gif

Pictures from the Penguins’ overtime loss to Calgary. — MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

3. Cole, penalty killers sacrifice bodies in big, big way.

What a penalty kill from the Penguins in overtime. With Trevor Daley in the box, the Penguins were forced to kill a two-minute, 4 on 3 power play.

Cole, who was terrific all game, led the way. He told me he blocked four shots during that power play, two with each arm. He had the bruises after the game to prove it.

He killed almost the entire penalty with Nick Bonino and Tom Kuhnhackl. All three threw their bodies at shots as though it were a playoff game.

“I thought those three guys were terrific,” Sullivan said. “Matt included. That’s a huge kill for us, gives us a chance to score in the last minute and to get to a shootout. Those guys did a terrific job. It takes a lot of courage. When you’re down that many bodies, you tend to have to block a lot of shots because you can’t be aggressive. It’s an acquired skill. Those guys are good at it. They have good awareness, good sticks and they’re brave. They’re willing to block shots and to discourage shooting lanes. I thought they did a great job.”

Cole takes great pride in killing penalties in those situations and refused to leave the ice during the kill.

“Coler’s done it all year,” Kunitz said. “It’s always appreciated in this locker room.”

THE INJURY REPORT

Evgeni Malkin skated with the Penguins during their morning skate and hasn’t been ruled out for playing in Colorado on Thursday.
Carl Hagelin is skating on his own but hasn’t been cleared to play because of a concussion.
Conor Sheary remains out with an upper body injury.
Brian Dumoulin was hurt blocking a shot in the first period but did return.

THE OTHER SIDE

Give the Flames some credit. They are a funny team — there’s a little bit of size, a little bit of skill — but they played hard.

Their head coach didn’t particularly want to give his team too much credit, though. Only his goaltender truly impressed him.

“I thought we were outplayed,” Glen Gulutzan said. “The difference in the game was our goaltender. Johnny was unbelievable. He got us two points. As a coach, I have a ways to go for some things I’d like to sharpen up for our group.”

NUMBERS OF NOTE

6 — Kris Letang led all the Penguins with six shots on goal and he was very, very good.

3 — Johnny Gaudreau tried to beat Murray to the short side on three different occasions during this game. The goaltender was having none of it.

0 — Neither Phil Kessel nor Patric Hornqvist registered a shot on goal. Odd.

UP NEXT

The Penguins head west for a game on Thursday in Denver and on Saturday in Arizona. A massive amount of Penguins fans are expected in both cities.

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Yohe: Outdoor game sellout?
Yohe: Kunitz promotes LGBTQ
Gajtka: My favorite Lange-isms

Morning Java: DK, Yohe on shootouts
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28 Comments

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28 comments on "Rally flames out in 3-2 shootout loss to Calgary"

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TheWolf
TheWolf

Was Johnson good? Sure yeah give him credit he made some good stops, but his posts bailed his butt out so many times last night he probably asked to take that cage with him. Gotta just move on and hopefully Geno is back for the Avs game.

MCM
MCM

I disagree with Cole. I thought they had their legs early on. Skating and effort weren’t the issue. Stupidity was. They were passing up open looks in favor of “hope passes.” They were shooting from the perimeter and not battling at the net. And Johnson was lucky as all get-out.There were at least four goalposts. But it was just another example of the Pens playing to their motto: “The Pittsburgh Penguins, Immortalizing backup goalies for generations.”

So Sid ended up one point shy of 1,000? Oh, wait, they didn’t give him an assist on Ferlund’s goal? My bad.

SeenItAll
SeenItAll

Gee, Sid made a mistake. He’s human. No need to be a smartazz about it.

TheWolf
TheWolf

“Stupidity” is a little strong. How about “mystifyingly bad”? Kessel at one point missed making a 5 foot pass and put the puck right on a Calgary stick. There was a lot of that to a lesser degree by everyone especially in the nuetral zone.

musicman
musicman

Perimeter Penguins came to mind last night for sure. Had they played the entire game the way they played in the third period, they would have won in regulation.

Laviator
Laviator

Pretty boring game IMO. Flames were playing 3 wide just inside their blue line most of the night. YAWN.

I liked how the most frequently short-handed team in the league was only short-handed twice last night! Apparently, hitting Letang :10 after he makes a pass is not only legal but encouraged. But Tanger has to keep his composure when it’s open season on him and Sid night in and night out…..

I also thought Murray should’ve had the Flames first goal. Not calling for his job, just a thought.

anyone else not feeling Rust with Sid but without Sheary?

MCM
MCM

Bryan Rust is not a top 6 quality winger. Great third or fourth liner, though.

atl
atl

This statement is all kinds of wrong, no offense. There is this advanced stat called “game score” which was first used in baseball and then was modified slightly and applied to basektball, now its being applied in hockey. Using a players’ goals, primary assists, secondary assists, shots on goal, blocked shots, penalty differential, faceoffs, 5-on-5 corsi differential, 5-on-5 goal differential in a weighted equation to determine each skater’s game score, to determine how good a player’s performance is per/game, then you are able to calculate what their average game score is and compare that to other players (site for further explanation: https://hockey-graphs.com/2016/07/13/measuring-single-game-productivity-an-introduction-to-game-score/).

atl
atl

Game Score has been applied to how a player is performing currently this year. Based off a league wide rank, if their game score is in the top 90 they are a first liner/first D-pairing, and so on.
Rust’s game score is currently a .61, which falls into the 2nd line forward ranking. Players who are regularly deemed “quality top 6 wingers”, like: Kessel (.81), Parise (.60), Johansson (.69), Simmonds (.69), Okposo (.64), Evander Kane (.56), Tatar (.52), Nyquist (.48), Shaw (.64), Palat (.53), Steen (.56), Perron (.56), Perry (.66), Lucic (.59), Gaborik (.68), Marleau (.65), Eriksson (.50) all fall in that same 2nd Line F category as Bryan Rust. So, I’d say he’s doing just fine as top 6 winger, wouldn’t you?
(All stats found at: https://gamescorecharts.wordpress.com/2016/12/27/depth-charts/)

Jay Baileys
Jay Baileys

2 words Wes McCauley

volatility
volatility

GN here. “Everyone” is singular.

nfontana85
nfontana85

What an ugly hockey game…just seemed like the puck was bouncing everywhere. No one could make or take a pass through the neutral zone. Was the ice bad for any reason?

edseversonIII
edseversonIII

Thought Kessel was a scratch last night. Didn’t notice him at all. And a lot of times commenters say that the other goalie stole a game for them. When do the Pens get to say that? I think that is why Murray was sounding the way he did. The Pens didn’t play well but Goal tending could have gotten 2 points.

Black_Sunshine
Black_Sunshine

No goalie in the NHL is stopping that second goal. The breakaway he could have maybe stopped, but I don’t see how anyone can fault a goalie getting beat on a breakaway. He did stop a few against Nashville, including a 2 on 0, so maybe more should be expected there.

I would argue that scoring 2 goals and nothing in the shootout against Chad Johnson is a bigger reason for the loss than a goalie who ended the game with .933 save %.

MCM
MCM

Crosby and whoever went first seemed like they didn’t even try in the shootout.

Black_Sunshine
Black_Sunshine

Johnson showed Crosby the 5 hole and baited him into shooting there. Sid wasn’t 100% precise with the shot, it was a bit high, making it an easy stop for Johnson since that is where he was trying to force Sid to go anyways.

Phil, I have no idea. He’s not good in shootouts.

Paddy
Paddy

Murray hasn’t been great this season, not good on breakaways. The other goalie was better again.

musicman
musicman

Pens used to be good in shootouts but not lately. Face offs are huge in overtime because it factors into puck possession. This is one game where the absence of some of their key players showed.

MCM
MCM

A major difference is Murray is nowhere near as good as Flury in the shootout.

eckenrode11
eckenrode11

False. This season, both goalies are 1-1 in shootouts. Murray is 5/6 in saves, Fleury is 4/7. Hard to really draw any conclusions with a tiny sample size like that… but if you really wanted to, you could say that Murray has been better.

eckenrode11
eckenrode11

Probably coincides with Bylsma always ending practice with the shootout drill. Not enough games make it to a shootout anymore to have it be a focus in practice.

Laviator
Laviator

very possible. They also dont go to shootouts nearly as often as in the past, it seems.

eckenrode11
eckenrode11

3 v 3 overtime helped kill that.

Black_Sunshine
Black_Sunshine

Thankfully. I hate deciding games on a skills competition. I enjoyed watching, but it just doesn’t seem right.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

I’ll agree with the SO assessment–the first 65 minutes I thought they played hard, but the shootout–seemed like they just phoned that one in

Donnie
Donnie

Disappointing loss, but to come back from a 2-goal deficit in the third period and at least get a point out of it shows that this team never quits and always fights hard until the end. It would have been nice to see Sid get his 1,000th career point at home, but I’m sure he’ll reach that milestone on the upcoming road trip. As far as the Flames go, Johnson was very good in goal and Gaudreu is a fun, young player to watch.

TomPaulBillyBob
TomPaulBillyBob

They (the Flames) also had the benefit of a little bit of puck luck (referring to some of Pens’ shots on goal)–just 1 or 2 of those clank the other way and all of a sudden it’s just another day at the office. Not to take anything away from Johnson, you’re right, he did play very well–but I share Sid’s opinion that I thought they deserved better.

heysmilinstrange
heysmilinstrange

These are the strongest words I’ve ever heard Murray use in an interview.

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