The Pittsburgh Penguins finished up their five-game home-stand by being held over 59 minutes of Tuesday night’s game without a goal by the Colorado Avalanche. By the time Phil Kessel scored with just under :12 seconds remaining, it was too little too late as Mark Barberio scored off of Riley Sheahan’s skate and Blake Comeau added an empty netter twelve minutes later for a 2-1 Colorado win.
The Penguins finished their season long home-stand at 2-3 including dropping the last two games in a row. Despite out-shooting Colorado 40-28, Pittsburgh could not get on track offensively and find a way to solve Jonathan Bernier until the game was decided. The same goalie who had been shelled in his last outing against Dallas found a way to win even as Pittsburgh tossed 15 shots at him in the third period alone. He ended up stopping 39 of 40 on the night.
Pittsburgh’s power play, which had been hot over the last recent stretch, went 0-for-3 on the night to complicate matters.
Colorado picked up their second win in a row and their second in six games. If it weren’t for an off-sides call in the first period, the score could have been worse.
As Nathan MacKinnon badly beat Kris Letang at the blue-line, he then walked in and partially fanned on a shot that went between the legs of Tristan Jarry anyways to give the Avs and apparent 1-0 lead in the first. But in a risky move by Coach Sullivan and the staff, they challenged the goal right away.
Had the challenge been unsuccessful, the Penguins would not only have been down 1-0, but also have been forced to kill off a minor penalty for an unsuccessful off-sides challenge, a new rule this year.
But it turns out MacKinnon did JUUUUUST make and extra stick handle at the blue line, sending Erik Johnson off-sides and the Pens dodged an early bullet.
While the Penguins avoided the rough start as they did Saturday when they fell behind 3-0 to Toronto, they also didn’t manage to jump out to any leads, either.
Just when you think the club has solved problems and figured them out, it becomes a case of one step forward, two steps back. Win four straight? Lose three on a home stand. If nothing else the two-time defending champs are consistently, inconsistent.
Jarry would finish the game with 26 saves on 27 shots with the empty netter not being held against him. it was a solid performance that should have seen Jarry enjoy a better fate.
The Pens will now hit the road for three games, starting Thursday when they pay their first visit to the new expansion team out in Las Vegas. this will also mark the first time they could potentially face Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury was activated off of IR for a concussion and looks to be on track for a Thursday night reunion.
Matt Murray appears to also be in line to be ready for that game, which would make the games’ sub-plot even sweeter. Murray has been practicing fully with the Penguins, and even though he is thought not to be far off, Mike Sullivan did rule him out for last night.
As of this writing Murray was activated from IR this morning with Casey de Smith being sent back to the Baby Pens
Patric Hornqvist did return last night from his puck to the head on Saturday that forced him out, but the Pens did not have Tom Kuhnhackl along with Justin Schultz. Dominik Simon who has played well in his two games so far as a replacement, eventually found his way to the winger spot next to Sidney Crosby during the third period. Coach Sullivan was mixing and matching all night to find a spark offensively that never came to fruition.
Stay tuned to our Twitter account for any news and information leading up to Thursday’s game with the Vegas Golden Nights in what is shaping up to be emotional. I will have your pre and post game articles to keep you in the know.
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