Have the injuries caught up with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the end?
The Penguins came out swinging, as they always do in a rivalry game against the other Pennsylvania team. However, it was almost as if the excitement was sucked right out of the Penguins with the loss of Connor Sheary in the first period. This was after they had successfully cashed in on a Culled PPG, the Pittsburgh team was not able to score again in the 1st. It could’ve had to do with the energy the Flyers took from Branding Manning winning a fight at center ice, before tackling Penguins Gaunce for the win. With the dying 54.5 seconds of the 1st period, the Flyers tied the game.
The second started with the notable absence of Sheary from the bench, with what we now know as a lower body injury. The Flyers kept pushing as Sullivan scrambled with the lines. One example was when he tried a line of Kuhnhackl, Crosby, and Rust. When a delay of game penalty gave the Penguins the opportunity to capitalize on the power play, the Flyer’s came up big on the penalty kill and stifled the effort. The Flyers then scored on a scramble after contact in front of the net. The sequence of events made Matt Murray drop unable to recover his positioning in the end and the Flyer’s capitalized. Coach Sullivan challenged for goalie interference but in the end, the call on the ice stood. Forward Rowney of the Penguins took a penalty late in the period that carried over into the second.
The Penguins killed the penalty remaining from the second period, but the Flyers kept surging on. They were rewarded early in the 3rd scoring with the Penguins looking lethargic on the ice. Penguins Defensemen Dumoulin was hit by a negligent elbow to the head by Simmons, which passed unpenalized as Dumoulin walked down to the locker room. He would later return but the Penguins never recovered as Voracheck made it 4-1 for the Flyers. Pittsburgh forward Patrick Hornqvist put it behind Mason, as he sniped a shot top shelf hoping to get the Penguins back at it. The effort was dwarfed by an empty net goal from Sullivan pulling Murray from his crease with minutes left on the clock.
-Rust is looking confident in his game and seems to have recovered completely.
-The absence of offensive threats like Malkin, Hagelin, Letang, Daley, Guentzel and even Wilson, is being felt along the roster.
-Connor Sheary, as well as Jake Guentzel’s lack of chemistry with Crosby, was evident in the lack of production from the 1st line.
The Snippet of the Game:
“That wasn’t a good effort and at this point of the season we can’t afford to have those.” -Pittsburgh Penguins Forward, Matt Cullen (1G)
Feature Image Credit: Getty Images