Game 2 Fallout
Sidney Crosby picked a great time to end his disappearing act.
Disappearing act that is when it comes to putting a puck in the net.
Scoring for the first time in nine games, Crosby delivered a 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins in Game 2 to tie the series at 1-1.
— Hockey Night Punjabi (@HkyNightPunjabi) May 17, 2016
It was Crosby’s first career playoff overtime goal and the fastest overtime goal in Penguins history at 40 seconds.
The Penguins capitalized on a neutral zone breakdown from the Lightning with Brian Dumoulin making a great pass to Bryan Rust as the Penguins had numbers with Rust showing patience and dishing the puck to a yelling Sidney Crosby who beat a red-hot Andrei Vasilevskiy for the goal.
Rust had the option to shoot the puck and even admitted his first intention was to move the puck over to Matt Cullen coming down the right side but Cullen stumbled.
“I didn’t think ‘Rusty’ saw me,” Crosby said afterwards. “I just kind of let him know I was there.”
Crosby had 6 shots on goal and when he was on the ice vs the Lightning’s best players, Pittsburgh carried the play. Crosby Against Tyler Johnson, Pittsburgh controlled 71% (15/6) of their shot attempts. When Crosby was out against Victor Hedman, the Penguins drove possession on 73% of their shot attempts.
Just like Game 1, the deserving team won Game 2.
“Whether I had scored in the last seven games or hadn’t scored in the last whatever, it feels good to get rewarded. I think we deserved that win tonight,” said Crosby.
Mike Sullivan felt afterwards that Crosby scoring would be a boost for him moving forward.
The Penguins are 4-0 this post-season when following a loss.
Both teams are surely feeling good going into Game 3.
For Pittsburgh they got to their speed game and came through again in winning another game they were decisively the better team. All post-season they have won games they should. This performance will give them confidence again that when they bring their-A game, they can’t be beat.
For Tampa Bay, they got the needed split by taking Game 1, could be getting Steven Stamkos back for Game 3 and playing without their Vezina caliber goaltender and their No. 1 center Tyler Johnson clearly hobbled from the Kunitz hit in Game 1, they were a bounce away from stealing game 2. Not to mention Anton Stralman returned in Game 2 and figures to get stronger as the series goes on.
The Penguins stormed out of the gates and got a needed 2-0 lead in the first period. It could have been worse if not for Andrei Vasilevskiy who was sensational in making 38 saves on 41 shots.
Key turning point, though, was Pittsburgh failing to score on the power play when up 2-0 and the Lightning showed why they are a different type of opponent than the Capitals.
They can be getting badly outplayed and get back into the game with one shot. If the Penguins would have lost Game 2, I’m sure failing to capitalize on the power play and then again when up 2-1 would have been hot topic.
While the Lightning were just one shot away from winning, Pittsburgh did limit Tampa Bay to just 6 high danger scoring chances at even strength.
They played suffocating defense for the most part, minus some breakdowns which are going to happen against this Lightning team.
— The left wing play from Conor Sheary and Chris Kunitz was as bad as it could get for top-9′ players. Father time has hit Chris Kunitz but at least he can still drive possession at this stage of his career.
Sheary was benched for the entire the third period. Has he hit a wall? Maybe but this is just a bad series for him. Sheary is such a shifty and quick player, he’s going to be more of a factor against teams that are bigger and slower. He’s more likely than not to look like an AHL player when he’s going against more of a skilled team with type of players the Lightning have, especially on the backend. Think we’re seeing it here.
The problem for Pittsburgh is they don’t have any other options in the top-9 unless Mike Sullivan can be talked into bringing an unproven rookie like Daniel Sprong up, something he has had no interest in doing.
The Kuhnhackl – Cullen – Fehr line was excellent, you don’t want to split them up. Maybe Sullivan found his lineup moving forward in this series in shortening the bench and playing with 11 forwards for the most part when games are tight. I also think the coaching staff needs to find ways to get Matt Cullen a few shifts with Crosby and Malkin on the wing. Worry about rest in the summer.
— When Matt Cullen scores, the Penguins win 95% of the time. The Penguins are now 18-1 this season when Cullen scores a goal. Another plus for Cullen who had a goal and was on the ice for two Penguins’ goals, he had great possession numbers in the win, a 75 CF%, on the ice for 18 shot attempts and just 6 against. His zone starts were at 55%. Against Capitals it was often in 15% range.
— The Olli Maatta – Justin Schultz lineup move had an impact and paid dividends. Playing Ben Lovejoy in a top-2 pairing role might not be ideal but the addition of Schultz made the Penguins quicker and more efficient in the transition game.
Compared to the 13 minutes Olli Maatta gave the Penguins in Game 1, Schultz gave the Penguins a very productive 13 minutes. He retrieved pucks quickly and the Penguins as a team were so much quicker in getting back to pucks. Wonder why? Where I thought Schultz was also much more effective than Maatta has been was his first pass on the breakout. No reason to go back to Maatta for Game 3.
— Penguin coaches made a further importance coming into Game 2 of game planning for Victor Hedman and make him play in his own end more. Results, Hedman a minus-8 in Corsi Percentage and on the ice for two goals against, one against the Penguins 4th line and the overtime winner.
— “What we’ve always liked about Matt is his ability to respond when things don’t go the way he would like they to go or he expects them to go. He’s always responded in such a positive way,” that was Mike Sullivan following a shaky performance from Matt Murray in allowing two goals. He never seemed to be tracking the puck well all night and the rebound control was poor but he shut the door over the final 41:30 of the game.
Many always remember the ones you let in but Murray made some big stops after allowing the two goals, one in particular on Palat who got behind the Penguins defense and Murray turned him away, then late in the second period a breakaway stop on Alex Killorn.
“Matt is a mental rock back there,” defenseman Ben Lovejoy said via the Tribune-Review. “He’s able to put goals behind him. He does an amazing job of just stopping the next puck.”
No one would have faulted Mike Sullivan for going with Marc Andre Fleury in the second period and I thought he might, but as I keep on saying, Sullivan is going to win or lose with Murray and he’s hitched his wagon to him.
Credit to Murray for this.
Game 2 had a feel where the Penguins could have been the Capitals in Game 3 of the last series. Badly outplaying the opposition but find a way to lose. Braden Holtby lost that type of game last series, Matt Murray won that type of game last night. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"