Tuesday’s Penguins Buzz
The Penguins goaltending has been suspect to very poor since returning from the bye break where Marc Andre Fleury has allowed 10 goals over his last two starts and Matt Murray after allowing seven goals last night, has allowed 11 goals over his last two games.
Murray in particular has not looked like his dominant self since allowing six goals in a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jackets on Dec 22.
Over his last four starts, Murray has an .828 save percentage, allowing 19 goals on 111 shots faced.
In Monday’s 8-7 win over the Capitals, Murray just never looked right. His angles were disastrous often taking the wrong angle on side to side plays and he was playing small when squaring up on shooters.
Even as the Penguins stormed back to take a lead in the second period, there was a feeling all night there was a good chance Washington would keep lighting Murray up.
Despite how shaky Murray looked throughout, Mike Sullivan cited after the game he didn’t give much consideration to pulling Murray because the team took the lead and Murray has often showed an ability to bounce back from poor goals.
One attribute that has played a part in Murray evolving into the Penguins No. 1 netminder has been the consistency of not letting a game get out of hand. A team may get three on him but getting that fourth is often difficult.
Of late that hasn’t been the case.
How does Mike Sullivan handle the goaltending situation for Wednesday night in Montreal? No one can blame the coaching staff if they feel Murray needs some more practice time and a tune-up the next couple days with Mike Bales.
I’d argue that he needs games under his belt, having played just four times over the last 28 days and with no back-to-backs the rest of the month, the coaching staff should give Murray a dose of three to four consecutive starts coming up to see if he gets out of his funk and go from there.
More Takeaways from Pens – Caps
— Patric Hornqvist season has been a bit frustrating at times and the Penguins coaching staff has also been frustrated with his lack of production 5 v 5 where he has just 3 even strength goals. However, Hornqvist value was on display last night. Pittsburgh fed off his energy and Hornqvist was a force on the forecheck from the second period on and in the net-front area.
— Coming off a three point night, Conor Sheary has 8 goals and 14 points at even strength this season, averaging 2.78 Points/60 (5v5), good for sixth in the NHL among players who have appeared in 20 games.
– Jake Guentzel had an assist and a 70 CF% at even strength vs the Capitals, on the ice for 14 shot attempts, 6 against. Such a small sample but Guentzel is averaging 4.10 Points/60 (5v5) in six NHL games this season.