Penguins Bounce Back with spring like performance
Now this was more like it for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
They were the faster team and the team play suffocating defense through the neutral zone and overwhelming the opponent in all three zones that resembled the team from last spring.
A five goal second period saw Pittsburgh score six unanswered goals in a 6-1 thumping over the Rangers tonight.
How dominant were the Penguins in the final 30-35 minutes of the game?
The Rangers were held without a shot for a stretch of 23:59 during the second/third period, with Pittsburgh outshooting New York 20-0 during that span.
A Conor Sheary goal late in the second period to put the Penguins up 5-1 saw the Penguins have possession in the offensive zone for a whopping 1:36 before Sheary finished off the sequence with his 4th goal of the season.
Pittsburgh outshot New York 38-17 in the game, including 28-10 over the final two periods. The Penguins had a massive 29-9 edge in 5 v 5 shots and 55-32 edge in shot attempts at even strength.
[PENGUINS PLAYER GRADES VS NYR]
Key Developments in Dominant Second Period
— The Penguins taking over this game was a lot of factors, notably from their stars and depth taking over. Matt Murray’s play, though, in the period can’t get overlooked.
Murray only faced 17 shots and was dominant in the second period when this game could have swayed in the Rangers direction.
Among the big moments:
A breakaway save on Michael Grabner who blew by Trevor Daley.
Then Murray made a glorious save on Rick Nash moments later.
The Penguins could have put a cone out there in the third period and won but Murray had a big hand on tilting this game in the second period. Pittsburgh benefited by his composure back there tonight. He was excellent with his positioning and angles.
— Phil Kessel was sensational in the second period. A Scott Wilson goal 2:02 into period saw Pittsburgh tie the game at 1-1 with Kessel delivering a perfect cross-ice pass to Wilson for the goal.
It was Kessel’s 15th assist of the season. Watching him on most occasions this season and Kessel has looked tentative shooting the puck and making many wonder if he’s playing hurt.
A goal like this will change that tune.
— Bonino, Bonino, Bonino? The Penguins were the most difficult to beat last season when Nick Bonino was a major factor offensively and playing a strong 200 ft game. There’s been very few occurrences of that this season.
That changed tonight in the second period. Bonino assisted on the Wilson, Kessel’s goal and his takeaway in the defensive zone led to the rush up ice on the Kessel goal. It was vintage Bonino from the spring.
Bonino had 2 assists, +2, 3 shots, 61.5 CF% (5 v 5) and was 57% in the faceoff circle.
— Sidney Crosby followed up his least impactful game of the season with 2 goals and 1 assist tonight. He had 6 shots and 8 attempts.
The stars having big nights in Kessel and Crosby combining for 5 points, to struggling depth players stepping up, the Penguins had everything going for them tonight.
NYR 4:22 Rick Nash (9, Power Play) | Assists: Chris Kreider, Mats Zuccarello
2:02 Scott Wilson (3) | Assists: Phil Kessel, Nick Bonino
4:58 Sidney Crosby (13) | Assist: Ian Cole
10:12 Phil Kessel (5) | Assist: Nick Bonino
12:57 Sidney Crosby (14) | Assist: Kris Letang
13:42 Conor Sheary (4) | Assists: Sidney Crosby, Carl Hagelin
13:05 Matt Cullen (4) | Assists: Eric Fehr, Justin SchultzPENGUINS PLAYER GRADES VS NYR