Wild 4 – Penguins 1
The Penguins fell to 2-3 in the preseason after a 4-1 loss to the Wild last night. Despite the lopsided score, Mike Johnston was pretty happy with the Penguins performance.
“Thought we did a lot of good things out there tonight with our energy, thought our shift length was really good,” Johnston said. “Those are positive things. We created chances…… Downie missed one in third period, it was 2-1, could have been 2-2.”
Downie scored the Penguins lone gone, finishing a beautiful cross-ice feed from and finshed the game with a CF% of 65. Downie and Patric Hornqvist were among the few Penguins who were a constant presence in the net-front area
The Penguins are banking on depth players like Downie to provide a different element this season but getting 13-15 goals from Downie is a must to make up for the production lost from the likes of James Neal and Jussi Jokinen.
“Downie has really good skill,” Johnston said.
LONG RANGE SHOTS
The Penguins outshot the Wild 33-18 and were the more dominant possession team compared to the previous meeting with Minnesota. Pittsburgh had 48 shot attempts to the Wild’s 38.
At 5-on-5 in what’s been a theme in the preseason is the Penguins are taking low percentage shots.
Some of this can be attributed to the offensive system where the Penguins have a strong focus on hitting the activating defenseman off the rush, leading to long range shots and the need to convert rebounds and creating scoring chances off rebounds.
“We have to convert more,” Johnston said. “On those rebound chances, we have to put some of them away. Make that quick play off the rebound to get a great scoring chance.”
Penguins Shot Chart at Even Strength
1st Period: 54 ft Taylor Chorney, 33 ft Scott Harrington, 43 ft Kris Letang, 57 ft Patric Hornqvist, 30 ft Nick Spaling, 51 ft Blake Comeau, 45 ft Kris Letang, 7 ft Kris Letang, 46 ft Patric Hornqvist, 13 ft Oskar Sundqvist,
2nd Period: 40 ft Pascal Dupuis, 59 ft Brian Dumoulin, 50 ft Scott Harrington, 56 ft Christian Ehrhoff, 60 ft Christian Ehrhoff, 75 ft Kasperi Kapanen, 9 ft Steve Downie (Goal), 18 ft Oskar Sundqvist, 40 ft Patric Hornqvist,
3rd Period: 44 ft Pascal Dupuis, 150 ft Daniel Carcillo, 150 ft Daniel Carcillo, 35 ft Oskar Sundqvist, 38 ft Pascal Dupuis, 46 ft Pascal Dupuis, 38 ft Blake Comeau, 40 ft Steve Downie, 34 ft Steve Downie, 32 ft Patric Hornqvist, 10 ft Patric Hornqvist, 49 ft Kris Letang
ZATKOFF/GREISS SPLIT TIME
While there’s truly no goaltender competition, Thomas Greiss got the start, making 8 saves on 9 shots, while Jeff Zatkoff came into the game with 10:24 left in the second period.
Zatkoff had the tougher night allowing 2 goals on 8 shots.
“Zatkoff had the tougher shots to handle in the game,” Johnston said. “Especially the one that went through traffic…. Thought both guys were good.”
HARRINGTON SEES MORE TIME WITH PAUL MARTIN
The Penguins gave another look last night at Scott Harrington being paired with Paul Martin as Harrington continues to play ahead of others including Brian Dumoulin.
Harrington logged 18:25 of ice time and had a CF% of 63.6. All this talk about Simon Despres having new life under this coaching staff, if Harrington starts the season in Pittsburgh, it’s a near certainty he plays over Despres. The coaches like him over Despres, sources say.
The only thing potentially holding Harrington back from starting the season in Pittsburgh is what I mentioned yesterday in that some left overs from the Shero regime felt in the summer Harrington would still benefit from 2-3 more months in Wilkes Barre.
CARCILLO HAS UNDERWHELMING PERFORMANCE
Daniel Carcillo’s most common linemates in the second and third period, Oskar Sundqvist and Patric Hornqvist. It’s a big reason why Carcillo had a “Corsi For” of 10.
Carcillo had his good and bad moments but he was not strong with the puck in his own end and wasn’t much of a presence on the forecheck. Not known for an explosive skater but you can tell Carcillo’s foot is bothering him.