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Insider Only Pens-Sharks fallout: Vintage Murray, Rust Impact Night, Cole-Oleksiak Pairing Struggles & More Buzz

Penguins 5 – Sharks 2

PIT LEADERS

Matt Murray | 40 Saves, .952 SV%
Evgeni Malkin | 3 Goals (26)
Bryan Rust | 2 Goals (6), 1 Assist


The Pittsburgh Penguins were outshot 42-31 by San Jose but a big night from Matt Murray with a 40 save performance and an opportunistic offensive night saw the Penguins come away with a 5-2 win over the Sharks as the Penguins keep on rolling, now 9-3 in January and currently in second place in the Metropolitan Division.


— The big story of the night for the Penguins was Matt Murray’s performance. This was vintage Murray. He was big in the net, his angles were very good, an area that was a bit of a mess for Murray leading up to his absence.

“I thought he was terrific,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “It was obviously an emotional game for him tonight.”

Murray has impressed from Day 1 in his ability to handle adverse situations.

“Matt’s just a great kid and I think because of that he handles adverse situations very well,” said Sullivan.

Murray stood on his head during the second period where the Penguins were outshot 23-10.

“We weren’t happy how we played in the second period,” Evgeni Malkin said afterwards who netted a hat trick in the win. “Muzz gave us a chance to win.”

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Rust had a big game with 2 goals and 1 assist and as the last two post-seasons have showed, when he is going really well, the Penguins are often rolling in playing a speed, up-tempo game.

“He’s a really good two-way player,” said Sullivan. “I’ve used him all over the lineup. He’s a real versatile player.”


Telling Sign of the Penguins trending up:

The Penguins went 0-3 on the power play, an area they’ve had to rely on so much to win this season and countered that by outscoring the Sharks 3-0 during 5-on-5 play.

What the Penguins showed again Tuesday night is that they are back for making teams pay for critical puck management mistakes.

“You can’t beat yourself on the road, let alone going into the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions’ building and that’s exactly what we did,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.


Evgeni Malkin’s 3 goal night was his 12th career hat trick and gives him 26 goals on the season. He’s been fantastic in January with 12 goals and 19 points in 12 games.

Malkin has 19 goals in his last 25 games and since December 2nd hasn’t gone more than two games without a goal.

The star center is on pace for a 42 goal season.

Malkin averaged 28 goals over his previous four seasons.


Bottom-2 Line Centers vs Sharks

Riley Sheahan – 18% in Possession (3/13)

J.S. Dea – 11% in Possession (1/8)


— Cole’s Audition Over? —

The way the coaching staff looks at Ian Cole these days he has little room for error.

Cole got an assist on Bryan Rust first period goal but it won’t be a surprise if Matt Hunwick who the Penguins official listed as being scratched with an upper body injury is back in the lineup Friday night.

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— The Penguins spreading out their wingers is clearly working with the much improved 5 vs 5 play this month. But, is Jake Guentzel being under-utilized?

With Riley Sheahan as his center, Guentzel was on the ice for 2 shot attempts and 13 against during 5 vs 5 play. Guentzel is one of the Penguins best pure scoring wingers Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"


About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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