Penguins show offensive greatness, defensive weaknesses in wild 6-5 loss

PIT Game Leaders Top-5
Evgeni Malkin | 2 Goals, Assist
Carl Hagelin | Goal, Assist
Bryan Rust | Goal, Assist, 6 SOG
Patric Hornqvist | Goal, 9 SOG, (disallowed goal)
Matt Murray | 10 Saves in relief

Penguins Bottom-5
Tristan Jarry | 8 Saves on 12 shots, .750 SV%
Riley Sheahan | Minus-4 (0 GF-4 GA), 0 SOG,
Matt Hunwick | Assist, Minus-3 (1 GF-4 GA)
Jake Guentzel | Minus-3 (0 GF-3 GA), 0 SOG
Jamie Oleksiak | Assist, Minus

The Penguins 6-5 loss to the Florida Panthers Saturday night had just about everything:

— Terrible starting goaltending from Tristan Jarry who was pulled in the second period after allowing 4 goals on 12 shots as Pittsburgh trailed 4-1. Jarry has now been pulled in two of his last six NHL starts.

— The third pairing of Matt Hunwick and Jamie Oleksiak was a mess in their own end, despite good possession numbers.

— Defensive breakdowns crushed the Penguins in the third period from stealing a point.

The way the Penguins were able to rally after Matt Murray was put it in the game continues to show how good this team is offensively.

Evgeni Malkin with 2 goals and 1 assist is just on another level and was unstoppable for the latter part of the game.

Patric Hornqvist with a goal, 9 shots on goal, also had a disallowed goal, was a maniac in net-front area.

Carl Hagelin was great again, setting up Malkin for a goal in front and Hagelin continues to be tremendous in how he’s hunting the puck on the forecheck. He’s back to 2016 post-season level, with 6 goals and 11 assists in his last 20 games.

Bryan Rust who tied the game at 5-5 was another bright spot. He produced a big time goal, had 6 shots on goal and his speed through the neutral zone on zone entries was at top level.

— The key takeway from Saturday’s game relating to the trade deadline was Matt Hunwick and Pittsburgh’s third pairing.

Hunwick had a poor game in his own end, on the ice for 4 goals against.

Does his troublesome night ring a big enough alarm bell for the Penguins to dive into the d-man market?

As of yesterday Pittsburgh had To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!

Hunwick had troubles vs the Panthers in making poor decisions with his play away from the puck. His eyes were following the puck all night.

Two goals against I’ll look at here:

Some of it, though, will identify that Hunwick wasn’t as majorly at fault as it looked when the goals were live.

1. 3rd Period | Evgenii Dadonov Goal, 1:44

Evgeni Malkin scored his 36th goal of the season, 46 seconds into the third period to cut the Panthers lead to 4-3. At that moment it seemed like a near certainty Pittsburgh was going to find a way to rally and win.

But, 58 seconds later Evgenii Dadonov scores to make it 5-3.

And how the goal played out was issues the Hunwick-Oleksiak pairing had in the loss with a major lack of communication.

Hunwick gets caught in the neutral zone and on the Panthers zone entry that’s a quick 2-on-1 with Hunwick as the next line of defense on the backcheck…….both Hunwick and Oleksiak go towards Barkov that leads to Dadonov left all-alone for a one-timer goal.

Live the goal looked like a blunder on Hunwick as he is the left D on the pairing but as Barkov and Dadonov criss-crossed entering the zone, Oleksiak failed to defend the situation properly.

His job there is to take away the pass and leave the shooter to Murray. Hunwick was correct in back-checking towards the puck carrier.

2. 3rd Period, Evgenii Dadonov, 18:07

Another goal to look at was Dadonov’s game winner with 1:53 remaining.

There was a lot of bad in a number of areas and live it looked like Hunwick was the player primarily at fault as he didn’t stay home to defend the front of the net.

The play started with Phil Kessel’s inability to get the puck out and on the failed attempt to clear the zone, both Penguin d-men (Hunwick – Schultz) are caught on the strong side of the puck.

That is potentially problem No. 1, but as circled above, the breakdown of this goal comes back to Riley Sheahan who had man-to-man coverage on Dadonov and completely loses his man on the goal due to puck watching.

Maybe the Penguins will make it up to Sidney Crosby for trading Ryan Reaves (the two were close) by adding his pal To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!