Post-Game Player Reports
Game 3 Saturday, October 7, 2017
Penguins 4 @ Predators 0
(Grade Scale: 0.00 – 5.0)
Sidney Crosby| Grade: 3.7
2 Assist night for Crosby, including a great setup on Olli Maatta’s third period goal to ice the game. Where Crosby wasn’t involved, though, was getting shots on goal. Limited to 1 shot and just 1 attempt. Was a combined 3 for 12 on offensive/defensive zone draws.
Evgeni Malkin | 4.3
Malkin opened the scoring with a blistering one-timer a 1:06 into and he set the tone. Malkin’s 200 ft game was as good as it gets and the commitment level he showed away from the play had him a force all over the ice. This was a performance where the awful possession numbers (11/19, 37%) don’t tell the story of the impact he had. A computer says he had a bad game, but the eye test told a very different story.
Greg McKegg | Grade: 3.1
McKegg’s 3 even strength shots were second among Penguin forward. Had a nice deflection off a point shot in the second period and used his speed well in tracking the puck. Played 2:47 on the PK. It was a performance in between the great one opening night and the below average performance vs the Blackhawks.
Carter Rowney| Grade 3.6
As the physicality picked up, Rowney had his most impactful performance of the short season. Rowney was very effective in using his body to hold onto pucks along the wall in the offensive zone and got to the net more effectively than he did the first two games. Rowney had an assist in the win and posted a 60 CF% (12/8) at even strength. He was 56% in the faceoff circle.
Jake Guentzel | Grade: 4.0
Guentzel netted his first goal of the season and in doing what he does so well, Guentzel was in the right spot at the right time, putting home a rebound goal. Prior to the goal, Guentzel made a great play on the breakout and was a +2 in the win. On the Maatta goal 33 seconds into the third period, Guentzel also provided a nice screen to get into the sight lines of Saros. Just 2 shots on goal and 3 attempts, but it was a typical high impact game from Guentzel in all three zones.
Conor Sheary | Grade: 2.7
In a game where the Penguins had impact performances from a number of players, it was a low impact night from Sheary. Playing on the third line, Sheary had 1 shot on goal and was at 37% (6/10) in driving possession. For Sheary the poor possession numbers were indicative of the night he had.
Bryan Rust | 4.2
Rust was excellent in the game with 2 assists, +2 rating and 61 CF%. On the Guentzel first period goal, Rust had a clean zone entry, waited for the play to develop and then crashed the net. Rust played just a smart hockey game. He was very good at keeping plays alive all night and rarely rushed things with the puck. On the Maatta goal, Rust controlled possession down low and as soon as the puck went to Sidney Crosby, he got to the net-front areas for a screen on the goal.
Phil Kessel | Grade: 3.6
Kessel had a primary helper on Malkin’s goal in gaining the zone, waiting for a passing lane to open and found Malkin for the one-timer goal. Kessel added 4 shots on goal, all at even strength. Kessel had a couple sneaky shot opportunities. Defensively there was also more effort from Kessel like the rest of the team in staying in his lane. Like Malkin, Kessel had poor possession #’s (11/20, 35 CF%), but he was much better than those numbers may tell somebody who didn’t watch the game.
Carl Hagelin | 3.3
Playing on Malkin’s line, Hagelin had an assist, was +1 with 1 shot on goal and a 38 CF%. He’s not the answer as Malkin’s long-term left winger and while the line didn’t play with the puck enough, Hagelin did well in creating chaos at times with his speed and defensively Hagelin was very good.
Tom Kuhnhackl Grade: 3.4
2 Shots, +1 and was on the ice for 12 shot attempts and 8 against. From a 4th line of Kuhnhackl-Rowney-Reaves, the Penguins will take that when they can get it. Kuhnhackl Drew an offensive zone penalty.
Scott Wilson | Grade: 2.9
Ryan Reaves | 3.6
The presence of Ryan Reaves in the lineup is not going to deter the opposition taking runs at the likes of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. But, if we’re evaluating Reaves strictly from what the Penguins acquired him for and what his job is, he had an impactful game vs the Predators as much as many Penguin bloggers will hate to admit.
Goal, 7 hits, and 2 fights in 6:23 of ice time.
“When he’s on the ice, our opponents take notice. He’s a guy that’s going to be really valuable for our group for a lot of reasons,” Mike Sullivan said in praising Reaves ability on the forecheck last night and the physicality element he brought to the table.
Kris Letang | 3.6
Brian Dumoulin | Grade: 3.6
Olli Maatta | Grade 4.3
Was this the best game of Maatta’s career? It’s what some in the organization believe I’m told. Goal, assist, +2 rating, 60 CF%. Maatta impacted the game in a lot of ways. He was assertive defensively and very active offensively and joining the rush. An improved and quicker shot is also paying dividends.
Justin Schultz | Grade 4.0
Ian Cole | Grade N/A
Cole exited the game in the first period after taking a puck to the mouth
Matt Hunwick | Grade 3.0
Playing with 5 defensemen for most of the game, Hunwick played 21:25, behind just Kris Letang (25:59) and Brian Dumoulin (20:58). He logged team-high 4:05 on the PK. Had poor possession numbers (8/16) and the one knock defensively for Hunwick against bigger teams the Penguins have played so far is Hunwick’s struggles to defend the cycle and the net-front area where he’s just not strong enough.
Matt Murray | Grade 4.5
A 26-save shutout, Murray was at his best in playing big. He was tracking the puck so well that he looked a step ahead of the puck on high danger chances against as so many pucks were hitting him right in the chest.
“I think when we go back and look at this there’s going to be 15 really good even-strength chances where Murray either made saves or we didn’t connect on it,” Predators coach Peter Laviolette said of the Penguins 4-0 win.