The Pittsburgh Penguins’ recent run of form has seen them solidify their spot in third place in the division, earning another two points in a 4-1 win over the struggling Boston Bruins who sit one spot behind them. At many points of the game, the Bruins dominated puck possession and scoring opportunities, however, the Pens leaders stepped up and led their team to victory.
Evgeni Malkin made headlines last night after recording his 1100th NHL point, becoming just the third Russian hockey player ever to do so. The 34-year-old had a goal and an assist on the night and joined Alex Ovechkin and Sergei Fedorov on a shortlist of Russian players to achieve this impressive milestone.
“Geno is a guy that relies so heavily on his confidence level, and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to produce. When it doesn’t go the right way, he’s harder on himself than anyone. When a few go in for him, you can see it build and usually, his game follows.” said Head Coach Mike Sullivan.
The Pens captain added: “He’s just dominant. That’s what sticks out the most. When he has the puck it’s hard to take it from him. He’s seeing the ice really well, shooting the puck. When he’s going like that, there’s not much you can do to stop him.”
Tristan Jarry had another phenomenal game in goal for the Pens stopping 42 of 43 shots faced, posting a .977 save percentage on his 12th win of the year. Sidney Crosby scored his 11th goal of the year from a near-impossible angle, and picked up two assists, while Jake Guentzel stayed hot with his fourth goal in as many games, bringing his goal total up to 11 on the season. Evan Rodrigues also beat Jaroslav Halak on a screen shot that seemed to handcuff the Bruins goaltender, a gift for the Pens.
Mike Sullivan on his goaltenders: “Our goaltending has been terrific. We’re getting great play from both Tristan and Casey.”
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The Bruins’ lone goal was the opener of the game and came courtesy of Matt Grzelcyk on the powerplay at 6:47 of the first period. The team was then shutout by Jarry and the Pens who were outshot 43-26 in the game. Both teams finished 1-4 on the powerplay, as Malkin’s second-period tally came on the man-advantage after he received a clean cross-ice pass from the Captain and beat Halak glove-side to put a two-goal cushion on the teams lead. Geno has started to return to his old form after a slow start to the season, as the veteran forward now has 12 points in his last eight games. Jake Guentzel’s empty-net goal solidified the win, improving the Pens’ overall record to 18-9-1.
The Penguins have now reached the midpoint of their season, but have shown no signs of slowing down as they continue to make adjustments and improvements to their game. The rust appears to have warn off, and despite fighting numerous injuries throughout the year, the team has posted an impressive record.
“I think we’re just competing hard. We’re giving ourselves a chance every night, and that’s what we need to do. That compete level’s got to be there. That’s the strength of our team. Obviously speed is too.” said Crosby. “Just the urgency, the desperation…those are things that need to be there every night regardless of who we play and what the circumstance is. We’ve brought that consistently and we’ve got good results, and we’ve got to continue to build here.”
The wait before the next game will be very short-lived as the two teams will go head-to-head at PPG Paints Arena tonight, for the second half of the double-header. Casey DeSmith will likely get the nod against Dan Vladar, as Tuukka Rask remains sidelined due to injury. Puck drop is at 7PM EST.