Penguins Postgame Commentary: Stanley Cup Qualifier vs Habs (Game 2)

By COMON Network Team

Final Score – Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Montreal Canadiens 1 (Series tied at 1-1)

HM: Sidney Crosby (PIT) – G

3rd Star: Conor Sheary (PIT) – 2 A (Was game’s official 1st star)

2nd Star: Carey Price (MTL) – 35 SV, 2 GA

1st Star: Matt Murray (PIT) – 26 SV, 1 GA (was game’s official 3rd star)

After a rough first game of the series in which the Penguins went 1-for-7 on the powerplay and trailed 2-0, it was the Pittsburgh Penguins that got the scoring started in the second game of the Stanley Cup Qualifying series against Montreal in Toronto. At 4:25 of the first, Sidney Crosby scored his second goal in as many games, beating Carey Price, who was again fantastic, through the five hole.

Neither team scored in the second period as the Penguins continued to really struggle on the man advantage. The Pens were 0-for-5 in the second game of the series tonight including 26 seconds on a 5-on-3, on which not much was accomplished. At 14:41 of the third, Conor Sheary picked up his second helper of the night with a great hesitation play and feed to Jason Zucker, who buried what turned out to be the game winner, making it 2-0.

A few minutes later, Jesperi Kotkaniemi feasted on a rebound off the pad of Matt Murray and scored to cut the score to 2-1. The hope didn’t last overly long, as Jake Guentzel backhanded in an empty netter to put the game away and even the series.

Game 3 is slated for Wednesday night.

COMON Network Team Commentary

AUSTIN SHAW

  • The Messiah Matt Murray with the W. I’d say he stole the game. He is the guy. Believe that. 
  • Jesus at that late goal by the Habs. The Pens love to make it interesting. 
  • Pitiful power play, again. 0-5 tonight. 1-7 Saturday. So 1-12 in 2 games. That’s 8%. They need to figure that out. Get Hornqvist off of the first line now. 
  • Price almost weathered the storm again. But Captain Sidney Crosby brought the storm and sniped one short side for a great one to zero lead early. Absolutely huge to get a quick start. 
  • A lot of good offense tonight. Price stood on his head, for the most part. If they can keep this offense up, they will be absolutely fine. 
  • Let’s Go Pens. COMON.

Player of the Game – Matt Murray (PIT)

RYAN SIMPSON

  • 1st Period: Habs came out HOT in the first few minutes. Guentzel found Sid crashing and went 5-hole on Carey Price. Sid just outclassed Price there with that quick wrister. Penguins first PP line looked great in their first shift tonight and I cannot say that for the second unit. Second PP unit looked like a peewee team trying to remember how to get the punk into the zone. I loved the tempo and the insanity in the first period; the little scrum with two minutes and change was great. Set the tone with Montreal that Pittsburgh is willing to throw the body around too. Montreal outhit the Penguins 53-30 in game one which is not ideal, but at the end of the first period the Habs lead in hits 12-9. Overall, good first period for both teams.
  • 2nd Period: As the old 29-er once said on radio: “The Penguins need to get their PP working.” They had a 5 on 3 chance and blew it. 0-5 with a man advantage is awful. I mentioned in our NHL preview podcast that the PP for Pittsburgh was below league average this year and it is finally showing. After a strong showing in the first period, the Pens look LOST. Murray has only faced 13 shots through two periods which is a double-edged sword. Habs aren’t getting a lot of shots on net, but this usually ends with Murray letting in a soft goal which cannot happen in a 1-0 game. Third period is going to be interesting. 
  • 3rd Period: What a play by Sheary to get the puck out and wait for Zucker to clear for the feed. Kotkaniemi’s goal was a gritty one which MTL needed to get some kind of push to keep them alive in the game. Great empty net work by the Pens to seal up the game with a Guentzel goal.

Player of the Game – Matt Murray (PIT)

KYLE DAWSON

  • Matt Murray was better tonight. The one goal against was a bad rebound that he probably is better off kicking to the corner and he just didn’t recover in time. I can live with that. Murray made a handful of really big stops against good looks. In a tight game like that, you need the goalie in between your pipes to do what Murray did tonight. Good for him. Love it.
  • This powerplay… it’s hot garbage. Just pathetic. I don’t even want to waste your time talking about it. They are over-complicating it. Let the stars be stars. It’s on the coaching and the stars who can’t seemingly figure it out either. Playing like that with a man, or two, advantage won’t win a series after this one. And why the hell does Austin want 72 off the 1st unit? ^^
  • Shoutout to 87 doing 87 things at least off the powerplay. That first goal was huge after that loss to an abysmal team in game one.
  • Conor Sheary’s play on the second goal for the Pens was simply fantastic. A two helper night and that play earns him a star tonight. The hesitation and then the slick feed right to the tape of Zucker. Beautiful.

Player of the Game – Matt Murray (PIT)

JACK HILLGROVE

  • It was good to see Patric Hörnqvist back on the first power play unit for the Pens. You could automatically tell that the offense when it had a man up played more aggressive, and put more heat on Carey Price’s back. It’s no big surprise that only one player can make a difference like that, especially 72. I really don’t think it’s far fetched to say he is one of the best forwards when it comes to play in front of the net to ever play for the Pens, maybe even ever in the NHL. A certain goal from the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals sticks out for some reason. 
  • Okay, so 72 was the only bright spot of the power play. It looked somewhat sharp to start the game, and I think the reason the Pens didn’t score because of the man in net for the Habs. But the 5th PP of the game for the Penguins was about as horrendous as it gets. 26 seconds with a 5 on 3, and one shot. It didn’t seem like they got it into the offensive zone at all once it went to 5 on 4! The offense for the Pens had me very excited for this restart, but if they intend to make a run in this playoff, the power play units need to wake the hell up. 
  • Conor. Sheary. Talk about a guy who found a niche with the Penguins and no one else. I wasn’t too excited when they were able to re-acquire him at the deadline, and now I wish I was. I think Chris Kunitz was a more talented player, but for whatever reason he reminds me of Kunitz. Good play-making forward that gels with Sid and does what you need to win. Two assists tonight for 43, and the play he made on the puck for the Zucker goal was flat out nuts. Now my only beef with Sheary is his lack of consistency, so hopefully he can keep rolling. 

Player of the Game – Conor Sheary (PIT)

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