Geno scored the first goal of the evening when he was able to take an Olli Maatta pass off his skate in tight and bury it on the back door.
Geno obviously made a great play on the puck to seal the deal, but the Penguins defensemen did a really nice job of being active skaters in an effort to create offense. This did not allow Vancouver to set and ultimately led to a goal.
Geno wasn’t done. He put on a clinic with how he manipulated his time and space on this sequence.
There are a lot of players that do not have the wherewithal to slow down in an effort to create more space. Even fewer have the awareness it takes to make the cut back move knowing there is a backchecker coming. The result of all those things coming together is one of the easiest goals Phil Kessel is going to ever score. So many players will come at that 2 on 1 without changing speed. This allows the defender to time their gap control so they can best take away the pass and limit the shooting lane. By slowing down the defender is put in a no win situation where he has to cede the middle of the ice or leave Kessel wide open. The bad news for the Vancouver defender is that Malkin would have been ready to react to either choice. You will also notice that the entire time Malkin is sizing up the defender he is quietly trying to settle the puck, which was bouncing most of the time. So many good things happening on that play.
Evgeni Malkin’s two point night give him 56 on the season in only 48 games. His 1.17 points per game this year is right on his career average.
Phil Kessel now has 20 goals on the season. Here is the significance of that
I didn’t forget about Sid. Sidney Crosby tallied an assist and now sits at 999 overall points. He set up Jake Guentzel on a great give and go exchange
This was another example of a Penguins defender being active in the offensive zone. Not only did Brian Dumoulin keep the puck in the zone, but he was able to make a controlled play to the center of the ice which was wide open. Daniel Sedin was unable to clear the puck and was stuck on the half wall. That is why there was so much space. Guentzel and Crosby did the rest. That has potential to be quite the duo for a number of years.
It’s nice to be able to point to some positive plays by the Penguins defense which led to offense and does not include Kris Letang or Justin Schultz.
Matt Murray stopped all the pucks. There isn’t really much else to add. He’s been playing great and has some of the better goaltending statistics in the league this year.
Happy birthday to Jaromir Jagr who is 45 years young.