Fans expected the Pittsburgh Penguins to come back from their slump, but not like this. After a three-game losing streak and being spotty all season, the Pens came back in style. With back-to-back shutouts, their confidence should be skyrocketing right now. This is a breakdown of both games, and then a prediction of whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins are returning to form.
Blowout In Montreal
On Thursday, the Penguins faced off against the Montreal Canadiens. Although Montreal is having a rough season so far, the outcome was still uncertain as the Penguins were fresh off of a loss at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. However, Pittsburgh squashed all doubt as soon as the puck dropped as they took that criticism personally.
Sidney Crosby came out guns blazing as he recorded his first goal of the season early in the first period. That was followed by two more goals from Danton Heinen and Jake Guentzel, respectively. The second period saw more scoring from Teddy Blueger and Brock McGinn. The last goal of the game came late as Blueger potted another with 11 seconds left. The final was 6-0 in favor of Pittsburgh.
Goaltender Tristan Jarry stole the show as he stopped all 24 shots he faced. If it’s any player that needed a confidence booster, it was Jarry. He started the season strong, but then began to struggle. Fans started fearing that we could see yet another regression in his game, in reference to last season’s playoff performance. However, he remained calm and collected to secure his first shutout of the season.
Shutting Down Toronto
Jarry decided that he wasn’t finished putting on a show in Canada. Sure, he shut out Montreal, but then again, Montreal is currently sitting at the bottom of the standings. Now if only he shut out one of the top teams in the league. Wouldn’t that be impressive. Well, he did just that on Saturday’s game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The first period of the game was when all of the scoring happened. Guentzel potted yet another goal in less than six minutes from the start of the game, with assists from Bryan Rust and Brian Dumoulin. Jeff Carter scored the final goal of the game with less than three minutes left in the game. Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen assisted.
Just like the previous game, Jarry stopped the 26 shots he faced. Although that may seem like a small number of shots, consider the scoring talent Toronto has. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, but Jarry rose to the occasion. He walked away with a second consecutive shutout with the final score being 2-0.
Are The Penguins Returning To Form?
The past few games are pointing to “yes.” There is a good chance that the Penguins are regaining the confidence that was undoubtedly shaken up at the beginning of the season. Nearly the entire offense is starting to contribute to the scoresheet, not only the top lines. This means more goals, and more goals will equal more wins.
The defense is starting to focus more on preventing shots. In the game against Montreal, the defense blocked a total of 11 shots, and even then, Jarry has been showing flashes of brilliance. This combination of defense and goaltending could prove to be a tandem that could rival even the best offense in the league. If they continue to play like they have, there are certainly more shutouts to come.
Of course, this is all speculation. There is always the possibility that Pittsburgh could go on a losing streak, but as of right now, that looks unlikely. The upcoming schedule features teams on both ends of the standings, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Penguins will handle them. Only time will tell whether or not the Pittsburgh Penguins are truly returning to form.
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