This last weekend posed a great challenge for the Pittsburgh Penguins. They had just lost their leading goal scorer, Jake Guentzel, to an upper-body injury. It was hard to say how the team would respond to losing such a dominant offensive force. However, it seems like the Penguins took it in stride as they continued their hot streak to four consecutive wins.
Defeating A Rival Team
On Friday, the Penguins played against one of their more notorious rivals, the Washington Capitals. Fans expected this to be a tough game without Guentzel, but the outcome couldn’t have been much better. The Penguins came out swinging with a goal in the first period from Danton Heinen, followed by two more in the second period from Brock McGinn and Kasperi Kapanen.
The third period saw the Capitals rally with two goals, but Jeff Carter capped off the night with an empty-net goal to solidify the score 4-2 in favor of Pittsburgh. It looks like the Penguins faired pretty well without their main offensive threat. An even more interesting piece that is impossible not to mention is Kapanen moving into Guentzel’s spot.
Kapanen was the obvious choice for Guentzel’s temporary replacement. He is young and speedy, and greatly needed a confidence booster as he’s run into a bit of a cold streak. However, he seemed to have shaken that fairly quick as he wasted no time in scoring during this game. What’s most important to note is that there seems to be at least some chemistry between Sidney Crosby and Kapanen. Who knows? Fans could see this combination some more in the future.
Return To Home
The Penguins finally returned to Pittsburgh for a home game for the first time since Nov. 27. The opposition, the Anaheim Ducks, have been quite the underdogs this season. They entered with low expectations, but have proved to be fairly formidable. However, the Penguins didn’t think this to be too much of a challenge as they walked away with yet another win.
Not only was it a win, but it was also goaltender Casey DeSmith‘s first shutout of the season. The game saw minimal scoring as McGinn scored in the first period from a beautiful pass from Zach Aston-Reese. After that, however, no other goals were scored. As rare as it may be, it was beyond exciting to see DeSmith gather a much-needed shutout.
This could be a preview to what could hopefully be a fortuitous home stretch. After all, the next two games the Penguins play are at Pittsburgh. The Pens should take the confidence that they’ve undoubtedly gathered from these last two wins and run with it. It’s amazing to have seen what they’ve done without their star players, but fans can only dream of what they’ll see when Pittsburgh is finally fully healthy.
Go to our NHL page for more updates!