The Pittsburgh Penguins fall to a 27-13-3 record after a loss to their rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. Despite the loss, Jeff Carter had a terrific debut, Tristan Jarry had one of his best games of the season, and many other positives came out of it.
I had expectations for Carter leading up to his debut, but I did not expect this. He was absolutely buzzing right from his first shift, being the fastest player on the ice all throughout the game, and creating scoring chances all throughout as well.
Carter had two shots and one hit 17:54 of ice time, but his most recognizable play was probably his set-up pass to Jared McCann right in front of the net, which Flyers goaltender Carter Hart just barely got a toe on.
Carter and McCann seem to have a ton of chemistry together, and both were very dominant on the ice. I can not wait to see what this team can do healthy, but we have to keep those two together, 100%.
Carter ranked sixth on the team in expected goals percentage (xG%), which shows which players created the most chances, while also limiting scoring chances as well, with a 58.77%. He was about average defensively but was one of our top players in the offensive zone. He used his speed and shot to generating scoring chances, and was a menace to Hart around the crease area as well.
Crosby is just too good at hockey. Despite being 33 years old, he skated around as if he was back in 2012 again, just terrific.
Crosby had an amazing goal, after losing his stick, he hustled to the bench, got a new one, skated to the zone and ended up scoring. His speed on the goal was amazing, he looked like Connor McDavid for a second.
Carter described the goal as something “good players just do.”
Apart from the goal, Crosby’s scoring chances were limited, however, he remained one of the better players on the team in the defensive zone, with a 0.62 expected goals against per 60 (xGA/60).
It just seems like Crosby is having fun again. He’s smiling more, playing looser, and has a lot more jump than he has shown in the last two seasons, which is something the Penguins love to see with the playoffs looming ahead, as they will need him to be fully committed and focused if they want a chance at the Stanley Cup this season.
Dumoulin extended his point streak to six games, the longest of his NHL career. He has been outstanding this season alongside Kris Letang and has blossomed into a two-way defenseman, more than a pure shutdown guy than we have been used to seeing him be over the years. He currently has two goals and 10 points through 28 games this season.
Dumoulin’s night started with a nice partial breakaway attempt, which although he did not score on, he drew a penalty. Later, he got a secondary assist on the Crosby goal as well.
In 24:16, Dumoulin had two shots, two blocks, and a 56.61 xG%, being solid on both ends of the ice. If he can continue this level of play, it would be crucial for the Penguins, as it’s been nearly two years since we have seen him play like this.
This game may have been Jarry’s best of the season. He was just so good, and very clutch, especially during the penalty kill in overtime.
Jarry saved 26 of 27 shots and recorded a .963 save percentage, along with a 1.83 goals saved above expected (GSAx), showing that he bailed out the Penguins quite a bit.
It is unfortunate for Jarry that the game had to go to a shootout, where the Flyers just became absolute magicians, but he was for sure one of, if not, the best Penguin on the ice.
Back to Buffalo on Saturday
This one definitely hurts for the Penguins, especially after the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders both dropped their games in regulation, however, the back-to-back games against the Buffalo Sabres this weekend should help make it easier.
The Penguins now sit one point behind the Islanders, and three behind the Capitals, with 13 games remaining. This last push will be big for the teams seeding for the postseason.
PIT Penguins Writer THW. Twitter & Instagram: puckempire. Formerly a Florida Panthers writer.