Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-0 win against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.
*Another game and another injury. For the 3rd game in a row the Pens have lost a forward prior to the contest due to injury. First it was Patric Hornqvist. Then Matt Cullen. Carl Hagelin became the latest victim. Pittsburgh was forced to dress 11 forwards and 7 defenseman to fill out their roster.
Pittsburgh is missing 7 regulars from the lineup with Kris Letang, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta, Bryan Rust, Hornqvist, Cullen and Hagelin all sidelined. Despite all the injuries, the Pens are a miraculous 13-3-3 since the All-Star break and won their 5th game in a row.
*The Pens coaches did a great job of adjusting to having just 11 forwards as they constantly rotated forwards into the wing position on the fourth line with Carter Rowney and Oskar Sundqvist. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Nick Bonino, Phil Kessel, and even Scott Wilson double shifted on the line.
*The Pens best line was the trio of Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary and Jake Guentzel. They swarmed the offensive zone and created several chances. Sheary should have ended up with 4 goals on the night (if not for the brilliance of Ryan Miller). Sheary and Guentzel each picked up a goal while Crosby (9 shots) and Sheary (8 shots) put a lot of rubber at the net.
* The Pens gutted out a victory with a depleted lineup. It was an incredibly tight game. Both squads were playing really well defensively and weren't giving much in the way of time and space. There certainly wasn't as much open ice as the Edmonton game from last night.
*Defenseman Ian Cole continued his career year by notching his 5th goal of the season. He has now set career highs across the board in goals (5), assists (17), points (22) and plus-minus (+24). Cole is 1 of 2 Pens to have played in every game this season (Kessel).
*Another stick tap to Pens video coach Andy Saucier for another successful coach's challenge. It appeared that the Canucks grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 1st when Michael Chaput tipped a shot in while in the blue paint. But the replay showed that his skate clipped Matt Murray's and knocked the goalie down. The goal was erased. Saucier is now 2-for-2 on challenges on this trip (challenge upheld in Winnipeg).
*Last, but certainly not least, Matt Murray. The Pens rookie keeper stopped all 29 shots against him to record a shutout the last time he faced Vancouver. This time? He stopped 27 shots for yet another shutout. The Canucks just can't solve this guy. A perfect blanking of the season series for Murray.