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Snap Shots: Canucks 4, Pens 2

by Sam Kasan @PensInsideScoop / Pittsburgh Penguins

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-2 loss against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena.

* The Pens fell in the finale of their season-long 5 game road trip. Although there was a lot to like about the game for Pittsburgh - its effort, chances generated, ice titled - it didn't net them the desired result. Pittsburgh finished 1-3-1 on the trip, including 1-1-1 in western Canada.

* Jake Guentzel set a Pens' rookie record with 13 playoffs goals last season, which was the 2nd-most ever in NHL history. But goals have been sparse for Guentzel at the start of the 2016-17 season. He only had 3 goals in the first 15 games of the current campaign. Guentzel has been getting chances, but the pucks just haven't gone in.

The coaching staff, trying to get Guentzel going, gave him a shift with the top power-play unit. And the move worked. Sidney Crosby made a behind-the-back, between-the-legs pass from the slot to Phil Kessel at the near dot. Kessel immediately snapped the puck to the opposite part of the crease to Guentzel, who re-directed it in for his 4th of the season.

* Speaking of, the Pens' power play continues to be a lethal weapon. They already ranked second in the NHL entering the contest against Vancouver. Pittsburgh only added to its success with another man-advantage tally against the Canucks.

The Pens' power play has scored in 10 of the team's 11 road games this season. Pittsburgh's road power play is clicking at an astronomical 39.5-percent rate (15 of 38). With the Pens' 5-on-5 scoring lacking, their power play has been a huge reason they've been able to have any success.

* Matt Murray had owned the Canucks during his brief NHL career. He was perfect in the first two outings against Vancouver, stopping all 56 shots against to record two shutouts. Vancouver broke that shutout streak at 127:07 minutes with a goal from Brock Boeser. He would add two more for the hat trick, and an assist for a 4-point night. 

* The Pens defensive corps - already missing Justin Schultz and Matt Hunwick with concussions - took a beating in the game. Brian Dumoulin was hobbled while blocking a shot. Olli Maatta was stunned when he was tripped and went headfirst into the boards. Kris Letang laid out his body to stop a pass in the defensive zone and his momentum carried him into the boards. He played the rest of the shift hunched over in pain. And Frank Corrado was launched by Derek Dorsett into the boards. He left the game briefly, but returned. It was a bruising night for the blue line, but they battled through it.

The forwards didn't have things much better as winger Phil Kessel was slew-footed and fell backwards on the ice, jarring his head. He left for the remainder of the second period, but was back on the ice to start the final frame and finished the game. 

* Credit must be given to goaltender Jacob Markstrom. He made several incredible saves throughout the course of the game. Particularly on Kessel, who could have had three goals on the night with all the glorious chances he had. But Markstrom wasn't having any of it.

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