Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-1 win against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
* Pens goaltender Matt Murray was the difference in this game. He is without a doubt the reason Pittsburgh escaped the Canadian capital with two points and a victory.
Murray made the best save of his career in the first period with the Penguins killing a penalty. On the play Murray was on his right post when a pass went across the crease to Mike Hoffman for a one-timer opportunity. Murray was already on his knees and had little time to regroup. So he made a desperation play by lunging his body with outstretched arms toward the vacated net. Murray managed to get his blocker on the shot right at the goal line. The refs reviewed to make sure the puck didn't cross the line. It was that close. Advantage: Murray.
Murray was also solid all around. His post play was very strong. Twice Matt Duchene tried to power the puck to the net and catch Murray leaning, but the Pens goalie stayed strong on the post and made both saves look easy.
And lastly, there were the timely saves. After Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead, the Sens made a push. Ottawa's best threat, defenseman Erik Karlsson, had the puck in the circle and teed up a shot. Murray came out aggressively to cut down the angle, make the save and keep the Pens' lead.
* Sophomore Jake Guentzel is finding his scoring touch again. He went through a stretch of 6 games without a goal, but now has 2 goals in the past 3 contests. Guentzel has been sticking his nose in the dirty areas around the goal lately, drawing the ire of opposing teams. He was rewarded this time as he tipped Brian Dumoulin's shot in for his sixth of the season.
* Guentzel's goal originally appeared to be Dumoulin's. It would have given him a career-high two goals in one season. Perhaps that was just too much for the hockey gods to allow.
* The Pens did a masterful job of cycling in the offensive zone prior to Guentzel's goal. Kris Letang had the first look, but no lane. He went across to Dumoulin, who knew time was running out on the second period. So he launched a shot. The goal came with just nine seconds left. Good awareness and puck movement by Pittsburgh got them a result. And shooting the puck never hurts.
* The Conor Sheary-Riley Sheahan-Patric Hornqvist line continues to produce. The trio connected for the Pens' first goal of the game after combining for 6 points between the them in Tuesday's win against Buffalo.
Hornqvist, who scored his seventh of the season tonight, now has 2 goals and 4 points in the past 2 games. Meanwhile, Sheary has 3 assists in the last 2 games. Pittsburgh is trying to find that balanced scoring, and that line has been doing its part.
*Riley Sheahan scored his first goal of the season, and first as a Penguin, with an empty-net dagger goal with 30 seconds left in regulation. Empty-net or not, it's certainly a positive for Sheahan to get the streak off of his mind.