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Friday, August 12, 2022
Home Sports NHL DeSmith, Penguins Blank Senators, 2-0 - Pittsburgh Penguins - PenguinPoop Blog

DeSmith, Penguins Blank Senators, 2-0 – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog


Casey DeSmith’s turbulent, roller-coaster ride of a season continued on an upswing last night at Canadian Tire Center in Ottawa. Considered one of the Penguins’ major question marks entering the second half of the season, DeSmith authored a flawless 26-save performance to blank the home-standing Senators, 2-0. For the record, Casey’s second shutout in just 11 starts and his second strong outing in a row.

He had a little help from his friends. In my humble opinion, our boys played their best two-way game in a long (long) time. Led by an inspired effort from captain Sidney Crosby, the forwards stuck to their defensive assignments like glue. And our defensive corps, which has a penchant for unraveling down low, held up surprisingly well. I was particularly impressed with the work of our third defensive pairing, Mike Matheson and Chad Ruhwedel. They made several strong plays along the back wall while under pressure to move the puck from harm’s way.

As an aside, Matheson bears little resemblance to the fragile, turnover-prone defender we acquired from Florida. But I digress.

Back to DeSmith. When Nick Paul sprung Dylan Gambrell on a breakaway five minutes into the second period, Casey effortlessly tracked Gambrell’s forehand-to-backhand move and coolly made the save. He stoned Paul on another wide-open look at 7:05.

Twenty seconds later, Kris Letang skated into the slot and fed Jeff Carterwho swooped in from the left circle like a giant bird of prey to beat Matt Murray with a sizzling one-timer. It was the only offense the Pens would muster against their old teammate, who suddenly seems to have rediscovered his Cup-winning form.

Our second goal came with a dozen ticks left in the game and Murray perched on the Sens’ bench. Typifying his supreme effort for the evening, Sid gave up his body to execute a sliding, stacked-leg shot block before springing Bryan Rust with a lead pass. The “Rusty Razor” escorted the puck as well as himself into the empty Ottawa net, sealing the two points for our guys in a brisk, entertaining affair.

Puckpourri

The Pens outshot the Sens, 44-26, and out-chanced them, 29-23. However, the home team held an 11-10 edge in high-danger chances… 9-6 at 5v5. We failed to cash in on the power play, snapping a six-game streak of scoring with the man advantage.

DeSmith earned second-star honors. With the shutout, the eighth of his career, Casey hiked his save percentage to a more palatable .901.

Murray earned the first star in a losing effort. He’s been white-hot of late, posting a .966 save percentage and 1.17 goals against average over his past five games. It should be noted that I offered a rather dim view of Murray’s abilities in a recent argument with Other Rick. Yes, I continue to be spot-on in my assessments… lol.

Never mind how he gets’ em, Rust now has 15 goals in his past 15 games. Incredible. Carter snapped a six-game goalless drought. On the flip side, Jake Guentzel (an assist) has nine points in his past five games. Letang, likewise with an assist, has 25 points in his past 21… Crosby 18 points in his past 12. Sid, who’s stuck on career goal 499, made a typically unselfish play at the end of the game, bypassing a chance at an empty not to feed Rust.

Is there a better captain in the game any or any other sport for that matter? I think not.

The Pens (29-11-8, 66 points) leapfrogged past the Rangers and into second place in the Metro, a point behind Carolina (three games in hand). Next up, a visit to Newark to take on the Devils in a Sunday matinee matchup.





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