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Monday, August 8, 2022
Home Sports NHL Penguins Snuff Devils, Snag First Place - Pittsburgh Penguins - PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Snuff Devils, Snag First Place – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog


Never let it be said that I do not have exquisite timing. The very day I post an article questioning whether Brian Boyle will have a spot in the lineup when we get healthy, the big guy scores the game-winning goal and assists on another to help pace the Penguins to a hard-earned 4-2 victory over the Devils in Newark yesterday afternoon. An effort that earned Boyle top-star honors.

Boyle’s line, featuring Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon on the wings, played an exceptionally strong game, driving possession to the tune of an 82.35 Corsi. With a Corsi of 86.36, Boyle was particularly dominant. With the Pens still struggling to cobble together effective second and third lines and secondary scorers Kasperi Kapanen, Brock McGinn and Evan Rodrigues colder than a hunk of ice on a mid-winter morning, their performance was all the more welcome… and needed.

The Devils, who always seem to play us tough, drew first blood seven minutes into the second period when talented Jack Hughes beat Tristan Jarry on a wide-open look from the left circle. The Pens countered six minutes later thanks to some strong pressure from the fourth line. Boyle whipped off a hard shot that missed the net but caromed along the boards to Chad Ruhwedel pinching at the right point. Chad quickly moved the biscuit to defense partner Mike Mathesonwho torched Devils netminder Jon Gillies with a rocket from center point.

Thirty-six seconds into the final frame the good guys grabbed their first lead of the night. Shortly after a power play expired, Sidney Crosby hit Kris Letang with a crisp feed at the blue line. Parked to the right of the cage, red-hot Bryan Rust got his stick blade on Tanger’s one-timer and deflected it over Gillies’ shoulder. Nico Hischier knotted the score at 2-2 at the 2:50 mark, snapping the puck in off the left post.

The stage was set for Boyle. At 6:58, the former Devils strongman simply overpowered 180-pound defenseman Ty Smith to establish position in the slot, then banged home a second-chance opportunity off a made-to-order rebound. A crystal clear illustration of what size and strength and a willingness to drive to the net can do. Three-two Pens.

Jake Guentzel potted an insurance empty-netter with 67 ticks left to seal the deal. In the process, vaulting the Pens into first place in the Metro.

Puckpourri

The Pens outshot the Devils, 35-30, and rank up a 71-49 edge in shot attempts. We held a 9-6 advantage in high danger chances and won 55 percent of the faceoffs.

Although they did not register on the score sheet, the Jeff CarterDanton Heinen-Rodrigues line enjoyed a strong game possession-wise (66.67 Corsi). Crosby’s unit weighed in with a Corsi of 57.14. Evgeni Malkin’s line (with Kapanen and McGinn on the wings) was under water at 42.11. However, by all accounts Geno enjoyed a strong game after missing our previous two outings with Covid.

Matheson earned the second star with a goal and an assist. He leads all black-and-gold rearguards with seven goals. Tandem-mate Ruhwedel picked up a helper and established a new career high in games played (45).

The beat goes on for our big guns. Positively torrid, Rust has 16 goals in 16 games. Letang has 26 points in his past 22; Sid 20 points in 13. Productive all season, Guentzel reached the 50-point plateau (24 + 26).

Jarry quietly turned in another solid effort, kicking aside 28 of 30 shots. I confess, I keep trying to bury Simon. But he continues to do what he does best… drive possession. His Corsi for the season, 58.7. Yesterday’s… 78.95. Speaking of Corsi, Radim Zohorna’s (healthy scratch) is 65.9.

Thanks to our three-game winning streak, the Pens (30-11-8, 68 points) sit atop the Metro, one point ahead of the Hurricanes and four up on the Rangers. The lead is largely cosmetic… the ‘Canes have three games in hand and the Blueshirts two. Next up, Philly at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.





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