Avalanche 1, Penguins 0
Some news and nuggets, notes and quotes from the Penguins’ 1-0 loss to Colorado at Consol Energy Center Monday:
*** Avalanche backup goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere was the undisputed star of the game, stopping all 34 shots the Penguins threw at him to record his second shutout in three starts this season. “There were three or four saves (on shots) that were labeled,” Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said. “He was rock-solid in there.”
*** Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog got the only goal of the game at 5:26 of the second period, when he used Penguins defenseman Brooks Orpik as a screen and whipped a wrist shot past goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury said his main problem with the shot wasn’t the screen from Orpik, but that teammate Brandon Sutter got his stick on Landeskog’s shot, causing it to change direction before it went past his glove. “I thought it was going blocker,” Fleury said. “Then (Sutter) got his stick on it, back-checking, and it went the other way.”
*** Landeskog scored eight seconds after he finished serving a hooking minor. That was one of seven futile power plays the Penguins had over the course of the evening, although they manufactured quality scoring chances on a number of them. “I think the power play was pretty good,” Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. “I thought we generated good chances and had a number opportunities, especially in the first period. It would have been nice to at least get one or two. We stuck with things and tried to play the same way all game. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a way to put one in.”
*** The loss was the Penguins’ first in six games at home this season, and dropped their record to 7-2.
*** The Penguins, who ran up a 34-14 advantage in shots, had scored at least three goals in each of their previous eight games.
*** Those 14 shots were the fewest the Penguins have allowed in a game this season.
*** The game had been hyped, particularly in Canada, as a showdown between Crosby and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, the first player chosen in the June draft, because both hail from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia. Crosby was a clear winner in that competition. He finished with a clear statistical advantage, accumulating seven shots and 17-11 record on faceoffs in 26 minutes, 40 seconds of ice time, compared to two shots and a 2-5 mark on draws in 10:54 of work for MacKinnon.
*** Colorado didn’t get its first shot until a little more than 13 ½ minutes into the opening period, by which time the Penguins – beneficiaries of the first three Avalanche penalties – had recorded eight.
*** The Penguins had not been shut out in the regular season since Feb. 1, 2012 in Toronto and had not been held without a goal at home since March 25, 2011 against New Jersey.
*** Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, on trying to contain Crosby and teammate Evgeni Malkin: “You’re going to give chances to Malkin and Crosby. They’re the best players in our game. Crosby is certainly the best player in our league. He’s going to get some chances. What you want is to make that sure you can avoid as many as you can and I thought that’s what our defense did tonight."”
*** Crosby single-handedly outshot Colorado in the first period, 5-4. Those five shots matched his season-high for shots in a period.
*** Despite the loss, the Penguins did not have many misgivings about their performance, aside from their inability to get a puck past Giguere. “I like how we played,” winger Jussi Jokinen said. “If we play like that, we’ll win lots of games this year.”
*** The four shots the Penguins allowed in Period 1 tied for the fewest they’ve given up in a period this season.
*** Crosby, on the frustration of Giguere stopping everything sent his way: “It’s tough when they don’t go in like that. We did a lot of good things and probably deserved better. That’s how the game works sometimes.”
*** The Penguins have not allowed a goal in 13 shorthanded situations at Consol Energy Center this season, and have killed 37 consecutive penalties there, dating to last season.
*** The Penguins have lost two of the three games they’ve trailed after two periods this season.
*** The loss broke a four-game winning streak against Colorado, which had been the Penguins’ best-ever against the Avs. It also ended a run of seven consecutive victories against Western Conference teams.
*** Fleury’s loss was his first of the season, leaving him one victory shy of tying his personal-best start of 8-0 in 2009-10.