Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens’ 4-3 loss against the Toronto Maple Leafs at PPG Paints Arena.
* The Pens couldn’t overcome an early deficit in their showdown with the Leafs. Pittsburgh spotted Toronto a 3-0 lead, which included a 2-0 advantage just 1:42 minutes into the game. The Pens gave a valiant effort to battle back, but the squad came up short.
* Rookie goaltender Tristan Jarry has filled in admirably for the Pens in the absence of Matt Murray, who missed his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. Jarry made his seventh straight appearance for Pittsburgh, and fifth consecutive start. Jarry had done a great job of handling such a demanding workload. But, as one would expect, the amount of games did take its toll on the young netminder and it finally caught up to him tonight.
Jarry misread a fake shot by Morgan Rielly and couldn’t make up ground to stop Connor Brown 83 seconds into the game. Just 19 seconds later Jarry was caught outside of his crease and scrambled to recover, but was unable to deny James van Riemsdyk.
Jarry appeared to be a step slow and just off his mark. It’s completely understandable that the 22-year-old would tire eventually. The Penguins were asking Jarry to shoulder too heavy of a burden. He did his best, and this loss shouldn’t mar what he has done for Pittsburgh during these past two weeks.
* From one rookie goaltender to another. Pittsburgh turned to Casey DeSmith at the start of the second period. It was only the second-ever career appearance for DeSmith, and he handled himself masterfully. He slid left to right to deny a great cross-ice chance from Zach Hyman. Later DeSmith showed some confidence by coming way out of his net to challenge an off-wing shot by Nazem Kadri. Overall, it was a good showing from DeSmith.
* The Pens’ attempted comeback was thwarted by Tyler Bozak’s tip goal to give Toronto a 4-2 lead. Bozak’s stick was definitely high and the officials reviewed the play. However, it was hard to determine if the stick was above the crossbar. It was the right call to let the goal stand, but it was a back breaker for the Pens.
* Riley Sheahan scored two goals in 80 games during the 2016-17 season, which included a stretch of 79 straight games without a goal. Sheahan already has three goals on the current campaign, and with his second-period tally against Toronto he has goals in back-to-back contests.
Sheahan has 8 points (3G-5A) in his last 12 games. His confidence is growing and finally the pucks are going in for him. Sheahan has been great defensively and on the PK for the Pens. Now he’s becoming a two-way threat.
*Sheahan’s goal was setup by a nice pass from rookie Dominik Simon. He made his season debut and had an immediate impact. Simon was rewarded for his great play with ice time late in the game on Sidney Crosby’s wing and picked up his second assist of the game on the captain’s late goal. Simon played with confidence and it showed.
* There was a scary play early in the second period when Dominic Moore knocked Olli Maatta into the boards feet first. Maatta was down for some time before slowly making his way to the bench. Thankfully, Maatta was OK and didn’t miss a shift.