AFTERMATH: Pens beat Sabres

(Chaz Palla / Tribune-Review)

(Chaz Palla / Tribune-Review)

It’s an interesting topic of discussion, right? Allow me to make the case for all four.

— Fleury stopped all 28 shots he faced in relief of Matt Murray. Most notably, he turned back an Evander Kane breakaway when the Penguins were trying to get back in the game in the second period and held his ground when the Sabres were buzzing around his net on a late-game power play.

— If there’s one and only one play that turned momentum, it might have been the Penguins’ first goal. And on that goal, Malkin galloped from his own end all the way up the right wing and started a rush play that ended with a puck going in off Schultz’s skate. A few minutes later, Malkin scored on a rifled one-timer from the right circle. Malkin didn’t fare well in even-strength shot-attempt stats, though. His minus-5 Corsi was worst on the team.

— In addition to his role on those two plays in the second period, Schultz made a perfect backdoor pass to Sheary to set up the winning goal. With Kris Letang out, Schultz drives the transition game better than anyone. When he was on the ice tonight, the Penguins had a 34-19 advantage in shot attempts, though that includes power plays.

— Sheary, meanwhile, in his second game back after missing a month with an injury, had a goal and an assist in the final four minutes of the game. On the tying goal, his shot from the left point hit a Sabres stick and Jake Guentzel’s possibly high stick before going in. On the winning goal, Schultz was just about to shoot when he heard Sheary, who had beaten his man to the post, yelling for him.

I guess goalies always get more credit and more blame than they probably deserve, but I think you could make a good case for any of the four tonight.

— When I posted that poll on Twitter, I got some write-ins for Mike Sullivan. I assume that’s for the way he juggled his lines.

He played Malkin with Kessel a lot and bumped up the ice time of guys like Guentzel and Matt Cullen while limiting the ice time of guys like Nick Bonino, Scott Wilson and Tom Kuhnhackl. It worked out well, obviously, in the last two periods.

— About that deep, dark hole the Penguins fell into in the first period. A couple of bad clears, one by Brian Dumoulin and one by Matt Murray, turned into goals and made the period look worse than it was. But even without those goals against, it wasn’t great.

— Dan Bylsma had an interesting take on the Guentzel goal that was reviewed for a high stick in the third period.

He said that the way NHL video review works, in his experience, goals that are called good on the ice very rarely get called off for high-sticking on review.

He’s got a good point. If you’ve got enough camera angles, you can always find one that gives you at least reasonable doubt about whether a puck was played above the height of the crossbar or not.

I have a question about the review process that led to a possible Mark Streit goal not being allowed in the first period. The puck has to go completely across the goal line, but what if the goal line is bleeding into the ice a little bit. The boundaries are fuzzy. It would be easier to call if it were a crisper line.

Bye for now,