It took a while, but the Pittsburgh Penguins finally solved Ryan Miller.
They peppered the veteran Canucks goalie — a pending unrestricted free agent this summer — with 23 shots (!!) in the second period, and 47 total in the game, asserting their dominance over the rebuilding club in Vancouver.
But it took a while before that eventually showed up on the scoreboard. Despite an impressive 45 saves from Miller, the Penguins managed a 3-0 win, giving them a fifth straight victory.
It remained 1-0 Pittsburgh until a pair of late third-period goals from Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary put it away.
That puts the Penguins one point back of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
The Capitals lost to the L.A. Kings and are now only 5-5 in their last 10 games. Their recent funk, combined with Pittsburgh’s surge, has allowed the Penguins to get back into contention not only for the division but the possibility for home-ice advantage throughout the post-season.
Despite the win, the Penguins received some bad news on the injury front.
Carl Hagelin, who played Friday versus the Edmonton Oilers but not against the Canucks, could be out a minimum of four weeks with a lower-body injury, according to coach Mike Sullivan. That timeline is essentially the duration of the regular season.
The Penguins end their regular season schedule on April 9 against the Rangers.
Meanwhile, the Canucks were once again forced to go with a makeshift lineup after defenseman Chris Tanev and forward Markus Granlund were both held out of the lineup with what is believed to be food poisoning.
Last month, Tanev and Granlund both showed symptoms of the mumps following an outbreak that affected several Canucks players.