The Pittsburgh Penguins (27-12-5) survived the highest-scoring team in the Western Conference, a fluky goal from center ice, a late-game power play and goal-against in the final minute of regulation. The Penguins grind line with Teddy Blueger added some offense and the top line with Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust added two more as the Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 in OT at the Pepsi Center on Friday night.
Penguins center Jared McCann (12) scored the game-winner in overtime on a wrist shot from the slot and the worry turned to jubilation. The Penguins earned their 27th win of the season and lept back into second place in the Metro Division.
It wasn’t easy. In the final minute of the game, the Penguins failed to clear the zone and Matt Calvert (11) deflected Cale Makar’s shot to tie the game, 3-3 and force overtime. It was the Penguins third OT in five games.
The Colorado star power shined brightly in the first period. After a little push in the early period by the Penguins, Colorado hit their ultra-fast stride. Penguins goalie Matt Murray stopped a short breakaway by Nathan MacKinnon but wasn’t able to stop MacKinnon’s one-timer midway through the first period.
After Malkin took a slashing penalty, which could have been a holding call as well, Colorado put the first marker on the board. After some quick puck movement, MacKinnon (27) blasted a one-timer from the left-wing circle.
Colorado also got some good luck, too. In the final minutes of the second period, Gabriel Landeskog (11) chipped a puck into the Penguins zone. Murray attempted to play the puck but it took a hard right turn and eluded Murray. The goalie looked to the rafters in disbelief but was otherwise solid.
“You can’t worry about (fluky goals), you’re going to have crappy bounces once in a while, we had one there,” McCann said. “(Murray) was solid for us all night, yet again. He deserved this (win).”
“We looked at the replay 100 times, it was coming straight, then it took a huge leap.”
Murray stopped 28 of 31 shots in regulation. Colorado didn’t get a shot in regulation.
Early in the second period, the Penguins tied the game. Moments after the conclusion of a power play, Teddy Blueger (6) perfectly redirected a shot-pass from Dominik Kahun.
Penguins surging winger Bryan Rust tied the game, 2-2 in the first minute of the third period. Rust (18) cut across the slot and beat Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz.
“I’m sure Frankie would say he’d want one of those goals back,” said Colorado head coach Jared Bednar in a subtle challenge to his goalie.
Malkin (13) spotted the Penguins a lead late in the third period when he ripped a wrister off the post from the right-wing dot. It looked like the Penguins would win until Calvert’s deflection tied the game in the waning seconds.
Penguins winger Dominik Kahun had three assists. Defenseman John Marino had two helpers.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed his 27th game, but the Penguins won their 17th game since his injury.