Jeff Carter’s third period power play goal, his second goal and the Penguins second power play goal of the game was the difference as the Penguins special teams out dueled the Arizona Coyotes in a 4-2 victory at PPG Paints Arena.
Early in the third, Carter (3) tipped home a Kris Letang shot as the Pens second power play unit got into the action, giving the Penguins a lead they would not relinquish.
Despite dominating play at even strength, the Penguins found themselves in the penalty box five times and had to kill off a Coyotes third period man advantage with 9:03 left in the game. A self-inflicted bench minor for too many men on the ice at 7:28 put an end to the Coyotes power play and they never seriously threatened again.
Jake Guentzel (12) scored his second of the game, an unassisted empty net goal while lying on his stomach, to finish off the scoring.
The Penguins managed two goals on the power play, the first of which broke a 0 for 37 streak, and one on the penalty kill and overcame two power play goals by the Coyotes in the first period to secure their first December victory.
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry stopped 20 of 22 shots and was perfect 5-on-5. The Pens peppered the ‘Yotes with 44 shots on goal.
The Pens win broke a four game losing streak.
It only took the Penguins one minute and twelve seconds of game time against the Arizona Coyotes to end their historic power play drought, one that stretched all the way back to Nov. 4.
Jake Guentzel (11), in a new look power play that included Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Valtteri Puustinen and Erik Karlsson, found a soft spot in the Coyotes’ defensive formation and squeezed a Crosby pass between the post and Conner Ingram’s shoulder.
And just like that, the 0 for 37 weight was lifted and the Penguins were off with an early 1-0 lead.
Unfortunately, the Penguins penalty kill was not as successful. In a first period marred by a cavalcade of calls, the Coyotes converted two of their three chances. The first from Logan Crouse (13) at 10:20 and the second five minute and four seconds later from Matias Maccelli (5). Ex-Pens Jason Zucker and Nick Bjugstad each had helpers against their former club and the Pens found themselves down 2-1 despite three power play opportunities of their own, including a 4 on 3.
When Erik Karlsson took his second penalty of the period at 15:47 and the Coyotes out in front 2-1, it looked grim. But Drew O’Connor’s hard work at the top of the zone managed to spring Carter (2) on a breakaway. One slick backhand later and Carter’s shorty knotted the game 2-2. His first since March 27, 2022.
That score would hold up for the rest of the period, one that saw four goals, all on special teams.
Period two was a more disciplined affair with only one penalty — to the Penguins Jeff Carter — no goals and a lot of back and forth 5-on 5 action. The penguins put 19 pucks on net in the second, but were unable to put anything past Ingram.
The Penguins held a nearly 2-1 shot advantage, 33 to 17 after forty minutes.