Sometimes you have to watch the replay, not for greater detail but to make sure you saw what you think you saw. Pittsburgh Penguins winger Jared McCann scored a third-period shorthanded goal with a vintage spin-o-rama move and the Penguins won a regulation game in Dallas for just the second time since the 1996-97 season. The Penguins killed off a penalty in the final two minutes and there was no last-minute goal as the Penguins beat Dallas 3-2 at American Airlines Arena.
McCann (18, 19) was the Penguins offensive star with his third two-goal game since the Penguins acquired him from Florida on Feb. 1. Goalie Matt Murray was the other standout as he denied a plethora of Grade A chances in the third period.
The win kept the Penguins four points ahead of Carolina which beat Minnesota and in an effective tie for second place with the New York Islanders who beat Philadelphia, Saturday.
The Penguins seemingly wanted to be gracious guests for the first 10 minutes. The Penguins yielded eight shots and nearly as many scoring chances in the first half of the first period through a series of defensive zone giveaways. However, the Penguins found their legs and gained momentum later in the period.
And Jake Guentzel moved ever close to a 40-goal season.
The Penguins power play earned the Penguins advantage. From the right wing circle, Guentzel (38) snapped a deflected shot into an open net. The Penguins power play lept over 25 percent with the goal and is again a top-five ranked unit.
The Penguins took another one-goal lead later in the second period. Phil Kessel showed off his forechecking chops and crashed the Dallas zone. He intercepted a D-to-D pass behind the net and served up a point-blank chance for linemate McCann (18) who ripped it past Dallas goalie Anton Khudobin.
In each case, Dallas tied the game. Just one minute into the second period, Dallas tied the game 1-1 when the Penguins inflicted some pain upon themselves with a bad line change. And center Nick Bjugstad lost his assignment in the defensive zone which allowed high scoring center Tyler Seguin to receive a cross-ice pass in the slot. Seguin (29) had a yawning cage and because it was the Penguins, he didn’t miss.
Seguin has 29 points in 23 games against the Penguins.
Defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Erik Gudbranson cross their wires late in the second period and the Penguins again allowed a great scoring chance. Gudbranson poached to Pettersson’s side and Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano streaked into the Penguins zone. From the left circle, Cogliano (5) picked the top corner over Penguins goalie Matt Murray’s glove for an even game.
Murray was brilliant for the Penguins especially in the third period as he was forced to deny numerous high-danger scoring chances, including a breakaway and an open one-timer by Alexander Radulov.
The Penguins limited the number of Dallas shots but Dallas made them count. Murray stopped 29 of 31. The Penguins have point in four straight games and have won two in a row.
Khudobin was just one save short in his duel with Murray. He stopped 27 of 30.
–More from the Penguins locker room shortly–