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Penguins Blow Another Late Lead But Win, 6-5, in OT



Thursday night was the one-year anniversary of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ stunning 5-2 loss to Chicago at PPG Paints Arena that scuttled their chances of qualifying for the 2023 Stanley Cup playoffs.

There were times Thursday, when Detroit visited PPG Paints Arena, when it seemed as if the Penguins might be reliving that nightmare from a year ago.

They squandered a two-goal lead in the final eight minutes of regulation, but ultimately salvaged a 6-5 victory when Erik Karlsson scored on a slap shot from the slot at 1:40 of overtime.

The victory lifted the Penguins past Detroit and Washington and into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. They remain three points behind the New York Islanders, who are in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Penguins, so often victimized by shorthanded goals this season, got what appeared to be a season-saving one of their own from Jeff Carter at 3:32 of the third period.

The Penguins were protecting a 4-3 lead and killing a hooking minor assessed to Radim Zohorna when Carter beat Red Wings goalie Alex Lyon from inside the right circle for his 10th of the season.

The importance of Carter’s goal grew exponentially when Detroit center Dylan Larkin was left alone in front of the Penguins’ net and buried a shot at 12:56 to make it 5-4.

Less than two minutes later, Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond completed a hat trick by bursting down the slot unchallenged and burying a shot behind Penguins goalie Alex Nedeljkovic to force overtime.

Sidney Crosby put his name in the NHL record book yet again, as he assisted on the Penguins’ first goal and Karlsson’s game-winner and scored their third to swell his career points total to 1,591, moving him past Phil Esposito and into 10th place on the league’s all-time list. The second assist was Crosby’s 1,000th, making him the 14th player in league history to reach that milestone.

Shortly before the game, the Penguins announced that forward Vinnie Hinostroza had been recalled from their farm team in Wilkes-Barre, but he was not in the lineup. Radim Zohorna, called up a day earlier, played left wing on the fourth line, alongside Carter and Emil Bemstrom, as Jesse Puljujarvi was scratched.

Drew O’Connor gave the Penguins a short-lived 1-0 lead at 2:40 of the opening period, punching a Bryan Rust rebound past Lyon for his 15th of the season. The second assist went to Crosby.

Detroit countered almost immediately, as Raymond backhanded an Alex DeBrincat rebound past Nedeljkovic, who was making his 10th consecutive start.

The Penguins’ power play, which was 1-for-17 in the previous six games, got an opportunity to restore the lead when Detroit winger Robby Fabbri was called for tripping at 4:09, but failed to capitalize.

Evgeni Malkin was penalized for holding Detroit winger Patrick Kane at 10:22, but the Red Wings could not generate a go-ahead goal.

Kris Letang put the Pittsburgh Penguins back on top, 2-1, at 15:05 to cap a superb passing sequence that began when Malkin, deep in his own end, got the puck to Rickard Rakell in the neutral zone. Rakell relayed it to Michael Bunting, who got it to Letang before he threw a shot past Lyon from above the right hash for his 10th of the season.

The Penguins’ advantage didn’t make it to the intermission.

After the Penguins relinquished control of the puck in the neutral zone, Raymond charged down the slot, took a feed from DeBrincat and got a step on O’Connor before backhanding a shot past Nedeljkovic with 13.8 seconds remaining in the period.

Although the Red Wings dominated possession and territorial play during the first half of the second period, Crosby gave the Penguins their third lead of the game at 7:58, driving to the net and steering in a pass from Rust, who was along the right-wing boards. Reilly Smith got the second assist on the goal, Crosby’s 41st.

Smith and Rust teamed up to push the Penguins’ advantage to 4-2 at 12:44.

Smith had the puck on the left side and slid it to Rust, who beat Lyon from the slot for his 27th of the season, tying his career-high.

The Red Wings were awarded their second power play when Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson cross-checked Larkin, but the Penguins were able to kill it.

Detroit still was able to get within one, however, as the Penguins again gave up a goal during the final minute of the period.

Penguins alum Jeff Petry scored that one, driving a slap shot past Nedeljkovic from the top of the right circle with 35.8 seconds to go before the intermission.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to practice Friday at noon at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.