It started slow, and with only four regular defensemen in the lineup, the Pittsburgh Penguins were happy to let the game be played on the edges. For the third straight game, the Penguins needed more than 60 minutes, and they needed to rally from just a few minutes of explosively bad play. In fact, the Penguins needed 65 minutes and a shootout.
Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang scored in the shootout and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 4-3 on Friday night at PPG Paints Arena.
Midway through the first period, the Penguins second line took advantage of their faceoff dominance. The Penguins won 13 of 15 faceoff drops in the opening period, and that’s how Bryan Rust scored his first goal of the season.
Evgeni Malkin won the faceoff, and Rust (1) deflected defenseman Cody Ceci’s rising shot beneath New York goalie Igor Shesterkin. It was Malkin’s first assist of the season and Ceci’s first point as a Penguin.
The Penguins were content to ease into the game and allow rookie P-O Joseph to get his feet wet and Ceci to find his groove. Though New York still found a few high-danger chances, including a Ryan Strome breakaway. Tristan Jarry stopped all 11 shots.
“It’s been a roller coaster. A lot of emotion. The guys have been great with me in the room,” Joseph said. “I felt like I was part of the team. My nerves were pretty high going in, but once the game started, it’s hockey.”
However, the second period brought the maddening lapses, which have defined the first several games this season. The Penguins methodical start quickly became a 3-1 deficit.
Early in the second period, the Penguins killed a delay-of-game penalty to Jake Guentzel, but moments later, Brian Dumoulin turned over the puck, then collided with Chad Ruhwedel. The oops left Filip Chytil (2) to bear down on goalie Tristan Jarry. Chytil executed a perfect drag move and reached back around the extended Jarry.
A few minutes later, the Penguins were again shorthanded after Sidney Crosby took a slashing penalty. Adam Fox (1) was the recipient of Jarry not seeing his point wrister, and New York had a 2-1 lead.
The culmination came only 24 seconds later when New York buried a four-on-three rush. After defenseman John Marino failed to keep the puck at the offensive blue line or chip it deep, New York quickly transitioned. Kakko (2) beat Marino to the Penguins net, and Jarry served a rebound directly on Kakko’s stick.
In just a few minutes, the Penguins were down 3-1.
The Penguins dominated the second half of the second period. Hard backchecks and puck pressure kept the puck in the New York zone, but the Penguins needed a little luck for their second goal.
On the power play, Jared McCann’s (1) shot was stopped, but it laid in the crease. New York defenseman Ryan Lindgren tried to push into Shesterkin but instead pushed it past him. Even dumb luck counts.
The Penguins similarly dominated most of the third period, too.
Pavel Buchnevich nearly put a dagger in the Penguins twice. Early in the third period, he snapped a one-timer off the post. Midway through the third period, Jarry made a game-saving save on Buchnevich as the goalie slid hard to his left to deny a wide-open chance.
The Pittsburgh Penguins rewarded Jarry just a couple of minutes later when their heavy pressure paid off. Kasperi Kapanen led the rush, dropped the puck for P-O Joseph at the blue line, and Teddy Blueger (2) buried the open rebound.
It was Joseph’s first NHL point and tic-tac-toe, the Penguins tied the game (and paid off on the PHN Penguins betting recommendation).
New York stormed the final few minutes but could not get the winner in regulation. Jarry stopped 29 of 32 in regulation, while Shesterkin stopped 23 of 26.
The Penguins controlled the puck for the first two minutes of 3v3 overtime, but the first shot didn’t occur until 1:57 into OT when Evgeni Malkin shoveled a backhand into Shesterkin. Chytil again had a glorious at the Pittsburgh Penguins net after Jason Zucker fell and left a loose puck just out of Jarry’s reach.
Jake Guentzel couldn’t finish an OT breakaway, either, but Guentzel buried his shootout attempt. So, too did Kris Letang and the Penguins earned their third win.