The Pittsburgh Penguins (5-4-3) don’t like deciding games in regulation. Or in overtime, for that matter. For the fourth time in four games, the Penguins couldn’t win or lose in regulation. And for the third game in a row, Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry forced a shootout. The Penguins got some help from the Florida Panthers (10-2-2), who missed a few chances, and Jarry stole a few more.
Penguins winger Jake Guentzel slammed into Florida goalie Sergei Bobrovsky late in OT but the Penguins league-leading PK killed off the penalty.
Jeff Carter provided the shootout winner and the Pittsburgh Penguins won 3-2 over the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena.
“I had a really good feeling going into that shootout,” acting coach Todd Reirden said. “We spent some more time talking about different ways of getting better and improving.”
On Wednesday, Jarry said, “I’ll be the happiest (when I figure out the shootout).” He broke his season slump and the Penguins earned their first shootout win.
The sloppy, almost firewagon game did not tighten in the third period. Both teams were in double digits in shots but Florida almost won in regulation. Anthony Duclair converted a Teddy Blueger turnover, however, Blueger’s backhand clear sneaked over the blue line by a couple of inches, and master video coach Andy Saucier doesn’t miss those.
The Penguins challenged and won. The game remained 2-2. And OT was on the menu. Again.
“It almost sucks you in when a team plays like that and you get excited, you’re creating chances. It’s always nice to feel the puck on your stick. So yeah, we got roped into playing that game,” Evan Rodrigues said. “Playing against a team with that much skill up front, you have to try to hold back and not go chance-for-chance with them because, those type of games, you can’t really control the outcome and the bounce here, a shot there, it’s almost the luck of the draw.”
With some bookend irony, just after the Penguins honored their Stanley Cup comrade Patric Hornqvist with a video tribute, the Penguins scored a goal by crashing the net.
Later in the first period, Defensemen Kris Letang zipped around the perimeter behind the defense, winger Danton Heinen tied up the defenseman, and Teddy Blueger (3) buried the goal from just above the crease.
However, three minutes later, Florida’s transition and talent burned the Blueger line. Brock McGinn wasn’t able to cover for pinned defenseman Mike Matheson. McGinn had two chances–at the defensive blue line and again at the red, but Florida Anton Lundell squeaked past for a two-on-one with Frank Vatrano.
Vatrano (3) snapped a top-shelf wrister short side over Jarry to tie the game late in the period.
Late in the first period, defenseman Marcus Pettersson was injured after an innocuous hit. The Penguins activated Pettersson from the COVID protocol before the game. The team played with five defensemen for the final 40 minutes.
The second period was a lot of skating, and a lot more missed chances. The game opened for both sides with potential odd-man rushes, which became bouncing pucks, missed passes, or good saves.
Despite only six shots in the period, the Penguins got the lone goal courtesy of–you guessed it–a failed Florida odd-man rush and two-on-one counterattack.
After Florida wasted their 4v2 attack, Jason Zucker and Evan Rodrigues converted. Zucker softly set up Rodrigues (4) in the right-wing circle for a well-placed wrister and a 2-1 lead late in the period.
Early in the third period, Florida continued to tilt the ice, as they did in the last half of the second period. After extended pressure and cycle, Florida Panthers all-time leading scorer Aleksander Barkov (9) cycled to the slot for a clean rip at Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and buried the chance.
Jarry stopped 36 of 38 shots. He was sharp. So, too, was Bobrovsky who stopped 29 of 31 shots.