The Pittsburgh Penguins (21-10-5) scored first and tied the game early in the third period. Despite being outplayed, the Penguins put themselves in a position to win, only to fall apart in the third period. The LA Kings (19-13-5) scored three goals in 83 seconds early in the third period, and the Penguins helplessly watched as LA zipped past them for a 6-2 win.
Penguins All-Star goalie Tristan Jarry was the Penguins difference-maker. LA peppered Jarry from the scoring zones between the dots but the Penguins goalie held firm until his team abandoned him after tying the game early in the third.
In the second period, Jarry stopped Blake Lizotte on a pair of shorthanded odd-man rushes. Trevor Moore had six scoring chances, but Jarry made six saves on him. LA fired 30 shots at Jarry in the first 40 minutes, and Jarry made 28 saves. LA also had 13 high-danger chances in the first two periods, compared to seven for the Penguins.
Just under two minutes into the third period, Penguins forward Radim Zohorna (1) tied the game, 2-2. Defenseman Chad Ruhwedel pinched, and Teddy Blueger fed Zohorna in the slot for the market.
However, 90 seconds later, the LA onslaught began.
Defenseman Mikey Anderson (1) beat Jarry with a slap shot through a screen to retake the lead. The goal followed what should have been an icing call on the Kings, but those things happen.
“…the one where they said it wasn’t icing, and it’s my understanding that it’s an icing. But then I don’t quite understand the interpretation of the rule. The ref said that there was a shot on goal and that therefore they can choose the side which they take the draw because (Jarry) tied it up,” head coach Mike Sullivan argued. “But they also said that it hit the player’s skate, and that negates the icing. It’s not a shot on goal–it went off the backboard and then came out into the blue paint. That’s not my understanding of the interpretation of the rule, but it is what it is.”
Sullivan was correct on both accounts. The puck was icing as it did not touch a player’s skates on the way to the Penguins zone. There was no shot on goal because it hit the end wall. However, the Penguins had a moment to regroup and a faceoff.
Instead, the Penguins allowed Anderson’s goal. They packed it in and headed for the beach.
Only 10 seconds later, both Penguins defensemen Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin were beaten to the offensive zone. Viktor Arvidsson (9) had an uncontested finish on a two-on-none. Yes, a two-on-none from a center-ice faceoff.
And for good measure, just 1:13 later, the Penguins defensemen and fourth line left top-line center Anze Kopitar alone in front. Kopitar (11) easily one-timed a pass past Jarry from 10 feet away. 5-2.
Pittsburgh Penguins In It, But…
It wasn’t the best first period the Penguins have played, but like clockwork, they scored first. The Penguins have scored first in all but two of the last 13 games. Four minutes into the game, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang has been cold in the goal-scoring department. It’s been 27 games since Letang scored his only goal this season, and it was during a 3v3 overtime vs. Philadelphia.
Letang (2) scored his first even-strength goal of the season when he retrieved a loose puck off the back wall and backhanded it to the net. LA goalie Jonathan Quick was slow to the post, and Letang’s shot hit Quick’s pad like a backboard into the net.
LA tied the game later in the first period. After Jarry made a few sparkling saves, the Penguins’ precarious puck management bit them. Kasperi Kapanen coughed up a beauty in the defensive zone, and Anze Kopitar (10) ripped the gifted puck past Jarry.
LA took the lead later in the second period with a power-play goal. The Kings’ quick puck movement was a step ahead of the Penguins and Kings stalwart Dustin Brown was alone on the doorstep for a rebound with a lot of net to hit. Brown (6) didn’t miss.
Penguins forward Jeff Carter played his first game in LA since the Penguins acquired him from the Kings last season. Carter played 10 seasons with LA and received a rousing ovation and tribute video in the first period.
Defenseman Sean Durzi (2) scored with under two minutes remaining when his point shot deflected off Kasper Bjorkqvist past Jarry.
Jarry stopped 39 of 45. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick made some nifty saves, too, but only saw 29 shots.