The Pittsburgh Penguins finally found their energy and a little bit of anger early in the third period. After being stuck in second gear for the first 40 minutes, the Penguins bombarded the Buffalo Sabres and goalie Dustin Tokarski in the third period and even broke their incredible run of 28 straight power-play failures.
The Penguins outshot Buffalo 46-18, however the Penguins had to press for a tying goal in the final minutes and Kris Letang took a slashing call to disrupt a breakaway.
Even shorthanded, the Pittsburgh Penguins had a few chances to tie the game. At the horn, they could only muster one goal in the third period and Buffalo won 2-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday night.
With the extra attacker, Tokarski made a sprawling save on Jake Guentzel in the final seconds and Bryan Rust hit the post. Tokarski made 45 saves in the win.
“(We have to) play our game. When we play our game, we’re very hard to play against,” Jeff Carter. “We had a lot of opportunities, but their goalie played an outstanding game. We’ll take the positives but we’ve got to start getting some points.”
Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry had to make a few big saves in the third during the Penguins assault. He stopped 16 of 18 shots.
The Penguins scored a power-play goal early in the third period when Guentzel (5) deflected a puck off his skate. The Penguins outshot Buffalo 15-0 in the first 12 minutes of the period. Zach Aston-Reese led a 5v5 scrum and dropped the gloves with Buffalo defenseman Robert Hagg.
The Penguins fell behind early in the second period.
After coaches shuffled the lines, including putting Sidney Crosby between fourth-line wingers Danton Heinen and Dominik Simon, however, just 28 seconds into the period, Buffalo hung one on the line.
After Crosby and Simon could not connect on a two-on-one, Buffalo scored on the subsequent rush when Colin Miller (2) blasted a shot from the point through a screen in front of goalie Tristan Jarry.
Midway through the period, Buffalo added to their lead by outworking the Penguins “top” line, this time with Crosby between Bryan Rust and Jake Guetnzel.
Crosby mostly played with Guentzel and Rust for the remainder of the game and added an assist on Guentzel’s power-play marker.
Zemgus Gergensons cycled behind the Penguins net to the left wall. Uncovered Kyle Okposo (4) perfectly deflected Gergenson’s centering pass. 2-0.
Before the second period was over, the Penguins whiffed on two more power-play chances, and their futility streak reached 28 straight scoreless power plays. Not even Jake Guentzel treating Buffalo starting goalie Dustin Tokarski like a bowling pin could help.
The Penguins’ first period was essentially an even, cautious 20 minutes. Each team had only two high-danger scoring chances, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
The Penguins outshot Buffalo 14-10 in the first but failed on their 26th straight power-play chance. They failed on two more in the second period before finally breaking the streak in the third period.
Marcus Pettersson, Jake Guentzel, and Jeff Carter led the Penguins with five shots each.