CALGARY, Alberta — The Pittsburgh Penguins (4-2-1) finally found their stride in western Canada, but their deficit was too great. Trailing 3-0 in the second period, the Penguins began peppering the Calgary Flames (5-1-0) with shots. In a twist of irony, Calgary scored two goals on four shots in the second period and beat the Penguins 4-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome on Tuesday.
However, as quickly as the Penguins found momentum in the second period, they gave up the ghost in the third.
The Penguins lost both ends of their back-to-back in Edmonton and Calgary. They have an off day on Wednesday and face the Vancouver Canucks on Friday.
2019 first-round pick Sam Poulin made his NHL debut because Jason Zucker did not play due to an injury. Penguins defenseman P.O Joseph was a healthy scratch, so Chad Ruhwedel drew into the lineup in Joseph’s place.
The Penguins finally cracked the scoreboard in the second period. Trailing 3-0, the power play scored when Poulin pushed the play ahead to Jeff Carter in the offensive zone. Evgeni Malkin (4) neatly tucked Carter’s rebound into the net, and Poulin earned his first NHL point.
1st Period Mess
The Penguins were not flat in the first period, but they were certainly not clean, either. The Penguins were outshot 20-6 in the first 20 minutes, and if not for a late-period flurry, it would have been even worse.
To that point, the Penguins had been outshot 58-22 in the last three periods.
Later in the first period, three Penguins players (Jan Rutta, Chad Ruhwedel, Ryan Poehling) collapsed below the goal line midway through the first period, which allowed Calgary center Nazem Kadri unfettered access to the Penguins’ net. Kadri (3) quickly snapped an uncontested shot past Casey DeSmith from a few feet away.
A few minutes later, Penguins rookie Sam Poulin, who was making his NHL debut, turned the puck over at the offensive blue line. Kadri (4) converted a two-on-one for the unassisted goal.
The Sportsnet broadcast also showed photos of Poulin’s father, Patrick, who played for Calgary head coach Darryl Suter in Chicago.
Poulin centered the third line with Kasperi Kapanen and Brock McGinn.
After the first period, the Penguins had not only been badly outshot but also given up the last seven goals.
The Penguins had given up eight unanswered goals.
Second Period Life
Jonathan Huberdeau scored his first Flames goal in the second period on the power play. His long wrister from near the blue line evaded traffic and DeSmith for a 3-0 Calgary lead.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the second-period statistics and outshot Calgary 20-4. However, Calgary scored two goals on the four shots. Defenseman Michael Stone (2) got credit for the fourth Calgary goal when his shot deflected off Jeff Petry near the Penguins’ net.
The Penguins managed just one shot in the first 11 minutes of the third period, and the competitive fires were extinguished.