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Penguins Wake Up for 2-1 OT Win over Sharks; Domingue Brilliant in Debut

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Pittsburgh Penguins win, Louis Domingue, San Jose Sharks

Pittsburgh Penguins (22-10-9) head coach Mike Sullivan opened the door just a crack for a backup goalie competition. The Penguins started third goalie Louis Domingue Saturday night against the San Jose Sharks (20-18-1). Sullivan prefaced his reasoning to reduce the workload on starter Tristan Jarry with a cryptic nod to players competing for spots.

The Penguins snapped to in the third period and won in OT when Sidney Crosby’s puck poise pulled San Jose goalie Adin Hill out of position, and Jake Guetnzel (19) had an easy tap in winner.

The Pittsburgh Penguins won 2-1 in OT at SAP Arena.

Domingue, who had 140 previous NHL games, played in just one last season. In his first Penguins start, Domingue showed his best game. He stopped 40 of 41 shots in regulation. His sometimes spectacular performance was a primary reason the Penguins were able to get to overtime.

“I tell you, I (feel) pretty good. It was how I visualized it,” said Domingue. “It was a long time coming and I was–ever, ever since camp–prepared for this moment.”

The Penguins underwent a stark transformation in the third period. The messy team that looked like a team well out of the playoff picture suddenly awoke in the third period to look more like the team near the top of the Eastern Conference standings.

The Penguins structural issues, which resulted in their meltdown against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, were ever-present through 40 minutes. In the first two periods, goalie Louis Domingue stopped 27 of 28, but the Penguins earned just 12 shots.

“I thought we played a more committed game in the third period. Our penalty kill was really good and got us going,” Sullivan said. “I thought overall, as a group, we played a more committed game in the third period. The first two periods weren’t nearly as good as what would we feel we’re capable of.”

The Penguins penalty kill was a perfect 4-4 and generated a couple of scoring chances in the third period as they killed a four-minute high-sticking penalty to Jake Guentzel. That PK specifically seemed to spark the team.

Finally.

Domingue was stellar and kept the Penguins in the game despite facing an eye-popping 25 scoring chances through two periods. San Jose outchanced the Penguins 25-8. Overall, San Jose outchanced the Penguins 36-16.

Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Carter had zero attempted shot in the first two periods. 

But then things changed in the third period, but neither team scored in the third.

The Penguins were off to an uncharacteristic bad start. San Jose had seven of the first eight shots and scored the first goal. The Evgeni Malkin line was victimized for a few chances, including a two-on-one and the San Jose goal.

The Penguins’ defensive zone coverage was a mess six minutes into the game. Multiple mistakes left-winger Rudolfs Balcers (3) wide open near the net, and he quickly converted the sharp pass from Erik Karlsson. 1-0.

The Penguins stabilized their swooning start. Midway through the first period, on just the Penguins’ second shot on goal, defenseman Kris Letang whizzed past the Sharks neutral zone defense for a breakaway off the right-wing wall. Letang (3) swept past San Jose goalie Adin Hill and buried the backhander.

It was Letang’s second goal in two games. In the first period, San Jose outshot the Penguins 11-4, outchanced them 14-5, and had more high-danger chances, 6-2. Despite the Penguins being significantly outplayed, they exited the opening period in a tie game.

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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