On Saturday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins (3-3-2) got Jeff Carter back into the lineup, and Sidney Crosby made his season debut. However, the team took the second period off, which allowed the New Jersey Devils to gain a lead and forced the Penguins to spend the third period trying to rally for a win.
However, Crosby slashed Jesper Bratt to disrupt a breakaway, and Bratt (1) scored on the resulting penalty shot. New Jersey beat the Penguins 4-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday night.
You can watch the PHN five-minute postgame wrap-up here.
It was not a treat but a trick for the Penguins healthy lineup. The Penguins have lost three in a row.
Two minutes into the third period, Penguins center Teddy Blueger beat Damon Severson to the puck on the back wall, and while being knocked down, he chipped it directly to Brock McGinn in the slot. McGinn (2) snapped it short side past Jonathan Bernier for a tie game.
The Penguins outshot New Jersey 13-7 in the first 10 minutes of the third period, but neither team could get the third goal for a regulation win.
Tristan Jarry was brilliant for most of the game, including denying Michael McLeod on a couple of breakaways as McLeod swung his stick in frustration.
Crosby got a massive ovation at the opening puck drop. Crosby led all forwards with more than six minutes of ice time in the first period.
According to Penguins historian Bob Grove, the Pittsburgh Penguins have scored first 205 times since Mike Sullivan took over as coach. Only two teams, including the Washington Capitals (208), have scored first more often.
The Penguins scored first again (206) on Saturday night. The newly constituted fourth line earned a greasy goal when defenseman Juuso Riikola drove to the net. Danton Heinen (4) finished the rebound chance.
It was Juuso Riikola’s first NHL point since Jan. 12, 2020, when he assisted on a goal by former Penguins winger Brandon Tanev.
However, New Jersey scored in the final minute of the first period. Adam Johnsson used Evan Rodrigues as a backboard and deflected a shot-pass off him and behind Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry.
Jeff Carter had a good chance late in the second period when he split two defenders. That may have been the only Penguins highlight in the middle period, except a handful of Jarry saves.
The Penguins melted in the second, including allowing a shorthanded goal. New Jersey zipped 12 of the first 16 shots on goal and scored the period’s only goal. Late in the second period, Jimmy Vesey blocked Brian Boyle’s shot near the blue line and had a 100-foot breakaway. Vesey (2) deked to the backhand and slipped the shot through Jarry’s five-hole for a shortie.
The Penguins well deserved their deficit and a much larger one.
According to our friends at NaturalStatTrick.com, the Penguins had just 37% of the shot attempts in the period and only 23% of the scoring chances.
But the Penguins aggressively reversed the trend from the opening seconds of the third period.
Jarry stopped 36 of 39 shots on goal and got some help from the iron. New Jersey tendy Jonathan Bernie stopped 34 of 36 shots.
Andreas Johnsson scored the empty netter.
Crosby played nealy 18:30 and had two shots. He was also a minus-2.
- Danton Heinen
The Penguins new fourth liner had several scoring chances and buried one.
- Jesper Bratt
He was there for the first New Jersey goal and one of the better Devils.
- Tristan Jarry
Brilliant until the penalty shot. Jarry kept the Penguins in the game, especially in the second period, when the Pittsburgh Penguins had no business being there.