The Pittsburgh Penguins (38-16-9) outskated, outshot, and generally peppered Arizona Coyotes goalie Scott Wedgewood. Despite the Penguins control, they didn’t get the game-winner until later in the third period.
Evgeni Malkin (11) planted his feet near the crease and whacked the puck, end over end, just over a sprawled Wedgewood. The Penguins center pounded the glass behind the net as thousands of Penguins fans roared at the Gila River Arena.
Late in the third period, Sidney Crosby scored from the crease, too. Crosby (21) finished Jake Guentzel’s chance and the Penguins glided to a 4-1 win at Gila River Arena on Saturday. Then Crosby (22) added the empty-net goal to salt the game.
It was a complete effort, though the Penguins’ lack of finish nearly cost them.
The Penguins thoroughly, completely, and utterly dominated the first period. Arizona only attempted 10 shots and got five on goal. The Penguins put 19 of their attempts on net and took 30 attempts.
However, the Penguins’ overwhelming shot advantage didn’t translate to goals for the third straight game. Arizona goalie Scott Wedgewood was the latest netminder to deliver a Gump Worsley performance.
The Penguins fired 14 more shots in the second period and finally scored. Actually, winger Kasperi Kapanen, whose last goal was Jan. 23, lit the lamp.
Early in the second period, Kapanen charged to the net. Center Jeff Carter threaded a pass through traffic to Kapanen (10), who chipped it into the yawning cage. Kapanen’s last goal was 20 games ago on Jan. 23 against Winnipeg. The winger kissed his blade as teammates mobbed him to celebrate the end of the slump.
However, the Penguins’ domination was for naught on the scoreboard.
Midway through the second period, Wedgewood denied Evan Rodrigues on a glorious scoring chance from the doorstep, and Arizona counterattacked. Clayton Keller (27) got behind the Penguins defense for a breakaway goal.
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry seemingly made the save, but the puck trickled just across the goal line behind him.
The second period was more Penguins pressure, but not quite as lopsided as the first. The Penguins outshot Arizona 14-10 and outchanced them 13-8.
The Penguins ended the second period and began the first 59 seconds of the third period with a five-on-three power play. Evgeni Malkin hit the post, but the Penguins did not score.
Wedgewood was just short of perfect. He stopped 45 of 48 shots. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry was not unchallenged, though his challenges were far fewer. Jarry stopped 20 of 21 shots for his 31st win of the season.