ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Minnesota Wild 6-4 for their first victory in three games. They outshot them and buried a couple of power-play goals. When Jake Guentzel scored an empty-net goal with a couple of minutes remaining, he became the second Minnesota native to score for the Penguins. Still, the box score and the eyes told dramatically different stories.
The Penguins scored a few soft goals on Minnesota goalie Filip Gustavsson. The former Penguins draft pick allowed two goals on four shots in the first period. Overall, three wrist shots from more than 34 feet eluded the Minnesota goalie. The Penguins also yielded a shorthanded goal, with the game still in the balance early in the third period.
“It’s important that we got the win. I think that’s the most important thing. I think there was a lot to like about the game,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “We still have some lapses in the game where we hurt ourselves. We’ve got to continue to work and get better at those circumstances … When you score that many goals, it helps your chances.”
Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap here.
Despite getting just four shots in the first period, three of them with intent, the Penguins led, 2-0. However, they gave it back quickly in the second period with more flummoxing mistakes.
“We didn’t shoot the puck enough in the first to just kind of see,” Jake Guentzel said. “But (we need to) just shoot through screens and see what happens. (Stuff) like that. So it’s good to get them. You never know what’s going to happen.”
First, some good news.
Sidney Crosby, a minus-4 on Tuesday at home against Toronto, scored the Penguins’ first goal midway through the period. He had a pair of goals, including a third period power play tally to put the game away. It became the game-winner after a last-second Minnesota goal. Crosby was the first recipient of Gustavsson’s generosity. Crosby scored on a clean wrister from 44 feet. It was only the Penguins’ second shot of the period.
Ryan Poehling, from Lakeville, Minn., scored on the Penguins’ third shot later in the period, though the fourth line earned that goal. Josh Archibald rushed the puck into the offensive zone, and Teddy Blueger found a seam in the slot and shoveled a pass to Poehling at full speed on the left wing. Poehling (2) snapped it short side on Gustavsson from 34 feet.
The fourth line was really good. Really good.
The Chalkboard contains the good and bad of the Penguins’ season.