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Penguins Rally, Get 9 Power Plays But Lose to Panthers 5-4 in OT

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PIttsburgh Penguins Casey DeSmith

SUNRISE, Fla. – After starting their season with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Pittsburgh Penguins ended their trip to the Sunshine State with three of four points. That is the positive, but the Penguins lost after giving up two goals late in regulation, and Carter Verhaeghe ripped a shot past Casey DeSmith for a 5-4 Florida Panthers OT win.

The teams combined for 86 shots. The Penguins had 47 shots, including 20 on nine power plays.

Despite traveling with the team, captain Sidney Crosby missed both games on the road trip with his wrist injury and remained on injured reserve for the time being.

The Pens found themselves on the penalty kill early in the game when Jake Guentzel was sent to the box for high sticking just over three minutes into the opening frame. DeSmith faced three shots on that powerplay. The biggest save of the kill came when Sam Bennett set up Aleksander Barkov in the slot. Casey DeSmith was able to slide over to make the stop.

Pittsburgh got its first crack at the power play when Frank Vatrano took a high-sticking penalty with 13:16 left but didn’t generate much pressure. Carter Verhaeghe counter-attacked almost immediately after the penalty expired. His wrist shot from the half-boards put the Panthers up 1-0 with 10:43 to go in the first period.

The Pittsburgh Penguins suffered another failed power play after Owen Tippett took a hooking penalty with 9:50 to go in the first period, and the Panthers counter-attacked again. DeSmith made a stellar save on Tippett at the end of a two-on-one after exiting the box.

Duclair, who missed an earlier breakaway, got his revenge on the Penguins in the second period after another contested breakaway. DeSmith poked the puck away from Duclair, but it deflected off Mark Friedman and into the net for a 2-0 Panthers lead.

A slew of penalties gave the Penguins a 5v3 power play with 9:53 to go, and after the first half of the power play expired, Danton Heinen (2) beat Bobrovsky on the far side with a wicked wrister to make it a 2-1 game with 9:15 to go in the frame.

With 1:02 to go in the second, Jeff Carter (1) struck on the power play. Defenseman Aaron Ekblad deflected Carter’s pass into the net for Carter’s 400th career NHL goal.

The Penguins were two-for-five on the power play in the second period and outshot the Panthers 17-10.

Just over eight minutes into the third, Jake Guentzel (1) banked a rebound off of MacKenzie Weegar after a sprawling Sergei Bobrovsky was out of position. The goal put the Penguins up 3-2. Evan Rodrigues (1) joined the scoring party just 30 seconds later despite all five Florida Panthers in the crease. Rodrigues poked the puck into the net for a 4-2 lead.

After an Ekblad slapshot caused a pileup in front of DeSmith, the rebound leaked back to the 2014 first-overall pick. Ekblad (1) fired it into the crowded net with 6:31 to go to make it a 4-3 game. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan declined to review for goaltender interference.

Just over a minute and a half later, Jonathan Huberdeau found Ekblad in the slot. Ekblad (2) lifted the puck over DeSmith for his second goal of the night and a tie game with five minutes remaining.

The Penguins got yet another powerplay opportunity with 4:27 to go in the third period, but the Panthers killed it off. Bobrovsky made four more saves on the Penguins power play.

The Penguins were gifted a potentially pivotal powerplay when Bobrovsky lifted the puck out of play for a delay of game penalty, but a hooking minor from Kasperi Kapanen negated the power play before it even started.

The game required overtime, despite the Penguins outshooting the Panthers 20-15 in the third period.

Penguins winger Bryan Rust was injured in the third period after a heavy hit from Mackenzie Weegar and did not return.

The Penguins will return to Pittsburgh for their home opener on Saturday, Oct. 16 to face off against the Chicago Blackhawks and old friend Marc-Andre Fleury.

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Big B
Big B
1 month ago

Desmith should have stopped the 1st and 4th goal but he was left out to dry otherwise.

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