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Jarry Regal in 6-1 Win Over Kings; Sullivan Gets No. 300

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Penguins salary cap, LA Kings

Mike Sullivan has won a lot of games as coach of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Three hundred of them, to be precise.

But the milestone he reached with the Penguins’ 6-1 victory against the Los Angeles Kings Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena came in a game unlike most of the 299 that preceded it.

Especially the start of it.

They were dominated — almost overwhelmed at times — for much of the first period, but never had to play from behind.

Although Sullivan wasn’t pleased with the way the game began — he said, “We got outplayed in the first half” of the opening period — he had to be satisfied with most of how it ultimately played out.

And with the two points the Penguins earned, as well as getting to 300 victories behind their bench.

“It’s humbling,” Sullivan said. “It means a lot.”

No fewer than 13 Penguins made it onto the scoresheet, but their best player was a guy who didn’t get a goal or assist. And who didn’t come close to recording one of either, for that matter.

All Tristan Jarry did was to stop the first 39 of the 40 shots the Kings threw at him, many while the outcome was very much in doubt during the first 15 minutes or so.

“(Jarry) was unbelievable (during the first period),” Jason Zucker said. “He made save after save throughout the entire game. He was unreal.”

The only major negative for the Penguins, aside from the number of shots they allowed, was that Jake Guentzel left the game in the third period after being struck in the right side of the head by a Kris Letang shot.

Sullivan said after the game that Guentzel was “being evaluated” and did not offer details on the nature or severity of any injury he might have.

Guentzel departed shortly after Los Angeles winger Brendan Lemieux, son of former NHL antagonist Claude Lemieux, drove a shoulder into his head at 4:20 of the third, as Sidney Crosby was about to be penalized for tripping.

“I think it was completely unnecessary,” Zucker said. “It’s a 5-0 game, and (Guentzel) goes to touch the puck after a penalty. I think that’s a ridiculous play.”

While the outcome was clear by the time Lemieux went after Guentzel, it certainly wasn’t during most of the opening period.

Indeed, the Penguins were outplayed for much of it, and outshot for all of it.

Unfortunately for Los Angeles, however, the Kings were outscored then. By a lot.

With under six minutes remaining before the intermission, Los Angeles had accounted for 13 of the 16 shots recorded to that point.

The Penguins, though, had recorded the only goal to that point. And they quickly added two more.

Despite scoring 14 times during their first three games, the Penguins hadn’t gotten a goal from their defense.

That dry spelled ended at 4:04, when, predictably enough, one of the right-handers on their blue line beat Kings goalie Cal Petersen from the right point.

Except the goal didn’t come from Kris Letang. Or even Jeff Petry.

Jan Rutta got it, thanks in part to an effective screen by Zucker, who was battling with Kings defenseman Sean Walker in front of the net. Zucker got one assist, Evgeni Malkin the other.

Jarry preserved the lead with a number of strong saves, and Guentzel pushed their advantage to 2-0 by jamming in a loose puck while standing in the crease at 14:35.

Guentzel’s goal, which came on the Pittsburgh Penguins’ fourth shot, was his third of the season and earned assists for Letang and Crosby.

Rickard Rakell punctuated the Penguins’ improbable dominance of the scoreboard at 18:19, knocking in a no-look backhander from the left side of the net after skating through the crease. Petry and Pettersson got the assists.

Kings coach Todd McLellan replaced Petersen with veteran Jonathan Quick for the start of the second period, but it didn’t take long for the Penguins to get a puck past him, too.

Petry beat Quick with a wrist shot from the high slot at 4:13 — four seconds before a hooking minor to Walker was to expire — to make it 4-0. Danton Heinen got the only assist.

The Pittsburgh Penguins thought they had added another goal at 7:30, when a video review determined that, contrary to the initial call on the ice, the puck had crossed the goal line before the play was blown dead by a referee after Bryan Rust went hard to the net.

Los Angeles immediately challenged the goal for goaltender interference, and it was waved off after replays clearly showed that Rust’s right skate had pushed Quick’s left pad across the goal line.

There was no debate about the Penguins’ next goal, however. Jeff Carter beat Quick on a breakaway at 3:01 of the third after Kasperi Kapanen sprung him behind the Los Angeles defense. Petry received the second assist.

Although Lemieux was not penalized for the hit on Guentzel, Ryan Poehling made Los Angeles pay at 4:38, when he scored a shorthanded goal to swell the Penguins’ advantage to 6-0. It was Poehling’s first goal as a Penguin and his first career shorthanded goal.

It also gave the Pittsburgh Penguins six goals in each of their first three home games this season.

Kings winger Carl Grundstrom spoiled Jarry’s shutout bid at 17:32 of the third period.

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Alan Smith
1 month ago

Good game but the Kings opened it really playing offense from the word go! Liked all the extras scoring like Rutta and Poehling! Seem be coming together! 3-0-1! Pretty good start! Big trip ahead of them! Still look like an early favorite!

Wasnt
1 month ago

Hope Jake is OK.
Rakells goal was sic…and the PK showed up especially during the four minute BS one.
Jarry seemed pi$$ed off and plays his best when he’s mad. GO PENS!

maybeTROLLn
maybeTROLLn
1 month ago

that kappy assist tho