The Pittsburgh Penguins controlled most of the game, shots and scoring chances. Yet they needed a dramatic goal by Kasperi Kapanen just to force overtime after the New York Islanders scored a trio of stoppable goals.
Just 31 seconds after Brock Nelson gave New York a 3-2 lead, Kapanen followed Jeff Carter into the offensive zone. A toe drag and hard wrister later, Kapanen (1) scored, and the Penguins had new life.
However, Jarry was beaten for a fourth time to the top corner late in the first overtime by Kyle Palmieri (2) and the Pittsburgh Penguins lost what should have been a sure win, 4-3 in OT on Sunday at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins’ sloppy third period culminated in a pair of soft New York Islanders goals instead of a regulation victory. The Penguins significant shot advantage evaporated just as did their lead. New York outshot the Penguins 13-6 in the third period.
“We knew they would push, and they did,” Cody Ceci said. “They made it hard to make plays.”
The first goal was supposed to be important, but after early pressure by the Penguins, New York got the opening tally. While two-on-two, New York winger Kyle Palmieri cut laterally across the high slot. Palmieri (1) whipped a hard wrister from the circle past Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry’s ear. 1-0.
The Penguins ferocious backcheck pressure continued, and after a good forecheck, Frederick Gaudreau asserted himself. Gaudreau (1) took the puck in the slot and ripped his wrist shot past New York goalie Ilya Sorokin. 1-1.
“(It felt) good for sure. Trailing back from a goal and starting to play out that way,” Gaudreau said. “We jumped on the ice and we (heard) the crowd and we have all those goosebumps and stuff. So that was really good to get out of the way
Sorokin was the surprise starter as Semyon Varlamov could not go. Varlamov practiced on Saturday for the first time in more than a week.
The Penguins fired 18 shots on Sorokin in the first period, including a pair of shots on a late first-period power play in which the Penguins kept the puck in the zone for the entire two minutes. Sidney Crosby led all players with four shots on goal.
Early in the second period, Crosby scored one of those goals you’ll talk about. You’ll laugh about long after Sidney Crosby stops playing…in 20 years.
After the Penguins created yet another zone possession and turnover, Crosby (1) deflected Brian Dumoulin’s point shot. But Crosby didn’t just go to the net and do it normally. He did it one-handed–through a defenseman who well covered him.
Crosby took out his mouthpiece and let loose a roar that we could hear in the press box, even over the sound of thousands of fans.
“I was just tying to get my stick on it. Didn’t know which way it was going to go,” Crosby said. “But fortunately Dumo put it in a good spot.”
The Penguins put another eight shots on Sorokin in the second period. Their momentum was blunted in part by center Jeff Carter, who took a four-minute high-sticking penalty midway through the period. The Penguins penalty kill was ranked only 27th at the end of the regular season but effectively kept New York away from scoring chances.
According to NaturalStatTrick.com, after 40 minutes, the Penguins thoroughly dominated the scoring chances and high danger chances. The Penguins had 71% of the scoring chances and 75% of the high-danger chances.
But it’s the playoffs, and the Penguins let New York hang around. The Penguins were sloppy at the start of the third period, and New York dominated, including a go-ahead goal.
After a Penguins turnover at center and a line change, J-G Pageau (1) took Jarry’s lunch money with another high wrist shot from the back of the LW circle to tie the game, 2-2.
Neither of the two New York goals was cheap, but they were stoppable. The Penguins goalie will have to be better in the series.
That trend continued late in the third period, too. After the teams began trading odd-man rushes, New York center Brock Nelson(1) appeared to score the game-winning goal with a wrist shot through Jarry’s five-hole.
Jarry stopped 37 of 41 shots. Sorokin kept 39 of 42 Penguins shots out of the net.
“(Jarry) is a hell of a goaltender we’ve we’ve always had great confidence in and we know how good he is and our level of confidence towards him will never change,” Gaudreau said.
The game marked the last time the Penguins will have less than 10,000 fans in attendance. For Game 2, Pennsylvania will ease restrictions to allow about 9000 fans.
Penguins center Evgeni Malkin did not play on Sunday. He practiced on Saturday, but did not take part in line rushes. PHN will update the situation on Monday afternoon.