The Pittsburgh Penguins squandered a 3-2 lead after two periods and had just four shots on goal in the third period, including a pair of long-range wristers. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry got the Penguins to overtime and Sidney Crosby scored the game-winner for a thrilling 4-3 win in OT Friday night at PPG Paints Arena.
After a historically unproductive first period, the dam burst in the second period. The Penguins scored three unanswered goals including a pair of power-play markers.
First, Evgeni Malkin broke the ice four minutes into the second period. Penguins winger Patric Hornqvist’s long shot was deflected and fluttered through the air. It eventually landed on Malkin’s stick on the side of the goal. Malkin (16) easily tapped it in.
Just over one minute later, the Penguins power play scored the first of its two goals. Bryan Rust (22) was the recipient of the fourth quick pass through the slot. Only Philadelphia defenseman Travis Sanheim was between Rust and the goal, and Rust’s shot trickled through Sanheim’s block attempt.\
“I think “Rusty” has really evolved as a player in his time here as a Pittsburgh Penguin,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s always been a conscientious player on the defensive side of the puck. I think his offensive game has really grown to another level.”
Later in the second period, Penguins defenseman Kris Letang threw a quarter into the piggy bank from the right-wing. With a tight-angle shot, Letang (11) squeezed the puck over Elliott’s shoulder and under the crossbar.
The goaltenders had a light first period. In fact, both All-Star Tristan Jarry and Brian Elliott were mostly irrelevant in the first period. The final shot total was 4-3 in Philadelphia’s favor, but only after a late period power play boosted Philadelphia’s total.
On that late power play, Philadelphia finally cracked the scoreboard, too. In the final minutes of the first period, Penguins winger Alex Galchenyuk dug his hole with the Penguins a little deeper when he took a bad tripping penalty off a neutral zone faceoff.
Jakub Voracek (11) cleaned up the garbage in the Penguins crease and netted the power-play goal over a sprawled Jarry.
Philadelphia also shorted the Penguins lead late in the second period. Trailing 3-1, Philadelphia transitioned a Letang turnover into the back of the Penguins net. Tyler Pitlick (5) snapped a wrister past Jarry to balance the Penguins second period attack.
Philadelphia tied the game early in the third period. Three Philadelphia forwards converged at the Penguins net but the Penguins defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and Justin Schultz didn’t provide much coverage, nor did the Penguins forwards offer any help. Scott Laughton (7) had a yawning cage waiting.
The Penguins mustered only two shots in the first 15 minutes of the third period, too. Instead, they relied on Jarry who as otherwise a wall for the loose Penguins in the third period. Philadelphia outshot the Penguins 14-4 in the third period.
“I don’t think effort was inconsistent, I think our play was inconsistent,” Sullivan said. “I thought we had moments when we were controlling the territory, we had command of the puck. We were pretty good, especially in the first two periods.”