The Pittsburgh Penguins scrapped, clawed, and scrapped a bit more against the heavy yet talented Minnesota Wild. The Penguins and Minnesota put on a high-drama four-act play with continually rising action until Evgeni Malkin scored his 78th career game-winning goal in OT for a 4-3 Penguins win.
The officiating was a bit unsteady, and that’s probably being kind. Neither team would grade it highly, but once everything settled down, the teams played one of the more entertaining games of the season.
After the tight spaces and frustration from losing to the New York Rangers on Tuesday, the Penguins played through heavy hits and survived intense Minnesota pushes.
Minnesota wunderkind Kirill Kaprizov scored his 83rd point of the season. He is really good, eh? His head dip and edge-work acceleration against Sidney Crosby in the third period looked like a young Crosby against his mature self. Minnesota GM Bill Guerin built a rock-solid team despite the constraints of buying his way out from under Ryan Suter and Zach Parise last summer. And it’s a shame Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t start for Minnesota.
The game again showed a few things the Penguins are struggling to smooth in their game but also showed a few things that will make the Pittsburgh Penguins a dangerous team in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Head coach Mike Sullivan’s unfiltered positivity about his team was a bit surprising, too. The Penguins’ powerful bench boss is rarely so stridently effusive.