The Pittsburgh Penguins were drawn into a shootout against the Florida Panthers at the PPG Paints corral. The game went to a shootout, but that’s because neither team converted enough of their odd-man rushes. The boys loaded the firewagon and the second period was end-to-end rushes but only one goal.
“We kind of got roped into that game,” Penguins center Evan Rodrigues said. “Playing against a team with that much skill up front, you have to try to hold back and not go chance-for-chance at them because those types of games, you can’t really control the outcome.”
The Penguins eventually outlasted Florida through four shootout rounds (Jeff Carter) and earned the extra point for the first time this season. It was also Tristan Jarry’s first shootout win this season. Before Thursday, he stopped just two of his previous seven attempts. He stopped three of four on Thursday.
“I was really happy to see (Jarry) make those saves today and come up big for us. You can track that back to the saves he made 4v3 at the end of the (OT), and I just had a really good feeling going into that shootout,” acting coach Todd Reirden said. “We spent some more time talking about different ways of getting better and improving. And to me, it’s just part of his growth as a goaltender.”
It was fitting Jarry won the game. He made 36 saves for the fourth time in the last five games. As the Penguins lineup was roped into an up-and-down, abandon defense sort of game, Jarry backstopped the less-talented Penguins to a win.
Jarry also may have gotten some help from former Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson who gave a little insight before the shootout.
“It’s a secret,” Jarry grinned before admitting the two discussed what he might face.
However, the hows and whys the Penguins got into a track meet go a bit deeper. And there are a few stellar grades to give, but a few not-so-friendly marks.