The Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to have a Canadian Rocky Mountain low in the first period found their legs in the second period then added a pair of empty net goals including one by Evgeni Malkin which was his 400th NHL goal. Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry earned his ninth win in his last 11 games as the Penguins beat the Calgary Flames 4-1 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary on Tuesday night.
The injury bug which has lately napped during Penguins games also bit again when Justin Schultz was injured by his attempted open-ice hit, just 40 seconds into the game. The Penguins were forced to play with only five defensemen and without their second pair RHD.
The Penguins didn’t panic after a flat first period. The Penguins won the shot clock battle 16-9 in the middle period but more importantly the lit the lamp twice.
First, rookie defenseman John Marino took advantage of an empty high-zone coverage. Midway through the period, Marino (4) skated forward and kept going to the right faceoff dot before he snapped a wrister past Calgary goalie Cam Talbot. Winger Zach Aston-Reese used his stock frame to screen Talbot as the Penguins tied the game, 1-1.
Just 80 seconds later, Bryan Rust gave the Penguins the lead. Rust, who was a game-time decision due to illness, continued his torrid scoring pace after he circled the net and was uncovered to the left wing circle. Rust (13) beat Talbot for the go-ahead goal.
The first period was all about Calgary and their puck possession. The Penguins had precious few shots and even fewer chances as Calgary dominated the shot clock 17-6.
“We loved the response. We knew we weren’t at our best (in the first period). Quite honestly it might have been our worst period of the year, but we got big saves from (Jarry),” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “We were within striking distance. We just tried to regroup and play the game the right way.”
Marcus Pettersson also didn’t have a memorable first period.
Pettersson was quickly cleared by Dillon Dube early in the period for a breakaway chance, which Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry stopped. Later in the period, Pettersson crossed his own feet and fell at the Penguins blue line, which handed Calgary a two-on-one. Johnny Gaudreau (10) was Pettersson’s responsibility and finished the chance.
Defense partner Chad Ruhwedel didn’t cut off the soft pass across the slot, and Gaudreau had a sure thing.
Jarry did nothing to hamper his burgeoning reputation. Jarry kept the Penguins in the game with several high-danger saves in the first period and even stopped a two-on-none in the second period. Jarry stopped 33 of 34 shots.
Talbot allowed only two goals and stopped 30 of 32 but the Penguins empty netters by Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang padded the score.