(PHN) — It was tight-checking, and each team skated for miles, but scoring chances were precious few. Somehow the grimy hockey game and a three-goal Penguins deficit turned into a signature win for the Pittsburgh Penguins over the New York Islanders who have recently tormented the Penguins. Bryan Rust picked a stick and lit the lamp in overtime for his second goal of the game and the game-winner. The Penguins score ended the New York 10-game win streak, and the Penguins celebrated a 4-3 win at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The Penguins erased a three-goal deficit Monday night in Boston but couldn’t close the deal. This time, they got to OT, and Rust (3, 4) scored on wrap-around goal.
Just 19 seconds into the game, the New York low-to-high game put a marker on the scoreboard. Defenseman Ryan Pulock’s point shot through traffic grazed off the post, hit the end wall and caromed to the opposite post. Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz covered a player in the high slot, and Penguins center Sidney Crosby took the wrong player. Neither Crosby or Schultz was present as Penguins nemesis Casey Czikas (2) flipped the rebound into the Penguins net.
Just as New York took away space on the ice, they added it to the scoreboard.
On a Penguins power play early in the second period, another former member of the best fourth line in hockey scored. Penguins winger Jake Guentzel pinched to keep the puck in the offensive zone but failed. Cal Clutterbuck (2) counter-attacked shorthanded and whistled a wrist shot past Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Midway through the period, defenseman Adam Pelech (1) scored on a slapshot through traffic, which eluded Murray.
Against the unbeatable New York Islanders who won 10 in a row, that should have been game, set and match. However, the Penguins continued their season trend of goals in bunches.
In the first nine minutes of the third period, the Penguins erased the 3-0 deficit against stingy New York. Penguins winger Jared McCann bore the fruits of his own labor. After McCann won a puck battle on the wall, he zipped a pass to Penguins defenseman John Marino at the point. Marino gave it back to McCann (5), who scored on an innocuous turning wrist shot from the high offensive zone.
The Penguins gritty, speedy forward Bryan Rust was the next to light the lamp. The Penguins used a pair of quick passes to spring Rust into the New York zone, one-on-one. From the right wing circle, Rust (3) beat New York goalie Semyon Varlamov to the glove side. McCann assisted and Evgeni Malkin assisted.
“We knew it was 3-0 after the second period, and coach (Sullivan) changed something,” Malkin said. “We played the same game. We knew if we shot the puck, played in the offensive and just scored one goal, we would be back in the game.”
The Penguins trio of comeback goals was complete when Malkin scored his first goal since returning to the lineup last Saturday and first goal since Oct. 3. Penguins defenseman Juuso Riikola floated a wrist shot through traffic which clanged off the crossbar. Malkin twisted away from coverage and buried the rebound opportunity.
What was 3-0, was now 3-3.
McCann also assisted on the Malkin goal for a quick three-point night. With the OT Penguins score, Rust also had three points.
“It was the same scenario as in Boston. We played good, but the puck didn’t go in (in Boston),” Malkin said. “We knew if we scored one goal, we were back in the game. Jared (McCann) gave us more push and scored goals. We believed we could win.”
Each team had a few close goals but also earned a point as neither could score and overtime was needed. According to NaturalStatTrick.com, the Penguins had 62 shot attempts at 5v5 and again dominated the advanced statistics and scoring chance ratios. The Penguins had 62% of the scoring chances and 64% of the high-danger chances. Overall, the Penguins outshot New York 39-23.
It was as much of a measuring stick for the Penguins showed their competitiveness in the Metro Division.
Murray stopped 20 of 23, while Varlamov made 35 saves on 39 shots.