Each team only scored one goal in regulation, and neither goalie was forced to exert too much energy. The Pittsburgh Penguins (29-13-4) snapped a scoreless streak which extended over 100 minutes when Bryan Rust scored the tying goal a few minutes into the third period, and Sidney Crosby scored a power-play goal in overtime as the Penguins beat the hapless Detroit Red Wings 2-1 in OT at Little Caesars Arena on Friday.
Crosby (8) has scored a goal in each of the three games since he returned on Tuesday after a 28-game absence. He went to the front of the net and deflected a shot-pass from Evgeni Malkin for the game-winning goal.
The Penguins have two more games before their nine-day vacation, which combines the All-Star break and their bye week.
The first period was a good rebound for the Penguins after a clunker Thursday night against the Boston Bruins. The Penguins ad their legs and were engaged, but that was the extent of the good news. Neither team scored, and neither side really got close.
The Penguins had three high-danger chances at even strength, and Detroit had a pair, but the first 20 minutes were scoreless.
Detroit owned the second period, and at least one team finally lit the lamp. After Zach Aston-Reese earned a holding penalty, Detroit scored a power-play goal. Filip Zadina (6) quickly wristed the puck through traffic from the back of the right-wing circle, and it slipped through Penguins goalie Matt Murray’s five-hole.
At even strength, Detroit had four of the five total high-danger scoring chances. The Penguins lost their way until the final few minutes after Teddy Blueger hit the post, and Sidney Crosby had a point-blank chance on Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard, but the Penguins could not score.
“I thought at the end of the second (period) we generated some good chances, and I think we kind of built off that,” said Crosby. “We just had to push and continue to create opportunities and trust that we would get one.”
A few minutes into the third period, the Penguins power play continued their lightning-fast puck movement. After a pair of whirlwind efforts which didn’t net a goal, the third time was the charm.
Defenseman Kris Letang snapped a pass to Evgeni Malkin, who zipped a pass to Bryan Rust in the right hash marks. Like the passes he received, Rust (20) didn’t waste time and went high on the glove hand. Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard almost made the save, but the deflection still fit just under the crossbar.
“It wasn’t easy. We had some good chances that didn’t seem to be going in, then “Rusty” got us started,” Crosby said. “Then “Geno” made a great play on the overtime goal.”
Murray stopped 28 of 29 shots. The Pittsburgh Penguins fired 37 shots at Jimmy Howard, including 15 shots in the third period. Howard hasn’t won since Oct. 29 and fell to 2-17-1.
Editors Note: The original version incorrectly listed one more game before Penguins All-Star break.