Connect with us


Do You Believe in Miracles? Power Play, Kapanen Score in 4-3 Win



Pittsburgh Penguins Game, Win over Vegas Golden Knights 4-3

The Pittsburgh Penguins scored a power-play goal for the first time in seven games Thursday night.

Kasperi Kapanen scored a goal for the first time since the regular-season opener Oct. 13.

The odds of both happening within a few minutes of each other? Probably about the same as those of the Pirates going undefeated in 2023. Maybe a bit worse.

But they did happen — honest, they really did — and the Penguins parlayed them into a 4-3 victory over Vegas at PPG Paints Arena.

They snapped a two-game losing streak and raised their record to 12-8-4.

Both teams were missing their top defenseman. Kris Letang, who suffered a stroke Monday, missed his second in a row, as did Vegas’ Alex Pietrangelo, who is out for personal reasons.

The Penguins’ power play, which was 0-for-14 in the previous six games, got its first chance of the evening when Vegas winger William Carrier was called for holding Jake Guentzel 27 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Make it 0-for-15, as the Penguins managed just one shot on Golden Knights goalie Logan Thompson while Carrier was in the box.

Vegas had a good scoring chance during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ power play, and an even better one at 3:39, when Jack Eichel pushed a shot between Tristan Jarry’s pads from the left side of the crease.

Eichel didn’t make solid contact with the puck, but got enough of it to get it across the goal line.

The goal was his eighth in 15 career games against the Penguins, and seventh in 10 games at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins’ streak of successful penalty-kills ended at 17:59, when Reilly Smith buried a shot behind Jarry from the bottom of the right circle five seconds before a holding minor against Chad Ruhwedel was to expire.

Thompson preserved the Golden Knights’ two-goal advantage with a superb save on a Jason Zucker backhander at 1:20 of the second, but gave up a fairly soft goal just over a minute later, when Brock McGinn beat him with a turning shot from near the bottom of the right circle at 2:23.

McGinn’s shot appeared to glance off the left hip of Jeff Carter, who was stationed at the front of the net, but was awarded to McGinn, which suggests it actually struck a Vegas defenseman who was there, too.

The goal was McGinn’s seventh of the season, and netted assists for his linemates, Carter and Kapanen.

The Penguins clawed back into a tie when Rickard Rakell deflected a Jake Guentzel feed past Thompson from the front edge of the crease. Guentzel, who was in the left circle, and Sidney Crosby got the assists.

They had a chance to get the lead when Carrier was sent off for roughing Chad Ruhwedel at 17:18, but — presumably to the surprise of no one in the building — failed to take advantage of their opportunity with the extra man.

Zucker was sent off for roughing with 3.9 seconds to go before intermission, and Vegas used that power play to grab a 3-2 lead at 1:26 of the third.

With Mark Stone parked in front of the Penguins’ net, Golden Knights defenseman Shea Theodore threw the puck toward the net from the center point. His shot might have glanced off Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta as he was trying to neutralize Stone.

The Penguins’ power play finally broke out of its slump at 7:33, as Guentzel beat Thompson from above the right dot for his 12th during a 4-on-3 man-advantage. Evgeni Malkin and Jeff Petry got assists.

Guentzel’s teammates apparently recognized the magnitude of that accomplishment — an honest-to-goodness man-advantage goal — because they made sure to capitalize on the momentum it generated.

Less than two minutes later. Kapanen — yes, Kasperi Kapanen — got a feed from McGinn and put a shot past Thompson from between the crease and the right circle at 9:25 for his first goal in 14 games. Brian Dumoulin got the second assist on that goal which became the game-winner.

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ five-game homestand continues Saturday, when St. Louis will visit PPG Paints Arena at 7:08 p.m.