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Penguins Room: Plenty of Outrage Over Non-Call on Game-Winner



Mike Sullivan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Pittsburgh Penguins liked an awful lot about their 3-2 overtime loss to Nashville at Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night.

Just about everything, in fact, except for the way it ended.

That’s because, just 14 seconds into the extra period, an apparent pick by Predators center Ryan O’Reilly on Sidney Crosby at the Penguins’ blue line line allowed Nashville’s Filip Forsberg to move in alone on Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry and score the game-winner.

The Penguins were visibly upset by the non-call on Reilly for interfering with Crosby and stayed on their bench well after Forsberg’s goal, but were generally tempered in their comments when speaking with reporters following the game.

“It’s unfortunate, the way it ended,” coach Mike Sullivan said. He went on to confirm that he had a good look at O’Reilly’s interaction with Crosby and that he was “surprised” that no penalty was assessed.

“It’s a game-changing moment, right?” Sullivan added. “I didn’t like the opening (faceoff) of the overtime. It just … it is what it is.”

Defenseman Ryan Graves was even more diplomatic.

“I don’t want to say too much,” he said. “(Officiating) is a tough job. If you call (the interference on O’Reilly), then we have a 4-on-3 and we probably score on that, so you’re kind of deciding the game right there. It’s tough. You hate to see the refs have a big impact. It’s a tough call. Obviously, (from) my vantage point, I think it’s a penalty, but I’m sure they don’t think it is.”

Sullivan said he wasn’t given an explanation for the non-call, and the public won’t be getting one either, since NHL officials do not speak with reporters after games.

“I’d love to hear what the refs have to say,” Bryan Rust said. “But I guess we’ll never know.”

And while they’ll also never know how the game would have turned out if O’Reilly had been penalized, Sullivan saw enough from his team during regulation to be favorably impressed.

“I thought we played hard,” he said. “I thought we competed. We were able to get that tying goal early in the third period, and I think … I just liked the resilience of the group.”

John Ludvig

John Ludvig adds a physical presence to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ blue line and, in his fifth NHL game, proved himself to be rather fearless, too.

He traded punches with Nashville center Michael McCarron, who checks in at 6-foot-6, 232 pounds, which means Ludvig held his own despite giving away about four inches and 19 pounds.

“(Finding a smaller opponent to fight) might have been smarter, but I know he’s one of their tough guys, so he was looking for it,” Ludvig said, smiling.

And make no mistake, McCarron got all of the fight he was looking for.

“It was a good fight,” Ludvig said. “I landed some punches. He’s a big guy, so it’s tough to get him down. But it was fun.”

Ludvig said he feels like he is “getting better every game,” and he earned positive reviews for his play against the Predators.

“He was awesome,” Rust said. “He was steady back there. He threw some big hits, had a big fight, had an assist (on Rust’s goal). He was great.”

Good enough, anyway, to be a legitimate candidate to hold onto his spot in the lineup even after injured defensemen Chad Ruhwedel and P.O Joseph are healthy enough to resume playing.

“He brings some edge to our team,” Sullivan said. “He sticks up for our guys. I think he’s getting more comfortable with every day that he’s here. … He brings a dimension that we don’t have a lot of, and he’s a guy who I think is going to get better.”


Bryan Rust

Bryan Rust returned to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ lineup after sitting out the previous three games because of an unspecified lower-body injury, and had a strong performance, highlighted by his game-tying goal at 2:26 of the third period.

“It’s always nice to get on the scoresheet when you’ve been out for a little while,” Rust said. “It’s something that gives a little confidence and, hopefully, can keep my game going in the right direction.”

Rust’s goal was his 10th, tying him with Evgeni Malkin for second-most on the team, behind only Sidney Crosby (13).