The Pittsburgh Penguins had lost four in a row in regulation. They were finally angry and a bit critical of their performance after their Saturday 6-3 drubbing by the Washington Capitals. It didn’t look good in the first 10 minutes of the third period, either. However, Sidney Crosby set up a Penguins goal and forced overtime against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena.
The streak is over. Besides Crosby, Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith was brilliant. He made several impressive saves to keep the Penguins in the game.
Mike Matheson and Sidney Crosby wowed on the game-winning shift in OT, as Matheson stole the puck for a breakaway, then Crosby stole the rebound to set up a sequence that ended with his game-winner (28).
Crosby has two goals and one assist to reach 1400 for his career.
Nashville took a one-goal lead five minutes into the final period. After a wild couple of minutes, which included Penguins defensemen all over the ice and a couple of Nashville odd-man rushes, the Penguins structure completely collapsed. From a sharp angle, Nick Cousins (8) backhanded a shot over DeSmith.
The Penguins looked lost following the goal, too. However, midway through the period, Sidney Crosby worked a give-and-go with winger Jason Zucker (7) whose backhand slipped past goalie David Rittich to tie the game.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan made some changes before the game. He left the forward lines as-is with Jason Zucker on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Rickard Rakell, but he shuffled the defensive pairings with Mike Matheson on the top pair with Kris Letang. The move gave the Penguins’ blue line a bit more dynamism.
Letang helped create the Penguins’ first goal.
Early in the first period, Letang pinched on the right-wing wall. Rickard Rakell snared the loose puck as Sidney Crosby hopped on the ice for a line change. Crosby (27) was uncovered as he raced into the offensive zone and one-timed Rakell’s pass.
And again, the Penguins made a mistake late in a period. It wasn’t quite a goal in the final minute of the period, but close enough. With 71 seconds remaining, Matt Duchene walked defenseman Marcus Pettersson for a breakaway goal while Pettersson fell to the ice.
The Penguins had only THREE shots on net in the first period, and Crosby had two of them.
The Penguins more than doubled their shots in the second period but had only seven. After 40 minutes, Nashville was outshooting the Pittsburgh Penguins 23-15. DeSmith made a couple of 10-bell saves on Matt Duchene and neither team scored.
However, the period was marred at the 20-minute mark when Evgeni Malkin fed Nashville defenseman a serious crosscheck in the mouth. After a lengthy review, officials assessed a double minor for Malkin and gave Borowiecki a minor for slashing.
After only four shots in the first 29 minutes, the Penguins finished with 30 shots. DeSmith stopped 33 of 35. Rakell also had three points, including primary assists on both Crosby goals.