The Pittsburgh Penguins (19-10-4) rallied for four unanswered goals in the second and third periods, but could not hold their two-goal lead late in the third period. The LA Kings scored a pair of goals in the final five minutes, including Kyle Clifford who on a long-range rebound, and Michael Amadio found the loose puck among a mass of bodies that crashed the Penguins net. The Penguins went to OT for the second straight game but this time needed a shootout for a 5-4 SO win at PPG Paints Arena.
Even the shootout needed overtime until Bryan Rust, who scored a pair of goals and assisted on another, deked LA goalie Jonathan Quick for the SO winner.
Rust didn’t doesn’t get credit for the game-winning goal but his two goals tied the game after LA claimed a 2-0 lead, and it was his rebound which Teddy Blueger (4) buried in the middle of the third period for the Penguins go-ahead goal.
Even Jack Johnson (2) scored a rebound goal later in the third period for a 4-2 Penguins lead. However, the Penguins couldn’t lock down their win in regulation.
“I think he’s playing his best hockey right now,” Sullivan said of Johnson.
The Penguins were on the wrong side of the play in the first period and a defensive breakdown by Kris Letang and John Marino put a pair of uncovered LA forwards in front of Penguins goalie Tristan Jarry. Adrian Kempe slipped a quick pass across the crease to Austin Wagner for the easy goal.
Seconds later, the Penguins thought they tied the game, but Brandon Tanev’s goal was overturned on a goalie interference review because Teddy Blueger’s stick impeded LA goalie Jonathan Quick. Before the fans stopped booing the overturned call Dominik Simon rang the crossbar with a wrister which nearly sent the 18,000 fans back into a tizzy.
Late in the first period, the Penguins defensive duo of Marino and Letang again left a player uncovered on the doorstep. As Marino went behind the net to engage in a puck battle, Letang missed Tyler Toffoli (8) who quickly shoveled the puck past Jarry.
The Penguins shuffled their lines and shortened their bench for the second period. Head coach Mike Sullivan moved Jake Guentzel back to left wing and inserted Jared McCann between him and Bryan Rust.
“I just didn’t like the first line in the first period,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said.
The move paid immediate dividends. Just a few minutes into the second period, the trio created a three-on-two. As McCann drove towards the net, Rust (11) used the space to snap a wrist shot past Quick and resuscitate the Penguins flagging chances.
Later in the second period, the Penguins converted a five-on-three power play for their first two-man advantage goal in two seasons. Minutes after the Penguins killed off the LA five-on-three advantage, Rust (12) again put his name on the score sheet. The Penguins winger dropped to one knee in the low slot for his second goal of the period.
LA badly outshot the Penguins in the second period, 12-5, but the Penguins had the only goals. Blueger and Johnson scored the Penguins third period goals.
Jarry was otherwise very good, but served a long rebound directly to Clifford late in the third period. Clifford (4) one-timed it past a diving Jarry to pull LA within one. Amadio (6) plunked it into an open net when Jarry was buried under a mass of Penguins defenders a couple of minutes later.
Jarry stopped 38 of 42 shots. The Penguins managed just 21 shots in regulation but had six in overtime. Quick made 23 saves but was one short in the shootout.