The Pittsburgh Penguins cannot avoid injuries among their defensemen. In the first period, top defenseman Kris Letang became the sixth defenseman to miss time, but rookie defender P-O Joseph was outstanding. Joseph scored two first-period helpers. Jake Guentzel scored an uplifting third period tying goal, which propelled the Penguins to OT against the New York Rangers.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby snapped a wrister through New York goalie Alexandar Georgiev for the game-winner. Joseph assisted for his third apple of the game.
Casey DeSmith stopped 29 of 33 shots in regulation. Alexandar Georgiev stopped 31 of 35.
The Penguins were reeling after the second period. It appeared the lack of health defensemen and d-men playing out of position had caught up with them, but in a surprising turnabout, Guentzel chipped a rebound past Georgiev midway through the final period.
The Penguins surged in the third period. They outshot New York 14-7 at even strength and out-chanced them 10-4, but New York managed to save a point and get to overtime.
The Penguins were on the wrong end of the puck in the first period until Kasperi Kapanen created a three-on-two rush. Kapanen laid a filthy cross-ice saucer pass on Joseph’s stick, and Jospeh zipped a pass to Jason Zucker (2) in the crease. Suddenly, the shot clock no longer mattered. Zucker (2) buried it, and the Penguins lead 1-0.
In the final seconds of the first period, Teddy Bleuger won an offensive zone faceoff, and Joseph showed off slippery blue line moves. Joseph moved laterally on the blue line to evade one defender and find a shooting lane. Brandon Tanev (3) deflected Joseph’s shot for another Penguins lead.
The Penguins were outshot 13-10 but out-chanced New York 7-4, according to NaturalStatTrick.com.
The boxers began trading punches in the second period. The Penguins had a chance to expand their 2-1 lead with an early second-period power-play but instead gave up a breakaway, then a two-on-none. New York tied the game on the uncontested two-man break when Tom Rooney finished a slam dunk pass from K’Andre Miller.
A few minutes later, Kapanen added a goal to his assist. Kapanen streaked behind the New York defense, and Evgeni Malkin made the perfect up-pass. Kapanen (2) went high glove side for a 3-2 lead.
But the Penguins’ lead lasted only 43 seconds. Chris Kreider (3) got the garbage goal when Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith left the rebound in the crease.
By the midway point, the teams combined for six goals.
Late in the second period, New York turned the tables on the Penguins with a late goal. First overall pick Alexis Lafreniere appeared to knock defenseman John Marino’s helmet off intentionally. Marino kept playing, which is a no-no and New York scored on the following power play.
Artemi Panarin (4) fired a one-timer from the slot for a PPG.
The Penguins snapped a two-game losing streak and have beaten New York in all three meetings this season, but have twice needed extra time. The win kept the Pittsburgh Penguins one point ahead of the Buffalo Sabres for fourth place in the Eastern Division.