After dropping their first three home games this season, the Pens brought out the blue jerseys and got themselves their first win in the Consol Energy Center, a 3-2 overtime decision over the New York Islanders. Brent Johnson won his second game in as many starts, stopping 22 of 24 shots. Alex Goligoski tallied the winner, Eric Tangradi scored his first NHL goal and Mark Letestu added 2 assists tonight for the Pens. More after the jump.
After a rather uneventful first period, the game blew open in the middle frame. The Penguins seemed to be in control. Mark Letestu helped set up two goals 3 minutes apart and the Pens jumped to a 2-0 lead.
His first helper was a good play behind the net to get the puck to the point. Letestu found Paul Martin, who found Mike Rupp for his first goal of the season.
Letestu’s second assist of the period was on another battle behind the net. He beat his man and came around from behind the net and slid a pass to Eric Tangradi. Tangradi’s shot bounced off of Milan Jurcina’s skate and past Rick DiPietro, for Tangradi’s first career NHL goal. It wasn’t pretty but he’ll take it.
But then a big hit by Kris Letang really ended the Pens momentum. He was called for a major penalty and given a game misconduct for what looked like a clean hit on Blake Comeau. The league has been trying to crack down on blows to the head but I believe the referees jumped the gun a little bit on this call. The Islanders scored on that power play and added the tying goal less than two minutes later. Ironically, Comeau had the primary assists on both goals.
The third period saw the teams exchanging power plays. Matt Cooke took two straight undisciplined interference minors, but the Isles were unable to capitalize. The Pens power play was anemic again tonight going 0 for 7 during regulation. The Islanders best chance came in the final 2:17 of the game. Deryk Engelland was caught out of position on a long breakout pass and forced into interfering with Frans Nielsen, giving the Isles a chance to win the game. Luckily the Pens were able to kill it off and get to overtime.
Sidney Crosby drew a hooking call just 52 seconds into overtime and gave the Pens their 8th power play chance of the night. Halfway through the 4-on-3 man advantage Evgeni Malkin blasted a shot from the point. DiPietro made a pad save but the rebound squirted out to Alex Goligoski who wired a shot into the net giving the Pens their first win in the Consol.
- Eric Godard replaced Craig Adams in the lineup right before game time. Not sure if Adams tweaked something in warm-ups or if the coaching staff felt that they needed the enforcer for the game.
- Kris Letang’s big open-ice hit on Blake Comeau 7:48 into the second period was deemed a blow to the head and Letang was given a game misconduct. The replays clearly show that it was a shoulder to shoulder collision. Hopefully when the league reviews the incident they won’t issue a suspension because it was a clean hit.
- Eric Tangradi’s goal in the second period was his first in the NHL. Tangradi also got his first action of his career in a game against the Islanders at the end of last season.
- Mark Letestu continues to impress. He added two assists tonight and has four points in the first 5 games this season. I was surprised to see him start the game on the 4th line but he didn’t let that keep him from playing hard and making a difference in the game.
- The power play continues to struggle, and they went 1 for 8 tonight. They were able to win the game on the power play in overtime, but if they can capitalize on their opportunities they will avoid overtime and close games more often than not.