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Hot dogs in Nashville- Kessel's OT goal pushes Pens past Preds

Phil Kessel scores in OT and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Nashville Predators 2-1.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators tonight on the road, by the score of 2-1. Wasn't a great effort by the Penguins overall, another disjointed, rocky, imperfect game. But they got a result, and that matters.

The Goals

Chris Kunitz scored his first goal of the season, slapping a feed from Evgeni Malkin past Pekka Rinne in the second period. Both Rinne and Marc-Andre Fleury were making dueling saves back and forth before this goal, in impressive fashion.

Kunitz's first regular season point in 27 games, dating back to last season. Don't think that was lost on anyone.

Nashville would get on the board in the 3rd period, courtesy of old friend James Neal . Neal recovered his own rebound after a defensive lapse by Malkin and Phil Kessel allowed Neal plenty of time to score.

That would send the game to over-time, where Phil Kessel would make amends for his mistake with the game winning goal. Look at all that ice on 3v3 for Kessel to attack with his speed. So much room for activities!

Some thoughts

  • The Penguins power play continues to struggle. Struggle is perhaps too kind a word. Early in the game they were awarded a 5-minute major when Brian Dumoulin was boarded by Austin Watson . The Pens responded with just 2 shots (both non-dangerous and far from the net) and, 7 counted turnovers by Phil Bourque. It wasn't pretty. Later, they would give up a 2-on-1 that Fleury had to bail them out on.
  • Another point to drive it home: the Penguins power play was so bad early in the game. It's hyperbolic but they about literally can't do anything right out there.
  • The first goal took a while to get, and this was the first game all season that Nashville didn't score first in their games. Again, more credit to Fleury for helping keep the Pens (who aren't a good play-from-behind team) even in the game early.
  • The Neal goal is basically the worst fears come true about why not to play Malkin and Kessel together. Though both have similar styles in good ways (transition game, with the puck in general), defensively neither are stout.
  • Pittsburgh's PK at least held serve by going 3 for 3 while down a man, so despite the power play's best attempts, they didn't hurt the team too badly.
  • Nick Bonino was a beastt in the faceoff circle, winning 14 of 16 draws (88%).
  • 6 shots on goal and 8 total attempts for Kessel (including hitting a post and the OT winner). He had a good night before the goal with the puck on his stick.
  • The Pens were only credited with 20 official hits on the night, Patric Hornqvist had 7 of them, according to the statistician. Methinks the hometown guy misses seeing Hornqvist.
  • Bryan Rust left the bench in the second period and would not return. They basically went to 9 forwards in the 3rd period with Sergei Plotnikov only getting 3 shits, and 18-year old Daniel Sprong getting just 2. Pretty clear those rookies aren't being trusted late in a tight game.
  • Again, Fleury stopped 38 of 39 shots. The Penguins owe him a steak. Big picture he's played every game, and it's impossible to imagine with the way this team is playing that they would even have a chance to win without some quality goaltending.