Somewhat of a surprise with Steve Oleksy making his Pittsburgh debut and Brian Dumoulin a scratch on the night. Dumo played a personal low of 14 minutes last game. Lines were pretty crazy too, with Matt Cullen getting jumped up to Crosby's line, HBK reuniting and Cole-Schultz breaking up for the first time this season. Anything to try and find a spark, right?
The lines are getting a shake up tonight vs. New Jersey. Let's Go Pens! pic.twitter.com/y6ONaY3kYg— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 26, 2016
And a nice video for Beau Bennett and Ben Lovejoy returning to Pittsburgh for the first time this season as members of the Devs.
A 'welcome back' video just ran in-arena for Beau Bennett and Ben Lovejoy. Nice to see you boys back in the Burgh! pic.twitter.com/I2YJZX6JkF— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 27, 2016
Red hot Devil Mike Cammalleri scores his 10th point in the last 4 games and opens the scoring with a wrist shot goal on Matt Murray just 3:33 into the game.
Cammalleri just can't stop scoring goals. pic.twitter.com/CArkFkoJdT— NHL (@NHL) November 27, 2016
Tough times, Pittsburgh carries the play for most of the period but end up behind on the scoreboard.
Rookie sensation Jake Guentzel gets his 3rd NHL goal in his 4th career game to tie it at 1 early in the second period, finding a loose puck and slamming it home.
Jake Guentzel has a goal in every home game he's ever played as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. pic.twitter.com/MMvsBMuk42— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 27, 2016
Just over a minute later, Tom Kuhnhackl scores his first goal of the season to give the Penguins a lead, leaning past the Devils defenseman and then making a nice move to the backhand.
Use the break between periods to watch this Kuhnhackl goal a couple more times. pic.twitter.com/zVZTS0gXZ3— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 27, 2016
The lead wouldn't last long, though, just over a minute later Vern Fiddler scores his first goal of the season shorthanded to tie it.
Then Cammalleri strikes again to give NJD the lead, this time on the power play.
The Penguins make a push but Kinkaid has all the answers and it looks like they're heading to another frustrating loss. But wait, a loose puck scrum happens right in front of the net and wouldn't you know it Sidney Crosby remains unmarked just waiting for it to come his way, so he fishes the puck out between Andy Greenes' skates and snaps it with 14 seconds left. Boom, overtime here we come.
Retweet if you love Sidney Crosby. pic.twitter.com/wPOwzfoFZU— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) November 27, 2016
No one scores, but as always 3v3 has some thrills. So much room and space for Crosby, Malkin, Kessel and Letang to operate. Also, somewhat hot take (but accurate) Letang would be a top 5 player in the entire league if normal play was just 3v3.
No one scores until Kris Letang pulls a beauty of a forehand-backhand deke, straight to the top shelf.
Bang Bang Kris Letang pic.twitter.com/pkjXQ5EPMg— Sidney Crosby's Ego (@SidneyCrosbyEgo) November 27, 2016
- Devs backup goalie Keith Kinkaid shined early, at the end of the first period shots were 19-8 Pens but goals were 1-0 NJ.
- Allow a SH goal AND a PP goal against and chances are you're not going to win. Pens were lucky to dodge the bullet of poor special teams play tonight and take the 2 points away.
- Nick Bonino got the Hornqvist/Kunitz role of net-front player on the top PP. And why not? Bonino's got a decent frame for it, plus pretty good hands. He hasn't been good this season, but you're not going to get more by giving him less opportunities. Bonino didn't cash in, but given the personnel it seemed like a good gamble to take.
- Granted, there are those 2 above mentioned injuries but the 87/71 wingers tonight being a 40-year old + Sheary, a guy on his 4th NHL game and Bryan Rust. Not exactly a murders row of skill and chemistry built up there.
- Guenztel, however, continues to impress. He shows up at the right places in the right times. One of the Pens biggest needs would be a top-6, productive winger for their big centers, and who knows how long Guentzel can keep it up but 4 ES points in his first 4 career games is a hell of a start for him.
- Oleksy reminds me a lot of a somewhat poor man's Deryk Engelland (and I don't mean that as an insult, nor just a statement of fact with Calgary paying Engo $8.75 million total). Right handed, tough, but maybe a little surprising for how he can handle the puck a little. He's never been consistent or skilled enough to carve out an NHL career, and crease-clearing defensemen are going the way of the dodo bird but Oleksy isn't totally out of place. Not a bad guy to have as the 9th best dman in the organization.
- Going to throw a party when Cammalleri hangs up his skates. All he does is score against the Penguins. (And a lot of other teams too, he's a hell of a player, just a very annoyingly productive one against Pittsburgh).
- The Penguins just don't seem very harmonized right now. NJD played (and traveled) last night just like them, no excuses there, but this is the end of a long stretch (3 games in 4 days, 4 in 6, 7 in 11). A 3 day break couldn't have come at a better time for this team to rest and regroup. Lucky to get 2 points tonight.