The Penguins ended their latest road-trip in Florida tonight and they found themselves in a similar position to playing the Panthers 9 days ago: down going into the third period. And like 9 days ago, they forced an overtime
Florida took the lead with Nick Bjugstad scoring just his 3rd goal in his last 19 games. Nice pass from Brian Campbell to take advantage of Matt Cullen leaving his center vs center responsibility on Bjugstad.
Chris Kunitz would send the game to OT with a goal late in the 3rd period.
No OT scoring so back to the shootout:
``Jonathan Huberdeau hits the post
``Sidney Crosby's shot is true
``Trocheck no dice
``Kunitz gets robbed on the glove by Montoya
``Bjugstad dekes back hand and uses his 6'foot a-million reach on a deke to score
``Kris Letang tries to go backhand but is denied
``Reilly Smith gets his ass poke-checked by Marc-Andre Fleury
``Phil Kessel smashes the goal post.
``Jussi Jokinen swings wide, cuts in forehand and out-weights the goalie.
``Matt Cullen doesn't come close. Game over.
- Right off the bat, seemingly a lucky break for the Pens in getting Al Montoya in the net and not Roberto Luongo. But Montoya (who's now 6-0 in his last 6) was very, very good in this one.
- Another fortunate occurrence: an injury keeping Aleksander Barkov out tonight. He scored a short-handed goal 9 days ago in the teams' previous meeting.
- In the absence of Barkov, Vincent Trocheck (he's from here!) got boosted up to top line center and the Crosby match-up all night. He was very good there, and hit the post in the 2nd period as well. Great game for Trocheck, an impact player on this night to be sure.
- After a bad defensive play on the first goal, Cullen airmails a puck into the stands to cause a delay of game penalty.
- And with that penalty, the Pens first PK unit used was Sidney Crosby and Tom Kuhnhackl. Just like they drew it up in training camp, huh?
- Nice little wrinkle on the Panthers PP that the Pens clearly had scouted. They saw a look with Bjugstad high in the slot and both Kevin Porter and Bryan Rust keyed in on him immediately, even leaving other options open. The Florida defenseman tried to get the puck to Bjugstad anyways and it got rejected. Not a huge deal, but a subtle little play clearly the result of pre-game prep by the PK that resulted in a clear.
- Trevor Daley had a lot of hop and jump in his step. When he gets the puck in the offensive zone, it's like he knows that the lower lines aren't all that skilled or established, so he needs to move his feet and create.
- That said, the Scott Wilson - Porter - Conor Sheary line was very good at controlling the puck, cycling, playing with energy and extending shifts in the offensive zone. Their offense was simple and throwing pucks on net from many angles, not too many great chances (other than a nice pass from Porter to Wilson in the 2nd) but good to see them playing strong.
- Brilliant chance for Carl Hagelin in the 3rd period on a clean shorthanded breakaway only to be denied by a great save by Montoya.
- Only 2 goals for the Pens in their last 3 games now. Hurry back, Geno.
Only one point tonight for the Pens, but then again after the first 55 minutes it didn't look like they would be scoring any goals.