The Pittsburgh Penguins got to a lead on Saturday night and then clung to it for dear life, and when the clock expired it was finally safe as they defeated the Florida Panthers 4-3.
Sidney Crosby opened the scoring in the first period with his second goal of the season. Nice job to lose himself (right in front of the net) and Phil Kessel did well to fire a hard shot/pass right along the ice that Sid was able to deflect over the pad of goaltender James Reimer. Top notch skill here, but of course since it’s Crosby this wouldn’t even end up being his nicest deflection goal of the night.
How does Sid make things like this look so easy? pic.twitter.com/yIu3EVFFKY— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 14, 2017
In the second period the Panthers tie the game with Jonathan Huberdeau making a mockery of the Pens in-zone coverage. Never a good sign when Evgeni Malkin is left to desperately defend in front of the net and the 2 defensemen (Olli Maatta and Chad Ruhwedel) are barely in the highlight frame).
Huby got us over here like over that first goal. pic.twitter.com/RW7ixfLgra— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 15, 2017
The old KEGGER Greg McKegg gets his first goal as a Penguin, short-handed no less when he follows up Tom Kuhnhackl’s drive to the net and roofs a nice backhander past Reimer.
: McKegg— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 15, 2017
: Kuhnhackl pic.twitter.com/qE0rPCj41O
Florida ties the game again though, with Huberdeau scoring his second of the night on the power play, finding a rebound and punching it past Matt Murray. 2-2.
Jonny on the spot gets his second of the game. pic.twitter.com/YEVvrbdeCG— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) October 15, 2017
The trading of goals continues as Patric Hornqvist scores his second goal of the season. Nice point shot by Olli Maatta, and then Hornqvist does what he does, works hard in front of the net in a scrum to find the loose puck and do whatever it takes to place it in the net. 3-2 Pens.
Florida ties again for a third time with Aaron Ekblad blasting a rolling puck past Murray to make it 3-all.
Sidney Crosby scores the eventual game winner with the casual, across-the-body mid-air deflection of a puck to slide in past the goalie. It’s an amazing play and amazing just how often he makes plays like these seem almost routine.
Just... wow. pic.twitter.com/bHpuQr4NAp— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 15, 2017
- The Pens gave up 46 shots on the game, but as Murray said afterwards, “They kind of shot the puck from everywhere. I don't think we gave them a huge amount of really good chances. I think they just kind of shot the puck from everywhere”
- One thing that was a high number and remains a problem is stick-related penalties. Pittsburgh went to the box 5 more times tonight, 3 from stick penalties. Coach Sullivan is aware of this, of course. It is something that we will discuss daily until we start to show more discipline in that area of the game." Doesn’t sound like fun for the boys! But it’s necessary at this point.
- All that PK time means a lot of leaning on the 8 top PK’ers on the team who all played 3+ minutes on the night (Maata, Dumoulin, Hunwick, Letang, Rowney, Hagelin, McKegg and Kuhnhackl). That group is doing a pretty admirable job, but you only want to put so much stress on them.
- It will go unnoticed, but great play by Conor Sheary to tip the FLA attempted outlet pass to keep it in the zone. Kris Letang gets the puck, sets Sid up for the unreal goal.
- Sid and the Kids had a good game, Sheary hit the post on one shot, the rebound flew to Jake Guentzel who had a wide open net with the goalie having to scramble to make a really solid save.
- 6 games and 6 points now on the season for Maatta. Great to see him as a contributing member in the offensive zone again, after scoring just 7 points all of last season.
The Pens are off until Tuesday, where they will hit the road to meet the struggling Rangers. They will see these same Panthers again on Friday night, this time down in sunny Sunrise, FL.