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Pens/Islanders Recap: Pens blow 3rd period lead but win in OT

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Up 3-1 late, the Penguins squander a lead to the Islanders but get bailed out by an overtime goal from Matt Hunwick.

NHL: New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Pregame

It was Star Wars night and Dan Potash dressed up like this for some reason.

Lineup wise the Penguins make one change with Justin Schultz (injury) out and Chad Ruhwedel cycling back in- paired with Ian Cole which means I believe the first real game for an Olli Maatta - Matt Hunwick group.

1st period

2 minutes into the game Scott Mayfield gives Evgeni Malkin a little late cross-check, Malkin can’t resist taking the bait and gives one back way late and thus takes an offensive zone penalty. The Penguins kill it off for him.

That Malkin line has an extended offensive zone shift after that, culminating with the puck ending up past Jaroslav Halak...Unfortunately though it was directed in by the hand of Jake Guentzel so no goal.

However, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. Anders Lee goes to the box for taking down Patric Hornqvist and the Pens top power play strikes with Guentzel deflecting in a Kris Letang point-shot for a goal that counts. 1-0 Pittsburgh.

The Penguins continue to have the better of the play, but the Islanders keep them off the board for the rest of the period. Shots 15-6 Pittsburgh through 20 minutes.

2nd period

The Islanders get a better start, aided by a Pittsburgh too many men penalty but they kill that. NYI does score their first goal later, Jordan Eberle collides with Sidney Crosby then eventually finds the puck under Carl Hagelin and Tristan Jarry can’t recover to get back in the net before it’s swatted in. 1-1.

Soon after Matt Barzal and Josh Ho-Sang are in for a 2-on-1 but Jarry makes a great save on Barzal. Then Matt Hunwick heads to the box on a hooking penalty but the Pens PK holds strong. Jake Guentzel takes an offensive zone slashing penalty for another NYI PP chances but again they can’t score.

With that, the period ends. Better response for the Islanders, who outshoot the Pens 13-7 in the second, though they did have the edge in PP time 6:00 - 0:00.

3rd period

The game churns on, about the only major thing sticking out is Sullivan has bumped Bryan Rust up to the Crosby line (looking for a little more speed maybe) and Hornqvist is down with Hagelin-Sheahan on the 3rd line.

The Pens get their second power play of the game and also their second power play goal of the game with Phil Kessel making a textbook wrist shot to the top corner of the net.

The very next shift, it’s who else but Riley Sheahan taking advantage of a Halak misplay but still making him pay with another high, hard shot to the top corner to quickly make it a 3-1 game just 32 seconds after the Kessel goal.

With 4:53 left, the Isles cut the lead in half. Matthew Barzal almost steals the puck from a teammate and quickly sweeps a shot in. Jarry didn’t look ready and there was some traffic too but the puck finds a way in. 3-2 Pens.

The Islanders are able to tie with barely more than a minute left. Jarry can’t control a rebound and thanks to pulling the goalie, Brock Nelson is on as the extra man and gets a lot on a follow up shot that scores. 3-3.

Overtime

Another thrilling 3v3 OT session, the Isles get a good chance to win it with Halak throwing a long pass for Josh Bailey who’s in alone on Jarry. Bailey tries an offspeed 5-hole shot but Jarry makes a big save. Puck goes the other way, Rust drives the net and surprisingly for all the talent on the ice the game winner is scored by....Matt Hunwick? Oh, ok. Right team at least. Pens win

Some Thoughts

  • Coach Sullivan won’t be happy with the penalties after this one. The team etched ruts to the box 4 times in the first 35 minutes including 2 avoidable o-zone penalties by Malkin and Guentzel plus a too many men. The PK is working great, but in a close game it’s not wise to rely on them too much.
  • When they weren’t taking those penalties, another fun night to watch the Guentel-Malkin-Phil Kessel line at work. They’re capable of pretty much setting up shop and operating for 30-45 seconds at a time in the offensive end of the rink.
  • Corsi Hero of the Night: Sheahan was on ice for 15 Corsi For, just 7 against for 68.2% tonight.
  • Corsi Zero of the Night: Crosby had 14 CF events for and 19 against for a worst on the team tonight 42.4%. Bum!
  • Letang gets a lot of fan scrutiny, also leads all defensemen in the league now in assists. It’s been an uneven season but go figure.
  • Tough night for Jarry, looked like he was on his way to a 1 GA easy win, then NYI turned it on in the last 5 minutes and tied the game. Learning lessons but a win is a win.
  • Maybe it’s fitting the game winner came off the stick of Hunwick, he had a game-high 7 shots on goal.
  • In the FWIW file, 0 shots on goal for Crosby. Just 1 for Malkin. Doesn’t mean much for a single game, and nice the Pens scored 4 goals anyways but they’ll need the big guys to start firing a little more.

And the Pens will take it, getting the 2 points at home against a good team. Another home game on Saturday against Toronto.