Lots of changes for the Penguins at every level from last game last night. Matt Murray is in goal for Fleury. Defensively Maatta and Schultz are out with their respective injuries, so Chad Ruhwedel and the recently recalled Steve Oleksy are in the lineup.
Up front, in good news, Carl Hagelin is back from his concussion, and bumps Carter Rowney from the lineup. Matt Cullen shifts back to his usual 4th line center role.
Lined up and ready to go! pic.twitter.com/Jbl6CDT2XV— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 18, 2017
Teams trade power plays early, but no goals. Trevor Daley with a nice shot that hits the crossbar, followed the next shift by Oleksy turning the puck over for a great scoring chance for Oliver Bjorkstrand but Murray's there for a save.
No goals. Shots 15-11 Pittsburgh, but it felt like the Blue Jacekts had just as many dangerous chances.
The Jackets strike for the game's first goal early in the second. Two bad turnovers, one by Hagelin then one by Ian Cole lead to extended zone time for Columbus and Pittsburgh scrambles too much. Ryan Murray collects a loose puck and backhands a puck by his namesake, the Murray in net. 1-0 for the other Murray's team.
the Murray you want to root for pic.twitter.com/9vjYU1pPBX— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 18, 2017
Pittsburgh doesn't stay down for long, Evgeni Malkin wins an offensive-zone faceoff back Ian Cole who simply shoots a quick shot through traffic. Sergei Bobrovsky never sees it, but the puck seemingly "has eyes" and floats right in the net. Tie game 1-1 on Cole's 4th of the season.
Bobrovsky is screened (thanks Savard) and Cole makes him pay. pic.twitter.com/Zxan5CTbnt— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 18, 2017
Shots 26-21 CBJ, some nice work by Murray to keep the Penguins in this one tied heading to the 3rd.
Back and forth action. Penguins turn the puck over in the last minute in the NZ, Brandon Saad in all alone but Murray stand tall with the glove. We go to OT.
Brandon Dubinsky scores his 9th of the year on a nice curl and drag move and then shot to finish it. Meh
DRAG HIM pic.twitter.com/skzQoiMMlk— ColumbusBlueJackets (@BlueJacketsNHL) February 18, 2017
- Playoff-esque intensity for this one. And for good reason, the odds say that this is heading towards a 2/3 matchup in the first round.
- Along the lines of that, the Pens blocked 20 shots tonight. Season average before tonight: 16.0. Playoff average last year: 18.0
Kris Letang played 9:04 in the 1st period, his partner Brian Dumoulin was barely behind him at 8:54. Letang an unreal 9:53 in the 2nd, Dumo 9:02 No secret on how the Pens will try to overcome the defense injuries they've suffered but with a compressed schedule (playing on a 2nd night tonight, and again Sunday afternoon) how long is loading up a viable option? Can't be sustainable.
- Dumoulin probably played his most solid game of the year though, on the bright side.
- Both goalies showing why both are pretty much top-5 in the league when they're on their game. And they were tonight.
- In the big picture, the Pens are on the road, tired, without Sheary, Rust, Schultz, Maatta and facing down a relatively healthy (minus Hartnell, who's a 4th liner these days) home-standing, rested opponent. And they still battle through to OT. Not the worst thing in the world.
- Steve Oleksy update: the last time we saw him in the NHL he was bumbling and not good. He wasn't much better tonight. Mike Sullivan and crew must really not have any faith at all in Derrick Pouliot.
- Watching Malkin these days sure is a pleasure. He's just feeling it these days.
- Penguins still no regulation losses since the all-star break, so there's that
- After last night having Jake Guentzel start OT with Crosby-Letang, Sullivan elects for the pure speed with Hagelin joining 87 and 58.
2 OT games in 2 days, and there won't be much time to rest - Pittsburgh returns home to meet Detroit at home on Sunday afternoon.