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Penguins vs. Flames: A point salvaged

Chris Kunitz and Jake Guentzel score in the 3rd period to help the Penguins to overtime, but the Calgary Flames end up taking the game in a shootout.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Only two lineup changes from last game for the Penguins, Carl Hagelin (concussion) is out and Tom Kuhnhackl gets back in the lineup. Also Matt Murray is back in the net.

1st period

A pretty lowkey period as far as Penguins hockey goes. Isn't too many periods when they don't score AND/OR don't get scored on, but that's what we have here. Each team gets a few penalties but no goals. Shots tied at 7 a piece. Only 13 faceoffs in the period, too (which considering 1 to start the game, 4 for starts of PP/4v4 time) and that's a lot of free-flowing play, without all that many shots.

2nd period

Sidney Crosby gets a chance to score from in front, pulling the puck to his backhand but just can't elevate it over Flames goalie Chad Johnson.

A little later Crosby proves to be human, as Calgary rookie Michael Ferlund pokes the puck past him and outraces Brian Dumoulin to a breakaway for the opening goal.

The Pens go down 2-0 less than 2 minutes later, a nice 3-on-2 that was pretty much a 3-on-1 and some nifty passing that saw Michael Frolik display quick hands to put past Matt Murray to make it 2-0.



3rd period

Crosby gets a one-timer from Bryan Rust and hits both posts but somehow doesn't go in the net (or bounce off Johnson's skate and trickle in on the exit.

But it's a Crosby pass that helps Pittsburgh get on the board. Sid feeds Chris Kunitz who throws a puck off Johnson and (maybe thanks to the new goalie pants?) is able to find a hole and get in the net. 2-1 Flames.

Tie game! Ian Cole, of all players, makes a great pass between the feet of a CGY player and Jake Guentzel fires short-side on Johnson. 2-2.


No goals...that count anyways. Murray's mask gets knocked off and a goal goes in but the refs blow the play dead. Trevor Daley takes a penalty but some nice shot-blocking by Cole and Nick Bonino help send the game to the shootout.


Round 1: Phil Kessel denied, but Kris Versteeg makes a great deke and scores on Murray

Round 2: Save made on Crosby who tries to go 5-hole, Sean Monahan stopped

Round 3: Kris Letang rings the puck off the post, doesn't go in. Flames win

Some Thoughts

  • This was the Flames last game before their bye week, and credit to them they played well. I think I've seen some teams really slack off knowing they're one game away from a long break, and Calgary was at the end of a long road-trip, no less. But they were pretty focused and did well to jam the Penguins up as much as anyone has recently.
  • Ironic that two of the Pens best offensive stars ended up making bad plays in the o-zone that cost goals against. First Crosby got his pocket picked and there was a breakaway goal. On the second goal, Schultz conceded a rush against when he turned the puck over trying to keep the blueline (then was out of position defensively getting back in the play). Live by the sword, die by the sword, not really anything wrong with either, sometimes stuff happens.
  • Pittsburgh has clicked along the past couple weeks without even missing Evgeni Malkin too much...Tonight was the kind of game where his absence really seemed felt, the team just needed someone to make that one more extra play. Even though Kunitz and Guentzel hit paydirt in the 3rd, not having 71 out there just makes you think "what if".
  • Interesting to see Sullivan load up later in the game and try a Guentzel-Crosby-Kessel lines at select time in o-zone starts. Gotta try something, and anytime 81 and 87 get some ES time that always raises my antennae being as it's so rare.
  • Guentzel clipped up to 17:26 total played, which without even looking I'm going to speculate is the most (or certainly close) to his highest TOI in the NHL.
  • Along those lines, guess which defensemen played the least tonight? That would be one Olli Maatta (16:44) and Dumoulin (18:52). Cole, Schulz and Daley were all in the 21 minute range and Letang played 25.
  • Murray didn't have a lot to do, facing only 23 shots against in regulation (and 7 more in OT) but had to make a couple of big saves. Murray made a huge save on Frolik in the 3rd, when the score was 2-1, a nice bounce-back to giving up a goal earlier to Frolik. Without that save and with timing running short, obviously the Penguins probably don't take the game to OT and lose in regulation.
  • Tonight was the first shootout game for Pittsburgh since November, the longest they've gone in a long, long time in the regular season without a SO game.
  • Career point 998 for Crosby, and as we've mentioned the next two games are on the road against by far the 2 worst teams in the league. Looks for all the world that his milestone point will come on the road.

Well, this one's over and that's about as much as you can say about it. Pens lose the shootout but move onto the road.