Casey DeSmith is in as well as some new look lines and defensive pairs for Pittsburgh
Switching it up.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 7, 2019
Almost time for hockey. pic.twitter.com/WrONHD074C
Not a great start for the Penguins, former Pen Riley Sheahan goes hard to the net and puts the puck in the net but it was rules he also did so by knocking the goalie into the net, so that doesn’t count after a very lengthy review process.
Marcus Pettersson celebrates his second shift on the first pair by taking a penalty and the Panthers very good power play takes advantage and opens the scoring.
Used his Dad Strength to score on the power play. pic.twitter.com/SYe3JKPjVj— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) February 8, 2019
Not sure what’s worse, DeSmith not getting square or set on the scramble or the defense allowing the open man to be standing in front of the net. (Two guesses who was supposed to be playing the right side defense..)
Late in the first period the Pens get a power play. This would be significant being as it turns into an extended 5v3 shortly...
But for the first period, shots are 11-6 FLA. Pretty “blah” period for the Pens. Scoring line Matt Cullen and Bryan Rust on the left wing with Phil Kessel on the right didn’t exactly start hot.
When the Rust-Cullen-Kessel line was on the ice at even strength in the first period, the Penguins got outshot, 6-0. The Penguins outshot the Panthers when the other three lines were on the ice.— Jonathan Bombulie (@BombulieTrib) February 8, 2019
As mentioned, when the Pens started on the PP it turned into a two-man advantage when Aaron Ekblad accidentally clears the puck over the glass.
On the all important sequence the Pittsburgh group can’t get it done, getting some zone time but never really developing good movement or shots on goal.
Cullen goes to the box for tripping, but late in the power play it’s Pittsburgh who scores. Florida gets a little lax when they don’t have the puck and Brian Dumoulin plays it back to Kris Letang. Letang calmly sinks back into his own end, two Panthers approach and Letang fires a breakout pass right to the stick of Jared McCann. Pittsburgh is on a 2-on-1 and McCann makes no mistakes and takes a hard shot, scoring far-side on Roberto Luongo to tie the game.
McCann right before the game: "I want to prove to the coaches and owners that they made the right decision... I hold myself to very high expectations and this team does the same."— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 8, 2019
So far, so good @jaredmccann19! pic.twitter.com/vGx9CCIDZ5
The Pens keep playing with fire, Rust’s turn to go to the box after he slashes a stick in two. Pittsburgh kills it off, but then Pettersson can’t clear the puck out of the zone with a weak effort and Letang can’t punch it ahead and DeSmith can’t find an answer for a quick pass from Aleksander Barkov to Colton Sceviour. 2-1 Cats.
Shots for the second are 16-13 FLA, overall in the game they’re 27-19 Panthers.
Guentzel-Crosby-Rust is back for the start of the third.
Rust drives to the net and goes backhand but the puck just trickles wide.
And then Pettersson redeems himself, takes a pass from Letang and blasts one from the left point that eludes all the traffic and Luongo and we have a tie game at 2-2.
DRAGON FIRE.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) February 8, 2019
Pettersson ties it mid-way through the 3rd period. pic.twitter.com/BFYcQeUyK4
Nothing more of note happens so we’re going to..
Bjugstad-Kessel-Dumoulin start, interesting trio. They get one look at the net but Kessel over-passes and it gets broken up.
Next shift, somehow defenseman Mike Matheson gets a clean breakaway on a nice pass and DeSmith stands tall.
Play moves on, and Florida wins the game when Kessel gets lost in traffic and loses his man, Matheson who tips the puck on a Jonathan Huberdeau pass past DeSmith for the 3-2 OT winner.
- Nice to see Patric Hornqvist getting in the face of Roberto Luongo and at least trying to stir the pot a little bit. Not too many signs of life otherwise.
- Midway through the second period Nick Bjugstad took an offensive zone draw on his strong side, the right side and Sidney Crosby lined up as a winger. I didn’t notice the linesman kicking Crosby out, and if he didn’t that’s really about the first time in recent memory they’ve used a strategy to NOT have Crosby take a faceoff. Still, it makes since and is a nice little wrinkle and perk of using a right handed player in Bjugstad to be capable of taking draws on the right side of the ice. Bjugstad won the draw and the Pens got a nice look at the net too.
- Needless to say tough night for Pettersson through the first two periods. Didn’t play well or show at all in his role with Letang. Tough spot to be in since Dumoulin is so steady and smooth almost anyone is going to look bad by comparison. But, that aside, Pettersson was objectively bad for a bit, nice to see him at least stick with it and get a goal, but all things considered everyone knows all roads lead back to Dumo-Letang and the sooner they’re reunited, it’ll be for the better.
- About the worst thing you can be in hockey is the “shoot” fan. The angles and quickness of how defenders can flick their stick into a lane will happen quickly most the time. That said, Kessel on the 5v3 was passing without even looking where the recipient was. Twice in overtime he forced cross-ice passes that were easily knocked off course..Phil did have six shot attempts so it’s not like he wasn’t trying, but only one shot on goal and especially on the power play he probably could use to shoot the puck more.
- In just 7:33 of work Garrett Wilson got 3 shots on goal, including a couple from in tight. Luongo made a good save on him. Wilson is getting close to scoring and I’m not going to stop until he does! He also threw two hits, was good on the forecheck and the best of the 4th line tonight. Which didn’t get a ton of time, probably makes sense being as the Pens were playing from behind and trying to find a goal most of the game but still it wouldn’t have been too bad to find another shift or two for those guys.
- Evgeni Malkin not playing his best >>>>>> not having Malkin at all. Big #71’s loss has been felt over the past couple of games, and coach Sullivan indicated he’s not as close to coming back as Matt Murray and Justin Schultz are, which though a bit of an off-handed remark probably can’t be a good sign for Malkin in 48 hours time...
A bad start and one point salvaged but not a terrific result against another non-playoff team. The road gets a lot tougher with a trip to Tampa for Saturday.