Though he’s getting close, Sidney Crosby isn’t playing in this game, leaving the Penguins with a familiar looking lineup. Tristan Jarry back into the net for this one.
Almost time.#LetsGoPens pic.twitter.com/ONYJZ2zBPp— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 12, 2020
Just 1:43 into the game Clayton Keller takes a penalty for the Coyotes. And then when they were killing that penalty, Lawson Crouse cleared the puck over the glass to draw an automatic call to make it a 5-on-3 Pens power play.
They cash in, with Bryan Rust handling a pass reception, settling it, and snapping some sauce over for Jared McCann to slam into the net for the game’s opening goal.
Jared McCann is picking up right where he left off in Colorado. pic.twitter.com/QjcUYFlHeG— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 12, 2020
Pittsburgh goes down a man with Marcus Pettersson going to the box, but kill off the penalty.
The Coyotes tie it up, Taylor Hall finds Conor Garland in front of the net to make it 1-1.
#15 of the season for @ConorGarland2!— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 12, 2020
: @hallsy09 | @gollygoose33 pic.twitter.com/KGe1rLTFfu
At the final buzzer of the period, Evgeni Malkin takes a cross-checking penalty that’s best avoided. The Pens only mustered two whole shots in the period. One of them, from McCann scored. Shots overall were 6-2 AZ.
The Pens kill off the Malkin penalty and then soon after get a power play of their own. And it’s Patric Hornqvist who makes Arizona pay, taking a Malkin pass and then quickly sweeping the puck past Adin Hill to re-establish the Pittsburgh lead at 2-1.
Denied before, cashing in now.— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 13, 2020
This guy never gives up. pic.twitter.com/IWQ90rQJkr
The lead doesn’t last long. Jack Johnson plants himself directly in front of the net, defending exactly no one, for some unknown reason as a play develops. Hall snaps a quick shot that Tristan Jarry can’t track and, boom, it’s a 2-2 game.
Taylor Hall doing Taylor Hall things. pic.twitter.com/JZBgHhsuC6— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 13, 2020
At this point Pittsburgh takes over the game territorially with the Zach Aston-Reese - Teddy Blueger - Brandon Tanev really shifting all the momentum with a great, very extended shift in the AZ zone, but they can’t hit the net. Aston-Reese did hit the post with authority at one point.
Shots in the period are 22-7 (22-7!) Pens. But goals in the period are 1-1, and score overall is 2-2 heading into the last period.
Not much going on early on, Alex Galchenyuk heads to the box for a penalty and the Pens kill it off but the sequence immediately following the end of that penalty the Coyotes strike with Derek Stepan deflecting a puck in past Tristan Jarry to give AZ their first lead of the night at 3-2.
Always STEPs up when we need him. pic.twitter.com/Jl59Zgrsix— Arizona Coyotes (@ArizonaCoyotes) January 13, 2020
The Pens go back to work, and fittingly it’s their buzzsaw line that ties the game when Tanev finds a bouncing puck and smacks it past the leg of Hill to make it a 3-3 game.
TURBO BOOST! pic.twitter.com/PTiHPP2eIg— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) January 13, 2020
Typical frenetic pace of a 3-on-3 OT, the Pens do a pretty good job of puck possession but Teddy Blueger gets called for a hooking call but on the delayed penalty, Conor Garland high sticks Malkin to even it out and we stay 3-on-3.
No one scores so it brings on a rare shootout.
Malkin goes first, dekes backhand, Hill stops him with that long leg.
Nick Schmaltz goes first for Arizona, he drifts wide and shoots from distance but doesn’t elevate and it’s an easy save for Jarry.
Kris Letang is up for the Pens, he tries to shoot five-hole on the tall goalie (good idea) but doesn’t beat him. Save made.
Conor Garland is next, his shot goes wide.
Big time Bryan Rust is next, he skates in, dekes backhand and lifts the puck over Hill to score!
Taylor Hall is do-or-die and he pulls a forehand deke and beats Jarry around the leg to extend the game.
Jared McCann goes for the Pens, he tries to slow down his skating, dekes and shoots forehand but Hill stops him.
Clayton Keller with the chance to win it, his deke rolls on him and his shot goes wide of the net.
Round 5 sees Dominik Kahun go, he dekes forehand but his shot clicks the post and goes wide.
Phil Kessel with a second chance for AZ to win, he winds in and shoots but Jarry makes the save.
Former Coyote Alex Galchenyuk goes next, he dekes backhand but can’t beat Hill.
Vinnie Hinostroza gets a third chance for Arizona to win, he goes backhand and shoots wide.
Round 7 it’s Dominik Simon time, he tries to go backhand five-hole but Hill stops him.
AZ’s fourth chance to win the game is up to Christian Dvorak, he dekes forehand and Jarry makes a big save.
Teddy Blueger goes for the start of Round 8, he shoots and scores!
It’s up to Carl Soderberg and Jarry stones him. Pens win!
Buzzsaw buzzes away. Another great game for the ZAR-Blueger-Tanev line, who were all over the place and making good things happen all game. Culminating of course with Tanev finding the puck and scoring with just over 3 minutes left in the game to buy the Pens a point. This line has a lot of magic and mojo going and are coming through in big spots.
Life from the power play. The Pens’ power play has been a very disappointing group this year, in part understandable with all the injuries they’ve suffered. But it seems the unit spikes up in efficiency when Hornqvist is healthy and he was on ice for two goals in this one; once in front of the net to help with the McCann goal, and once for a goal of his own. Pittsburgh, like any NHL team, needs to tip the scales with the man-advantage and they did in this game today.
Kings of the west. The Pens’ record against the Western Conference this year is unreal. They add to it with a 3-0-0 trip against three pretty good teams in Vegas, Colorado and Arizona, just continuing to find ways to pull out the victories. Unfortunately enough for Pittsburgh, almost all of the out of conference games are almost over. But, in the good news, the points they have piled up here in the first half(ish) of the season have put them in an incredible spot for the future and will probably be a point to look back at the end of the season and be a turning point as to why they set themselves up for a playoff berth.
Great trip, the Pens head back home for a pretty quick turnaround to get Minnesota on Tuesday night for another one of those Western games. And maybe, just maybe, they’ll get a major reinforcement in terms of the captain back too.