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Recap: Penguins vs. Panthers: Guttin’ it out on the road. Pens win 3-2

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Sidney Crosby’s power play goal proves to be the difference in a tight game between Pittsburgh and Florida

Pittsburgh Penguins v Florida Panthers Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Lineups

Different lineup with Juuso Riikola getting back in due to John Marino’s injury and Tristan Jarry gets back in the cage.

First period

Kris Letang takes a penalty early and the Penguins kill it off. Then he totally redeems himself by scooping up the errant puck upon getting out of the box, going in alone on the breakaway on Sergei Bobrovsky, coolly deking to the backhand and depositing it in the net. 1-0 Pens.

Teddy Blueger makes it a 2-0 game, finding a bouncing loose puck and slamming it home with authority from the doorstep.

The Panthers get on the board before the period ends with Mike Hoffman ripping a nice shot far side. 2-1 PIT.

Shots are 10-8 Panthers in the first, Jarry with a few really good stops to ensure Pittsburgh takes a lead into the first intermission.

Second period

The Pens get their only power play of the game early on in the period with Frank Vatrano headed to the box. Pittsburgh makes it count, Jared McCann rifles a shot/pass into the crease where Sidney Crosby is able to redirect the puck into the net to push the Pens to a 3-1 lead.

The two goal lead doesn’t last long, Florida easily rips it up the ice against the Pens’ fourth line and isolates in on Chad Ruhwedel. Ruhwedel can’t stop Vincent Trocheck from passing over to Brent Connolly who slams it home past Jarry getting left out to dry. 3-2.

This was basically it for the night for the Pens’ fourth line. Alex Galchenyuk would be benched for the last 35 minutes of the night, Anthony Angello only got one more shift, Sam Lafferty got a meager two more shifts after this point.

Shots in the second period end up 14-9 Florida, and they’re 24-17 FLA overall.

Third period

The third period has a lot of flow and is relatively uneventful, which is good news for the visiting Penguins team that is up a goal.

Jack Johnson loses his stick, but having a hockey stick (or not) doesn’t much change his overall ability and talent, luckily! Jokes aside, because people can’t have fun on a Saturday night without being super serial, nice job in a pinch by Johnson to find a way to minimize the shot.

The Pens get outshot again in the period, 11-5 this time. All at even strength. Jarry bails them out and holds for the regulation win, including stopping a breakaway in the game’s final seconds. Never easy, but a quality win on the road.

Some thoughts

Help, please! Mike Sullivan basically benched his fourth line for more than half the game. He doesn’t like these guys but has no other choice but to dress them. No one can rush Dominik Kahun back from his concussion or 6’6 Nick Bjugstad back from a groin/core surgery, but this is obviously a cry for help from the coach to his GM. Whether it’s calling up someone new from the minors like Joseph Blandisi, trading Galchenyuk for something, anything...They just need a new mix right now at the bottom of the lineup.

Jarry! After two straight Matt Murray starts, Jarry got back in the net for only the second time since January 22nd (with an All-Star/bye week break in the mix too). While Murray has been acceptable, this was a really strong performance by Jarry tonight stopping 33/35 shots, many of them very big saves too. Tonight was a statement performance that may not mean a whole lot for permanence but it certainly makes the decision on next game’s goalie pretty easy.

Finding a way. Jump out to a 3-1 lead on the road against a playoff caliber team and then hold on for dear life. Might not be totally sustainable, but hey, if you earn a two goal lead you can afford to lean on a goalie and choke out the clock with a quick moving game. That’s pretty much what the Pens did tonight. And kudos for the power play coming through with a goal, which hasn’t always been case lately but ended up being pretty crucial.

The Pens head back home for a four game homestand, and a bit of home cooking will be needed here for some more Atlantic matchups next week starting with Tampa again on Tuesday.