After a demoralizing loss to the Washington Capitals just a few nights ago, the Pittsburgh Penguins (11-4-2) were able to pull off a 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Islanders (5-9-4).
The Penguins’ offense started with a goal from Sidney Crosby just a few minutes before the end of the first period. Although the Islanders had a great second period — getting two goals and limiting Pittsburgh to only four shots — New York’s defense couldn’t stop the Penguins from scoring.
Defenseman Trevor Daley was able to notch his second goal of the season before the second period was over, and a 2-2 score would remain until overtime.
Only a minute and 24 seconds into overtime, Pittsburgh was able to squeeze out a win and add two more points to its total.
Defenseman Kris Letang, who scored the winning goal, was set up by a perfectly placed Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Crosby faked out Brock Nelson and slid the puck over to a wide-open Letang. The net was wide open because of a beautiful screen by Malkin, and the Penguins would go on to steal a game from the last-place Islanders.
Pittsburgh didn’t have its strongest game last time out, and the Penguins needed a game like Friday’s to get their confidence back. Even though head coach Mike Sullivan may not be happy that the game had to go to overtime, a win is a win, and tonight’s game helped the Penguins edge closer to the divisional lead.
It was also encouraging to see the Penguins come out and play with such confidence after being blown out by Washington. That should be an indication of not only the mindset of these players, but also the ability of Pittsburgh’s coaching staff.
Even if the Islanders’ home ice was a bit of a mess, each Penguin who touched the puck was able to be productive — for the most part. This isn’t to say Pittsburgh played a perfect game. There were a few glaring errors that lead to New York being able to get a pair of goals.
However, goaltender Matt Murray was able to shut the door in the closing moments of the game and in overtime to help his team rebound and secure its 11th win of the season.
Following the conclusion of the third period the game, reflected the score. Neither team was really able to show its dominance over the other — though Pittsburgh did dominate the shot total even with only four shots in the second period.
Not only were the Penguins able to play well enough to keep the game tie the game up, they played a clean game. With only four penalty minutes, Pittsburgh looked very disciplined.
One area that has been a season long issue is Pittsburgh’s power play. While the Penguins were able to get score on one in Friday night’s game, it was still only one in five chances.
If the Penguins expect to challenge the New York Rangers for the top stop in the Metropolitian Division, Pittsburgh’s powerplay must become more consistent and show up, especially against bad teams.
The Penguins will now travel across the state of New York to take on the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. EST.
Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP Photo