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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Penguins earn 3 out of 4 points during weekend homestand

The Pittsburgh Penguins returned to PPG Paints Arena Friday night after coming back winless from a two game road trip. 


It was crucial for the Penguins to get all four possible points during this weekend, back-to-back, as the playoff race in the Eastern Conference continues to heat up. Heading into their matchup with the Florida Panthers on Friday, the Penguins were sitting seven points outside of a wild card spot.


The Penguins were given an early power play opportunity just 22 seconds into the game when Panthers forward Carter Verhaeghe was called for holding against Kris Letang.


On the power play, Pens captain Sidney Crosby received a pass from defenseman Erik Karlsson and fed it to Jake Guentzel right in front of the net who scored the power play goal to put the Penguins up 1-0.


The Penguins would later have a holding penalty called on them, sending defenseman Marcus Petterson to the penalty box and the Panthers to the power play.


Much like the Penguins, the Panthers were able to capitalize on their power play on a goal from forward and former Penguins Evan Rodrigues, evening the score at 1-1.


In the second period, tempers began to rise when Kris Letang laid a slight hit on Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov that caused him to fall awkwardly into the boards, knocking him out of the game for a little bit.


Letang was called for a tripping penalty before he hit Barkov. The officials eventually decided on a tripping penalty and interference penalty for Letang, which resulted in the Panthers having a four minute power play.


The Penguins were able to kill off the first half of the penalty, but the Panthers leading goal-scorer Sam Renhart was able to put it past Alex Nedeljkovic to give his team a 2-1 lead.


Florida held onto their lead until the waning seconds of the third period when Evegeni Malkin was able to beat Sergei Bobrovsky and send the game into overtime. 


The teams remained tied after five minutes of three-on-three play and were forced into a shootout. Rickard Rakell shot first for the Penguins, but hit the post with his shot and failed to score.


Anton Lundell was Florida’s shooter in the first round and he was not able to score either. Same was the case for Sidney Crosby who came out and shot for the Penguins in the second round.


The ice finally broke when Aleksander Barkov scored to put the Panthers up 1-0 in the shootout.


The Penguins found a little life when Jake Guentzel scored on a weird bounce that went off of Sergei Bobrovsky’s glove and into the net.


However, Sam Reinhart beat Alex Nedeljkovic for the second time in this game and secured the shootout win for the Panthers.


The major issue for the Penguins in this game is that they went 1-8 on the power play. The power play has struggled all season, and it continued to look abysmal in this game.


The Penguins were back in action the very next night against another Atlantic Division opponent in the Montreal Canadiens. 


This game was a special one for Penguins forward Lars Eller as it was his 1,000th game in the NHL. The Penguins celebrated by donning number 20 Eller jerseys during warmups and gifting him with a few items in a pregame ceremony.


Looking to spoil the festivities, the Canadiens took a lead late in the first period as defenseman Kaiden Guhle was left alone near the goal line and beat Tristan Jarry off of a pass from fellow defenseman Mike Matheson.


The Penguins were able to tie up the game about four minutes into the second period on a goal from the man of the night, Lars Eller himself. 


The Canadiens were able to regain their lead in the later stages of the second period on a power play goal from their former first overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky. 


Halfway through the third period, the Penguins once again tied it up when Jake Guentzel scored after receiving a beautiful no-look pass from Sidney Crosby. Guentzel jokingly said post-game that he believed Crosby had eyes in the back of his head.


The score would remain at 2-2 and the Penguins would head to overtime for the second straight night. 


Over halfway through overtime, Rickard Rakell and Marcus Petterson found themselves on a two-on-one rush for the Penguins. Rakell passed it to his fellow Swede Petterson who put the puck past Jake Allen and won it for the Penguins 3-2.


As of Sunday evening, the Penguins remain six points out of a playoff spot. They won’t be gaining anymore ground this week as the team heads into its bye-week.


The Penguins will return from the break on February 6 to face-off against the Winnipeg Jets.

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