The Pittsburgh Penguins gave up a late 2-goal lead on Friday night against the New Jersey Devils to send it into overtime, before losing with 1-minute left in the extra frame. The Penguins’ 2-goal lead was broken midway through the 3rd period after Petr Sykora took a double minor (hooking/unsportsmanlike), and the Devils converted just 4-seconds into the powerplay on a blast by Brendan Shanahan. The Penguins hung on to cancel out the 2nd minor, but gave up the game tying goal with just 31-seconds to go in regulation as Jamie Langenbrunner beat Fleury to send it into overtime. Marc-Andre Fleury was strong in net for the Penguins stopping 39-shots on goal, but had no chance on the OT game winner by Jamie Langenbrunner. The Pittsburgh Penguins managed to grab a point out of the game, but really needed both as they continue their quest to claim a playoff seeding.
The Penguins got the early advantage in the game, despite being outshot 19-7 in the first period. At 9:33 of the period, Max Talbot recorded his 6th goal of the season as he deflected a Ryan Whitney slapshot past Scott Clemmensen to make it 1-0. Rob Scuderi picked up the other assist. The goal came just after the killing off the second penalty of the period. The Penguins pounced on that momentum and immediately cashed in by scoring 20-seconds later on the next shift. This time it was Sidney Crosby taking an excellent pass from Evgeni Malkin and sending a stifling backhand shot past Clemmensen to make it 2-0. Petr Sykora also assisted on the play. At 11:21, the Devils fought back with a sneaky goal by Bobby Holik that quickly found its way between the pads of Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1. The Penguins went 3-for-3 on the penalty kill and 0-for-1 on the powerplay in the first.
The second period was marked by a much tighter defensive style with the Devils outshooting the Penguins 7-6, but neither team managed to get on the scoresheet. The Penguins went 0-for-2 on the powerplay and 1-for-1 on the penalty kill in the period, and managed to take a 2-1 lead into the 3rd.
In the 3rd, the Penguins looked as if they got the insurance goal at 8:35. In a tremendous defensive play along the boards, Sidney Crosby stopped the puck and moved it up to Evgeni Malkin who powered into the Devils zone and launched the puck past Clemmensen to trickle across the goal line. The goal was Malkin’s 20th of the season, and 100th of his young career. With the score 3-1, the Penguins tried to tighten up the defense to protect the lead. At 11:55, however, Petr Sykora took a hooking penalty near the Penguins’ blue line, and then must have said something that angered the referee who slapped Sykie with the extra 2-minutes for unsportsmanlike. The Devils immediately pounced on the opportunity as Brendan Shanahan collected the puck off from the ensuing face-off and launched it past Fleury just 4-seconds into the powerplay to make it a 1-goal game. The Penguins defense redoubled their efforts after the goal and managed to kill-off the back half of Sykora’s double-minor, but it now became a much different game. With just 31-seconds left in regulation and Clemmensen pulled from the net in favor of the extra attacker, Jamie Langenbrunner threw a backhander from the side of the net that deflected off from the skate of Ryan Whitney and past Fleury to tie the game. The Penguins then missed on a 2-on-1 scoring opportunity in the final seconds of the game to send it into overtime tied at 3-3. The Devils again peppered the Penguins goaltender in the 3rd period as they outshot them 13-3.
In the overtime frame, it appeared as if the Penguins might be able to hold on for the shootout, but a late barrage and offensive zone pressure by the Devils paid off with the game winner. Skating out from the right boards, Travis Zajac fed a cross-ice pass to Jamie Langenbrunner who unleashed a quick shot that caught goalie Marc Andre Fleury out of position. It was Langenbrunner’s 14th goal of the season and second overtime winner in two games, as he had the OT winner against Boston on Thursday night.
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- Pittsburgh TOI Report
The Penguins head to Toronto on Saturday where they will face off against the Maple Leafs and look to get one back in the winning column.