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Florida couldn’t get gain of a Pittsburgh penalty in the 3rd interval and the Penguins responded with just their 2nd OT victory.
The night started with a tribute to Matt Cullen’s longevity. It ended with a different sparkling participate in that highlighted Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Jake Guentzel’s increasingly vibrant long run.
Guentzel gathered a long flip go from Sidney Crosby and held off Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson prior to beating Roberto Luongo with a backhand 2:44 into time beyond regulation to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory Tuesday night.
Pittsburgh has struggled when pushed past regulation this year — the Penguins entered with a 5-9 report in time beyond regulation and shootouts — but Guentzel supplied his club with a much-needed two points with his 2nd aim of the night and 33rd of the year.
“I’ve always believed Jake has that I-T,” Pittsburgh mentor Mike Sullivan said. “That is part of the motive he has these types of chemistry with Sid for the reason that he has that ‘it’ component.”
It was on complete exhibit on the 24-12 months-old’s winner.
“I attempted to place the puck in there and hoped he’d skate into it,” said Crosby, who concluded with a aim and two assists to develop into the 48th player in NHL heritage with 1,200 vocation points. “He did a good job of keeping off the man and providing a good go to end the participate in.”
Matt Murray created 32 saves for the Penguins though Cullen played 12:36 in his 1,500th vocation video game as the Penguins remained in the leading wild-card spot in a crammed Eastern Meeting.
Henrik Borgstrom and Vincent Trocheck scored for the Panthers but Florida dropped its fifth straight — 4 of them in time beyond regulation — when Guentzel broke in on your own on Luongo, who created 34 stops but bit on Guentzel’s deke. He reached again in vain with his glove as Guentzel slipped the puck into the net.
“It truly is disappointing, certainly,” Borgstrom said. “When you attempt your very best — and they’ve been so shut, also. It truly is been rough and disappointing.”
The 42-12 months-outdated Cullen — affectionately known as “Dad” on the club he helped gain consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 — joined some elite corporation a lot more than a complete generation right after his NHL debut, starting to be the 2nd American-born player and 20th general to achieve the 1,500-video game plateau. His teammates honored him by donning black jerseys with his acquainted No. 7 in warmups, and Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel all helped current Cullen with a handful of gifts, together with a silver adhere and a Penguins-themed ATV.
A quick video tribute ended by thanking Cullen for the memories though urging him to help create a lot more. Fitting. The Penguins are in will need of a memorable stretch to guarantee themselves of a 13th straight postseason berth. Rarely a provided for a proficient if erratic club that’s used the previous five months mixing bursts of vintage participate in with long stretches of mediocrity.
Experiencing a group whose playoff prospects are eroding by the day, it was a lot more of the identical.
Florida needed just 1:45 to get the guide when Borgstrom’s shot from the still left circle was redirected into the net by Pittsburgh defenseman Erik Gudbranson. The Penguins pressed to tie it many thanks in part to some spirited participate in by Kessel, who is driving a goalless streak that dates again to Jan. 30. Luongo fended off two high-quality chances from Kessel in the first interval but Pittsburgh pulled even 16 seconds into the 2nd when Mike Matheson’s turnover ended up on Crosby’s adhere in the Florida zone.
Crosby attempted to get the puck to Jared McCann, but it was poke-checked away. No matter. Guentzel jumped on the free puck and beat Luongo from the slot. Crosby’s 55th assist of the year pushed his vocation issue whole to 1,200, signing up for group owner and Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux as the only Penguins to achieve the milestone with the club.
Crosby needed fewer than 10 minutes to pick up vocation issue No. 1,201. With the Penguins on the energy participate in, he threaded a go to Kessel. Luongo created the halt but the rebound went ideal to Crosby, who pounded it house at 10:01 of the 2nd interval to achieve 30 plans for the ninth time in his vocation.
Trocheck, a Pittsburgh native, evened it at 2 when his a person-timer from the bottom of the still left circle zipped earlier Murray with 2:29 to go in the 2nd.
Florida couldn’t get gain of a Pittsburgh penalty in the 3rd interval and the Penguins responded with just their 2nd time beyond regulation victory given that Dec. 17.
“I consider (our time beyond regulation report) has sort of hurt us a minor bit this 12 months,” Guentzel said. “It truly is a little something we all took pleasure in that we can do improved, and they are large points ideal now.”