About time. The Penguins finally won a game at the Consol Energy Center, beating the Islanders 3-2 in OT. Brent Johnson (22 saves) improved to 2-0 in goal, Alex Goligoski scored his third goal of the season (the game winner) and Eric Tangradi scored his first NHL goal. Pittsburgh improved to 2-3.
But it wasn’t easy. The Pens had a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the second period when Kris Letang received a questionable 5-minute major/game misconduct penalty for drilling Blake Comeau. The call not only swung the momentum in New York’s favor, it took Letang out of the lineup. The Isle scored on the ensuing power play and tied the game seconds after it expired.
As for the hit itself…welcome to the new NHL. Was it the right call? No. But when a referee doesn’t have a perfect view of the hit and sees a player’s helmet fly 5 feet, and that player then stays down on the ice with a potential concussion, there’s going to be a major penalty called just about every time. It was a split-second decision, and the ref’s just covering his ass. Don’t’ blame him, blame the new rule. The NHL is making an effort to protect its players; sometimes a ref is going to make the wrong call in an effort to do so. Personally, I was more ticked off at the interference penalty called on Deryk Engelland with 2:17 left in a tie game. That was a bad call.
After a scoreless first, Mike Rupp and Tangradi staked the Pens to a two-goal lead. Mark Letestu set up both goals with good hustle plays.
The Pens power play went 0-6 in regulation before getting another opportunity in the extra period. With Milan Jurcina in the box, Goligoski – who played a game-high 28:41! – buried a tough-angle shot over a sprawling Rick DiPietro. Granted, the PP won the game. But up to that point it was a big reason why the game was tied in the first place. The Pens have to get their power play going.
Pens travel to Philly tomorrow – 6:00 start because of the baseball game.