Recap: Pittsburgh Penguins Weather Late Storm, Top Minnesota 4-1


The Pittsburgh Penguins managed a win against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, grinding out the victory in what started as a tough, and very even, defensive battle.

Pittsburgh put up a strong game for the first two frames. The Pens’ third line of Brandon Sutter, Nick Spaling, and Steve Downie looked to build on their previous career success against the Wild, and did just that as Spaling and Sutter both netted goals.

The Penguins’ electrifying powerplay did its work in the second frame as well, as Chris Kunitz redirected a shot from Evgeni Malkin just 11 seconds into the man-advantage for his 8th goal of the season. The play extended Malkin’s league-leading point streak to 11 games.

In the third period, however, things started to get dicey.

Thomas Greiss, making his first start for the Penguins since he allowed a very late comeback from the Detroit Red Wings (which consisted of three goals in the final three minutes and a subsequent overtime killer) almost saw history repeat itself after his initial strong play almost gave way to another late comeback.

Turning aside all 19 of the Wild’s shots through two frames, Greiss looked set to extend Pittsburgh’s shutout streak to three games.

Midway through the third period, however, the Pens’ star-studded powerplay stumbled, allowing Minnesota’s Nino Niederreiter to fire in a stunning shorthanded marker to give the Wild some life.

A short time later, Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu pounced on a scrum in front of the net and and roofed the puck off his backhand. Pittsburgh’s Marcel Goc would appear to bat it safely out of mid-air with his glove, but a closer look would reveal the puck had definitively crossed the goal line before Goc got to it.

The point would become moot, however, as Pittsburgh was given a lucky break when the officials announced that goaltender interference had been called, meaning the play was not reviewable and the original call of ‘no-goal’ would stand.

Despite being outshot 15 to 4 in the final period, the Penguins managed to hold on and snag an empty netter from Patric Hornqvist, taking the game by a score of 4-1 to give Minnesota their first loss of the season at home.

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The Pittsburgh Penguins made a very smart front-office hire
The Pittsburgh Penguins made a very smart front-office hire /

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  • While they nearly allowed this one to slip away at the end, the Pens put forth a strong overall game against one of the best teams in the West.

    Robert Bortuzzo, playing in his first game of the season, looked excellent for Pittsburgh. The big-bodied defenseman made his presence known on his very first shift as he leveled a booming hit on the Wild’s Mikael Granlund. He chipped in with another staggering check on the big Ryan Suter later in the game, and followed it up with strong defensive play throughout that included a takeaway and a couple blocked shots.

    Pittsburgh’s schedule figures to get much easier over the rest of the week as they face the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, before revisiting the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Saturday.

    The Penguins’ record now stands at 8-2-1 as the team has rattled off five straight wins, positioning them atop the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference.

    What did you think of the game, Pens fans? Comment below and let us know!