After starting out pretty evenly through the first 11 minutes, Sidney Crosby broke his 0-for-the season slump with his first goal and first point of the year, flipping the puck past Roberto Luongo with assists from fellow Pittsburgh big-guns Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang. The marker was also Pittsburgh’s first power play goal in 18 tries.
After a scoreless second, the Penguins extended the lead to two with a Phil Kessel wrister that bounced off Luongo’s skate at the 3:17 mark in the third period.
Quinton Howden broke Pittsburgh’s stranglehold on the score with his first marker of the season past a sprawling Marc-Andre Fleury with nine minutes remaining in regulation. Connor Brickley and Erik Gudbranson earned the helpers on the play, then Derek MacKenzie lit the lamp for the first time this season just three minutes later to tie the game at two. Howden and Brickley each earned their second point of the night on the play.
Although regulation would end with the score still knotted up, Florida will have to wait for another day to experience the NHL’s new three-on-three overtime format due to a Jonathan Huberdeau crosscheck. The resulting four-on-three power play ended 1:21 into the extra frame on an Evgeni Malkin slapshot.
Luongo was sometimes spectacular in stopping 32-of-35 shots, while Fleury turned aside 31 for the win.
Officiating was an issue at times, with one Panthers’ goal disallowed and one scored by the Penguins that could have been, but we’ll talk more about that tomorrow in your full recap. Check out PensBurgh for the opposing point of view, and come back later this week for the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday and the Dallas Stars on Saturday.