Matheson, who was denied on a breakaway earlier in the extra session, slipped behind Phil Kessel and deflected Jonathan Huberdeau’s pass by Casey DeSmith for the winner. Aleksander Barkov drew the secondary assist on the decisive goal.
The Panthers kept their composure throughout, overcoming a disallowed goal in the first period and shorthanded goal in the second.
After Riley Sheahan’s potential first in a Panthers uniform was waved off, Evgenii Dadonov gave the Cats a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at the 5:22 mark.
Matheson missed a shot a wide after taking a pass back to the point from Derick Brassard. The puck came off the back boards to Dadonov, who was able to control it and quickly slide a backhander under DeSmith to end an eight-game goal drought.
Florida held the one-lead goal, killing off a few Penguins power plays - including 57 seconds of 5-on-3 time - early in the second until former teammate Jared McCann burned them shorthanded.
After Pittsburgh gained possession in their own end, the Cats decided to start changing players with Kris Letang and Brian Dumolin playing catch with the puck. Letang spotted McCann open up ice and sent him and Bryan Rust away on a 2-on-1 break. McCann smartly decided to shoot and fired a wrister by Roberto Luongo for his first as a Peguin at the 13:51 mark.
Florida quickly responded to retake the lead 3:41 later when Aleksander Barkov fed Colton Sceviour in front and he went high on DeSmith. The play started when Sceviour knocked the puck to the captain after Sheahan’s shot was blocked. The primary assist gave Barkov 300 NHL points and the secondary gave Sheahan his first point as a member of the Panthers.
The only goal of a well-played third period by both teams, came when Pittsburgh defenseman Marcus Pettersson blast a shot by a screened Luongo with 11:43. The helpers on Pettersson second career goal, and first with the Penguins, went to Letang and Jake Guentzel.
Luongo finished the game with 29 saves, including a fine glover on Kessel, to post his eleventh win while the busier DeSmith stopped 39 of the 42 shots he faced.
A very nice win for the Jekyll and Hyde Panthers, who clawed their way back to NHL .500 at 22-22-8. The Cats managed to hold Sidney Crosby, who tied Mario Lemieux for most games (915) played in Pittsburgh history, off the score sheet and overcome some adversity, and a couple more hit posts, to pull out the win in exciting fashion. The thing that surprised me the most in this game was how well the Panthers played in overtime against the dangerous Penguins, holding them to a single shot on goal while putting four on DeSmith. Another key was holding the Pens without a shot on that 5-on-3, amazing job by the PK. The Cats were the better team and deserved this one, so it was great to see them come through in the clutch. Up next is a weekend back-to-back that starts in D.C, on Saturday and ends in Sunrise against the Lightning on Sunday.
Video Recap (courtesy of NHL.com)