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Kessel scores 300th NHL goal to send Penguins past Jets in OT

Murray makes 30 saves for seventh straight win

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Phil Kessel said he got lucky Thursday when he scored 1:07 into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 2-1 win against the Winnipeg Jets at PPG Paints Arena.

It's difficult to luck into 300 NHL goals, though.

Kessel scored on a breakaway to reach the milestone in his 843rd game. It was his second overtime goal in the past two games. He is the 18th United States-born player in NHL history to score 300 goals and is one of two active Americans to have reached that mark, joining Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise.

 

[WATCH: All Jets vs. Penguins highlights]

 

"I've played a decent amount of games in this league," Kessel said. "It's nice to get 300 goals and I'm just happy to help my team win."

The Penguins were tied 1-1 with the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday before Kessel scored 42 seconds into overtime. His four goals have him one shy of the Penguins lead behind Sidney Crosby.

"Sometimes you get lucky," Kessel said. "I'm fortunate to get them in."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan gave Kessel a bit more credit.

"He can win it and he's shown that," Sullivan said. "He has a knack to score big goals at key times."

Video: WPG@PIT: Sheary's tip gives Penguins early lead

Matt Murray, who made 30 saves for the Penguins, has won seven straight starts since allowing 11 goals on 65 shots in his first two games this season. He has allowed one goal each of his past two starts.

Connor Hellebuyck was left frustrated with his inability to stop Kessel's last shot despite making 34 saves for Winnipeg (4-3-1).

"I have to have that save in overtime. I don't know what I'm thinking," Hellebuyck said. "I almost read it too well. I knew he was going to go five-hole. I'm thinking I'll kick it out, but that's not goaltending. I need to just drop to my butterfly and just make the save like I've been working on all summer, just getting that quick butterfly. So, I overthought it."

Pittsburgh (7-3-1) has won 17 straight home games against the Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise since March 24, 2007. The Penguins are 7-2-0 in their past nine games after beginning the season 0-1-1.

Conor Sheary gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead 1:25 into the first period. He entered the Winnipeg zone with Jake Guentzel, who carried the puck through the neutral zone. Guentzel slipped a pass through Tyler Myers that Sheary tipped through Hellebuyck's five-hole for his fifth goal of the season.

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang inadvertently helped erase that lead when Josh Morrissey tied it 1-1 at 9:26 of the first. Bryan Little won a faceoff back to Morrissey, who sent a wrist shot past Bryan Rust and Riley Sheahan before Letang tipped it past Murray and into the right corner of the net.

The Jets came close to taking the lead twice late in the second period.

Tyler Myers had the first chance when he skated toward Murray and deked left to right, but he was denied by Murray's toe save with 2:50 remaining in the second period. Murray then made a stick save on a Patrik Laine one-timer from just outside the crease 32 seconds later.

Video: WPG@PIT: Morrissey scores off friendly deflection

 

Goal of the game

Kessel intercepted a pass from Laine intended for Myers in the slot before racing the length of the ice on a breakaway. He finished it by shooting through Hellebuyck's five-hole.

Video: WPG@PIT: Kessel buries OT winner for 300th NHL goal

 

Save of the game

Laine nearly put the Jets ahead 2-1 when Nikolaj Ehlers backhanded a pass by Letang through the Penguins crease. Laine sent a point-blank one-timer on net, but Murray pushed back to his right to make a stick save with 2:18 remaining in the second period.

 

Highlight of the game

Crosby had a chance to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead late in the second period when he went on a 2-on-1 with Guentzel facing Ehlers. Crosby elected to keep the puck and had his wrist shot turned away by Hellebuyck with 5:53 remaining in the period.

 

They said it

"These guys have a target on their back here in Pittsburgh all season so we came in and took a point from them. We had a chance to take two. Didn't work out. Now we go to play another great team in Columbus tomorrow, so we have to come out with the same mentality and same detail." -- Jets forward Matt Hendricks

"I'm just trying to improve every night and feel a little bit better each and every night. I think I've been doing that." -- Penguins goalie Matt Murray

 

Need to know

Hendricks returned from a lower-body injury to make his season debut, and defenseman Dmitry Kulikov returned from a lower-body injury after missing two games. Hendricks, who won 70 percent of his face-offs, and Kulikov each had three blocks. … Kessel is the second player in Penguins history to score an overtime goal in consecutive games, joining forward Aleksey Morozov (2003-04). ... Defenseman Zach Trotman made his Pittsburgh debut in place of defenseman Justin Schultz, who was placed on injured reserve with a concussion. Trotman had two shots in 12:09.

 

What's next

Jets: At the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Penguins: At the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-N, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Pens edge Jets in OT on Kessel's 300th career goal

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