Everyone was watching to see how the Pens would respond following a 7-1 loss to Washington on Wednesday. And overall, it was a good, solid effort. It wasn't their best or most consistent game, but it certainly wasn't their worst. It was capped off with a tremendous play by Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang during overtime. Crosby faked a shot and stepped around the Isles defender to find Letang at the side of the open net. It was fantastic to see those two step up and get the team a much-needed win.
While the Pens' response ended strong, it also started strong with an uneventful but dominant opening frame. It was one of those periods where they just put their heads down and produced a steady, reliable 20 minutes of work. They outshot the Isles 16-5 and got the opening goal thanks to Crosby.
While that goal came on the power play, overall the Pens' play on the man-advantage just felt off for the second straight game. The Pens weren't able to generate a whole lot and the execution wasn't really there. They also had some trouble managing the puck at the blue line, which resulted in a shorthanded chance for New York. It got a big opportunity in the last 10 minutes to give the Pens a lead, but couldn't convert. The Pens' power play tends to go through hot and cold stretches, and right now it feels lukewarm.
Mike Sullivan talked on Thursday about responding to adversity, including the kind experienced short-term during the course of the game. And a 43-second span early in the second period can certainly be categorized as that, as the Isles scored twice during that stretch to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. After what happened Wednesday, that could have deflated the Pens and gotten them away from their game. Instead, they stuck with it and showed that resiliency we've come to expect from them and it resulted in a goal. From there, the Pens didn't look back.
With Patric Hornqvist out, the Pens shuffled up their lines. Sullivan put Sheary and Hagelin on Crosby's wings, left Kunitz-Malkin-Rust together, put Wilson with Bonino and Kessel, and reunited Kuhnhackl, Cullen and Fehr. During the game, Sullivan switched Rust and Kessel and the move paid off. Those three produced the big tying tally with a hard-working play.