Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 4-3 overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers at PPG Paints Arena.
* The Penguins somehow, someway, managed to pull off an overtime victory against their cross-state rival Philadelphia. The Penguins used some opportunistic scoring in the second period (with two power-play goals), held on for their lives in the third period, and then ended things off of the stick of their captain to finish the Flyers.
After falling behind 1-0 late in the first period (just 27.3 seconds remaining), the Penguins scored three-straight goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Philadelphia chipped away, scoring a late second-period goal and early third-period goal to tie the game at 3-3 with 17:40 to go.
The Penguins were dominated in the third period, getting outshot 17-4 and couldn't muster any zone time. It didn't help that they only had five defensemen healthy in that final period. If not for some brilliant goaltending by Tristan Jarry, who made four or five big-time saves in the final minutes, Pittsburgh may have come up with an L. But Jarry got the game to overtime.
From there, Sidney Crosby finished things off. He looped the puck high in the zone and into the top circle before slinging a wrist shot to dispatch the Flyers back to Philadelphia and give the Penguins the victory. Pittsburgh was lucky to get one point in this game, getting two is larceny.
* Crosby wasn't the only one of the Penguins' "big guns" stepping up in the game. Crosby finished with a goal and three points, which equaled Evgeni Malkin's goal and three points. Kris Letang had a goal and two points and Bryan Rust scored a goal. The Penguins need everything from their star to pull off this victory, and they got it.
* This game turned on a single shift, and on an individual effort from Malkin. Early in the second period, Malkin was an animal on the forecheck and stole the puck twice in the offensive zone to keep an extended shift alive.
When Patric Hornqvist located a puck on the wall while drifting backward he threw a prayer at the net. The puck floated awkwardly and landed on the other side of the crease where Malkin was all alone. After an initial whiff, Malkin was able to jam the puck in through a stick check.
It's true that Malkin was lucky to find himself wide open and the beneficiary of a fortuitous bounce. But it's also true to say that it was his effort on that shift that created the chance. Malkin earned his luck.
* What an incredible finish by Letang for Pittsburgh's third goal (and second on the power play). First, Letang was the recipient of a ridiculous pass from Crosby, who threaded the puck through the slot and multiple bodies right to the tape of Letang. Then, Letang carried to the goal line before banking the puck in off of goaltender Brian Elliott from an impossible angle.
The angle was so harsh that Elliott leaned off of his post in anticipation of a pass. There's no way Elliott thought a shot was coming. He thought wrong.
* Rust's magical season continues. He potted his 22nd of the year and sixth on the power play. Rust grabbed a Crosby set up and forced a shot through the block attempt of Travis Sanheim. It hit the Flyers' defenseman, but had enough force to squeeze through.
* Justin Schultz returned to the lineup after missing 16 games with a lower-body injury. On his first shift he took a pass cruising down the slot and nearly scored, but his shot went off of the glove of Elliott.
The Penguins did lose blueliner Chad Ruhwedel, who did not participate in the third period. The Penguins were down to only five D-men for the final 20:55 minutes of this game.