Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-3 shootout loss against the NY Islanders at PPG Paints Arena.
*The Pens don't want to hear about injuries. They aren't making excuses, and they want to win every game.
Another gutsy effort from a Pens team that is decimated by injuries to pull out another point. Even with 9 players sidelined at the moment, Pittsburgh is still 8-1-3 in its past 12 games.
*Good for Cameron Gaunce, who netted his 1st goal as a Pen, and finished with 2 points. Gaunce launched a slap shot from the point that went off the midsection of New York's Anthony Beauvillier and into the goal. It's his 2nd career goal and it gave the Pens a 1-0 lead in the 2nd period.
Gaunce then helped the Pens tie the game late in the third. He carried the puck down the wall and cut to the net. Although his shot was stopped, Matt Cullen was right in the slot to flip the rebound in for a 3-3 tie.
Gaunce had been a healthy scratch for the past 6 games, and patiently waited for his opportunity. He made the most of that chance with the tally.
*Incredible smarts in OT by Phil Kessel. On 3 occasions he exited the offensive zone, knowing the Islanders were tired and couldn't change, and re-entered with speed to create a scoring chance. Brilliant strategy.
*The Pens went 1-for-2 on the coach's challenge department. The first was a win - obviously, which is why they had 2. But it was a big win. It appeared Brock Nelson gave the Islanders a 1-0 with 1.1 seconds left in the 1st period. However, Alan Quine bumped into goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, impairing his abilty to make a save and the goal was waved off.
The second time the Pens weren't so lucky. Anders Lee scored his 28th of the season with a nice snipe, but it appeared he may have been offside as the Isles entered the zone. Upon review, Lee did lift his skate early for a delayed offside, but managed to tap the blue line to make it an onside play. The goal stood, and New York had a 2-1 lead.
*The hockey gods giveth and taketh away. Forward Bryan Rust is healthy and back in the lineup after missing 20 games with an upper-body injury. But the Pens' injury list remains at 9 after it was revealed Scott Wilson has an injury.
Rust was very impressive and his speed was felt right away. On his 2nd shift he darted thru Thomas Hickey to give himself a semi-breakaway. Those wheels were churning all night.