In a battle of young stud goaltenders, it was the Pittsburgh Penguins (7-3-1) who narrowly edged the Winnipeg Jets (4-3-1) in overtime after a Phil Kessel goal spoiled a stellar performance by Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck.
The Jets managed to get pressure right out of the gate, only for Pittsburgh to score on their second shot of the game. Jake Guentzel found Conor Sheary going hard to the net and Sheary stuffed it past Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck to open the scoring just 1:25 in. With 10:34 left in the period, Josh Morrissey followed the adage of “if you throw it to the net, good things happen”, as his point shot off a Bryan Little face-off was deflected into the net by Pittsburgh defender Kris Letang. The first penalty of the game went to Toby Enstrom, after he was forced to drag down Bryan Rust after Rust deked him out, but the best opportunity of the two minutes went to Mark Scheifele, who went one-on-one with Matt Murray but was unable to find the net, and the game was tied at the first intermission.
Guentzel had an immediate opportunity to start the second, but wasn’t able to convert his breakaway attempt. Nikolaj Ehlers drew a Patric Hornqvist hook, but the Jets were unable to convert on their own opportunity with the extra man. The Jets caught a bit of a break, as a puck ended up in the back of the net, but not before the refs called Josh Morrissey for delay of game for knocking the net off its moorings. The Letang hit the post, but the Jets managed to complete the kill. The Penguins got another opportunity with the man advantage when Dustin Byfuglien was called for slashing just past the halfway point of the game, with the Jets killing that off as well. Winnipegger Ryan Reaves and Byfuglien took offsetting penalties with 6:43 to go in the period. The 4-on-4 created open ice and end to end hockey, but again: no goals. Tylers Myers was allowed to walk in after a bad Penguins change, but was denied by Murray, who also denied Patrik Laine on a one-timer. The period ended the way it began at 1-1, with the shots 26-22 in favor of Pittsburgh.
Less than a minute into the third, Kyle Connor was robbed by Murray and promptly drew a penalty from Kris Letang. The Jets were unable to score, and took a penalty of their own shortly after when Blake Wheeler was called for hooking, but the penalty kill was up to the task again. The rest of the period solved nothing.
For a guy who looks like he does, Phil Kessel can fly on a breakaway, and won it for the Penguins off a turnover 1:07 into overtime.
1st Period -
1:25 EV PIT 43 Conor Sheary (5) Assists: 59 Jake Guentzel (4) 87 Sidney Crosby (6)
9:26 EV WPG 44 Josh Morrissey (2) Assist: 18 Bryan Little (4)
2nd Period -
3rd Period -
1:07 EV PIT 81 Phil Kessel (4) Unassisted
WPG 37 Connor Hellebuyck 34/36 .944 61:07
PIT Matt Murray 30/31 .968 61:07
Winnipeg Jets - 0/2 (4/25 - 16.0%)
Pittsburgh Penguins - 0/4 (12/44 - 27.9%)
- Due to technical difficulties during the second period, I was exposed to all that is Bob Errey, the colour commentator for Root Sports Pittsburgh. That guy might be slightly more biased than I am. He seemed bemused that Hellebuyck would have the audacity to save shots.
- Calm, cool and collected Connor Hellebuyck. His play during the first three periods was everything the team needed to be given an opportunity to win. It was Hellebuyck’s first loss of any sort this year (4-0-1 .931 Save %).
- Matt Murray is very good at this goaltending thing. Like Hellebuyck, this is his third season in the NHL. Unlike Hellebuyck, he has won two Stanley Cups in two tries.
- When Josh Morrissey scored, his second of the year, it equaled the totals of the 3rd and 4th lines combined. The third line of Brandon Tanev, Andrew Copp and Shawn Matthias only has Tanev’s goal to its name, and the fourth line of Brendan Lemieux, Matt Hendricks and Joel Armia is riding Armia’s short-handed marker.
- Playing with fire. The Jets gave the dangerous Penguins power play four opportunities but killed them all. The penalty kill improved to 22/29 on the year (75.8% up from 72%).
- Matt Hendricks was everything I imagined him to be. He played on the penalty kill, and was decent at face-offs, winning seven of 10.
- Scheifele went in on two two-on-ones with Blake Wheeler, opted to pass both times and failed to find the captain either time. Kid needs to shoot, am I right?
- For a guy who looks like that, Kessel can fly on a breakaway and scored his second overtime winner in as many games.
- Kyle Connor may have been held off the scoresheet, but the kids continues to impress.
- Jets are right back at it tomorrow, looking for redemption against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets beat the Jets 5-2 in their previous meeting on October 17th. The Penguins and Jets meet again on Sunday in Winnipeg.