Penguins 5 – Canadiens 3
PIT GAME LEADERS
Jake Guentzel | Goal (21), 2 Assist
Sidney Crosby | Goal (24), Assist
Evgeni Malkin | Goal (41), Assist
Derick Brassard | Goal (20, GWG)
Phil Kessel | 2 Assists
Casey DeSmith | 27 Saves, .900 SV%
CROSBY’s MOMENTUM CHANGING GOAL
The Pittsburgh blew a 2-0 lead and trailed 3-2 late in the second period against the lowly Montreal Canadiens until a dazzling goal from Sidney Crosby tied the game at 3-3 with 4:58 left in the period and Pittsburgh re-took control of the game in a 5-3 victory over the Canadiens on Wednesday night at the PPG Paints Arena.
Crosby’s 24th of the season was certainly a top-10 goal of his career from a highlight reel standpoint and it was a goal in a big situation, scoring 38 seconds after the Canadiens went up 3-2 as Pittsburgh was potentially heading into another situation of handing a game to another bad opponent which has been a theme over the last week.
“It was a huge goal for us,” Mike Sullivan said. “To go in after two periods with a tie game was really important for us.”
BRASSARD, GUENTZEL CLOSE OUT THE GAME
Derick Brassard scored 2:38 into the third period, scoring a blistering goal from the slot on the power play off a setup from Jake Guentzel for his 20th of the season to put the Penguins ahead 4-3 and then Guentzel closed the game out with a 1:33 remaining, beating Carey Price blocker side to cap off a three point night.
The Brassard game winning goal was a needed one for him. It was just his second goal as a Penguin but he is on a four game points streak now. The Penguins coaches, though, want to tap in to that goal scoring ability more for Brassard.
He can bury the puck from goal scorer areas and Mike Sullivan said afterwards he would like to find more minutes for Brassard.
“Quite honestly I’d like to find him more minutes in the game,” Sullivan said of Brassard.
— Jake Guentzel had a very strong night in closing out the game. He factored in on the final three goals of the game, picking up 2 primary assists and the late goal. His play away from the puck was also fantastic vs the Canadiens.
Pittsburgh’s top line was at 60% in driving possession in the win.
— Sidney Crosby’s spectacular goal was just his 24th goal in 74 games this season as it’s gone a bit unnoticed of the significant dip he’s had in goal scoring production this season.
Crosby last season had 44 goals in 75 games.
— Evgeni Malkin with a goal and assist in the win is now up to 41 goals and 50 assists on the season. His 91 points is the highest scoring season from a Penguin since Sidney Crosby’s 104 points season in 2013-2014, the last season of the Dan Bylsma era.
Quite crazy when you’re talking about Evgeni Malkin, but this is also the first season Malkin has topped more than 72 points in a season since 2011-2012.
— Casey DeSmith earned his 5th win of the season and as he’s been most nights he’s been good enough to put the Penguins in position to win.
What’s interesting with the backup goaltender situation is while the Penguins obviously don’t have a Marc Andre Fleury behind Matt Murray to go to in the playoffs if needed, which could become problematic if another injury to Matt Murray happens, Pittsburgh has actually received slightly better backup goaltending during the regular season with the combo of DeSmith/Jarry then they did last season where Fleury had a very mediocre regular season before his game took off in the playoffs.
Casey DeSmith | 5-4-1, .913 SV%, .262 GAA
Tristan Jarry | 14-6-2, 2.77 GAA, .908 Sv%
Marc Andre Fleury last season: 18-10-7, 3.02 GAA, .909 SV%