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Schultz's finish in overtime pushes Pens to 4-3 win over Calgary

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Justin Schultz scored his fourth goal of the season on an open net off a transition pass from Phil Kessel two and a half minutes into overtime, lifting the Pens to the 4-3 win over Calgary at PPG Paints Arena Monday night

Schultz’s goal pushed Pittsburgh (38-25-4) to its second consecutive overtime win, while breaking a 5-game losing streak to Calgary (32-26-9).

“I just tried to get open for those two guys,” said Schultz about the 3-on-3 look he shared with Evgeni Malkin and Kessel.  “They are so good with the puck, that I just find some space.  Phil made a great play and I just had to put it on the open net.”

The Penguins are now 11-4 in overtime/shootouts this season, with a win percentage (73%) that is currently fourth in the league.

“We got the players that are so good out there with that much,” continued Schultz about his team’s success in overtime.  “We don’t like to go too it that much, but it is nice to know that we can get wins in it.”

“With the skill level that we have, we should have the ability to win more than we lose,” said Mike Sullivan of the extra five minutes.

The Pens looked far from overtime from puck drop, as both Chad RuhWedel (2) and Evgeni Malkin each scored 55 seconds apart just three minutes into the game, grabbing a momentum-grabbing 2-0 lead.

Malkin scored his NHL’s second-best 37th goal of the season on an open net after intercepting a pass behind the net from goalie Jon Gillies.

The Flames answered twice in the first period to tie the game, including a stellar play by Mikael Backlund, who worked a deke that spun Kris Letang around, then forged ahead, finishing backhand over Tristan Jarry’s glove at the crease midway through the period.

Jarry, who stopped 35 shots on the night, smothered the Flames after the opening period, plugging up 21 of 22 shots in the final 45 minutes.

“He had a great game again.  He’s playing with confidence and he’s helping us win games,” said Letang of Jarry.”

The backup goalie is now 2-1 since Matt Murray’s (concussion) exit from the lineup nearly two weeks ago.

“My mindset this year has been to get better and better,” said Jarry, who is 11-5 with a 2.68 GAA in 22 games this season. 


“Obviously, Sully is going to go with the hot goalie,” said Jarry about a possible competition with Casey DeSmith for starting rights while Murray remains out.  “The big thing is to just take your opportunity as it comes, and I think that is something that you have to work for in practice.  Obviously, [Sullivan] has helped Casey and I a lot throughout this time.”

Letang helped Jarry and the Penguins recounter momentum at the 2:59 mark of the second period after Malkin kicked a center blue line pass to Letang, who finished top shelf blocker side on a wrister over Gillies.

The rookie netminder for Calgary stopped 28 shots, surrendering three of Pittsburgh’s four goals to defensemen.

“Teams are so good nowadays at backchecking; you need that extra [defenseman] at the rush to create odd-man situations, and I thought we did a good job tonight,” explained Schultz of the two-way advantage in Monday’s win.

The Flames answered Letang’s goal with a Troy Brouwer finish at the net with just three seconds left in the second period.

Pittsburgh has climbed back to just one game (80 points) behind the Metropolitan-leading Washington Capitals, with 15 games left in the regular season.

Despite two straight wins, Sullivan knows a better game is still ahead of the Penguins.

“I don’t think [tonight] was our best game.  I’m not going to sit here and say we played a real good game,” coach explained.  “I think there were areas where I know we can be a lot better.  We had some moments in the game where we had some pretty good pushback and some offensive zone time, but I thought as a whole, I know we can be better.”

After the moneyline

Pittsburgh came in as -190 favorites.  The over/under, which was set at 6.5 goals, drifted over for the sixth time in eight games.

Up next

The Penguins will travel to Philadelphia to face the Flyers on Wednesday.  Puck drops at 8 PM.

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