PITTSBURGH (AP)Penguins coach Mike Sullivan thought Alex Galchenyuk was working hard, even during a 14-game goal drought to start his tenure in Pittsburgh.
It finally paid off Monday night.
Galchenyuk scored his first goal with the Penguins and Jake Guentzel beat David Rittich on a rush 4:04 into overtime to lift Pittsburgh over the Calgary Flames 3-2 Monday night.
”The first one is a bit of a relief for him,” Sullivan said. ”He works extremely hard, he’s one of our hardest-working guys in practice and he puts a lot of pressure on himself to help us win. We’re thrilled for him.”
Jared McCann scored his ninth goal for the Penguins. He and Galchenyuk also had assists, helping Pittsburgh get a point for the 11th time in 13 games – eight of those 13 have gone to overtime.
Tristan Jarry stopped 32 shots and has allowed two goals or fewer in six of seven games.
”For whatever reason, it didn’t seem like we had a lot of jump, especially early in the game,” Sullivan said. ”Tristan was big for us. He made some timely saves.”
Dillon Dube scored his first of the season for Calgary and second NHL goal. Sean Monahan added his sixth on a power play as the Flames lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Calgary snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday with a shootout win at Philadelphia but couldn’t make it two in a row. The Flames have been outscored 28-9 in their past eight games with three shutouts after winning four of their previous five. Rittich stopped 35 shots.
”I thought we had a good first period, took the lead, had some good chances,” Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau said. ”They kind of pushed back and I think we pushed back at the end of the second into the third period. A lot of chances both ways … just didn’t get the extra point.”
Jarry stopped Gaudreau on a breakaway prior to Guentzel’s overtime goal. Guentzel has points in 11 of Pittsburgh’s 14 home games and a goal in six of its last seven at home. He’s scored in a career-best five straight home games.
”I just tried to use the defenseman as a screen,” Guentzel said. ”I’m glad it went in.”
Dube opened the scoring at 7:34 of the first period when his blocker-side wrist shot from below the left circle beat Jarry.
Galchenyuk tied it at 11:49. Dominik Kahun put a shot on goal off the rush, and the rebound came to Galchenyuk in the slot. The Penguins acquired Galchenyuk – a former 30-goal scorer – from Arizona in June for productive wing Phil Kessel.
”Obviously, every season you go through slumps,” Galchenyuk said. ”Last year, I went through 17 games, but this time was harder because you want to get the first one with the new team. I’m happy to get that over with now.”
Kessel was an important piece to Pittsburgh’s run to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and ’17, but he was traded to Arizona for Galchenyuk as part of an offseason shakeup after the Penguins were swept by the New York Islanders in the opening round of the playoffs last spring.
Flames general manager Brad Treliving says the team is looking into an accusation that head coach Bill Peters directed racial slurs toward a Nigerian-born hockey player a decade ago in the minor leagues, then arranged for the player’s demotion when he complained. Akim Aliu posted the claims on Twitter on Monday, suggesting the incident happened in the Chicago Blackhawks system when Peters coached there during the 2009-10 season.
Peters did not speak to reporters after the game. Treliving said the Flames ”take these matters very, very seriously” and ”will address it and get back to you people once we have a chance to speak internally.”
NOTES: Penguins D Kris Letang, a five-time All-Star, returned after missing eight games with a lower-body injury. … Flames D T.J. Brodie was back in the lineup. He missed five games after collapsing during practice Nov. 14. Calgary sent Brandon Davidson to Stockton of the American Hockey League. … Gaudreau passed Lanny McDonald for 12th on the franchise points list with an assist on Monahan’s goal that gave him 407 points. … Flames F Matthew Tkachuk registered his first point in six games after opening the season with 20 points in 21 games.
Flames: Finish a four-game trip Wednesday night at Buffalo.
Penguins: Close a three-game homestand Wednesday night against Vancouver.
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