Carter, Guentzel score twice, Penguins end power-play skid in win over Coyotes
PITTSBURGH (AP) — The Pittsburgh Penguins hope the end of one streak marks the beginning of another.
Guentzel scored the Penguins' first power-play goal in 31 days when he beat Carter Ingram just over a minute into the game. Carter's deflection in front 4:32 into the third with Pittsburgh on the man advantage gave the Penguins the lead for good and — perhaps more importantly — will allow them to finally move on.
“Hopefully we don’t have to talk about it anymore,” said Carter, who also had the 20th short-handed goal of his 19-year career in the first period.
There was only tepid applause when the Penguins went on the power play 48 seconds in. It grew considerably louder moments later when Guentzel took a pass from behind the net by Sidney Crosby and beat Ingram from in close 1:12 into the game for Pittsburgh's first goal up a man since Nov. 11.
“Can’t relax now that we’ve got one,” said Guentzel, who tacked on an empty netter from his belly late in the third to boost his goal total to 12. "Got to get some momentum here. To get two (points) is huge, so we’ve got to build off this and keep going.”
Tristan Jarry made 19 saves as the Penguins won their 11th straight meeting with Arizona.
Lawson Crouse scored his 13th of the season for the Coyotes and added an assist on Matias Maccelli’s power-play goal. Ingram stopped 40 shots but couldn’t stop Arizona from dropping its fourth consecutive game.
Arizona rookie center Logan Cooley, a Pittsburgh native who took up the game as a 5-year-old by participating in a “Little Penguins” program run by franchise icon Sidney Crosby, took the opening faceoff against Crosby.
“It’s a pretty special feeling,” the 19-year-old Cooley said. “Crosby is a guy that I watched a lot."
The Penguins came in riding a 3-6-3 funk since Nov. 16, fueled in part by their star-laden power play’s inability to find the back of the net, with players passing up open shots.
First-year general manager Kyle Dubas expressed optimism on Monday even with Pittsburgh closer to the bottom of the Eastern Conference than a playoff spot. Dubas gave longtime coach Mike Sullivan a vote of confidence, calling him the right man to help steer the injury-riddled and underachieving Penguins back into contention.
Pittsburgh responded by looking like a “really good hockey team for most of 60 minutes," as Carter put it. Guentzel's early score began an eventful first period in which both teams scored twice, with all the goals coming on special teams.
Things settled down from there and the Penguins were able to apply near-constant pressure on Ingram, a positive step for a team that Sullivan has chastised for being too reluctant to put the puck on the net.
Carter, a two-time Stanley Cup winner who was a healthy scratch earlier this season, saw a more direct approach by both power play units against Arizona.
“When things aren’t going your way you tend to force plays ... and it usually doesn’t work for you,” Carter said. "If you simplify and you shoot and go to the net, good things happen.”
Coyotes: Begin a three-game homestand on Friday when San Jose visits.
Penguins: Travel to Montreal on Wednesday.
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