PITTSBURGH — Tristan Jarry made 40 saves for the Pittsburgh Penguins, who handed the Vegas Golden Knights a third straight loss, 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena on Friday.
Jeff Carter and Bryan Rust each had a goal and an assist for the Penguins (35-15-9), who are 4-1-1 in their past six games. Sidney Crosby extended his point streak to eight games, and 15 of 16, with an assist.
“There’s a lot of positives to take,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. “Can we be better? Sure. We’ll look to improve and continue to improve in certain areas. But there were a lot of positives that we need to take out of this and build on.”
Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Golden Knights (32-24-4), who have scored four goals in their past three games. Laurent Brossoit made 28 saves after allowing two goals on 23 shots in a 3-1 loss to the Buffalo Sabers on Thursday.
“We’ve played good. Not good enough, obviously, to win,” Pietrangelo said. “So we need to be better. Simple as that. There are definitely some things we’re happy about. Have done a lot of good things with our structure. But it’s a winning business. You have to find a way to win.”
Video: VGK@PIT: Matheson finds twine to open scoring
Mark Friedman gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead at 3:49 of the third period with a wrist shot off the left post from the right face-off circle. It was the defenseman’s first NHL goal since May 4, 2021 (18 games).
Rust extended it to 4-2 on a power play at 14:49, tapping in a pass from Jake Guentzelbefore Evan Rodrigues scored an empty-net goal with 2:17 remaining for the 5-2 final.
“I think it’s big for our confidence,” Rust said. “All we need to do is win the third period there. … Things aren’t going to come easy, especially with the teams we’re playing against.”
Mike Matheson gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead at 18:54 of the first period. After a cross-ice pass from Crosby, the defenseman scored on a snap shot from the left face-off circle. He returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury.
Carter made it 2-0 at 2:36 of the second period, poking in a rebound after Brossoit denied Brock McGinn we have breakaway. It ended his 10-game goal drought. Valtteri Puustinen had an assist in his NHL debut.
“We definitely don’t want to rely on one line,” Carter said. “I think Sid’s line and our power play, and [Evgeni Malkin’s] line have been doing a good job to carry the load for us. We need everybody to chip in. It’s no secret.”
Eichel got Vegas within 2-1 at 4:19 with a wrist shot from the slot. He has scored three goals in six games since scoring one in his first six.
Video: VGK@PIT: Eichel finishes rush in with goal from slot
Pietrangelo tied it 2-2 at 8:19 when a pass from Jonathan Marchessault sent him in alone for a wrist shot to the right of the net.
“It was a rough start, but I thought our second period was really good,” Marchessault said. “I feel like we lost our swagger a little bit when they got the go-ahead lead. We sat back.”
The Golden Knights outshot the Penguins 37-17 in the final two periods after being outshot 16-5 in the first.
“We’re going to concentrate on the really good things we did tonight,” Vegas coach Peter DeBoer said. “We outplayed, for long stretches, a really good team over there. So it’s a challenge, but that’s the ups and downs of a season. We have a lot of hockey left. We’ve got a chance to finish this road trip strong with a couple wins (two games remaining).”
NOTES: Vegas played the third period without forward Max Pacioretty, who sustained an undisclosed injury. He will be evaluated in the next few days, DeBoer said. … The Golden Knights were 0-for-2 on the power play. They have scored on four of 50 chances (8.0 percent) in their past 19 games. … Crosby has scored 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) in 18 games since Jan. 25. … Pittsburgh defenseman Brian Dumoulin did not play because of an illness unrelated to COVID-19. … Kris Letang had an assist to give him 50 points (six goals, 44 assists) in 55 games. He scored 50 points faster than any Penguins defenseman since Sergei Zubov did so in 46 games during the 1995-96 season. … McGinn left with an upper-body injury with 3:44 left in the second period. He is out week to week.