Penguins’ Tanner Pearson snaps goal drought in loss
Losers of nine of their last 10 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins are in such a deep hole that they couldn’t even celebrate a player snapping an epic goal drought.
Newly acquired winger Tanner Pearson scored his first goal since March 19 of last season, ending a 32-game scoreless streak Monday night at PPG Paints Arena. He also assisted on a Phil Kessel goal earlier in the game.
Late in the third period, though, he couldn’t get a tip on an Evgeni Malkin clearing attempt along the boards as the Penguins tried to protect a one-goal lead. Zach Bogosian stopped the puck at the blue line and fed Kyle Okposo, who made a cross-ice feed to Casey Mittelstadt for the tying goal.
Pearson was in no position to celebrate after the Penguins dropped a 5-4 overtime decision on a Jack Eichel goal. His two-point performance did provide some hope for the future, though.
“We think he has the ability to help us offensively,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s shown that ability when he was in LA. He’s played with top players when he was in LA over the last few years and he’s produced. We felt as though he might be a good fit with Geno. We thought we’d try him and see how it goes. We think he’s played pretty well there to this point. We’re happy he got rewarded.”
The Penguins traded Carl Hagelin to the Kings to acquire Pearson last week.
Pearson said his line combination with Malkin and Kessel reminds him of That 70s Line, a famous trio in Los Angeles that included Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli. All three players had jersey numbers in the 70s.
“A really good centerman and a shooter on the right. Both guys that can make plays and score goals,” Pearson said. “Give them the puck and just get open and they’ll probably hit you.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.