Bryan Rust’s goal helps Penguins avoid potentially frustrating loss
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the first period of Thursday night’s game against the Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Bryan Rust had a handful of scoring chances, including one shot that rang off the post behind goalie Pekka Riine.
Was he starting to grow frustrated?
“I was about to break my stick over the boards if I didn’t get one,” Rust said.
He got one, all right.
Rust’s second-period goal was enough to get the Penguins a point in the standings. When Sidney Crosby converted his shootout attempt and Matt Murray stopped all three Nashville shooters, the Penguins picked up another point with a 2-1 win.
“First period, I think I had four, five chances,” Rust said. “We stuck with it. We were working well together. We were skating. We were getting in the open space. We were good to get one there and I think we could have had a few more.”
After blowing one-goal leads late in the third period and losing in overtime or the shootout in three of their previous 13 games, the extra shootout point was warmly welcomed in the Penguins locker room.
“It’s a whole heck of a lot better,” Rust said. “That’s a good non-conference two points. If it’s in our own conference, I think we’re a little upset giving up that one point. But anytime you’re playing a team from a different conference, you try to get two any way you can.”
Rust’s goal came when he stopped a Kris Letang shot-pass from the right point and steered it around Rinne with a backhand shot. It was Rust’s 18th goal of the season and his first in three games since returning from a lower-body injury that sidelined him for seven games.
He also was part of a penalty killing effort that stopped shut down three Nashville power plays.
“He’s such an important player for us,” Rust said. “We utilize him in so many different capacities. His speed is so important, both on the penalty kill and when he plays up on Sid’s line. He creates a lot. He creates space for those guys, and he’s shown the ability to finish. He’s scoring goals this year, which is great for him. I’m happy for him.”
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .