There was a fairly obvious game within a game being played when the Pittsburgh Penguins faced the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
It was a matchup of four players who had just been traded for one another last week.
Jared McCann got the goal, but Derick Brassard and Riley Sheahan got the win as the Panthers beat the Penguins, 3-2 in overtime.
“Got the monkey off the back, which was nice, but I would trade that in for a win any day,” McCann said.
McCann’s goal – the first for either he or Nick Bjugstad since last Friday’s trade – came shorthanded in the second period. He kept the puck himself on the right wing on a two-on-one with Bryan Rust and beat goalie Roberto Luongo with a shot inside the far post.
“I thought he had a strong game,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “He can really skate. He was really good on the penalty kill. He gets a huge goal for us shorthanded. I thought his line was better five-on-five tonight. I think he’s getting more comfortable with how we’re trying to play. He’s getting better with each game.”
Brassard was caught flat-footed in the neutral zone, allowing the two-on-one break to happen in the first place. He was also on the ice for Marcus Pettersson’s goal in the third period, finishing with a minus-2 rating in about 19 minutes of ice time.
He had the second assist on Evgenii Dadonov’s first-period goal.
Sheahan, meanwhile, could have easily joined McCann in the goal column had a controversial call not gone against him in the first two minutes of the game.
Goalie Casey DeSmith couldn’t handle a point-blank Sheahan shot, and as the rebound caromed around underneath the goalie, the former Penguins center jammed it across the goal line.
Referee Eric Furlatt waved the goal off, ruling that Sheahan had illegally pushed DeSmith’s pads and the puck into the cage.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.