Rowney keys solid night for Penguins' depth forwards
March 17, 2017 11:23 PM
The Penguins' Carter Rowney celebrates his goal in the third period against the Devils Friday at PPG Paint Arena .
By Jason Mackey / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Carter Rowney waited and waited and waited some more before scoring his first NHL goal.
He flashed some serious patience while doing it, too.
Rowney’s first goal in 15 NHL games was special for a variety of reasons, but the most obvious was that it served as the game-winning marker in a 6-4 Penguins victory over the Devils on Friday at PPG Paints Arena.
It also capped a productive night for the Penguins’ third and fourth lines, important contributions given the team’s recent, inexplicable run of injuries.
“Good play by my teammates,” Rowney said. “Get that monkey off my back. It was a great feeling.”
None of those statements are false, but Rowney’s not giving himself enough credit.
He was also due, and it would have been even more special for him to get one during the Penguins’ recent run through Rowney’s home province of Alberta.
No worries, though.
Especially not when Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid dropped to the ice. Rowney simply waited, drifted back a hair, found an open lane and beat Kinkaid.
It was a fantastic all-around play. Rowney prevented Kinkaid from rimming the puck. Tom Kuhnhackl picked it up and passed to Tom Sestito, who went back to Kuhnhackl — both used their skates — for the setup to Rowney.
“I was just trying to wait him out,” Rowney said. “I saw he went down early. I just tried to wait him out. I was lucky enough to finish.”
And Rowney's wife, Danielle, was lucky enough to witness it firsthand.
The wider-lease view of this one comes into play when you consider Nick Bonino’s goal at 15:47 of the second period.
Kuhnhackl passed right to left to Rowney, who zipped a bullet ahead to Bonino for his fifth in six games after scoring nine times in his first 63 this season.
“I thought initially that Kuhnhackl’s pass was to me,” Bonino explained. “I didn’t know ‘Rowns’ was back there. I missed it. I was angry. ‘Rowns’ got it and gave me a bullet. It’s one of those where I caught it and I thought maybe I’d have to make another move. Pass was hard enough that Kinkaid bit the wrong way, and I had a pretty easy goal there.”
And the Penguins had, again, what made them so dominant last spring: scoring up and down the lineup. Each of their four lines got a goal. How long since that’s happened?
“If there’s a time for all four lines to start scoring, it’s March and April and into the playoffs,” Bonino said. “We’re obviously happy with that.”
Rowney played just 5:10 on Friday, the least among anyone other than Sestito. But as Sullivan said — when also describing Kuhnhackl — they turned out to be important minutes.
“Obviously when you chip in offensively like that, it’s a big bonus for our team,” Sullivan said. “When you get production out of your bottom six, it certainly increases our chances of winning games. It’s hard to rely on the same guys every night.”
Jason Mackey: email@example.com and Twitter @JMackeyPG.
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