The Penguins were finishing a five-game road trip and had to sign their 2008 fifth-round pick to a one-day tryout contract because they essentially ran out of goalies. Starting netminder Marc-Andre Fleury suffered a broken finger during Thursday's win in Edmonton, while backup Brent Johnson has been out of the lineup due to an unspecified injury. That left the Penguins with No. 3 goaltender John Curry as the starter for Saturday's game and almost no other options for a backup.
Rather than calling up another goaltender from the minors and having him travel thousands of miles to Vancouver, the Penguins opted to sign Pechursky, a 19-year-old who can't speak a word of English and recently came to North America from Russia.
They had no intentions of him seeing the ice. Those plans, however, had to be altered when Curry surrendered five goals on the first 14 shots he faced, opening the door for Pechursky to make his unexpected NHL debut.
All things considered -- emergency call up, on the road, against a very good team -- he handled himself extremely well and stopped 12 of the 13 shots he faced. The only goal he surrendered was a power play goal that was deflected by Ryan Kesler in front of the net at the 13:08 mark of the second period.
Incredibly, he was named the third star of the game for his efforts, and even received a standing ovation from the fans in Vancouver, which has to give him an incredible amount of confidence.
Prior to Saturday he had played just six games for Tri-City, posting a 1.84 goals against average and a .936 save percentage to go with two shutouts.
Vancouver's Henrik Sedin added to his league-leading point total with a goal and two assists in the win, while Alexandre Burrows scored a shorthanded goal late in the first period. Burrows now has 11 goals in his last seven games, giving him 21 on the season. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Canucks.