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game recap

Penguins push past Panthers in overtime

Crosby starts third-period comeback with 900th NHL point

by Alain Poupart / Correspondent

Letang's overtime game-winner

PIT@FLA: Letang lights the lamp with the game-winner

2/6/16: With the Penguins on the power play in overtime, Kris Letang receives a pass from Sidney Crosby and scores on a one-timer

  • 01:31 •

SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Pittsburgh Penguins were staring at a second loss in two nights before Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang took over. 

Crosby and Letang teamed on three goals, including Letang's game-winner at 1:27 of overtime, to help the Penguins rally for a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers.

"Those two guys put the team on their backs tonight," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They raised their level at a critical time in the game. I thought those two guys were terrific tonight." 

Letang had two goals and an assist, and Crosby had a goal and two assists to reach 902 points in his NHL career. 

Letang scored on a power play when he one-timed a saucer pass from Crosby. Letang drew the hooking penalty on Jussi Jokinen eight seconds into overtime when he came in alone on Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo.  

"I know he's got great vision," Letang said of Crosby. "I saw them kind of pushing with two guys, so it opened the back door. He made a great play." 

The Penguins trailed 2-0 with 5:04 left in the third period before Crosby tied it with 1:15 left. The assist on Letang's first goal was the 900th point of Crosby's NHL career; he became the 10th-fastest player to reach the milestone (677 games). 

Video: PIT@FLA: Crosby reaches 900 points on Letang's goal

Crosby extended his point streak to 10 games, the longest active streak in the League (10 goals, eight assists).

It was the first time the Penguins won a game they trailed 2-0 in the final six minutes of the third period.  

Pittsburgh goalie Jeff Zatkoff, in his second start since Dec. 31, made 42 saves, including 20 in the first period when Florida set a season high for shots in a period. 

Jokinen had a goal and an assist, and Luongo made 32 saves for the Panthers, who had their five-game winning streak end and lost for the fourth time in 22 games. Florida (31-15-6) increased its lead in the Atlantic Division to six points over the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

Pittsburgh (26-18-7) rebounded from a 6-3 loss at Tampa Bay on Friday that ended a four-game winning streak. 

Letang began the comeback when he scored at 14:56 of the third period from the slot with a one-timer off a feed from Crosby. Letang has eight goals and 14 assists in his past 14 games. 

"He's been all over the ice, every situation," Crosby said. "He's been involved, a big part of every game. His impact on the game is huge. Again tonight he gets us started and gets that one and gets some momentum, and then to finish it off with the winner is huge. He's been a big part of it." 

Crosby's goal came when Letang took a slap shot from the point and the puck went in off his leg standing to the left of Luongo. 

Video: PIT@FLA: Crosby scores on a deflection, ties the game

"He's unbelievable," Zatkoff said of Crosby. "The pass he makes to [Letang], finding him from the wall there to the play he makes to just open his leg to put that in on the (game-tying goal). I knew when he got it down low on the 4-on-3 (in overtime) it was going to get to [Letang] and [Letang] hits the spot and scores. Those two were kind of feeding off each other there at the end." 

The Penguins played without center Evgeni Malkin, who missed a second game with a lower-body injury. Sullivan said before the game he didn't know whether Malkin would be ready to play Monday when the Penguins face the Anaheim Ducks. 

Jokinen made it 1-0 at 6:03 of the second period with a power-play goal. He had the puck on the left wing, and before reaching the goal line shot along the ice. The puck deflected in off Zatkoff's stick. 

It extended Jokinen's point streak to six games. Vincent Trocheck had an assist on the goal, extending his point streak to five games. 

Barkov made it 2-0 at 9:15 of the third period on a breakaway. After Jokinen stole the puck near the blue line, Barkov took off down the middle of the ice and received a soft backhand pass before beating Zatkoff with a deke to his backhand for his fourth consecutive game with a goal. 

Video: PIT@FLA: Barkov scores off of a pass from Jokinen

"We played pretty well," Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. "We were in command and didn't give them a lot. They found a way to get that first goal and they get a lucky break; a great player deflects the puck. We say lucky, but he's a pretty good player. They found a way to come back and get two points against us." 

Panthers defenseman Brent Regner made his NHL debut. A fifth-round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2008 NHL Draft, Regner was recalled from the Portland Pirates on Friday after playing 431 AHL games. 

"It was awesome, very special,'' said Regner, who played 12:22. "It's been a long road to make an appearance in the NHL. It was a fun day, a couple of flights canceled. I wasn't going to let that ruin my day.'' 

The announced crowd of 20,295 was the third-largest in Panthers history. 

The Penguins and Panthers play for the third and final time this season Feb. 15 at BB&T Center. The Penguins won 3-2 in overtime at Consol Energy Center on Oct. 20. 

The Panthers are heading on the road for games against the Detroit Red Wings and Buffalo Sabres on Monday and Tuesday. 

"There was a lull in our step but we got the one point," Florida defenseman Alex Petrovic said. "And [we] get ready for the next game."

Video: Penguins rally late to down Panthers

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