Evgeni Malkin's return gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a much-needed spark. Bill Guerin and Pascal Dupuis combined to provide them with a critical victory.
Guerin forced overtime by scoring with :00.4 left in regulation, and Dupuis took advantage of a misplay by goalie Tim Thomas behind his net to score his second goal of the game 1:24 into overtime, sending the Penguins to a wild 6-5 win over the Boston Bruins at Mellon Arena on Saturday night that snapped a four-game losing streak.
Thomas went behind his net to play a dump-in, but Jordan Staal came up from behind him, took the puck away from him and sent it out in front, where Dupuis tapped it into an empty net to send the Penguins streaming off their bench in jubilation. It was the 100th goal of the veteran forward's career.
''I don't know what happened behind the net, but I ended up with the puck in the slot and basically just tapped it in,'' Dupuis said. ''One-hundredth goal of my career, game-winner, overtime, I'll take it.''
Sidney Crosby broke a seven-game goal-scoring drought for Pittsburgh, which also got goals from defenseman Jay McKee and Mark Eaton. Malkin had three assists after missing seven games due to a shoulder injury. The Penguins won two of their first three without him before hitting the skids.
''We were missing Geno,'' Dupuis said. ''He played great for us. Obviously, it was a big boost for us for him to come back. He played well. It looked like he didn't miss a shift.''
Blake Wheeler, Michael Ryder, Derek Morris, David Krejci and Marco Sturm all scored for Boston, which finally saw its offense break out but still couldn't secure two points for Thomas, who is 1-3-3 in his last seven starts.
''We scored goals, yeah,'' Morris said, ''and we got a point, which was nice, but that's not our system we're going to play. We did things we don't normally do and we did them all in one game. We're lucky to get a point.''
Things looked good for the Bruins after Krejci scored a game-tying power-play goal with 5:47 left in the third and Sturm followed by deflecting Zdeno Chara's shot past Penguins goalie Brent Johnson with 2:29 remaining for a 5-4 lead.
But with Johnson on the bench for a sixth attacker, the Penguins beat the clock as Guerin beat Thomas from the top of the right circle off a feed from Malkin with :00.4 showing on the clock.
''I think after the last four games, this was a big moment for me and the team,'' Malkin said.
The Bruins rallied from four separate one-goal deficits. McKee's first goal of the season got the Penguins on the board 1:42 into the first period, but Wheeler answered at 8:29. Dupuis scored with 3:36 left to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead after 20 minutes.
Ryder evened things again 3:33 into the second, but Crosby deflected an Alex Goligoski shot at 9:19 for his 10th of the season and first since he recorded a hat trick against Montreal on Oct. 28. Morris made it 3-3 after two when his drive from the point deflected into the net off Penguins defenseman Deryk Engelland's stick with 4:58 left in the second.
''I think we played a pretty good game and a couple of mistakes just cost us the extra point,'' Ryder said. ''We kept coming from behind all night and managed to get the lead there at the end. It was there for us, and when you're that close and lose one like that it's real frustrating.''
Eaton temporarily put the Penguins ahead again when he scored nine minutes into the third, setting up Boston's two-goal rally followed by Pittsburgh's frantic finish. Crosby, who played on a line with Malkin -- a rare occurrence -- assisted on Eaton and Guerin's goals for a three-point night.
''I know we get the message when we're together,'' Crosby said. ''We know we have to create things. It's hard for them to key on one of us when we're together. Geno did a great job.''
Material from wire services was used in this report