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game recap

Sidney Crosby scores in Penguins win

Forward makes season debut, helps rally Pittsburgh past Florida

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

Crosby's first goal of the season

FLA@PIT: Crosby blisters a wrist shot into the twine

Sidney Crosby gets open in front, stretches out to receive a pass and rips the puck top shelf on a power play for his first of the season

  • 00:54 •

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby didn't take long to make his presence felt.

Crosby scored a goal in his season debut and the Penguins rallied from a two-goal deficit for a 3-2 victory against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena on Tuesday.

After Panthers forward Greg McKegg was called for high sticking, Crosby scored a power-play goal with 6:19 remaining in the second period to cut the Penguins deficit to 2-1. He returned from a concussion sustained in practice Oct. 7 that caused him to miss the first six games.

"I think timing and just as far as execution, I think I need to work on that a little bit," Crosby said. "But it's been tough to get in any practices or any real game situations. I've pretty much just been skating on my own, so I kind of expect that. But I felt like things kind of slowed down as the game went along."

Penguins forward Carl Hagelin helped carry the momentum of Crosby's goal into the third period when he tied the game 2-2 by shooting off goalie James Reimer's blocker and into the net for his first goal of the season at 5:36.

Video: FLA@PIT: Hagelin sneaks wrist shot inside far post

Forward Eric Fehr gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead with his first goal of the season at 9:42.

After failing to convert on their first two power plays, the Panthers took advantage of their third opportunity in the first period to take a 1-0 lead.

Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin was called for high sticking McKegg with 2:18 remaining and forward Reilly Smith scored his first goal of the season 20 seconds later.

Michael Matheson deflected defenseman Colton Sceviour's shot on Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury from in front of the crease, creating a rebound that bounced to Smith to Fleury's right. Smith sent a backhand shot into an open net for his first regular-season goal since April 9 against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Mark Pysyk extended Florida's lead to 2-0 6:08 into the second period. Shane Harper gathered the puck and carried it to the left circle, where he abruptly stopped to earn enough space for a pass past Penguins defensemen Trevor Daley and Ian Cole.

The pass found Pysyk, who tipped a shot past Fleury's outstretched glove.

Despite the loss, Panthers coach Gerard Gallant was pleased with the effort.

"For the most part, it was a good game, especially for the first two periods," Gallant said. "I thought we played hard and we were really quick, and then in the third period we let it get away from us a little bit."

Video: FLA@PIT: Pysyk deflects in great feed from Harper

 

Goal of the game

Nine seconds after McKegg was called for high sticking Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley, Penguins forward Evgeni Malkin fought off Pysyk and passed to Crosby between the faceoff circles. Crosby sent a wrist shot into the upper-left corner of the net for his first goal on his third shot of the season.

Video: FLA@PIT: Crosby blisters a wrist shot into the twine

 

Save of the game

Crosby nearly scored midway through the second period. Forward Patric Hornqvist passed through defenseman Keith Yandle to Crosby charging toward the crease. Crosby redirected the puck on goal, but Reimer made the save at 9:15.

 

Highlight of the game

Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl carried the puck along the wall in the third period before passing through two Panthers to Fehr at the right of the net. Fehr deflected the pass behind Reimer for the winning goal.

Video: FLA@PIT: Fehr finishes nice pass from Kuhnhackl

 

Unsung moment of the game

Momentum began to swing in Pittsburgh's favor midway through the second period. After controlling the first period, the Panthers struggled offensively in the second. Florida didn't record a shot in the final 8:25, which allowed the Penguins to find their bearings and eventually recover from trailing 2-0.

 

They said it

"I just know when we get it going, keep the score close, we always have a chance to come back and win games." -- Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury

 

"For me, he didn't miss a beat out there. … We're grateful we got him back in the lineup and we're a better team when he's in there." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, on Crosby

 

"It's important for us to realize that when we have a lead like that, we need to play strong defensively, play tight defensively and not give away any chances." -- Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad

 

Video: FLA@PIT: Smith backhands a rebound into the twine

 

Need to know

Penguins goalie Matt Murray served as Fleury's backup. Murray has not played this season after breaking his right hand while competing for Team North America Sept. 19 in the World Cup of Hockey 2016. … Gallant said forward Jussi Jokinen, out with a lower-body injury, did not travel with the Panthers.

 

What's next

Panthers: At the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET; TSN4, FS-F, NHL.TV)

Penguins: Host the New York Islanders on Thursday (7 p.m. ET; ROOT, MSG+, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Penguins rally out of two-goal hole to top Panthers

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