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3 Impressions: Pens 1, Avs 0 OT

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

ROOT SPORTS color analyst Bob Errey gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 1-0 overtime win against Colorado.

1. The fourth line for the Penguins. Any time you get them playing in the third period of a game, it’s taxing on players. They were contributing. They were in the offensive zone the whole night.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury, there was a play with a minute left in the game. I thought the shot went wide, it was a game-saver with his glove. He did it all night, just like he did against Tampa. Six shutouts, what more can you say about the ‘Flower’?

3. The whole defensive corps. They were down without (Christian) Ehrhoff after the first period of play. A lot of minutes by (Kris) Letang, who was felled by a couple of shots and hit from behind. (Scott) Harrington in his first game. He got huge minutes. Give it to all five D.

Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the press box.

1. I have no idea how the Penguins didn’t have a goal after regulation. They were creating quality chance after quality chance for the first 60 minutes, especially in the second period. And by that, I mean 2-on-0s, scrambles around the net, wide-open, point-blank one-timers from the slot, even a breakaway… but the Pens just couldn’t convert. It was a combination of rookie goaltender Calvin Pickard standing on his head, the Avs managing to get their sticks on bouncing pucks, the Pens not getting enough screens and not placing their shots on net. But they finally got one past Pickard 2:24 into overtime to cap off an overall excellent performance. The Pens hadn’t been sharp their last couple of games, but tonight they just went out and executed.

"We had a lot of chances right around the net," Sidney Crosby said. "Sometimes he was able to find it somehow in those scrums and make some great saves and other times it found a way to hit him when he maybe didn’t see it so he was in good position and competed hard."

2. It was fantastic to see Sidney Crosby back in the lineup after he missed the last three games with the mumps. Don’t get me wrong, it was truly amazing to see how well the Pens responded without their best player for the three games he missed, but man… he’s obviously not a guy you want to be without. Crosby was at a slight disadvantage in that he had just one individual session yesterday and one morning skate before jumping back into the lineup for the first time since last Monday. His conditioning and timing weren’t the greatest at first, and he didn’t look all that comfortable his first few shifts. But once he started to get into the rhythm of the game, he looked like the Sid we all know – flying up and down the ice, strong on pucks, making incredible passes with his vision and doing work in close. He even had a breakaway early in the third, when Evgeni Malkin flipped a long pass (Larry Murphy-dump style) to Crosby that dropped to the ice right in the area he was skating into. But it was bouncing on him, and he couldn’t settle it down to get a good enough shot off.

“I took probably a period to get used to the speed,” Crosby said. “I think after that, the fact that you miss some time, you feel it early on, but once you get into the game, you feel more comfortable.”

3. What a play by forward Blake Comeau to end the game. He circled around the offensive zone with the puck about eight times (OK, it was actually only about twice) during an extended shift down there. The Avalanche were eventually able to break it out, but the Pens recovered it and Comeau decided to stay on the ice instead of making a line change. The Pens re-entered the zone, he went to the net and buried a rebound in the crease. This was Comeau’s third game-winning goal of this season and his second overtime goal of the year (the other came Nov. 26 vs. Toronto). He now has 11 goals on the season, with ten of them coming in front of the crowd at CONSOL Energy Center.

“We had puck possession, and I was debating (changing) but I saw the puck go up top and I knew that me and Geno were the only two down in front of the net with their defense,” Comeau explained. “So (Rob Scuderi) did a good job of getting the point shot, ‘G’ made a good play by tipping it and it went back door and I was in the right spot at the right time.”

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