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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Panthers 2 OT

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins
Photo Gallery: Pens 3, Cats 2 (OT)

Video: Game Highlights
Audio: Crash The Net
Audio: Pre-Game Show
Blog: Pens vs. Panthers Game Blog
The Penguins did what great teams do in their 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Monday night. They never panicked, even when the Panthers held a 2-0 lead through the first 40 minutes for the second consecutive game against the Penguins. Pittsburgh was not as sharp as they would have liked in the opening 20 minutes, taking three penalties and spotting the Panthers the only goal of the period. Marc-Andre Fleury made two or three quality saves to keep the Penguins in the game.

As the game progressed the Penguins began to display the type of hockey head coach Dan Bylsma likes to see – domination of offensive zone time, shots on goal and a physical brand of hockey. Crashing the net allowed Pascal Dupuis to get Pittsburgh on the board 4:49 into the final period, and a crushing hit from Brooks Orpik on Kamil Kreps just seconds later really swung momentum in the Penguins favor.

Once again the Penguins best players came through when the team needed them most. Evgeni Malkin, trapped behind the Florida net late in regulation, somehow managed to sneak the puck onto the stick of Mike Rupp for the tying goal. It was Malkin’s shot from the right point that glanced off Tomas Vokoun right onto the stick of captain Sidney Crosby in overtime for the game-winner. 
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) – Sidney Crosby scored on a power play at 3:07 of overtime and the Pittsburgh Penguins rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 Monday night.

Pascal Dupuis and Michael Rupp also scored for the Penguins, who won consecutive games in regulation for the first time since Oct. 17 and 20. Evgeni Malkin had two assists.

The Penguins celebrate Sidney Crosby's game-winning goal
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Third-Period Tenacity
Outside of two hit posts by the Panthers, it was the Penguins who dominated the third period for the second time this season against Florida. They outshot the Panthers, 16-3, and outscored them, 2-0. In addition to the numbers on the score sheet, the Penguins made the Panthers exert a ton of energy by using all five attackers to constantly apply pressure in the offensive zone.

What Could Have Gone Better: Picking up Trailers on the Rush
Pittsburgh played an almost flawless last half of the hockey game, but a couple of breakdowns early in the contest during odd-man rushes by the Panthers led to both Florida goals. Three Penguins went to Stephen Weiss on the opening goal of the game, leaving Nathan Horton wide-open in front. On the second goal nobody came back to pick up defenseman Keith Ballard, who joined the attack late.
Mike Rupp is on his way to a career year and a big reason why he continues to get points early in the season is because he can often be found where he was on both Penguin goals Monday night – in front of the net. Rupp did not factor into Pascal Dupuis’ goal but his net-front presence kept Tomas Vokoun from handling Brooks Orpik’s point shot. Later in the period Rupp planted himself right on top of the crease and slammed home a pass from Evgeni Malkin to tie the game at 17:28 of the third period.

He had two hits and two shots on goal in 7:51 of ice time. Rupp also dropped the gloves with Bryan Allen following a first-period faceoff just one second after Allen took a run at Malkin.
Florida capitalized first off the rush. Michael Frolik found Stephen Weiss cruising through the neutral zone. Weiss skated into the Penguins zone and fed Nathan Horton alone to the left of Marc-Andre Fleury. Horton’s shot beat Fleury over top of his right pad. Florida 1, Pittsburgh 0.

The Panthers increased their lead midway through the middle period. Michael Frolik entered the zone two-on-one with Horton, but Mark Eaton took that option away. Frolik instead hit a trailing Keith Ballard, and he beat Fleury with a wrist shot from the top of the far circle. Florida 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Pascal Dupuis got Pittsburgh on the board with a fluky goal 4:29 into the final period. Brooks Orpik shot the puck from the left point and Dupuis was the final Penguin to touch the puck before it bounced off the shoulder of Tomas Vokoun and landed over the goal line before Florida defender Bryan Allen could dislodge the net. Florida 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Pure determination allowed the Penguins to tie the score late in regulation. Evgeni Malkin, Craig Adams and Mike Rupp dominated the Panthers for well over a minute. It led to Malkin centering a pass from behind the net to Rupp, who jammed the puck past Vokoun for his fifth goal of the season. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 2.

Sidney Crosby came through for the Penguins against Florida for the second time this season. Standing to the left of Vokoun he tapped the rebound of Malkin’s shot from the right point into the net for the game-winning power-play goal 3:07 into overtime. Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2.
Brooks Orpik was sensational for the Penguins and might have been their most indispensible performer against the Panthers making huge contributions at both ends of the rink. Twice Orpik made great pokechecks to prevent Radek Dvorak and Nathan Horton breakaway attempts in the second and third period, respectively. It was Orpik’s shot from the left point which eventually ended up in the net on the Penguins’ first goal. He led the Penguins with five hits.

Sometimes you need a little bit of luck to win a hockey game, and the Penguins took advantage of such good fortune in the third period to come back to tie the game. After the Penguins got on the board courtesy of Pascal Dupuis’ goal, Horton and former Penguin Dominic Moore each struck the iron behind Marc-Andre Fleury. Good teams capitalize on such advantageous bounces and the Penguins did that on Monday night.

Another reason the Penguins were able to mount another dramatic third-period comeback – the way they turned around their performance on faceoffs. Florida dominated Pittsburgh on draws through the first 40 minutes, 23-14. It was Pittsburgh who had the edge in the final frame, winning 15 of the 24 draws.

Maligned throughout the past few weeks, the Penguins’ power play is quietly coming around the last few games. Sidney Crosby’s man-advantage tally in overtime gave the Penguins a power-play marker for the season-high fourth game in a row. Pittsburgh is 4-for-20 (20 percent) in that stretch after going the previous eight games without scoring.
> Scoring Summary:
FLA, N. Horton (7), 17:33 1st period: Panthers 1, Penguins 0
FLA, K. Ballard (1), 10:21 2nd period: Panthers 2, Penguins 0
PIT, P. Dupuis (6), 4:49 3rd period: Panthers 2, Penguins 1
PIT, M. Rupp (5), 17:28 3rd period: Penguins 2, Panthers 2
PIT, S. Crosby PP (11), 3:07 Overtime: Penguins 3, Panthers 2

> The Penguins return home on Wednesday night to take on the Montreal Canadiens at Mellon Arena. Their win over the Panthers gave them a 2-1 record on their three-game road swing. The Penguins have won four of their past five games.

> Pittsburgh has won four of the previous five games against Florida dating back to last season. The Penguins’ shot totals in those five games: 47, 50, 43, 43 and 45 for an average of 45.6.  

> Pittsburgh is now 34-11-4 in the regular season under head coach Dan Bylsma. They have a record of 17-6-3 away from Mellon Arena.

> The Penguins are now 4-7 in 2009-10 when they trail after two periods. Included in that total are two 3-2 victories over the Panthers. Pittsburgh is 6-10-2 all-time under Bylsma when they trail after 40 minutes.

> Pittsburgh’s victory gave them their 16th win, allowing them to become the fourth team in franchise history to record 16 or more wins through their first 25 games (16-6-3 in 1992-93; 17-6-2 in ’94-95; 17-5-3 in ’95-96). A win over Montreal on Wednesday would allow the Penguins to tie the team record for wins through the first 25 games of the season.

> Sidney Crosby’s goal increased his team-leading total to 11 on the season. He has scored three times against the Panthers. Crosby also leads the Penguins in points with 23 (11G-12A).

> Crosby’s goal was the 143rd of his career, tying him with Greg Malone for 13th place on the team’s all-time goal-scoring list. The Penguins are 7-0 in ’09-10 when Crosby scores a goal.

> Evgeni Malkin recorded his sixth multiple-point effort of the season with his two assists. Malkin is second on the team behind Crosby with 21 points (6G-15A). He now has a three-game scoring streak (2G-2A).

> Both Jordan Staal and Matt Cooke saw their season-high four-game scoring streaks come to a close against the Panthers. Each player had two goals and three assists during that stretch.

> Pascal Dupuis continues to contribute offensively, registering points in three of his past five games. Dupuis has four points (3G-1A) in those contests.

> With his assist on Mike Rupp’s goal forward Craig Adams is now four points shy of 100 for his career.

> Mike Rupp now has five goals on the year. He is one goal shy of his career high of six set in ’03-04 and ’06-07.
1. S. Crosby
2. K. Ballard
3. N. Horton
"I saw Vokoun go down, (Malkin) shot
the puck, and I was just hanging
out on the side of the net
there to collect the garbage."
- Sidney Crosby


Author: Jason Seidling

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