|When the Penguins and Panthers meet, 60 minutes of hockey is never enough. For the third time in three meetings between the two clubs, the victor wasn’t crowned until the extra session. In the latest edition, the hero was Evgeni Malkin, who nailed the game-winning power-play goal and added an assist for a two-point game. |
The third meeting between Pittsburgh and Florida looked similar to the first two games: low scoring; lots of scoring chances; great goaltending; a third-period rally; and a decisive finish in extra time.
|WHAT HAPPENED |
|PITTSBURGH (AP) -Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play goal 37 seconds into overtime to give the Pittsburgh Penguins a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. |
Seven seconds after Florida's Jordan Leopold was whistled for holding, Sergei Gonchar set up Malkin for a one-timer from the high slot. It was the first goal in six games for Malkin, the reigning NHL scoring champion who also had an assist.
|SHOT OF THE NIGHT |
The Penguins celebrate after Evgeni Malkin's game-winning overtime goal
(photo by Getty)
|What Worked Well: Puck Possession |
The Penguins applied a ton of pressure in the Panthers zone due their excellent work with the puck. Pittsburgh was strong while holding onto the puck and made great passes to keep the Panthers a step behind and constantly on the chase. The result was a tired Florida squad and fierce Penguins attack.
What Could Have Gone Better: Holding the Lead
After falling behind 2-0 to the Panthers in the previous two meetings, Pittsburgh found itself holding a 2-1 lead heading into the third period. But the Penguins, who are 23-2-1 under head coach Dan Bylsma when leading after two periods, weren’t able to pull away and the Panthers managed to tie the game at 2-2.
|Evgeni Malkin went five games without a goal. He promised to end that drought and he delivered on that promise, and in dramatic fashion. Malkin’s first goal in six contests occurred 37 seconds into overtime on a wicked slap shot that lifted the Penguins to victory and sent Florida home with a defeat. |
Malkin added an assist with a beautiful setup on Ruslan Fedotenko’s second-period goal, for a two-point night. He also recorded six shots and 22:09 minutes of ice time.
|SCORING SYNOPSIS |
|The Panthers netted the game’s opening goal with a power-play tally 10:25 into the first period. Steve Reinprecht had the puck behind the Penguins goal and made a centering pass to Rostislav Olesz above the crease. Olesz sent a backhand shot on net, took a second shot on the rebound, which popped into the air after hitting goaltender Brent Johnson in the mask. Reinprecht, who was standing at the side of the cage, batted the airborne puck into the goal. Florida 1, Pittsburgh 0. |
The Penguins tied the game 13 minutes into the opening frame. Craig Adams passed the puck to Pascal Dupuis streaking down the far side. Florida defender Dmitry Kulikov fell down while skating backwards. Dupuis skated around the fallen Panther and ripped a shot into the top corner of the net. Pittsburgh 1, Florida 1.
Pittsburgh took the lead halfway through the second period as Ruslan Fedotenko broke a 13-game scoring drought. Mike Rupp initiated the play hitting two Panthers in the far corner of the Florida zone. The hit freed up the puck for Evgeni Malkin, who threw a centering pass to Fedotenko on the doorstep. Fedotenko re-directed the puck into the netting for the goal. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 1.
The Panthers tied the game at 2-2 early in the third period following a penalty kill. Bryan McCabe stepped out of the box and had a breakaway on goal. Johnson stopped his shot but the rebound kicked out to Stephen Weiss, who was all alone. Johnson reached out for a desperation poke check but Weiss corralled the puck and deposited it behind the sprawled out Johnson. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 2.
The Penguins prevailed in the contest with an overtime goal courtesy of Malkin. The Penguins were working on a four-on-three with Malkin and Sergei Gonchar manning the points. Gonchar, on the far point, set up Malkin’s slap shot that sailed past netminder Tomas Vokoun. Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2.
|INTRIGUING NOTABLES |
|Penguins forward Chris Kunitz returned to the lineup after missing the previous 13 games with a lower body injury. Kunitz skated with his old linemates Sidney Crosby and Bill Guerin. He finished the game with two shots, two hits and 14:14 minutes of ice time. |
Penguins goalkeeper Brent Johnson had a scare in the first period after hitting his head during a collision. Florida’s Mike Duco and Jay McKee each ran into Johnson, who fell backwards and hit his head off the post. Head athletic trainer Chris Stewart checked on Johnson, who was luckily OK to continue playing.
Johnson then helped the Penguins win the contest with a game-saving stop in the final minutes on former Penguin Jeff Taffe. Taffe had a breakaway on goal and tried to slip the puck through Johnson’s five-hole but the Penguins goaltender stopped the puck.
Brooks Orpik dished out a piece of candy to Florida’s Michael Frolik. Frolik skated with his head down into the neutral zone and Orpik leveled the forward, launching him hard to the ice.
|GAME NOTES |
|> Pittsburgh improved to 22-10-1 on the season with an 11-5-1 mark at Mellon Arena. The Penguins lost only twice in regulation in their last 11 games (8-2-1). |
> Scoring Summary:
FLA, S.Reinprecht PP (11), 10:25 1st period: Panthers 1, Penguins 0
PIT, P.Dupuis (9), 13:03 1st period: Penguins 1, Panthers 1
PIT, R.Fedotenko (5), 9:41 2nd period: Penguins 2, Panthers 1
FLA, S.Weiss (14), 4:39 3rd period: Penguins 2, Panthers 2
PIT, E.Malkin (9), 0:37 OT: Penguins 3, Panthers 2
> The Penguins are now 40-13-5 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 21-6-2 at Mellon Arena.
> The Penguins are 24-2-1 when leading after two periods under Bylsma.
> The Penguins are 18-3-1 when registering 30 or more shots in a game this season.
> Evgeni Malkin posted his fifth assist in the past five games and scored the game-winning goal in overtime on a power play for a two-point night.
> Sidney Crosby notched an assist and has 13 points (8G-5A) in his last six games.
> Brent Johnson made 29 saves for his fourth win of the season and second over Florida.
> Pascal Dupuis scored his second goal in as many games. In his past three contests Dupuis has recorded four points (2G-2A).
> Ruslan Fedotenko broke a 13-game goal-less streak with a tally.
> Mike Rupp added his sixth point (4G-2A) in the last six games with an assist.
|THREE STARS ||QUOTE OF THE NIGHT |
| || |
|1. R.Fedotenko |
|“We were pretty happy to see that slap shot go in.” |
Dan Bylsma on Evgeni Malkin’s
game-winning overtime goal