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Aftermath: Penguins 3, Panthers 2 SO

by Jason Seidling / Pittsburgh Penguins

After the Penguins dominated the opening period each of their previous two home games, it was Florida that had the better of the play during the first 20 minutes on this night. They outshot the Penguins 12-8, forced them into numerous turnovers in the neutral zone and parlayed that into a 2-0 lead.

Pittsburgh came out with much better energy in the second period, even if the results of their efforts did not show up on the scoreboard. The trio of Sidney Crosby, Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz nearly got the puck past Tomas Vokoun little more than four minutes into the period, but were unable to score on two wraparound attempts by Crosby, the second of which hit the right goal post, and a rebound try by Guerin. Tyler Kennedy later had two glorious scoring opportunities from the slot but again Vokoun came up big.

Head coach Dan Bylsma speaks often about using the first 40 minutes to wear the opposition down. While the opening 20 minutes were rather forgettable, the Penguins used the momentum built in the second frame to take the game over in the third period. Firing 15 shots at Vokoun in the period, Pittsburgh tied the game on an early power-play goal by Crosby and late-game shorthanded tally by the Penguins captain. Crosby then continued his shootout success in ’09-10, scoring the lone goal in the shootout as he continues to have success when he dekes the netminders out of position.
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Sidney Crosby scored twice in the third period and had the only goal in the shootout, and the Pittsburgh Penguins overcame a two-goal deficit to win their seventh straight game, 3-2, over the Florida Panthers on Friday night.

Crosby had a power-play goal and a shorthanded score in regulation, then beat Tomas Vokoun with a nifty deke in the shootout to help the Penguins improve to an NHL-best 9-1-0.

Brent Johnson made 27 saves through overtime, then stopped all three attempts in the shootout, to win his first game as a Penguin, 3-2.
(photo by Getty)
What Worked Well: Blocking Shots
As they have all season, the Penguins continue to put their bodies in front of shots at every opportunity. They had 13 as a team in the first period and 24 in the game, with Alex Goligoski and Martin Skoula leading the way with four. Goligoski and Jordan Staal each drew applause from the home partisans when they laid flat on their bellies to keep shots from reaching the Penguins’ net. This kind of effort, even when down 2-0, once again set the tone for the Penguins and showed Florida that they were not going to go away until they got the two points.

What Could Have Gone Better: Opening Period
The Penguins have dominated opening periods the first two home games of this homestand, outscoring the Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues by a combined 4-0, while also creating a huge disparity in shots both time. Tonight the roles were reversed as Florida capitalized on two goals by Steven Reinprecht to take a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes. Florida also held a 12-8 advantage in shots, the first time the Penguins were outshot in the opening period since Oct. 8 at Philadelphia.

He had been relatively quiet since the early part of the season, but Sidney Crosby came through when the Penguins needed him the most. He and linemates Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz got the fans back into the game with their early second-period cycle, getting three quality scoring chances. Then, down 2-0 after 40 minutes, Crosby took the game over in the third period.

With the Penguins on a power play early in the period, Crosby hammered home a cross-ice pass from Alex Goligoski to cut the Panthers’ advantage in half. He later fired a pass from Malkin under the glove of Vokoun with the Penguins killing a late penalty. Crosby finished off his impressive showing with the only score of the shootout to lift Pittsburgh to victory.
Florida struck first on their second power-play chance of the night as Alex Goligoski was in the box for cross-checking. Steven Reinprecht came off the far-side boards and lost the puck in the slot, but it went off the stick of Pittsburgh’s Jay McKee and landed right back onto the blade of Reinprecht, whose shot to the net deflected off Mark Eaton’s stick and eluded Brent Johnson. Florida 1, Pittsburgh 0.

Reinprecht struck again less than three minutes later as he followed the original shot from the stick of Nathan Horton and was there to deposit the loose puck that got behind Johnson into the open cage for his second score of the evening. Florida 2, Pittsburgh 0.

Pittsburgh finally got on the board right as the first penalty of a two-man advantage was expiring. Evgeni Malkin made a spectacular play at the blue line to dive back towards the Penguins’ end and keep the puck alive, deflecting it past Gregory Campbell onto the stick of Goligoski. Goligoski walked down the left side and fed a cross-ice pass to Sidney Crosby, who one-timed a shot past Vokoun. Florida 2, Pittsburgh 1.

Killing off a late-game penalty, Makin and Crosby teamed up again to send the game into overtime. Malkin took possession of the puck along the far boards and carried all the way into the Florida end behind the net. He sent a centering pass to a wide-open Crosby, despite three Florida defenders surrounding him, and the Penguins captain beat Vokoun low to the glove side for the Penguins’ first shorthanded goal of the season. Pittsburgh 2, Florida 2.

Sidney Crosby scored the only goal of the shootout for either team as he came in on Vokoun and faked to the netminder’s left, getting Vokoun out of position, giving himself half the net to put the puck into. Johnson stopped Reinprecht, Ville Koistinen and Horton to secure the victory. Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2.

Sidney Crosby had played 299 regular-season games before tonight and had never scored a goal with the Penguins down a man. That changed on this evening when career goal No. 138, his second score of the night, came shorthanded with 3:19 to play in regulation.

With 6:03 left in the third period the Penguins thought they had tied the score, 2-2, when Bill Guerin batted a loose puck out of midair past Tomas Vokoun from right in front of the crease. Referees Rob Martell and Don O’Rourke instead waved the goal of, claiming Crosby had delivered the puck to Guerin via a hand pass.

Chris Bourque was reinserted into the lineup in place of Eric Godard, his third appearance of the season. Most of his playing time came in the first two periods, as he saw plenty of time with both Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and he made the most of it. Bourque created several scoring opportunities with his wheels, fired a season-high three shots on goal, and was credited with two hits, including a hit on Stephen Weiss in the first period along the near boards that won the approval of the crowd.

Dan Bylsma talked about how it was going to take a team effort to replace the 24-plus minutes Sergei Gonchar ate every night, and on this night it was Alex Goligoski and Mark Eaton who were the primary beneficiaries. Goligoski led the team with a season-high 26:22 of ice time, the second-highest total of his career behind the 28:12 he logged in Detroit last Nov. 11. Eaton played a season-high 22:45, leading the team with 29 shifts played.
> Scoring Summary:
FLA, S. Reinprecht PP (3), 12:39 1st period: Panthers 1, Penguins 0
FLA, S. Reinprecht (4), 15:16 1st period: Panthers 2, Penguins 0
PIT, S. Crosby PP (5), 2:14 3rd period: Panthers 2, Penguins 1
PIT, S. Crosby SH (6), 16:41 3rd period: Penguins 2, Panthers 2
SO, (S. Crosby): Penguins 3, Panthers 2

> The 3-2 shootout win over the Panthers is the Penguins seventh consecutive victory, the longest active streak in the NHL and their longest since winning seven in a row from Feb. 25-March 10 last season.

> The Penguins are now 27-4-4 in the regular season since head coach Dan Bylsma took over. They have a record of 14-2-1 at Mellon Arena.

> The Penguins now have nine victories in the month of October, making it the best opening month in franchise history. Twice they had won eight games in October, going 8-1-2 in 1992-93 and 8-3-0 in 1986-87.

> Tonight’s win also allowed the Penguins to tie the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (8-0-2) and the 1992-93 Penguins (9-0-1) for the most points (18) after 10 games for a defending Stanley Cup champion. Their nine wins in 10 games are now most for a defending champion in that time frame.

> Pittsburgh has now killed 28 of the past 34 Florida power plays in the series.

> The Penguins have now won twice in the first 10 games when trailing at the end of two periods. Since Bylsma took over as head coach the Penguins are 4-4-2 when they trail after 40 minutes.

> The Penguins 9-1 start is officially the franchise’s second-best record after 10 games, trailing only the 9-0-1 start by the 1994-95 edition.

> Pittsburgh is now 2-1 in the first game of back-to-back situations. They will look to improve their record in second games to 3-0 when they play host to New Jersey on Saturday night at Mellon Arena.

> Tonight marked the 300th career game played for Sidney Crosby in his career. His numbers to this point: 138 goals, 269 assists and 407 points.

> Crosby is now a perfect 3-for-3 on shootouts in ’09-10, scoring once in each of the Penguins’ three shootout situations.

> Brent Johnson’s victory was the 112th of his NHL career and his first in a Penguin uniform. Tonight also marked his 249th career game played, leaving him one shy of 250 for his career.

> Evgeni Malkin’s two assists against the Panthers gives him 198 for his career, leaving him two short of 200 for his career.

> Evgeni Malkin now has 11 points in his past seven games (3G-8A), giving him a team-leading total of 13 on the season.

> Malkin increased his scoring streak to four games (2G-4A). Alex Goligoski also extended his points streak to four games when he set up Crosby’s power-play goal (1G-4A). Crosby extended his streak to three consecutive games with a point (2G-3A).

> Goligoski’s assist gives him eight points on the season (2G-6A), placing him in a five-way tie for fourth among all defensemen, one point behind the league leaders.

> Defenseman Martin Skoula played 17:02 in his Penguins debut, blocking four shots, taking one shot and finishing a plus-1.
1.S. Crosby
2.E. Malkin
3.T. Vokoun
“I think that the second period was a big part of the
game, Chris Kunitz getting into a fight and the
energy shift from their scrum around the
net, and that drive kept the momentum
going, and then we had a
big third period.”
- Dan Bylsma


Author: Jason Seidling

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