The Pens were on the precipice of losing back-to-back home games for the first time in the last 35 contests.
That was until they got a little help from their captain.
The Pens were trailing, 3-2, to the New Jersey Devils with less than 15 seconds to play in regulation when Sidney Crosby turned what appeared to be a loss into a dramatic comeback victory.
With their goaltender pulled, Evgeni Malkin put a puck on net that was lost in a sea of bodies crashing around the slot. That's when Crosby surgically removed the puck from the scrum and placed a perfect shot into the top corner to even the score, en route to a 4-3 shootout victory Saturday night at PPG Paints Arena.
"I was just trying to stay patient. The puck's in a bunch of feet and you hope you can eventually get a stick on it or it jumps loose," Crosby said. "There are so many bodies and guys fighting for it. I just tried to wait it out."
Waiting it out was probably the most challenging aspect of the play. It took a lot of patience on Crosby's part to not hurry a shot or try to quickly make a play at the net.
"You have to be patient and wait for it to come to you or find a better time to go and make a stab at it," Crosby said. "There were a bunch of skates there and when I finally went in it seemed like there was an opening to get it out of there."
While Crosby will get all the glory for finishing the play, and much deserved, it was the work of Bryan Rust that led to the goal. His guts in puck retrieval created the chance. Without Rust, Crosby never gets the chance to be the hero.
"It started with Rust chasing down the loose puck. That's why he was on the ice, he was on the puck all night," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "One of the things 6-on-5 we felt we needed was someone willing to retrieve and go hunt pucks for us. That's where it started."
Thanks to the comeback, the Pens haven't lost back-to-back games at home in their last 35 contests. And won their first contest against New Jersey when trailing after two periods since Dec. 12, 1992 (courtesy Bob Grove).
And it wouldn't have been possible with the captain's late magic.
"I think 'Sid' is the best in the league in front of the net because he has such a great stick," Sullivan said. "He can pull the puck through traffic, out of people's feet and through sticks and still has the poise and presence of mind to make the right play to score."
Video: NJD@PIT: Crosby ties the game with 14 seconds left