It wasn't pretty, but it counts for two points just the same.
The Penguins overcame a 2-0 deficit and a sloppy start in a come-from-behind 3-2 overtime victory against the New York Islanders Tuesday night at Nassau Coliseum.
Captain Sidney Crosby, who scored two goals in the game, capped the win with a ferocious backcheck, stealing the puck in the neutral zone, and barreled his way toward the goal against three Islanders. Somehow he willed the puck into the goal.
"I got the puck around their blue line and was able to get some speed," Crosby said. "I had a lot of time to wind it up. Their D were pretty flat footed because they had to gap-up. I had to get through there and get a shot off."
"It was a highlight reel goal and we¹ll see it again I'm sure," head coach Dan Bylsma said. "The work ethic, backcheck battle, wins the puck, it didn't look like good odds at that point in time. He cut through the defense and that puck found a way."
The Penguins fell behind 2-0 on two scores from Kyle Okposo in the first period after some ugly play by Pittsburgh.
"We gave up five three-on-twos in the first period to (John) Tavares, Okposo and (Thomas) Vanek. You're giving up good opportunities to skill players. They made us pay," Bylsma said. "They got ahead in this game and it took us 40 minutes to battle back and stay in the game."
The Penguins rebounded with three unanswered goals, including two on the power play. James Neal also scored for the Penguins.
The turning point of the game occurred just one minute before the Penguins tied the game at 2-2 in the third period. Pittsburgh was on a power play and trailing, 2-1, when Frans Nielsen stole the puck and skated in for a breakaway. Marc-Andre Fleury stretched out his left pad to make the save, but Nielsen was awarded a penalty shot.
Nielsen deked Fleury to the ice on his penalty shot and tried to shoot blocker side, but Fleury, once again, pushed his pad against the post and made a game-saving stop.
"I knew he was going to deke, but he's got really good hands and is shifty," Fleury said of the penalty shot. "I just tried to stay patient."
Patience paid off for Fleury and the Penguins. And one minute later the game was tied at 2-2.
"That was a huge point in the game, 3-1 vs. 2-1," Bylsma said. "'Flower' came up with a huge save. Our team wanted to answer that save. That was the sentiment going over and we did with the power-play goal to tie it."
Neal and Crosby both came up with the tallies for Pittsburgh's man-advantage, which ranked No. 1 in the NHL entering the game with a 25.3 percent conversion rate.
The Penguins have scored 11 power-play goals in the past eight games (11-for-25 for a 44-percent rate).
NEALER OF THE LIGHT
It's no surprise that the Penguins power play has been much improved with the healthy return of Neal. He scored a man-advantage tally late in the second period off of a beautiful feed from Evgeni Malkin.
Neal's goal was his ninth of the season in just his 14th game of the year. He has eight goals and 14 points in his past eight games.
The Penguins had the No. 1 and 2 ranked scoring leaders in the NHL at the start of the day. Both men added to their lead with two points apiece.
Malkin finished the game with two points to give him 37 (7G-30A) on the season. The duo were tied until Crosby scored the game-winner to give him 38 points (15G-23A), reclaiming the scoring lead.
Author: Sam Kasan