Langkow tallied a pair of goals 1:57 apart to give the Flames (15-9-3) a 3-1 edge. Ryan VandenBussche scored his first goal as Penguin with 7:41 remaining, but Calgary withstood a furious Pittsburgh charge to take the win.
“I think it’s a great win,” Calgary coach Darryl Sutter said. “It was a long trip.”
The Penguins (7-14-6), who played without John LeClair and Ziggy Palffy, got another solid effort from goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. He stopped 23 of 26 shots.
“Even with those two guys out of the lineup; the kid stands on his head and nearly steals it,” Sutter said. “It’s a great win for the team.”
The loss was the fifth-straight for the Penguins.
“I think the positive is that we’re doing a pretty good job playing five-on-five and limiting shots. We’re getting great goaltending and it’s giving us an opportunity,” Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. “We had some great chances and got some bad bounces. If we continue to have the effort in the way that we’re playing, we’re going to win games, but it’s getting a little late for waiting. We certainly try to look at all the positives, but unfortunately the thing that outweighs everything is the outcome of the game.”
Calgary took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a controversial goal. Marcus Nilson ripped a rebound over Fleury that deflected off the crossbar and the near post 9:44 into the game. Referee Eric Furlatt ruled the puck crossed the goal line. He consulted video goal judge Dale Ruth, who confirmed Furlatt’s call even though play was not stopped to put the goal under video review.
“That’s what they have the replays for. It’s a terrible thing – take your time and get it right. They didn’t take any time. It was a joke. It was blatant,” Penguins forward Mark Recchi said. “I looked at it one time and saw it wasn’t in the net. I don’t know what they were looking at up there. It is pretty disappointing when you get something like that. That’s what [video replay is] for – take your time and get it right. That’s the way it seems to be going for us right now, but it was pretty disappointing, though.
“It’s pretty obvious. I don’t know how he didn’t see it. I don’t know what replay he saw. I saw it once and it was pretty obvious.”
Olczyk was disappointed the goal was not put under video review.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” he said. “From my understanding, it’s that they always look at all the goals and if there is any question, then they get some help [from the NHL’s Toronto headquarters].
“I thought we responded against a very good hockey team. There are things that you can control and you can’t. I am thoroughly disappointed because that [controversial goal] ended up being the difference, really,” he continued. “When you’re a team that’s struggling and when you’re a team that’s not scoring many goals and when you come from behind, it makes it that much more difficult and makes it that much more magnified, but when things are going well, you overcome the adversity and sometimes you don’t get the call or the break…but it’s really unacceptable, to be honest with you. Especially with how quick and how definite Eric was on pointing that the puck was in.”
Mike Murphy, Vice President, Hockey Operations (Toronto), said his office did not have a chance to offer advice on the goal call before the puck was dropped and play resumed.
“Every goal is reviewed at the arena. When goals are of a questionable nature, we want the video goal judges to call us here in Toronto and get our opinions on it,” he said. “That’s what happens on most questionable goals where goals are kicked or high-sticked or questions like [Saturday] night – did it go in the net? Did it cross the line? Did it hit the crossbar and come out? Those type of plays we want called into Toronto so we can have our people here look at it and help advise the video goal judges.
Murphy said no immediate call was made to his office in regards to the play.
“It was unfortunate. This play happened very quickly and the video goal judge did not call us,” he said. “What ends up happening is we did call them, but by that time the puck had been dropped so we weren’t able to have a discussion on it. That’s unfortunate because there was a need for a review of this play for sure.
“Well, the ultimate responsibility is all of ours,” he continued. “We’ve asked the video goal judges to call on questionable plays so we can lend our assistance to them. In this particular case [Saturday] night, it was a very difficult play. A very important part of the process is the referee’s signal. In this case, the referee [Eric] Furlatt was behind the net and clearly signaled that the puck was in. He points to the net clearly. Now we have to, in video review, prove that this puck was not in the net. That’s what our goal is.
“In other words, if we say, ‘Gee, we’re not sure – it could have hit the white bar; it could have hit underneath the water bottle on the white bar and bounced out; we’re not sure,’ we call that play inconclusive. Then, it would go back to the ruling on the ice. Even to this moment, we’d probably have to term the play inconclusive because we haven’t seen the puck conclusively in the net or not in the net. By saying that, this is of course after the fact, we didn’t get the opportunity to have this discussion with the video goal judge. The puck was dropped and it was game on. Which is unfortunate, but this play could have easily been termed inconclusive and if it was, then the goal would have stood because the referee signaled the goal and there was nobody on the ice in better position than him.
“The video we got is still unclear. We realize it looks like it hit the crossbar. The unfortunate thing is the angle at which the puck goes into the net. There’s lots of questions that are still uncertain in our mind and that we don’t have answers for.”Nevertheless, Recchi remained frustrated.
“If that is not counted, it’s 0-0 and it’s definitely a different ballgame,” he said. “That changes the game. That shouldn’t happen. That shouldn’t happen all. I understand if the ref doesn’t have a replay and he makes that decision, but when you have something to look at, I don’t know.
“Even the sound – we know the difference in sounds of the back post and the crossbar. The sound was obvious that it was the crossbar.”
Mario Lemieux, who had an assist, noted that the Penguins had chances to overcome the goal, but didn’t fully convert.
“We had time to come back. We had chances in the third. We’re not going to blame it on that goal, but it certainly would have helped [if it was ruled differently],” he said. “I thought we played pretty solid. That was a pretty good team we played with a solid defense and a solid goaltender. It was a good effort from everybody. I thought if the special teams were a little better, it’d be a different outcome.”
Sidney Crosby’s goal gave the Pittsburgh Penguins a 1-1 tie at the second intermission.
He notched his 13th goal of the season 8:12 into the second period. He took Dick Tarnstrom’s pass in front of the net and backhanded a shot over Miikka Kiprusoff for a power-play goal. Lemieux earned the other assist.
Fleury stopped two Calgary breakaway less than a minute into the third with a sprawling leg pad save.
Langkow put the Flames up, 2-1, 1:51 into the third period. He cut in front of the net and one-timed a shot past Fleury for a power-play goal.
Langkow scored again 1:57 later when he converted on a two-on-one in front of Fleury.
VandenBussche scored at 12:19 to cut the deficit to 3-2. He took Matt Hussey’s drop pass and rifled it into the net. Ryan Whitney had the other assist.
“We have to keep looking at the positives, but we also have to realize it’s still not good enough to win games,” Recchi said. “We have to get to that next level. We should take a lot of good things from this, but also understand that we have to do a little more to get there. If we do that, we’ll get over the hump if we continue to take strides and understand we have to go another level.”
ICE CHIPS: Lyle Odelein, John LeClair and Ziggy Palffy were the Penguins’ scratches…Bryan Marchment, Jason Wiemer and Craig MacDonald were the Flames’ scratches…Sergei Gonchar joined Mark Recchi as the other Penguins alternate captain in LeClair’s absence…The announced attendance was 16,626…Wilkes-Barre/Scranton pushed its AHL record for consecutive road wins to 15 with a 3-2 triumph at Norfolk…Tomas Surovy, Kenny Corupe and Ryan Stone all scored goals for the Baby Penguins…Wheeling dropped a 3-1 decision to Charlotte…Jordan Cameron scored for the Nailers.