The Penguins put an end to a four-game slide Saturday night with a truly dramatic 6-5 overtime victory against the Boston Bruins.
The game marked the return of Evgeni Malkin
, and he was quick to make an impact on the ice, pulling off some late-game heroics to help his team to a victory.
With the Penguins trailing 5-4 and Brent Johnson
pulled from the goal, head coach Dan Bylsma called the team’s timeout with 44 seconds left in the game.
It was do or die, and once again the Penguins looked to their big guns for the big play.
They came through.
With just 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock, Malkin set up Bill Guerin for the game-tying goal.
“You just try to get ready for it,” Guerin said. “You know you have to get (the shot) off as quick as you can. That’s what I did and it found a way in.”
Malkin, along with Guerin and Sidney Crosby
, broke up the ice on a three-on-two in the final seconds. The bench was urging Malkin to simply shoot the puck, but he had other plans.
“I didn’t shoot because we had a three-on-two and I saw Billy open,” Malkin said. “I passed it to him in just enough time.”
The game headed into the five-minute four-on-four overtime session. But Dupuis and the Penguins only needed 1:24 to win the game.
Martin Skoula wrapped the puck around the boards behind the Bruins net; as Thomas went to play the puck Jordan Staal
charged in and stole the biscuit from him.
Staal found Dupuis streaking toward the open goal and got him the puck. Dupuis shuffled it in for his second goal of the game and the 100th goal of his career.
“I don’t know what happened behind the net, but I ended up with the puck right in the slot and basically just tapped it in,” Dupuis said. “I think Staal stripped the goalie from the puck and he just slid it in front. He saw me there and that was it.”
Malkin, who missed the last seven games with a shoulder strain, finished the game with three assists and showed no signs of rust, logging 26:37 of ice time during the victory.
The Russian forward was quick to make an impact on the ice, assisting on Jay McKee’s first goal as a Penguin just 1:42 into the game, Malkin’s 200th NHL assist.
“That’s how you want to start a game or start your shift,” McKee said. “We talked today for a while about trying to get the defense a little more involved and getting up ice when we can. It paid off pretty good.”
Boston came back and tied it, 1-1, 8:29 into the first with a goal by Blake Wheeler.
The Penguins again took a one-goal lead off the stick of Pascal Dupuis
at 16:24 in the first.
Recent Wilkes-Barre/Scranton call up Ben Lovejoy
shot a puck into heavy traffic from the point. Dupuis was able to dig the rubber out of the madness and slide it by Thomas.
Lovejoy’s assist was his first career NHL point.
“I was just trying to get the puck to the net,” Lovejoy said. “I got a lane. I think it was my first shot on net, too. It kind of bounced right to Dupuis and he was fortunate enough to put it in.”
The Bruins again came back, tying the game at 2-2 early in the second.
Pittsburgh responded with some superstar teamwork as Malkin earned his second assist of the game when he helped set up linemate Sidney Crosby
. The two played on the same line throughout the game.
“We generated a lot,” Crosby said. “When myself and Geno are together we want to create things. We have to create things.”
Boston once again tied the game, this time only to be overtaken for a fourth occasion by a Mark Eaton goal.
“Me and Mark, when we can chip in, we take a lot of pride defensively in our game, and when we can help out that way it adds a different feeling and a good feeling,” McKee said.
But the Bruins were not done yet, scoring back-to-back goals and taking their first lead of the night, 5-4 with 2:29 remaining in the game.
It was then that some Mellon Arena magic happened and Pittsburgh pulled of a late, dramatic, come-from-behind victory.
The win gives the team a much-need boost of confidence and the Penguins will try to build on that success.
“It was special. It was a good night,” Dupuis said. “We needed a big win and it didn’t matter how we got it. We got a big two points.”
“I think we needed that to win a game like this, a really tough one,” Crosby said. “They weren’t coming easy as it was.
“You kind of need to get a tough one like this and hopefully you can get over the hump.”