’s four-point night and second career hat trick stole all the headlines from Pittsburgh’s win against division rival New Jersey on Saturday at Mellon Arena. But lost in the wave of praise for Crosby, was a stellar performance by goaltender Dany Sabourin.
“He was solid like he is 95 percent of the time,” head coach Michel Therrien said. “He was solid again (Saturday).”
Sabourin made 29 saves to help the Penguins earn his fifth win on the season with a 4-1 victory over the Devils. New Jersey was pressing hard for goals in the third period, recording 10 shots, but Sabourin was equal to the task.
He was solid like he is 95 percent of the time. He was solid again (Saturday) - Michel Therrien
“We talked about it before the game, what they like to do,” Sabourin said after the game. “Shots from the blue line, crash the net, that’s what they did. They crashed the net really hard (Saturday), especially in the third.”
Sabourin's performance was nearly perfect. He came up one save shy of recording his and the team’s first shutout of the season.
“I came pretty close,” Sabourin said with a grin and shrug.
Sabourin has carried the starting goaltender duties for the Penguins since Marc-Andre Fleury
was sidelined with an undisclosed injury on Nov. 15.
Sabourin hasn't merely carried the torch, he's sprinting with it. As of Sunday, his 1.84 goals against average is the best in the NHL while his .930 save percentage ranks fourth.
“He played really well right from the start,” defenseman Brooks Orpik
Saturday's game was a great bounce back effort for Sabourin. Three nights earlier, he was pulled from the Penguins' game against the New York Islanders midway through the second period after giving up three goals.
“It was good for me to come back strong,” Sabourin said. “I came here to challenge (New Jersey) as much as I can, be really aggressive trying to stop every single puck and trying to be really sharp. I felt pretty good.”
Even though he was taken out of the game against New York, it wasn’t entirely because of his performance.
“I think it was more the coach sending a message to the rest of the team for us to wake up," Orpik said. "Going back to the Long Island game, (Sabourin) getting pulled wasn’t too much of a reflection on his play."
“The reason we took him out in Long Island, was that we wanted to change the momentum of the game.”
There was no need for that against the Devils as Pittsburgh played one of its most complete games of the year.
“We showed character to play a solid game,” Therrien said. “I though that was our best game of the week, not only offensively but defensively.”
Sabourin played a large role in the team’s defensive performance, although he shared the credit with his teammates.
“Those guys did a really good job in front of me, forechecking, coming back, clearing rebounds, all the little details,” he said. “Overall, I think it was a team win. We did a great job. It was a good game for us.”