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Shorthanded Tally Fuels Dramatic Comeback

by Tom Mast / Pittsburgh Penguins
The Panthers jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead on the Penguins in the first period. The second period saw a scoreless effort from both teams, leaving the Penguins twenty minutes to overcome the two-goal deficit.


“We struggled in the first half but we were able to rebound and we stuck with things,” Sidney Crosby said. “Even though we we’re down 2-0 going into the third we felt like we were pretty close. We just stayed with it and got a lot of shots. That’s more of our game.”

Evgeni Malkin was the hero of an early power-play opportunity in the third period. Just when it appeared the puck was going to slide across the blue line and out of the Panthers’ offensive zone, Malkin made a desperate dive for the puck, keeping it in.

Goligoski collected the puck and slid it across the rink to Crosby, who then buried it behind Florida Goaltender Tomas Vokoun.

“Yeah, we had a bad start and then our play got better,” Malkin said. “It was a great job in the third period.”

Down 2-1, with only minutes remaining, head coach Dan Bylsma put Malkin and Crosby on the ice together in a shorthanded situation.

It wasn’t long before Malkin found the puck and went tearing down the boards, heading for the Panthers’ net. He wrapped around the cage and fired a pass to Crosby, whose shot tied the game.

“Having the power play winding down for the other team, maybe them extending their shift a little bit,” Bylsma said. “Getting out Sid and Geno with a jump in their step and catching a team at the end of their power play is something we’ve talked about.”

“We played PK on the ice, me and Sid. It’s always good,” Malkin said. “I went behind then net and the puck went to Sid and he had a good shot.”

“We’ve got a lot of great penalty killers. So when we go out there we want to do a good job,” Crosby said. “Late in the game like that we kind of know that you can’t cheat, but at the same time we’re gong to try to make something happen if we can and try to be dangerous.

“If we can find the right balance of being responsible and being a threat out there on the penalty kill then that’s something we’ll definitely try to work on.”

Johnson Earns First Victory in a Penguins Uniform

Goalie Brent Johnson earned his first win of the season, a 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers.

“It’s a fun way to win, not a fun way to lose,” Johnson laughed after the game.

The players have affectionately dubbed him “Johnny,” and his teammates were impressed with his performance.

“Johnny, our goalie played very well,” Malkin said.

Johnson kept the team in the game after they fell into a 2-0 deficit.
 
“You never want to let more goals in,” Johnson said.  “We’ve got so much fire power on this team. We’ve got a mentality in here that we go out in the third, even if we’re down, we have a chance every night.”

“He did a great job of keeping us in there,” Crosby said. “Johnny got his first win, played well for us”

Johnson stonewalled all three Florida players he faced in the shootout, allowing the Penguins to take the victory with only Crosby’s shootout goal.

Crosby talked about Brent Johnson getting it done in the shootout.

“He’s a big guy. You don’t see a lot of the net. He’s a tough guy to go down there one-on-one with. He’s an intimidating goalie to go against. I think for most shooters it’s not easy. He took up a lot of space and was able to shut them down and it gives us a great opportunity when he does that.”

Shot-Blocks-A-Plenty

The Penguins continue to rack up the shot blocks, collecting 24 against the Panthers.

Eleven different players had at least one blocked shot. Alex Goligoski and Martin Skoula each had four. Kris Letang and Jay McKee picked up three apiece.

“It’s fantastic,” Johnson said. “You don’t know how much us goaltenders love that. It was just fantastic. Even when we were down—guys never stopping, never giving up, going down, blocking shots—it’s just wonderful. It’s a great thing to see. It’s one on those things that’s is definitely a talent, to be able to block a shot, especially up around the point if you’re a forward. It’s a real talent and it’s something goaltenders love to see.”













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