Penguins Nip Sabres in OT on Controversial Goal by Crosby

The Pittsburgh Penguins came back from a 2-goal defecit against the Buffalo Sabres to force the extra frame and then won the game 4-3 on a controversial overtime goal by Sidney Crosby.  The game-winning goal which was deflected in by Crosby looked as if it may have hit his stick above the crossbar (high stick), but the on-ice official with a good line of sight called it a goal and the video review was ruled inconclusive.  Nonetheless, it looked questionable from the difficult to discern high angle view of the game camera, adding to the likely displeasure of Sabres fans.  While Crosby got the game-winner and finally put in his first goal of the month, the first star of the game was clearly rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski who put in 2-goals of his own and added a helper on the OT-goal.  Evgeni Malkin continued his domination of the league scoring race by adding 3-assists, to give him 9-points (3G, 6A) in just his last 3-games.  The come from behind win was a much needed victory for the Penguins who struggled at times in the game and committed numerous penalties.  They will look to use this game as a spring board to get back on track and put the month of December behind them.

In the first period, the Penguins got off on the wrong foot.  Just 1-minute into the game, Marc-Andre Fleury gave up a goal on a slap shot by Daniel Paille to fall behind 1-0.  Teppo Numminen and Adam Mair assisted on Paille’s 4th goal of the season.  The Penguins pressed hard though and outshot the Sabres 11-7 despite picking up the period’s lone penalty on an interference call to Brooks Orpik.  It would end up being the only period in which the Penguins outshot the Sabres, however.

In the second period, Buffalo struck again at 5:23 as Ales Kotalik found the twine on a wrist shot that beat Fleury to make it 2-0.  Daniel Paille and Adam Mair combined for the assists on Kotalik’s 8th tally of the season.  Just a little under a minute later, however, the Penguins took advantage of a bad line change by the Sabres as Pascal Dupuis chipped a goal high over Ryan Miller’s shoulder at 6:18 to cut the Sabres lead in half.  Miroslav Satan and Brooks Orpik picked up the assists on the quick conversion.  Then at 12:23, Evgeni Malkin set up Alex Goligoski for a blast that found its way through traffic and into the net to tie the game 2-2.  Ruslan Fedotenko joined Malkin on the assist.  At 14:46, Eric Godard boarded a Sabres’ player behind his own net and then got in a fight (or rather a slow dance)  with Andrew Peters.  Neither player got in any shots and the Penguins found themselves short-handed for 2-minutes on Godard’s boarding minor.  The Penguins were unsuccessful on the ensuing penalty kill as the defense left Clarke MacArthur standing all alone in front of Marc-Andre Fleury.  MacArthur quickly moved from the backhand to a wrister that Fleury had no chance of stopping.  Ales Kotalik and Teppo Numminen picked up the assists to make it 3-2.  The Penguins, who found themselves in a bit of penalty trouble in the second period, were outshot 15-6 and were 1-for-3 on the penalty kill.   

In the third period, the Penguins finally got a break at 10:35 when Daniel Paille took a roughing penalty for a hit to the head of Alex Goligoski.  It took Alex Goligoski just 42-seconds to make Paille pay as he collected a feed from Evgeni Malkin and launched a roofer through traffic that sailed over Miller’s shoulder to tie the game 3-3.  Jordan Staal joined Malkin on the assist, as Goligoski picked up his 2nd of the night and 6th of the season.  Marc-Andre Fleury came up big in the 3rd period as he stopped 13-shots to force the overtime.  e was particularly effective in helping his team kill off 4-minutes of penalty time as Philippe Boucher sat for hooking and high sticking.  The Penguins managed to get just 3-shots on net. 

In the sudden death overtime period, the Penguins needed just 43-seconds to score the game-winner.  Standing in front of the net and battling with a Sabres’ defenseman, Crosby deflected an arcing shot by Evgeni Malkin down and into the net.  After a lengthy review, the call was made that the puck was not hit with a high stick and the goal was awarded to the Penguins. 

Alex Goligoski (2G, 1A) and Evgeni Malkin (3A) led the Penguins with 3-points each.  Sidney Crosby (1G), Pascal Dupuis (1G), Ruslan Fedotenko (1A), Miroslav Satan (1A), Jordan Staal (1A) and Brooks Orpik (1A) all had 1-point.  Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 32-of-35 shots for a 0.914 save percentage.  Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang led the team in shots with 3 each, while Mark Eaton, Petr Sykora, Jordan Staal, Miroslav Satan and Sidney Crosby each had 2-shots.  Sidney Crosby was excellent in the faceoff circle winning 16 of 23 for 70%.  Pascal Dupuis led all forwards with 20:32 in ice time, while Rob Scuderi led all defensemen with 22:13.  The Penguins out-hit the Sabres 16-10 with Pascal Dupuis and Matt Cooke registering 4-hits each.  The Sabres blocked 14-shots while the Penguins blocked 11. 

The Penguins return to Mellon Arena for their final pre-Christmas game on Tuesday night against the strugglin Tampa Bay Lightning.

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