Penguins Recover and Beat Flyers 5-4 in Shootout

The Pittsburgh Penguins gave up 4-consecutive goals in the 2nd period and blew a 3-goal lead before rallying from behind to tie the game late in the 3rd on Thursday night.  The Penguins went on to beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-4 after a lengthy shootout that saw a total of 12-shooters and just 1-goal.  Sidney Crosby was the hero in regulation as he tied the game on his second goal of the night with just 2:33 left in the game.  Rookie defenseman Alex Goligoski, shooting in the 6th position, was the hero of the shootout as he beat Martin Biron to give the Penguins their 5th straight win.

In the 1st period, the Pens got on the scoreboard first as Matt Cooke collected his first career goal as a Pittsburgh Penguin.  Taking a chip pass from Kris Letang, Tyler Kennedy broke into the offensive zone with Matt Cooke.  Kennedy passed the puck off to Cooke who shot the puck against the grain and beat Martin Biron on the far side.  Cooke’s goal was the only one of the period as the Penguins were outshot 7-6, went 0-for-2 on the powerplay and 2-for-2 on the kill.

In the 2nd period, it looked as if the Penguins might open the game up as they scored two quick goals in the first 4-minutes of play.  The first came off the backhand of Evgeni Malkin at 1:11 as he took a pass from Ruslan Fedotenko, undressed defenseman Matthew Carle and chipped the puck up over Biron’s shoulder to make it 2-0.  Petr Sykora picked up the assist along with Fedotenko.  Then at 3:51, Sidney Crosby produced a carbon copy of Malkin’s backhander while on the powerplay.  Breaking into the Flyer’s zone, Crosby walked through 3 Flyers and went backhand over Biron’s shoulder on the short side to make it 3-0.  Petr Sykora and Miroslav Satan were credited with the assists on the play.  But then the Penguins went dormant as the Philadelphia Flyers turned their game on.  The first goal for the Flyers came at 7:46 from Jeff Carter with assists by Scott Hartnell and Scottie Upshall.  Hartnell passed the puck from the side boards to Jeff Carter near the circle, who threw it on net where it somehow trickled through Fleury and into the net.  Then it got ugly as the Penguins gave up back-to-back short-handed goals to Simon Gagne.  The first came at 8:52 as Gagne blocked a shot by Alex Goligoski and then took off on the breakway where he beat Marc-Andre Fleury handily.  Then at 13:56, 4-Penguins players got trapped deep in the Flyers zone as the Flyers broke out on a 3-on-1 shorthanded opportunity.  Simon Gagne took a cross-ice pass and beat Fleury again glove side.  Finally, at 19:54 with Mark Eaton in the box for an interference call, the Flyers scored a flukey goal by Joffrey Lupul that arced up in the air over Fleury’s head and dropped down into the net behind him.  Timmo Kimonen and Matthew Carle were credited with the assists.  The 4-unanswered goals gave the Flyers a 4-3 lead going into the 3rd and was enough to chase Fleury from the net in favor of backup netminder Dany Sabourin.  The Flyers outshot the Penguins 17-10 in the 2nd.  The Penguins were 1-for-4 on the powerplay but gave up 2 shorties in the process.  They were also 1-for-2 on the kill.

Late in the 3rd period, the Penguins finally started to pour it on as they managed to outshoot the Flyers 11-8.  With 8:43 left on the clock, Evgeni Malkin fell awkwardly onto his left leg and ankle behind the Flyers net.  He got up in obvious pain and skated off the ice, only to return on his next shift with no apparent issues.  The video replay showed what could surely have been a nasty knee or ankle injury, so we are hoping that there are no long term effects from the fall.  With 2:33 left on the clock, Sidney Crosby converted on a loose puck that bounced off from Max Talbot’s stick and out in front of the net.  Crosby’s goal, from Talbot and Malkin, tied the game and forced the overtime frame.  After a scoreless overtime period, the game went to the shootout.  It took 6-shooters per side to get the final decision as Martin Biron and Dany Sabourin fended off shooter after shooter.  Finally, shooting in the Penguins’ 6th position, Alex Goligoski found the moves to get Biron to open up and beat him 5-hole for his first shootout goal of his career and the win. 

Sidney Crosby (2G), Evgeni Malkin (1G, 1A) and Petr Sykora (2A) each picked up 2-points in the win.  Mike Zigomanis (7-for-11) led the team in faceoffs at 64%.  Sidney Crosby (15-for-27) was 56% on the faceoff.  Sidney Crosby led the team in shots on net with 6-shots, while Evgeni Malkin had 5-shots.  Alex Goligoski had 4-shots on net.   

The win is the Penguins 5th straight win, extending their record to 10-4-2.  The Penguins host the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday night at Mellon Arena.

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