New Castle News

Penguins

January 8, 2014

NHL Hockey: Crosby lifts Pens past Vancouver

VANCOUVER — Sidney Crosby tied the score late in regulation and added the only goal in a shootout to rally the Pittsburgh Penguins past the slumping Vancouver Canucks 5-4 last night.

Crosby and Kris Letang scored 16 seconds apart late in the third period to tie it for Pittsburgh after Vancouver grabbed a 4-2 lead.

Evgeni Malkin and Brian Gibbons also scored for the Penguins. Jussi Jokinen added two assists, and Crosby had one of his own. Marc-Andre Fleury made 22 saves for the win.

Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian and Christopher Tanev each had a goal and an assist for Vancouver, which lost its fifth game in a row. Jason Garrison also scored and Eddie Lack made 31 saves.

Vancouver appeared to be on its way to a victory when Higgins beat Fleury through the legs on a breakaway with 6:53 left in regulation and Kassian batted down a puck off the rush and swatted it past the goalie 17 seconds later.

But Letang scored with 1:11 left in regulation with Fleury on the bench and Crosby tied it 16 seconds later.

Lack was called upon to make a couple of big saves in overtime, including one off James Neal on a 2-on-1.

Lack made his second consecutive start for Vancouver in place of injured Roberto Luongo, who sustained what is thought to be an ankle injury against the Los Angeles Kings last weekend.

Luongo, selected to Canada’s Olympic team along with Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis earlier in the day, had just returned to the lineup after dealing with a groin issue.

The game marked the first for Crosby at Rogers Arena since his overtime goal in the gold-medal game at the 2010 Winter Games.

Crosby and Penguins linemate Chris Kunitz also were chosen for Canada’s Olympic squad earlier in the day.

Down 2-1 after two periods, Vancouver tied the score at 7:39 of third when Tanev’s shot from the point beat Fleury through traffic for his fifth of the season.

Higgins added his 12th before Kassian got his eighth.

Malkin gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead at 5:25 of the second, beating Lack on a shot through traffic from the slot for his 12th of the season.

Garrison cut Pittsburgh’s advantage in half at 15:35. After Crosby blindly threw the puck in front of his own net right to Garrison, the defenseman ripped a shot by Fleury for his fifth of the season and first in 14 games.

Gibbons opened the scoring at 13:15 of the first period after Hamhuis failed to control the puck at the Pittsburgh blue line. Playing on a line with Crosby and Kunitz, the undrafted 25-year-old free agent out of Boston College raced in alone and beat Lack through the legs for his second goal of the season in his 11th NHL game.

Pittsburgh’s No. 1-ranked power play went to work later in the period, but Vancouver’s top-ranked penalty kill weathered the storm.

 

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Poll

Beginning tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the NHL playoffs. So, who ya got? And in how many games?

Penguins, in five games or fewer. Too much firepower for the Blue Jackets, especially if Evgeni Malkin is ready to go.
Penguins, in six or seven games. It’s a pretty even matchup on defense, but Pittsburgh will grind it out.
Blue Jackets, in five games or fewer. Sergei Bobrovsky in goal for the Blue Jackets spells trouble for the Pens.
Blue Jackets, in six or seven games. Bobrovsky gives Columbus the edge, but it won’t be easy.
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