SUNRISE, Fla. – Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins stole another one from Florida.
Crosby scored on a power play at 3:07 of overtime and the Penguins rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period to beat the Panthers 3-2 Monday night. It was the second time in two meetings this season that the Penguins trailed 2-0 after two periods and won the game. They won 3-2 in a shootout Oct. 23 in Pittsburgh.
“You don’t want to have to come from behind, but a lot of things we did tonight allowed us to have a strong third period,” Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. “Our guys poured it on and played great in the third.”
The Penguins got a four-minute power play at 1:25 of overtime when Nathan Horton was penalized for high-sticking defenceman Brooks Orpik.
Right before the penalty was called, Panthers goalie Tomas Vokoun made a spectacular glove save on Evgeni Malkin on a wrist shot from close range.
There was nothing Vokoun could do on the game-winner. Crosby scored from the side of the net off a rebound of Malkin’s slap shot. It was only Crosby’s second goal in his last 12 games.
“I’m not sure how it got in,” Crosby said. “One of their (defencemen) was in front. I saw Vokoun go down, (Malkin) shot the puck, and I was just hanging out on the side of the net there to collect the garbage. I didn’t get much on it.”
Pascal Dupuis and Michael Rupp also scored for the Penguins, and Malkin had two assists.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 19 shots for Pittsburgh, which outshot Florida 16-3 in the third period and 45-21 for the game.
Horton and Keith Ballard scored for the Panthers, who have lost only once in regulation in their last 12 games (8-1-3). Michael Frolik had two assists, and Vokoun made 42 saves.
“We slowed down a little bit in the third,” Ballard said. “It was almost like we were trying to hang on. We’ve got to be a little more aggressive with the lead. We gave them too many chances.”
Malkin set up the tying goal with 2:32 left from behind the net. After holding the puck for a while, he lost control of it but was able to jab it to the front of the net, where Rupp poked it between Vokoun’s legs.
“Both defencemen on each post seeing (Malkin) behind the net with the puck, they got a little mesmerized by him,” Rupp said. “They went after him and left me alone in front. I figured if I just hang in front the puck is eventually going to get there. He just made a great play to me.”
Pittsburgh began its comeback at 4:49 of the third with a fluke goal.
Dupuis grabbed a rebound in front of the net and fired a shot through traffic. The puck bounced up, hit Vokoun’s shoulder and trickled past the goal line just before defenceman Bryan Allen dislodged the net.
“I think our inexperience in our lineup showed a little in the third,” Panthers coach Pete DeBoer said. “We sat back and against a team like that, you give them any life at all and you see what happens. They’ve obviously got some great players.”
Horton extended his point streak to six games when he opened the scoring at 17:33 of the first period after a great play by Stephen Weiss.
Weiss split defencemen Sergei Gonchar and Orpik skating across the front of the net before spinning around and feeding Horton on the other side. Horton then fired a wrist shot to the short side.
Ballard made it 2-0 at 10:21 of the second when he took a drop pass from Frolik and beat Fleury with a wrist shot over his left shoulder.
Vokoun, meanwhile, kept Pittsburgh scoreless with several big saves, including a stop of Crosby on a breakaway.
“It didn’t come very easy,” Crosby said. “We had some great chances throughout the game. It was a little frustrating with the chances we were generating being down 2-0. We got the two big goals there in the third and it was a fortunate break for our team, but a tough break (for Orpik), to get that power play. It was huge for us in overtime.”
NOTES: Florida unveiled its new third jersey, which features dark blue as its main colour and light blue shoulders. The Panthers will wear the jersey 12 times this season. Radek Dvorak played in his 500th game with the Panthers. He became the seventh player to reach that milestone, joining Robert Svehla, Olli Jokinen, Scott Mellanby, Paul Laus, Rob Niedermayer and Bill Lindsay. Pittsburgh is 5-0 against Southeast Division teams. Florida C Gregory Campbell missed the game because of an upper-body injury.