Crosby lifts Penguins with winning shot in OT
Sidney Crosby scores the winning goal in overtime under pressure from the Sabres' Toni Lydman last night at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sidney Crosby had been waiting for the better part of four weeks to score a goal.
In light of that, having to hang on for an extra couple of minutes to confirm that he actually had gotten one -- an overtime winner, at that -- probably shouldn't have seemed so bad.
But it did.
"It was kind of nerve-wracking," said Crosby, whose goal was his first in 10 games.
Turned out to be kind of worth it, though, because that goal, which came on the deflection of an Evgeni Malkin shot 43 seconds into overtime, gave the Penguins a 4-3 victory against Buffalo at HSBC Arena, their third victory in eight games.
• Game: Lightning vs. Penguins, 7:38 p.m.
• Where: Mellon Arena.
• TV: FSN Pittsburgh.
The goal did not become official until a video review determined there was not sufficient evidence to overturn the on-ice ruling that Crosby's stick was not above the crossbar when it touched the puck.
"I guess you could say it was worth the wait," Crosby said. "It would have been nice [to score] earlier, but hopefully, we can build on it."
Certainly, it should be easier for the Penguins to build something meaningful on a victory such as this, when they had to scrap and scratch and battle from behind all game, than it would have been on any of their other games in recent weeks, when any foundation would have been laid on a base of quicksand.
"We won this one the right way," said winger Pascal Dupuis, who scored the Penguins' first goal. "We worked hard.
"We needed that kind of win. We needed one of those 'effort wins,' not one of those 'lucky-bounce wins.' This one, we worked hard for it."
Although Crosby's goal ended the game, defenseman Alex Goligoski's first two-goal game in the NHL allowed the Penguins to be in position to get the victory.
"He's kept getting better and better," coach Michel Therrien said. "I think he's feeling a lot of confidence in this league right now."
Goligoski's power-play score at 11:17 of the third period was particularly important, since it pulled the Penguins into a 3-3 tie and proved to be the final goal by either team in regulation.
It also came on the Penguins' only chance with the extra man; Buffalo, conversely had six, which is why the Penguins were quite content to break even in the special-teams battle.
"At the time, it was a little bit frustrating," Therrien said. "But we did a good job about killing [the penalties]."
Crosby's dramatics and Goligoski's goals largely overshadowed another productive game for Malkin, who had three assists to run his league-leading points total to 58, 11 more than Crosby, who ranks second.
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, making his third start since returning from a groin injury, also had a strong showing, stopping 32 of 35 shots.
The game certainly began ominously for him, when a harmless-looking shot by Buffalo's Daniel Paille caromed off Penguins defenseman Philippe Boucher and into the net behind Fleury. That was Buffalo's first, but not only, lead of the game.
In fact, the Penguins never went in front until Crosby's goal was deemed to be legal.
"It's always tough when you're trailing right from the start," Fleury said. "But I knew that if I could make some saves, the guys would score some goals."
That didn't happen until after Ales Kotalik made it 2-0 for the Sabres at 5:23 of the second, but Dupuis converted a Miroslav Satan feed 55 seconds later to revive the Penguins.
After Goligoski tied it with the first of his two at 12:23, Clarke MacArthur converted a Paille rebound during a power play at 15:58 to put the Sabres back in front, 3-2, at the second intermission.
The score stayed that way until Paille was sent off for roughing at 10:35 of the third, giving the Penguins their first chance with the extra man.
"[After] you kill five straight power plays, when you get your chance, you pretty much have to score," Goligoski said.
He did, on a wrist shot from the high slot, and that made it possible for Crosby to give the Penguins two things they desperately needed -- two points and an infusion of confidence -- with his overtime winner.
There was nothing easy about the victory, but that just made it all the more satisfying.
"It was a tough win," Fleury said. "But it was good to get."
First Published December 23, 2008 12:00 am