Penguins rally past Toronto
Penguins goalie Dany Sabourin holds his head after being run into by Toronto's Darcy Tucker. Sabourin had to leave the game.
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TORONTO -- Sidney Crosby will score hundreds more goals before he retires.
Some will be more significant than his winner in the Penguins' 6-4 victory against Toronto at the Air Canada Centre last night.
All of them will be more difficult.
Crosby's goal, which came during a power play at 14:38 of the third period and broke a 4-4 tie, was the hockey equivalent of a gimme putt. It required him to do nothing but knock the puck through a foot or so air and into a 24-square foot opening.
For a guy who can slip pucks through holes that an amoeba might struggle to squeeze through, it was not much of a challenge.
"I was lucky to be in the right spot," Crosby said.
The goal was his second of the game and came on the seventh of eight Penguins power plays.
The Penguins (2-2) played the final 32-plus minutes without defenseman Brooks Orpik, who got a mild concussion when Toronto's Simon Gamache struck him in the face with his right hand -- which is where Gamache's stick happened to be at the time.
Orpik was on the ice for several minutes and, although a stretcher that was brought out was not needed, teammates Evgeni Malkin and Mark Recchi had to help Orpik across the ice and to the runway leading to the Penguins' locker room.
Orpik was not in the locker room after the game, but team officials said he was coherent and will be re-examined in the next few days.
Orpik's injury was the Penguins' most serious of the evening, but not the only one.
Goalie Dany Sabourin played the first 15 minutes, seven seconds of the game and stopped four of six shots before striking his head off the goalpost during a run-in with Toronto's Darcy Tucker. He needed four stitches to close a gash on his head.
Sabourin had medical clearance to return, but coach Michel Therrien opted to have Marc-Andre Fleury finish the game. Fleury validated that decision with a solid, 19-save effort.
"To get the win, that's a good feeling to get back," Fleury said.
The Penguins also briefly lost right winger Colby Armstrong when a Bryan McCabe shoot-in struck him on the chin at 4:03 of the second, but he was able to return after having his cut sewn up.
The game began well for the Penguins when Erik Christensen whipped a wrist shot past Toronto goalie Vesa Toskala from near the top of the right circle at 5:09 of the first period, but the Maple Leafs ran off the next three goals.
Tucker tied the game at 6:37 by punching in a rebound from the left side of the crease at 6:37, and Nik Antropov put the Maple Leafs up when pushed his own rebound behind Sabourin at 8:39.
Although Fleury did not face a shot in the first after replacing Sabourin, he gave up a goal 55 seconds into the second, when Mats Sundin beat him from between the crease and the left circle to make it 3-1.
The Penguins kept their composure, however, and got two goals within 19 seconds a few minutes later.
Crosby picked up his first of the season at 6:31, when his cross-ice feed to Petr Sykora on a two-on-one break caromed off the skate of Toronto defenseman Pavel Kubina and behind Toskala.
Maxime Talbot wiped out the Maple Leafs' advantage with a nice individual effort at 6:50, as he carried the puck out from behind the goal line and, after Toskala rejected his initial shot, stayed with the play and knocked in his own rebound.
The Penguins' surge continued when Ryan Malone backhanded in a loose puck from the crease with four minutes to go in the second. Toronto countered 27 seconds later, however, when Fleury stopped Sundin from the inner edge of the right circle but Jason Blake converted the rebound.
That eventually led to Crosby's second of the night, when a Darryl Sydor shot from the left point caromed into the crease, allowing Crosby to rap it over the goal line.
Talbot closed out the scoring with an empty-net goal at 19:10, 42 seconds after Armstrong was sent to the penalty box for tripping. That penalty probably worked to the Penguins' favor, because it allowed Talbot to shoot the puck from his own zone into an empty net without risking an icing infraction.
"That's not the way I planned it," Armstrong said. "But I'm glad it worked out that way."
Turned out he was in the right place at the right time, too.
First Published October 14, 2007 12:00 am