Endgame: Blues 3, Penguins 2 (OT)
Wednesday, 11.23.2011 / 9:59 PM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
One Lucky Fan
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Penguins vs. Blues Scouting Report
Everything you need to know about the Pens 3-2 setback to St. Louis:
Twice the Pens trailed the Blues in the third period, 1-0 and 2-1, and twice Pittsburgh responded with goals to even the score and force overtime. Even though the Pens fell, 3-2 on Alex Pietrangelo’s goal, Pittsburgh still collected an important point in the NHL standings.
“I think it says we’ve got character in the room. We’ve got guys that can step up,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said of the team’s never-say-die attitude. “I’m just trying to keep the score low, I know with the guys we have here we can get some goals and they did that in the third.”
Fleury was very impressive once again between the pipes for Pittsburgh, stopping 40 shots in the game, including a few miraculous saves on some scrambles in front of the net.
“I told him, don’t feel bad,” defenseman Zbynek Michalek said. “He played a great game. If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t even have gotten to overtime. He’s been playing great for us all season long and tonight wasn’t any different.”
The Pens tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal from Steve Sullivan early in the third period. Kennedy carried the puck low on the play and dished to Evgeni Malkin. The Russian center found Sullivan atop the near circle. Sullivan’s slap shot squeezed through goaltender Brian Elliott.
Pittsburgh trailed 2-1 entering the final 5 minutes of the third period. That all changed when Malkin carried the puck around the net and found James Neal in the slot. Neal’s one-timer zoomed into the goal for his 13th score of the season.
Zbynek Michalek played in his 500th career NHL game. Not bad for an undrafted player that took the hard route to the pros and is one of the top defensive defenseman in the league.
“For me personally, it was a big accomplishment,” Michalek said. “Right now, I’m proud of it for where I’ve gotten to.”
There was a scrum in the second period after a whistle in the St. Louis zone where Sidney Crosby and David Backes got in each other’s faces. Backes even took a swing at Crosby, but missed and then Michalek leaped in to grab Backes and protect his captain.
“He grabbed me in the scrum. I kind of expect that going into scrums, somebody’s going to grab you,” Crosby said. “I wasn’t surprised it was him, that’s just what happens. It ended up getting pointed out.”
There was a bizarre sequence of events following that scrum. Crosby and Backes each received matching roughing penalties.
Both teams came out with 4 skaters each on the ensuing faceoff. As the puck dropped St. Louis’ Barret Jackman tripped up Evgeni Malkin and was called for a penalty. But instead of the Penguins going on a 4-on-3 power play, they started with a 5-on-4 power play.
25 MILLION STRONG
The Pens honored Tom Mimidis of Charleroi as their 25,000,000th fan during the second period. With barcode technology the Pens determined that Mimidis was the 16,147th fan through the gates, making him the 25th million fan in team history. He won a trip to a Pens road game and autographed Crosby jersey.
The crowd of 18,583 was the Pens’ 220th straight sellout. The team’s overall attendance since 1967 is now 25,002,436 (22,751,945 regular season, 2,250,491 playoffs).
Author: Sam Kasan