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Endgame: Penguins 5, Canucks 4 (SO)

Wednesday, 01.8.2014 / 12:23 AM ET / Features
By Sam Kasan
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Endgame: Penguins 5, Canucks 4 (SO)
5 - 4
PENGUINS 1 1 2 0 1 (1-2) 5
CANUCKS 0 1 3 0 0 (0-3) 4
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Yzerman: Kunitz Belongs on This Team
Kunitz: From Obscurity to Olympian
Penguins Report: Game Day in Vancouver
Verizon Game Day Report
Game Day: Jussi Jokinen
Game Day: Chris Kunitz

The Canucks scored two goals 17-seconds apart late in the third period to build a 4-2 lead over the Penguins. In the final TV timeout the song “Living on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi pierced throughout Rogers Arena.

But the Penguins don’t need prayers. They have Sidney Crosby.

Crosby went pointless for the first 58 minutes of the game. Then he helped the Penguins score two goals in 16-seconds, with Crosby himself burying the game-tying goal with 54 seconds remaining in regulation, to make it a 4-4 contest and force a shootout.

Crosby then scored in the shootout and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all three shooters as the Penguins won, 5-4, Tuesday night. Four of the last eight games between the Penguins and Canucks ended in a shootout with all four wins by the Penguins.

“To be down two with that much time left we knew we needed to get two quick ones,” Crosby said. “We found a way.”

The Penguins entered the third period with a 2-1 lead, but Christopher Tanev tied the game 7:39 minutes into the third period. Vancouver then scored two goals 17-seconds apart from Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian to take a 4-2 lead.

“That hurt, that was tough to give them that much momentum late in the game like that,” Crosby said. “It’s not the position you want to be in. We’ve been down the last couple of games and had to climb back. Sometimes you have to find ways.”

The Penguins found a way.

“They came out in the third and got the quick goals,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “All of a sudden it turns into a pretty bleak situation for our team. We kept at the fight, there was no quit.”

The Penguins' comeback began with an offensive zone faceoff. Crosby won the draw clean and the team worked the puck back to Kris Letang at the midpoint. His slap shot found its way past Canucks goalie Eddie Lack to give the Penguins life with 1:11 left in the third period.

With under one minute to play the Penguins were scrambling in the offensive zone. Jussi Jokinen threw a puck toward that net that popped up into the air. Canadian Olympian Chris Kunitz, standing at the crease, batted the puck to the side of the net, where linemate Crosby was waiting. Crosby kicked the puck to his stick and snapped it into the goal to tie it up.

Crosby scored the gold-medal winning overtime goal for Canada in the 2010 Winter Olympics at the same end of the ice at Rogers Arena.

“Kunitz made an unbelievable play to get the puck over to him,” Bylsma said. “From the bench it took way too long getting it off his skate and trying to get it to his stick to get that goal.

“I wasn’t surprised by the celebration in that corner.”

The victory for Pittsburgh was Bylsma’s 233rd behind the Penguins bench. With that win he passed Eddie Johnston for first place in the team history for wins by a coach.

“I knew the number at the start of the season,” he said. “I didn’t think we’d get it this quickly this year. To pass Eddie Johnston, he’s a pretty big figure in our dressing room and organization. It’s a milestone.”

The Penguins scored the game’s opening goal thanks to some blazing speed from forward Brian Gibbons.

The Boston College alum chipped a puck out at his defensive blue line past Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis. The only thing ahead of Gibbons was a stretch of ice and Vancouver netminder Lack.

“Right when I saw (the puck) hop I thought there was a chance I could get a breakaway if I could just get a stick on it,” Gibbons said. “Once I poked it I was pretty confident I could beat him down the ice. Then it’s just a matter of making a move and getting by the goalie.”

Gibbons juked before sliding the puck through Lack’s five-hole and over the goal line.

“Right when you get over the blue line you start to think about a move,” Gibbons said. “It felt good. I didn’t know right away, but I thought it was in. It felt good.”

Crosby was in some pain when a shot from Evgeni Malkin went off his lower body. He didn’t leave the ice immediately, but sported a grimace on his face. Crosby then took a 15-second shift before heading to the bench. Fortunately, it wasn’t an injury.

“It was just a stinger,” he said. “I didn’t see it coming until it hit me. It’s fine.”

Author: Sam Kasan
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