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game recap

Penguins' late rally leads to SO win vs. Canucks

Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 2:52 AM

Kevin Woodley - NHL.com Correspondent

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Penguins' late rally leads to SO win vs. Canucks
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Vancouver Canucks 4
Three Stars of the Game
Zack Kassian
1st
Zack Kassian
G: 1Shots: 2
A: 1Hits: 6
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 18:03
Chris Higgins
2nd
Chris Higgins
G: 1Shots: 4
A: 1Hits: 2
PTS: 2PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 23:46
Kris Letang
3rd
G: 1Shots: 6
A: 0Hits: 3
PTS: 1PIM: 0
+/-: 1TOI: 24:54

VANCOUVER -- Sidney Crosby found a familiar spot at Rogers Arena to score a couple more dramatic goals, but this time it was for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

In his first game back since scoring the gold medal-clinching goal for Canada at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Crosby helped set up Kris Letang's goal with 1:11 left, tied it himself a little more than 16 seconds later, and scored the only goal in the shootout to lead Pittsburgh to a dramatic 5-4 win against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.

It brought back memories for Crosby to be back in the building. So did watching him celebrate the tying goal a few feet from where the gold medal celebration happened, then score the winner on a shootout deke between goalie Eddie Lack's legs into the same net.

"It's hard not to think about it when you're out there," Crosby said. "Kind of put it in the back of your mind though, because there's some other important things happening in the next little while."

After giving up the lead on goals 17 seconds apart earlier in the third, Marc-Andre Fleury was on the bench for an extra attacker when Letang, who was robbed a couple times and hit a cross bar earlier in the game, beat a screened Lack on the glove side at 18:49.

"Tough game," said Letang, playing his second game after missing 10 with an upper-body injury. "I had so many chances and to not be able to convert and put the game away was tough, but all the guys told me to stick with it, there's always a next shot, and it ended up being a goal."

Crosby scored the tying goal with 54.2 seconds left in the period after being left alone at the side of the net to tap in a rebound pass through the crease from Chris Kunitz.

It capped a good day for Kunitz, who was named to the Canadian roster for the 2014 Sochi Olympics with Crosby earlier Tuesday.

"We gave the best player in the world an open net with a minute to go," said Lack, who made 31 saves. "That can't really happen."

It's happened too often this year for the Canucks, who failed to hold on to a lead for the fourth time in the past five games. They've lost five straight, matching their longest losing streak of the season.

It was also the fifth time Vancouver has surrendered a tying goal after the opposition pulls its goalie for an extra attacker, though they did win two in overtime.

"I feel like when we are in it, it actually feels good, and then when they got their third one, I don't know if we panicked or not," Lack said.

It was a familiar ending to a game that was anything but for Crosby.

Held without a point the first 58:49, it would've been the first time in six games and the second time in the past 17 games he was kept off the scoresheet. The Penguins captain even committed the turnover that sparked the Canucks' comeback, but his team never panicked.

"It doesn't matter what the score is with our team; we always believe we can come back," said Fleury, who finished with 22 saves.

Brian Gibbons and Evgeni Malkin also scored as Pittsburgh opened a three-game Canadian trip with their 17th win in the past 20 games.

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma passed Eddie Johnson for the Penguins' franchise record with his 233rd career coaching victory.

"Memorable game, yes," Bylsma said. "I knew the number at the start of the season, but I didn't think we'd be getting it this quickly. To pass an Eddie Johnson, he's a big figure in our dressing room and a big figure in our organization, and it's a milestone."

Bylsma wasn't surprised it included Crosby heroics, especially here.

"I wasn't surprised by the celebration in that corner," he said.

Pittsburgh's late rally ended a wild third period in which the Canucks overcome a 2-1 deficit to take a two-goal lead. Defenseman Chris Tanev tied it 7:39 into third, and Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian scored 17 seconds apart to put Vancouver ahead 4-2.

"They did it to us, so it was nice we did it back," said Fleury, who stopped all three Vancouver attempts in the shootout and hasn't given up a goal on 11 chances this season. "When your team does something like that, you just want to help out, and I got my chance in the shootout."

Trailing 2-0, defenseman Jason Garrison started the Canucks' comeback with his fifth goal with 4:25 left in the second period after an uncharacteristically bad giveaway by Crosby.

Crosby's blind backhand out of the corner went to Garrison atop the right faceoff circle, and he wristed his first goal in 14 games, and 100th career NHL point, past Fleury high on the blocker side.

Tanev, who also had an assist, tied it at 2-2 with a low shot through a screen by Higgins and Kassian, and Higgins put the Canucks ahead on a breakaway, slipping a backhand through the legs of a sprawling Fleury with 6:53 left. He assisted on Kassian's goal on the next shift.

Seconds after Lack robbed James Neal at the other end, Kassian, who also had an assist, batted Higgins' high pass out of the air and chipped a floater over Fleury's shoulder. Again, it wasn't enough.

"It's happened way too many times," captain Henrik Sedin, who didn't take any faceoffs but denied a report he is playing through an injury, said of all the blown leads. said of all the blown leads. "We should have at least five of six more points right now. We have to take a look and see what we are doing wrong."

Vancouver coach John Tortorella was blunt when asked if his team was fragile. "Sure it is," he said.

"This one was a doozy," Tortorella said. "That's what is around us. We are going to try to exorcise it and get it away from us."

scoring summary
1st Period
13:15
PIT
Brian Gibbons (2) ASST: NONE
1 - 0 PIT
2nd Period
05:25
PIT
Evgeni Malkin (12) ASST: James Neal (19), Olli Maatta (11)
2 - 0 PIT
15:35
VAN
Jason Garrison (5) ASST: NONE
2 - 1 PIT
3rd Period
07:39
VAN
Christopher Tanev (5) ASST: Dan Hamhuis (10), Zack Kassian (3)
2 - 2 Tie
13:07
VAN
Chris Higgins (12) ASST: Jannik Hansen (5), Yannick Weber (3)
3 - 2 VAN
13:24
VAN
Zack Kassian (8) ASST: Chris Higgins (13), Kevin Bieksa (14)
4 - 2 VAN
18:49
PIT
Kris Letang (7) ASST: Jussi Jokinen (19), Sidney Crosby (41)
4 - 3 VAN
19:05
PIT
Sidney Crosby (24) ASST: Chris Kunitz (25), Jussi Jokinen (20)
4 - 4 Tie
OT Period
NONE
Shootout
RNDVANPIT
1Z. KassianJ. Jokinen
2M. SantorelliS. Crosby
3C. Higgins
penalty summary
1st Period
10:35
PIT
Taylor Pyatt  Interference against  Darren Archibald
15:15
VAN
Jason Garrison  Holding against  Kris Letang
2nd Period
18:27
PIT
Simon Despres  Tripping against  Daniel Sedin
3rd Period
08:57
VAN
Tom Sestito  Charging against  Kris Letang
OT Period
NONE
goalie stats
Marc-Andre Fleury
SA: 26TOI: 64:16
Saves: 22EV: 21 - 25
PIM: 0PP: 1 - 1
SV%: .846SH: 0 - 0
Eddie Lack
Eddie Lack
7-3-3
SA: 35TOI: 65:00
Saves: 31EV: 27 - 31
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 3
SV%: .886SH: 1 - 1