Ryan Malone takes the game into his own hands to rally the Pens past the Panthers 3-2
The Penguins have been there before and they've done it again. Similar to the four goal, third period rally against the Hurricanes on February 2nd, the Penguins came back from behind to secure another upset victory over the Florida Panthers.
The first and second periods were downright awful for the Pens. The flightless birds were out-shot by the slim margin of 21 to 19, but allowed two goals on defensive flops and power play mishaps. Despite having a total of five power play chances on the night, the NHL's fourth ranked team with the man advantage failed to convert even once. In fact, the power play was much better at giving the puck away, as Florida's Mclean netted a shorthanded goal halfway through the second period.
Heading into the third period down 2-0, it once again came down to Penguins netminder Ty Conklin to keep the game close. In his typical flopping Dominek Hasek-esque manner, Conklin stopped all Florida's 10 third period shots.
After lighting up the lamp with an empty netter Sunday night against the Sabres, Colby Armstrong winged a centering pass from Malkin right past Thomas Vokoun blocker side to bring the Pens within one. Malkin's point streak continued, and the Penguins began to rally back.
More than half of the period ticked away by the time Ryan Malone was able to redirect a Ryan Whitney shot to tie it up. Malkin tallied an assist on the goal, putting him one point up on Washington's Alexander Ovechkin. Earlier in the period, Malkin was hit with a diving penalty that warranted him two minutes in the box. Considering the degree of the dive, it seems doubtful he'll be chatting with Gary Bettman.
Tied up and rallying in front of the home crowd, the Penguins found themselves on the power play for what was the sixth time on the night. The power play took the to the ice with the remaining one minute and five seconds ticking down from regulation, with the guarantee of a 55 second power play to start overtime. Conklin cleared the puck to Gonchar, who dished it to a charging Malone making his way down ice as the clocked ticked away. Malone crashed the net hard, miraculously jamming the puck past the pads of Thomas Vokoun before getting absolutely crushed by Panthers defenders to put the Pens up 3-2 with less than 30 seconds to play.
And since the 19:37 mark of the third period, the fat lady hasn't stopped singing.
In what is now typical comeback fashion for the Penguins squad, Pittsburgh pulled off a crucial win against the Panthers to tie them with New Jersey for first in the Atlantic. Both the Senators and Canadiens won in shootout style tonight, leaving both the Devils and Penguins tied one point behind the Canadian powerhouses for the conference lead.
Fortunately the waters will soon be tested, as the Pens take on both the Habs and Senators within the next four days.
The upcoming week will prove to be a trying one for the Pens, as Captain Crosby may take to the ice sooner than later to help boost the team to the top of the Eastern Conference with a win over Montreal on Thursday and Ottawa on Saturday.
Penguins vs Canadiens - Thursday at 7:30pm.