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Sidney Crosby and Brooks Orpik lead the Pens past the Maple Leafs 5-4 (SO)

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Pensburgh sign behind the bench, to coach Dan Bylsma's left.  Not enough thanks can go to commenter Pensareyourdaddy (and Cari for the screengrab)

Back and forth game today, unusual from it's starting time (5:00) to the number of swings in who was winning (7) to the ending (shootout).  The Pittsburgh Penguins out-paced the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-4 in the long run, by virtue of a bounce-back shootout performance by Marc-Andre Fleury.

The game started out rough for the Pens, they yielded two of the first three goals, including one that enforcer Colton Orr chopped in a goal from point blank.  Sidney Crosby got the Pens back into things with two second period goals (to pass you-know-who for the current league lead with 47) to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead.  Carl Gunnarsson would bring Toronto right back into the game before the period ended.

In the third, Toronto again pushed a lead this time on a Tyler Bozak PP goal.  Power play goals have been rare for the Maple Leafs, who've been in as much of a rut as the Pens have been for preventing them.  It would take until three minutes left before Matt Cooke deflected in a Jordan Leopold shot to tie the game.

Shootout time Crosby scored, Fleury stopped and surprise 3rd shooter Pascal Dupuis ended the game.

  • Luca Caputi returned to dear old Pittsburgh where he played 6 games in front of the Igloo fans wearing enemy colors.  Caputi didn't stand out too much, 15:13 played, one shot on goal.
  • Crosby now not only leads the league in goals (for the moment, anyways), but he's also currently #1 in shootout goals.  That's first tie-braker for the Richard award if it ends in a tie, right?  Just kidding.  Kinda.
  • Just sayin, part 2: Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang play a combined 9:15 on the PP, with a combined 0 points.  Brooks Orpik, 3 assists on the day.
  • It wasn't for a lack of trying, Letang led the whole game with nine shots on goal, Goligoski and Letang were 1 and 2 on the team for ice-time, both blocked three shots.
  • Crosby took an amazing 49% of all the Penguins faceoffs today.  Won 54% of them too.  The team is leaning, heavily, on #87 and it's only bound to continue.
  • Tyler Kennedy, the flurry of activity: 1 goal, on ice for two goals for (none against), 3 shots, 5 hits.  All in only 13:34 of playing time.  What's it take for him to get another shift or two?
  • A dollar for every time an announcer says that Craig Adams is getting close to scoring a goal.  Adams doesn't have the luck, but he's working hard and getting some chances.  The blind squirrel has to find a nut sooner or later, right?  Calling it now: Craig Adams scores a goal of importance during the playoffs.
  • Along with Caputi; Bozak, Gunnarson, Nikolai Kulemin and Viktor Stalberg gives the Maple Leafs some really good young forwards.  Once they get experience, they'll be a team to watch in the near future.

Today's win, coupled with the Devils losing 5-1 at home to Philly, gives the Pens an increased chance of winning the Atlantic.  Of current, Pittsburgh is two points up on NJ, but the Devils have a game in hand (and all the tie-breakers), so it's definitely anybody's division with now just 6 or 7 games left.  The Pens now get two days off, hopefully to return one of (if not both) Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar to the lineup.