Sidney Crosby could be excused if he thought for a second there that he couldn't score a goal if he took out his wallet and offered to pay cash.
During overtime, Crosby stepped off the wall, shrugged off a Montreal Canadiens defender and cut to the net in a power move. (And who says he doesn't drive the net anymore?). But Crosby's shot that beat Carey Price and was sliding towards the goal-line was rescued at the last second by defenseman Alexei Emelin, who swatted it away just before it went in.
Well, he cleared it and it rocketed towards Crosby's head. Luckily Sid was able to duck out of the way. Would have been just too ironic to be injured by the clearing attempt of what should have been a goal. And then Crosby's luck would change.
Seconds later the Habs would be ticketed for too many men on the ice, giving the Pens a 4-on-3 power play for the balance of OT. To make matters better, one of the three MTL PK'ers broke his stick, so it was a defacto 4-on-2. Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Crosby quickly tossed the puck around in a dizzying array of pure skill. But someone has to shoot to win the game.
Malkin touched over a perfect pass to his right to Crosby and he pulled the trigger. The one-timer blasted by Price and Crosby let out a shout to the heavens. Game over. Pens win.
A few more thoughts on the game:
- Didya catch when Sid almost took a skate blade to an area no man (or woman either, I'm guessing) would want to? Eventful night for Crosby with the GWG, 4 shots on net, 2 hits, 2 blocked shots and winning 54% of a game-high 24 faceoffs. Hopefully the goal proves to be the proverbial "monkey off the back".
- Malkin, as has been his custom, was the star of the show. He scored the Pens first goal of the game, on a long-range slapshot through traffic after a long shift that Geno started by intercepting a puck and keeping it in the zone. Malkin would take over several other shifts too and was easily the most consistently good player in the lineup for Pittsburgh.
- In three games with the Pens, David Perron has 16 total shots on goal (6, 5, 5). That's awesome, hopefully he can keep up that sort of shooting ability. He's also one of the most special players in a 4v4 situation in the league with all his dekes, dangles, vision and ability. Fun to watch and the perfect player to insert onto this team. Didn't score tonight, but as he integrates and gets use to his new teammates and system, the points aren't far behind.
- Beau Bennett hit another post tonight, and is it just me or does Bennett hit a post in almost every game? Also, great stat from CBC the Pens are now 41-14-4 all-time when Beau plays in the regular season. Of course, not breaking news that Pittsburgh has been good in the regular season over the years, but that's an impressive showing.
- Bennett and Nick Spaling (the latter getting an assist) deserve props for their play on Malkin's goal. Simon Despres too for being smart enough to drop the puck off for 71 to hammer it.
- "It's the fastest game we played this season," Crosby said afterwards."[The] Canadiens are a fast team. Fun to play them." The first whistle of the game wasn't until 7+ minutes in. Several end-to-end, back-and-forth chances. Not much scoring, but a ton of skating and a ton of action going on.
- Price and Marc-Andre Fleury have been two of the best goalies all season, so it was fitting there wasn't much scoring. Fleury wasn't tested with a lot or incredibly tough shots, but he did stop 27/28 and was more than solid with the Pens playing tied or from behind all game.
- Craig Adams is playing like a man whose job is on the line. 7 hits (game-high) in just 9:30 played, and 3 shots on goal and all of them, believe it or not, were in reasonably decent scoring positions with chances to go in. None did, but hey, Craig Adams playing with piss and vinegar like that in games is a lot better than Craig Adams dumping his own teammates in practice.
The Pens now get 2 more days off in this somewhat slow month on January and get to watch for Mike Yeo and the struggling Minnesota Wild back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday night. The captain gave 'em a reason to look forward to it tonight.