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Penguins vs. Panthers recap: Crosby and Letang fuel big comeback, Pens win

Sidney Crosby takes over in the third period and helps the Penguins out against the Florida Panthers, with Kris Letang scoring the overtime winner. See the highlights, read some analysis here!

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Penguins were 2-7-1 coming into tonight in the back-end of back-to-back games. After losing last night in Tampa they were looking for a better result against the Florida Panthers. Thanks to their 2 best players they would get that better result.

The Goals

After a long time of scoreless play, Florida would score the first goal of the game in the 2nd period with old friend Jussi Jokinen scoring a power play goal from a bad angle. Credit Jeff Zatkoff for stopping the first 25 shots he saw, but this is just atrocious and inexcusable positioning for an NHL goalie.

Another short-handed goal allowed by the Pens after Derrick Pouliot whiffs on the puck and Trevor Daley fails to catch up to Aleksander Barkov.and Zatkoff just kind of is there and doesn't do much else.

The Pens finally get on the board with Kris Letang finishing a nice pass from Sidney Crosby to beat Roberto Luongo.

Sidney MF Crosby comes through again, going to the net and getting the puck in the net to tie the game and get the Pens a point in the standings.

In OT the Pens pull out the win thanks to Letang and Crosby hooking up again and Letang scoring the winner.

Some Thoughts

  • Nice to see the Pens get creative on the PK (almost by necessity with the Bonino+Fehr injuries). They send Sidney Crosby in for an early d-zone faceoff, he drills it straight out all the way back to Luongo and then goes straight to the bench. Crosby would go on to take the first faceoff in almost all PK's for the Pens.
  • Pens were outshot 20-9 in the first period (including 2 PP's to 0 for Florida), but didn't have too many dangerous chances. On the flipside, Crosby hit the post after sneaking a puck through Luongo's legs. Fairly even first, though it's never good to see so much rubber flying at the wrong net..
  • They flat-lined in the 2nd period though with just 1 SOG in the first 10 minutes and looked like they were out of gas. In response, the Pens didn't switch the Crosby line but shuffled players on the other lines to look for a spark.
  • Nice job in the second period on a 4v4 by Brian Dumoulin to realize Reilly Smith was all alone in front of the net, so Dumoulin burst in, disrupted body position and tied up Smith's stick in time when the point-shot came through. That's the type of play we haven't seen much of from Dumoulin but a nice sign for his on-ice awareness to read and react before the play happens and help prevent a goal against.
  • Per Bob Grove on the tweet machine, Conor Sheary, Oskar Sundqvist and Tom Kuhnhackl all were under 5:15 TOI through the second intermission. On one hand, tough to shorten the bench on the 2nd night of a b-2-b, but on the other hand, it's not like those guys were likely to do much to help the cause.
  • Down 1-0 in the 3rd period the Pens put out their 2nd PP unit. 11 seconds later, the puck is in their own net. Ouch. With 10+ minutes left in the game it might have been an unusual time to use a timeout (if necessary) but given how scarce scoring chance, and how the Crosby line were the only ones generating chances, curious to not have the best players on the ice for that, and ended up being a costly decision.
  • Only fitting that career point 900 for Crosby comes on a sharp, cross-ice pass for an assist. He's shown his vision and playmaking ability so many times over the past decade plus and congrats on him to the milestone. As a reference point, Crosby is still 937 career points behind Jaromir Jagr . (Of course, Jags does have 922 games on Sid).
  • This game was all about Crosby and Letang. The Pens looked lifeless and down 2-0 with under 10 minutes to go. Crosby makes a great pass, Letang buries one to end Luongo's shutout bid. Crosby ties the game deflecting a shot in late. Letang  comes out in OT shot out of a cannon to draw a penalty 8 seconds in and blows the GWG by Luongo on a pass from, who else but Crosby.

Exhilarating win for the Pens, who looked dead to rights and played a boring game for about 54 minutes, then came to life and come away with 2 points. Any final thoughts, Monsieur Letang?

Eff yeah, indeed.