Crosby scores first goal, Malkin nets OT winner for Penguins
PITTSBURGH — All was right for the Pittsburgh Penguins, at least for one game.
Their slumping captain finally found the scoresheet, two of their other stars also scored and a powerless power-play finally came through.
The Penguins and their dynamic collection of forwards hope it’s a sign of things to come.
Evgeni Malkin scored at 1:21 into overtime on the second power play of the game and Sidney Crosby picked up his first goal of the season to lead the Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
”We generated some good chances all night,” Crosby said. ”Could’ve had more, but it’s nice to see that first one go in.”
Malkin’s third goal in as many games withstood a video review. He took a pass from Kris Letang at the top of the right circle and fired a slap shot past Roberto Luongo. The Penguins scored two power-play goals after entering on an 0-for-17 slump with the man advantage and nearing a franchise-worst 0-for-21 streak to begin the season.
Crosby netted his first three points of the season on the first-period goal and two assists.
Phil Kessel scored his second goal and Malkin has five points during a four-game point streak for the Penguins, who won their third straight. Marc-Andre Fleury, who has won 10 of 12 against the Panthers, stopped 31 shots.
Quinton Howden and Derek MacKenzie scored goals for the Panthers, who battled back from a two-goal deficit despite a disallowed goal early in the third period. Luongo made 32 saves for Florida, which lost its second straight after opening the season with three wins in four games.
”It was a frustrating night for sure,” Panthers coach Gerard Gallant said. ”We thought we scored a goal, but it was disallowed. We thought they scored, we wanted to challenge and didn’t get a chance. There were some frustrating calls for sure.”
Trailing 1-0, Florida thought it had the equalizer 1:16 into the third when Reilly Smith deflected Brian Campbell’s point shot between Fleury’s legs. But the goal was disallowed after a lengthy video review because of a high stick on the puck.
Kessel extended the Penguins’ lead two minutes later.
Luongo had trouble gloving Rob Scuderi’s shot from the top of the circle. The rebound fell to the ice between Willie Mitchell’s skates where Kessel swept it into the net.
Howden pulled the Panthers within a goal, 2-1, midway through the period, setting the stage for another momentum shift.
Pittsburgh thought it had a 3-1 lead soon after, but the goal was waved off after it was ruled that Luongo made the initial stop and was pushed into the net.
The Panthers tied it a little more than a minute later.
Howden’s initial shot bounced off the glass behind the net to Connor Brickley. He quickly centered to MacKenzie, who snapped a shot past Fleury to tie the game.
”They seemed to get some momentum and put us back on our heels,” Crosby said. ”A one-goal game like that you can be a little guilty of that. We stayed with it, got the power play and found a way to close it out.”
That hasn’t been easy for Crosby or the Penguins.
He broke a lengthy drought when he scored the team’s first power-play goal and notched his first point six games into the season. It was a career-worst start to the season for the two-time scoring champion.
Crosby put a stop to the skid for the Penguins, who finished 10th last year and are two seasons removed from boasting the league’s best power play. He netted the lone goal of the first two periods 11 minutes into the game when he took a cross-ice pass from Malkin at the top of the left circle and whipped a wrist shot past Luongo to the blocker side.
Panthers forward Jaromir Jagr returned to Pittsburgh where he won a pair of Stanley Cups and five scoring titles. He has seven points in his last nine trips to Pittsburgh but was held off the scoresheet Tuesday with three shots in 17:33.
NOTES: Luongo played in his 869th regular-season game, surpassing Grant Fuhr for ninth among goaltenders. … Penguins’ second-round pick Daniel Sprong missed Tuesday’s game because of work visa issues. … Campbell played in his 300th consecutive game for Florida. … Pittsburgh finishes a season-long five-game homestand Thursday against Dallas. Florida visits Chicago, also on Thursday.