Fat Lady Has Laryngitis, Pens Stun Canucks
Despite it being a relative rarity, it would appear that Sidney Crosby enjoys playing in Vancouver. The Penguins snatched victory from the jaws of the orca with stunning late game heroics on Tuesday night. After back to back backhanders by Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian seventeen seconds apart past the midway point of the third period, the Canucks were looking at a well deserved win over a stout opponent.
Late in the third period, things changed, and suddenly. A Crosby clean face off win found its way to Kris Letang who fired a slapshot that was slightly screened initially by Ryan Kesler as he dropped to one knee to block the shot. It was just enough to delay Eddie Lack's glove hand and the Penguins got within one 1:11 remaining.
What one would usually expect to be a 'too little too late' goal turned into a sudden tied game only sixteen seconds later on a frantic and fortunate play with an extra attacker. A loose puck was being chased down by Kassian but an interruption by an aggressive Letang sent the puck to an open Jussi Jokinen. His shot rebounded in the air and was batted by Chris Kunitz and found its way to an open Crosby to bury into the wide open net with absolutely nothing Lack could do about.
In the shootout, only Crosby scored and the Penguins take two points away from a game they were sure to receive none with only ninety seconds left in regulation time.
The win was coach Dan Bylsma's 233rd victory as head coach of the Penguins, passing Eddie Johnston for first all time among Penguin coaches. Jonston had 232 victories in 516 games as coach, while Bylsma won his 223rd in only 364 games.
Brian Gibbons and Evgeni Malkin also scored for the Penguins. Additional tallies from the Canucks were from Jason Garrisoin and Chris Tanev.
The victory is the Penguins' 17th in their last 20 games. The Penguins conclude the final two games of a three game Canada road trip with the Oilers on Friday night and the Calgary Flames on Saturday.