Rookie Gibbons' first goal sparks Penguins to win over Ducks
With another deflating loss looking likely following a lifeless first period, the Penguins suddenly found themselves.
Maybe they found a player, too.
Brian Gibbons, playing in his first NHL game, triggered a third-period outburst of goals as the Penguins defeated Anaheim, 3-1, on Monday at Consol Energy Center.
Gibbons' take on how the Penguins snapped out of their funk was simple.
“I figured we had to shoot the puck,” he said.
That was logical given that it took the Penguins 18 minutes to put a shot on goal.
Captain Sidney Crosby, who scored his 10th goal of the season to cement the win in the third period, was able to joke about the team's inability to get a shot. When Beau Bennett finally put a puck on net with two minutes left in the first period, fans broke into mock applause.
“It was nice for the crowd to get into it there,” Crosby said. “I didn't think that was how we were going to get them into it.”
The Penguins got going with hard work.
All three goals were illustrations of the Penguins doing what they've been avoiding in recent games. They have lost four of their past six games, scoring one goal in each of those losses.
Staying on the perimeter has been an issue for the Penguins, but net-front presence helped them ice the victory.
Gibbons planted himself in the high slot in the third period while Tanner Glass stood in front of the net.
Evgeni Malkin, who had just skated onto the ice, took the puck and skated almost entirely around the perimeter of Anaheim's zone.
“It was my first shift ever with him,” Gibbons said. “I just wanted to make sure I went toward the net.”
Malkin finally found Gibbons, and he made no mistake.
Next, Sutter went to the net and deflected Olli Maatta's shot to make it 2-0.
Then, with the Penguins up 2-1 later in the third, Malkin and Chris Kunitz were in front of the net when Crosby floated a wrist shot past goaltender Viktor Fasth.
“We kept doing the right things out there,” Crosby said.
Coach Dan Bylsma will make sure the Penguins continue to see the worth of going to the net.
“We will see these goals tomorrow (on video) and note the net-front presence,” Bylsma said.
Bylsma reconfigured his top three lines before the game — Bennett played with Crosby and Kunitz, Malkin centered James Neal and Pascal Dupuis, and Sutter centered Gibbons and Jussi Jokinen — but the theme in the locker room following the victory was simple: Line combinations don't matter.
Bylsma called Anaheim “a tough matchup,” and Crosby said the Ducks “are a great defensive team that didn't give us much.”
The Penguins, locked in a scoreless tie into the third period, used brute force instead of finesse to take a victory. It might be a blueprint for future success.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Bennett a healthy scratch
- Penguins finally break through, defeat Devils at Prudential Center
- Lapierre eager to make mark with Penguins
- Crosby banned from Jets game because he missed All-Star Game
- Stat dropoff, road struggles have Penguins seeking consistency
- Starkey: What are Penguins, Pirates up to?
- Penguins’ Ehrhoff being tested for concussion
- Rossi: Crosby’s debt to NHL paid in full
- For Penguins coach Johnston, it’s a matter of substance over style
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended 8 games for hit on Letang
- Penguins notebook: Crosby understands NHL’s reasoning for ban