Crosby rallies Penguins over Vancouver in shootout
By Josh Yohe
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 1:12 a.m.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — There is something about Sidney Crosby in Vancouver.
Maybe there is something about these Penguins, too.
Down two goals and their goaltender pulled, the Penguins roared back to even the game and ultimately win 5-4 in a shootout against the Canucks, making coach Dan Bylsma the all-time leader in wins (233) for a Penguins coach.
“Maybe it would have been over for a lot of teams,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “But not us.”
Crosby has a magic about him in Rogers Arena.
He scored the “golden goal” in 2010 to give Canada the gold medal in the Winter Olympics against the United States. Crosby celebrated his dramatic tying goal in the same spot where he was mobbed by his Canadian teammates four years ago. Earlier Tuesday, Crosby again was named to Team Canada.
“I wasn't surprised by the celebration in that corner,” Bylsma said with a smile.
Even though he probably was enduring one of his worst games of the season against the Canucks — he took a shot off the foot and was guilty of numerous giveaways, including one that led to a goal — Crosby mustered up magic and the perfect moment.
With 1:11 to go and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury pulled for an extra attacker, Crosby won a faceoff to Jussi Jokinen, who delivered a pass to Letang. The defenseman fired a shot that beat goaltender Eddie Lack.
A frantic sequence in front of the Canucks net moments later saw left wing Chris Kunitz — subject of the story of the day in Vancouver for being named to the Canadian Olympic team — swat a puck out of midair in the direction of Crosby, whom the Canucks had left alone by the far post.
“That was an unbelievable play by Chris Kunitz,” Bylsma said.
In a goal that was similar to the one Crosby scored against the Bruins with less than a second remaining in November, the Penguins captain wasn't about to miss the wide-open cage, especially not in this building.
Even Crosby felt something special was about to happen because of his fond memories of Vancouver.
“It's hard not to think about it,” Crosby said. “I remember the rink being set up a little different last time I was here. It was a great memory.”
This isn't a bad memory, either.
Crosby kicked the pass from Kunitz to his stick then patiently beat Lack.
“He was lurking around the net,” Bylsma said. “The puck was bouncing around. From the bench, it took way too long hitting off his skate and trying to get it to his stick.”
Crosby's heroics set the stage for the shootout.
Crosby was the only player to score. He took advice from backup goaltender Jeff Zatkoff and buried a shot between Lack's legs.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, fairly sharp despite the four goals against, stopped all three shots he faced in the shootout.
Crosby received an injury scare in the first period when an Evgeni Malkin shot caromed off his right foot. He was in obvious pain on the bench.
“It's fine,” he said. “It was just a stinger. I didn't really see it coming.”
The Canucks probably didn't see the Penguins' comeback coming, either.
However, four unanswered goals weren't enough to hold off the Penguins.
For Bylsma, in marked career win No. 233, which puts him ahead of Eddie Johnston for first on the team's all-time list.
“A memorable game, yes,” Bylsma said.
It usually is when his captain plays in Vancouver.
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