Crosby's OT goal lifts Pens to win
Neither a blizzard nor the Buffalo Sabres could stop Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.
With limited to no visibility caused by a combination of strong winds and heavy snow in western New York, the Penguins were forced to bus to Buffalo on Sunday. A day later, an ornery bunch took out their frustrations on the Sabres, defeating Buffalo, 4-3, in overtime Monday night at HSBC Arena.
The win coincided with Crosby snapping his career-long, nine-game scoring drought, as the Penguins' captain notched the winner 43 seconds into overtime after he deflected Evgeni Malkin's wrist shot.
The play survived a 2-minute video review, with Crosby's stick deemed under the crossbar when he touched it from in tight.
"It was pretty close," said Crosby, who scored for the first time since netting a hat trick against New Jersey last month. "But I don't think it was (a high-stick). My stick was angled down. If I would have hit it a little higher up, I think we would have been flirting with danger a little bit more."
Alex Goligoski had two goals and an assist, and Pascal Dupuis also scored. Malkin, the league's leading scorer, had three assists.
But the dramatics belonged to Crosby, who seconds earlier just missed winning it when his behind-the-back backhand just trickled to the side of the post.
"He was all over the ice," Goligoski said. "He had a bunch of chances, so you just had a feeling that one of them was going to go in."
After a poor showing against Toronto in which Michel Therrien unloaded on his team, the Penguins gave their coach a bit more joy in a winter wonderland along Lake Erie.
"He scored a big one," Therrien said about Crosby. "Those types of players are game-breakers, and he deserved that goal."
The Penguins won for the second time in their last three games, and looked nothing like the team that was routed by the Maple Leafs Saturday night. But they're still a mediocre 4-5-1 during the month of December, with four more games left in the calendar year -- including tonight's tilt at Mellon Arena against Eastern Conference doormat Tampa Bay.
Marc-Andre Fleury, making his third straight start since returning from a groin injury, made 32 saves. Fleury was solid throughout, and kept the Penguins in the game when he turned aside 13 Buffalo shots in the second period.
"My guys in front of me did a good job of forechecking, coming back into our zone and taking the rebounds away," Fleury said.
With Buffalo ahead, 3-2, after two periods, Goligoski scored his second of the game, wristing a shot past screened Buffalo goalie Ryan Miller on the power play with under 9 minutes left in regulation.
Daniel Paille opened the scoring with his fourth goal of the season just a minute in, and Ales Kotalik made it 2-0 at 5:23 of the second period.
Dupuis, returning after a one-game absence because of a lower body injury, cut the deficit to 2-1 with his seventh 55 seconds later, and Goligoski tied it with under 8 minutes left in the second.
Clarke MacArthur gave the Sabres the lead back on the power play with 4:02 to go in the middle frame.