Penguins rally to defeat Blackhawks in shootout but lose Crosby to injury | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

Penguins rally to defeat Blackhawks in shootout but lose Crosby to injury

Seth Rorabaugh
1923495_web1_1923495-38d9ad90363b4001901f54648c159671
AP
The Penguins’ Nick Bjugstad (27) hits the goalpost behind Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford (50) with Blackhawks’ Calvin de Haan (44) defending during the first period Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
1923495_web1_1923495-a7afaae760af4787a3f5b815e0822064
AP
Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) gloves a shot by the Blackhawks’ Drake Caggiula (91) during the first period Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019.
1923495_web1_1923495-291e0b92a4014aa3818c0fef1005afe1
AP
Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson checks the Blackhawks’ Alex Nylander off the puck during the first period.
1923495_web1_1923495-17a5c0f84cd24ec19fddf66038ec28d8
AP
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Bryan Rust (17) celebrates his goal with Dominik Simon (12) and Brian Dumoulin (8) during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Chicago Blackhawks in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
1923495_web1_1923495-06107b2041c94b78a543b60c6ad0e2b9
AP
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Evgeni Malkin (71) is defended by former teammate Chicago Blackhawks’ Olli Maatta (6) during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Half a decade has rolled by since the previous occasion the Penguins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks.

On Saturday, the Penguins snapped that slump of 10 games with a 3-2 shootout victory at PPG Paints Arena.

But of greater significance is the well being of captain Sidney Crosby. He left the contest with 18 minutes, 9 seconds left in the third period because of an undisclosed injury. Coach Mike Sullivan had no update on Crosby beyond noting he is being evaluated and suggested an update might be available on Monday.

Crosby is the Penguins’ top scorer with 17 points (five goals, 12 assists) in 17 games. Beyond the basic statistics, his impact should be obvious to anyone who has watched this franchise with even a passing interest during the 15 seasons it has employed Crosby.

“We’re just hoping for the best,” goaltender Matt Murray said. “But, obviously, he’s our leader. He’s the best player in the world. So if he’s out, we’ll miss him for sure.”

The Penguins entered the game already missing the talents of all-star defenseman Kris Letang as well as forward Patric Hornqvist, one of the NHL’s top players in front of the crease.

Despite missing three of their best — and most expensive — players the Penguins have staged comebacks from multiple goals in each of their past three games and have won two of them.

“Just for us to be able come back again in the third, it shows what kind of character and commitment we have on this team,” forward Jake Guentzel said. “To come out and get two points there is huge.”

The contest began as if the Penguins would not get any points, as had been the case for most of their previous 10 meetings with the Blackhawks.

Chicago opened the scoring at 7:09 of the second period when forward Brandon Saad, a native of Gibsonia, created a three-on-one rush with defenseman Slater Koekoek and forward Dominik Kubalik against Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson. The sequence resulted in Kubalik burying a forehand shot past the left skate of goalie Matt Murray.

They doubled their lead only 1:38 later when all-star forward Patrick Kane ripped a wrister from the right dot past Murray’s glove hand on the near side.

The Penguins finally got on the scoreboard at 16:04 of the second. After stealing the puck in the neutral zone, forward Evgeni Malkin roared into the offensive zone on the left wing. Waiting until seemingly the last possible moment, Malkin fed a pass around Koekoek’s stick to the slot, where a trailing Guentzel whacked it past the glove hand of Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.

Following Crosby’s departure and their third unsuccessful power play of the game — they have failed to convert on 26 consecutive opportunities with the man advantage of their past 11 games — the Penguins found a way to force another tie at 10:57 of the third.

Taking a pass from Malkin above the right circle, rookie defenseman John Marino displayed uncanny patience and waited for a cross-ice seam to open up. Once it did, he zipped a pass below the left circle, where forward Bryan Rust lifted a wrister past the blocker of a sprawling Crawford.

“It was an unbelievable play,” Rust said of Marino’s pass. “I tried to scream as loud as I could, but I’m not sure if he heard me because it was pretty loud in there. He made a real good fake, got his head up and made the pass over to me. It was an easy one.”

Shootout goals by Guentzel and McCann secured victory. Murray stopped two of the three shootout shots he faced.

The Penguins aren’t sure what they will face without their captain.

“He’s obviously, the best player in the world,” Guentzel said. “So if he’s out, it’s going take commitment by everyone to step up. But we’ll have to see what happens.”

Seth Rorabaugh is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Seth by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
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.