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The Confluence

3rd period comeback fuels Penguins over Bolts in OT, 4-3

Remember these two points, Penguins fans.

Sure, it may not make a hill of beans difference.  But with the Penguins on the verge of finally getting healthy, combined with the upcoming trade deadline one month from today, this just might be a turning point.

Evgeni Malkin’s goal with sixteen seconds remaining in overtime gave the Penguins a seemingly improbable 4-3 comeback win over the Lightning at the Igloo.  The Pens looked completely out of the game up until their first goal at the 2:25 mark of the third period.

The win was even more improbable considering that their woeful powerplay, now ranked 24th in the NHL, went 1 for 7, including a full two minute 5-on-3 powerplay.

The Lightning really played a physical game, especially the former Penguins.  Gary Roberts and Ryan Malone each had seven hits, while Mark Recchi had three.

It was another slow, flat start for the Penguins, who only had five shots on net in the first period.  The Lightning took advantage of that late in the first, as Malone attempted a wraparound but was stuffed by Marc-Andre Fleury.  Recchi fired a wrister on the rebound which Fleury also stopped, but Malone was there in front of the net to make the third time the charm to give the Lightning a 1-0 lead at the 15:25 mark.

The Bolts doubled their lead in the second period as Marty St. Louis grabbed a loose puck, skated around the Pens’ net and fired a pass to Vinny Lecavalier along the boards.  Lecavalier actually tried to throw a puck on net, but his shot was deflected off the skate of Malkin, going straight to St. Louis, who one-timed the puck past Fleury to make it 2-0 Lightning.

Lecavalier and St. Louis teamed up again near the end of the second period.  Lecavalier passed to St. Louis, who then patiently waited until he was near the goalline, then passed cross-ice to Lecavalier, who was left all alone next to Fleury.  Lecavalier calmly fired it home to make it 3-0 Lightning, and it seemed is was going to be another one of those nights for the Pens.

That started to change at the 2:25 mark of the third, when Malkin stole the puck in the Bolts’ zone and fed Pascal Dupuis for a one-timer that hit the post.  Rookie Bolts goalie Mike McKenna wasn’t able to locate the puck behind him, allowing Malkin to skate around the net and poke it home making it 3-1 Lightning.

However it remained that way until there was 5:54 remaining in the game when Malkin fired a shot that McKenna stopped.  Mark Eaton pinched and threw the puck on net, but it deflected off the skate of Bolts’ defenseman Steve Eminger and into the net to make it 3-2 Bolts.

The Penguins may have gotten a break a minute later as Matt Cooke goaded Gary Roberts into taking a roughing penalty.  On the powerplay, Malkin’s wrister was stopped, but in the ensuing scrum around the net Petr Sykora was somehow able to poke the puck under the bodies and into the net to tie the game at three.

In the overtime, Jordan Staal took advantage of a broken stick from Cory Murphy, who tried to glove the puck temporarily.  Staal was able to steal the puck and make a backhanded feed to Malkin, who one-timed it past McKenna for the comeback 4-3 win.

Other notes:
- Malkin was an absolute beast.  Two goals, one assist, seven shots and several big hits.
- Ryan Whitney led the Pens in icetime with 31:07.
- Miro Satan was not scratched after all, and in fact played in his 1000th game tonight.

The Pens are now off until Friday, when they will host Columbus.

Filed in: , | The Confluence | Permalink
  Tags: nhl-hockey, pittsburgh+penguins, tampa+bay+lightning

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About The Confluence

Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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