by Tony on 12/18/09 at 01:27 AM ET
It wasn’t too long ago that Sidney Crosby wasn’t very good at all in the shootout. Coming into this season, Sid was 12-for-38 for a 31.5 percent clip.
Chalk it up to his new sticks, his new shoot-more mentality, whatever you want, but Sid is now batting 1.000 for the season with his fifth shootout goal in as many attempts after tonight’s game-deciding goal to give the Penguins a 3-2 win over the Flyers and a sweep of their home-and-home series.
Crosby also scored his 22nd goal of the season to tie the game at 2-2 for the Pens, while Bill Guerin scored as well. And to top it off, they both came on the revamped powerplay.
Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux scored for the Flyers.
It certainly wasn’t as easy for the Penguins tonight as it was on Tuesday at the Igloo. The Flyers played much, much better and dictated play for several portions of the game.
The Flyers got a fortunate bounce to get on the board first early in the game. Jeff Carter skated into the Penguins zone and took advantage off Brooks Orpik stumbling. Carter came in on Marc-Andre Fleury and attempted a backhander which Fleury stopped, but the puck deflected off the arm of Sergei Gonchar, then off the post and into the net to give the Flyers at 1-0 lead at 1:15 of the first.
The Pens tied the game up on the powerplay after a Daniel Carcillo high-sticking penalty. Evgeni Malkin’s wrister from the left slot was blocked, following by both Chris Kunitz and Guerin crashing the net for the rebound. Guerin finally came up with the puck and banged the rebound into the net past Flyers’ goalie Brian Boucher to make it 1-1 at the 3:48 mark.
Early in the second period the Flyers took advantage of yet another foolish Malkin tripping penalty to take the lead. As Orpik was trying to hold the puck along the boards, Carcillo grabbed the loose puck and fired a wrister that Fleury stopped, but Giroux chipped in the rebound past Fleury making it 2-1 Flyers.
Midway through the second, with the Penguins on the powerplay after a Scott Hartnell hooking penalty, Sergei Gonchar fired a slapper from center point that was off the net. Chris Pronger appeared to have the puck on his stick but seemingly gave it right to Crosby, who one-timed it past Boucher to tie the game at 2-2 at 9:17.
After the remainder of regulation and overtime solved nothing, the Penguins dominated the shootout to ice the win. After Danny Briere whiffed on his attempt, Kris Letang started it off for the Pens with a great head fake that buckled Boucher’s knees for an easy wrister to the back of the net. Fleury’s poke check easily stopped Giroux, then Crosby skated in on Boucher and fired a wrister past him for the win.
- Powerplay continues to look better, going 2-for-5. It’s probably just me, but Malkin does not look comfortable at the left point. But as long as they can make crisp passes between Malkin, Gonchar and Crosby, that should continue to improve their percentage.
- Speaking of Malkin, he is really on a run of foolish, foolish penalties. Seems like he’s getting frustrated and is taking those penalties.
- Crosby had a good night in the faceoff circle, going 13-for-21.
- Nineteen blocked shots for the Pens, led by Jay McKee and Alex Goligoski with three each.
- Only nineteen hits awarded to the Pens tonight. Ruslan Fedotenko, Matt Cooke and Goligoski with three each.
- Another good sign, seven shots for Crosby.
The Penguins now head to Buffalo for a match against the Sabres on Saturday night.
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