The Florida Panthers jumped out to a 2-0 third period lead and did the worst thing you can do against the Penguins; sit back and play conservative
The Panthers let the Penguins hang around just long enough and Pittsburgh’s role players came up big in regulation as Pascal Dupuis (6) scored at 4:49 of the third period to cut the Panthers lead to 2-1 and Michael Rupp (5) scored with 2:32 remaining in the third period to tie the game at 2-2.
Just over a minute into overtime, Panthers winger Nathan Horton was called for a controversial four minute double minor for high-sticking Brooks Orpik which led to Sidney Crosby (11) scoring the game winner (PPG) at 3:07 in overtime as the Penguins prevailed 3-2.
Pittsburgh outshot the Panthers 45-21 in the game, including a 16-3 advantage in the third period and a 6-0 advantage in overtime. Marc Andre Fleury made 19 saves to earn his 13th victory of the season.
*You won’t hear too many analyst criticize Evgeni Malkin publicly for any parts of his game but Penguins TV color analyst Bob Errey criticized Malkin’s effort on face-offs tonight in the third period when Malkin was 1-for-9 at that time.
Errey’s critique of Malkin was warranted. Malkin’s never going to be a dominant or even average on face-offs but on some occasions he shows no interest in trying to win a draw. That needs to change. Malkin finished the game 3-for-11 in the face-off circle.
*Pascal Dupuis has been a valuable asset to the Penguins and who would have thought Dupuis would be tied for second on the team in goals with 6. Dupuis (6) and Michael Rupp (5) have either outscored or are tied with three of Pittsburgh’s top 2-line wingers; Guerin (5), Fedotenko (4) and Kunitz (3).
*Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy has been heavily scouted over the past two games. Some scouts see him as an asset for Pittsburgh in the trade market while others aren’t sold on him just yet.
The coaching staff is gaining confidence in Lovejoy who has seen increased minutes on the power play due to the fact that he’s not afraid to get the puck to the net.
*Sidney Crosby (8 shots) and Evgeni Malkin (6 shots) combined for 14 shots on goal against the Panthers.
*The Penguins were 1-for-5 on the power play and have scores a power play goal in four consecutive game. Pittsburgh improved to 16-8 on the season with their win tonight.
Pittsburgh’s Three Stars
1. C Sidney Crosby (1 goal, 8 SOG,)
Analysis: Netted the overtime winner and had a team high 8 shots on goal.
2. D Brooks Orpik (1 assist, 6 hits)
Analysis: Had a team high 6 hits and played a sound defensive game.
3. LW Michael Rupp ( 1 goals, 5PIM, 2 hits)
Analysis: Scored the game tying goal with 2:32 remaining in the game and played his role to perfection, receiving a 5 minute fighting major for fighting Panthers defenseman Bryan Allen after Allen knocked Evgeni Malkin down to the ice in front of the net, which led to a small scrum after the whistle.
Florida’s Three Stars
1. G Tomas Vokoun ( 42 saves)
Analysis: Florida was out shot 45-21 that included a 22-3 advantage for Pittsburgh in the third period and overtime combined. Vokoun was the prime reason the Panthers earned a point as the Panthers got conservative in the third period and let the Penguins dictate the play.
2. LW Nathan Horton (1 goal, 1 assist)
Analysis: Horton is a better fit at wing and that clearly showed tonight. He was a force in the offensive zone, scoring a goal and an assist. Horton was strong in one-on-one situations beating Ben Lovejoy wide at the blue line in the first period for a clear lane to the net.
3. D Keith Ballard ( 1 goal)
Analysis: One of the most under-rated defenseman in the league, Ballard had strong game at both ends of the ice. He’s the type of defenseman that can matchup against a Sidney Crosby and also push the play in the offensive zone.
*FLA – 17:33 Nathan Horton
Assists: Stephen Weiss, Michael Frolik
*FLA – 10:21 Keith Ballard
Assists: Michael Frolik, Nathan Horton
*PIT – 4:49 Pascal Dupuis
Assists: Brooks Orpik, Deryk Engelland
*PIT – 17:28 Mike Rupp
Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Martin Skoula
PIT – 3:07 Sidney Crosby (Power Play)
Assists: Evgeni Malkin, Bill Guerin