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Crosby's goal in overtime propels Pens over Islanders

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Sidney Crosby scored his 22nd goal of the season off a Justin Schultz 2-on-1 breakaway with 1:12 left in overtime to push the Penguins to a 3-2 win over the New York Islanders at PPG Paints Arena Saturday evening.

Mike Sullivan saw the theme playing out.

“It just seemed like the puck didn’t want to go in for us,” he explained about a night that saw the Penguins first 35 shots on goal finding the equipment of goalie Chris Gibson.

Leave it to Patric Hornqvist to provide the optimistic view in the game where he insisted, “we’ll eventually score, because we have all the momentum.”

Hornqvist did just that, as the forward scored his 18th goal of the year, a Phil Kessel assisted transition finish 26 seconds into a power play with just under two minutes left in the second period finally provided tangible evidence to the Penguins’ confidence grab. 

The game-tying goal answered a fluky Brandon Davidson goal, in which the defenseman put a weak shot between two Penguins near the faceoff circle, which found the net thanks to Tristan Jarry losing his edge, falling backwards into the net as he attempted to backpedal to pursuit the play.

“I don’t know what he did, quite honestly,” said a lighthearted Sullivan of Jarry’s tip of the cap to the human element.  “I don’t know if he lost an edge or hit a rut or whatever, but it was just one of those unfortunate circumstances.”

“I think it was one of those fluke things where my skate got caught in the ice,” said a humbled Jarry of the freak goal.  I wasn’t able to get back up quick enough and it’s just something that I’ll put past me.”

“I was really happy with how he responded,” continued Sullivan, as the rookie netminder bounced back from the play, stopping 18 of the next 19 shots that he would face, including all three in an overtime period that yielded a 4-on-3 power play for New York (29-30-7) after the Penguins were called for too many men on the ice.

Jarry found that, “it was a little easier when I went to the bench and I saw 90% of the guys laughing at me.  It’s a tough thing to swallow, but I’m glad we won.”

Starting in just his fifth-career NHL game, the Islanders’ goalie Gibson put together an outstanding campaign, facing 50 shots, stopping 47 of them.  The rookie stopped all 19 shots he faced in the first period, but a second game-tying goal, this time from the stick of Derick Brassard (19), who scored his first as a Penguin midway through the third period, served as the momentum builder needed for Pittsburgh (37-25-4) to get over the hump.

“You could tell that we got a lot of jump from that and kind of carried the play after that,” said Crosby of Brassard’s goal.

“I was just trying to get on top of the puck and I kind of just shot it towards the net, and I think they kind of lost me in the coverage,” said Brassard, who played in his third game in a Penguins jersey since being acquired from Ottawa last week.  “I know Phil (Kessel) is a really good shooter, and I know at the same time he has really good vision, so I just tried to stay open at one point and I kind of made my way towards the front of the net and made a really good play.”

Crosby, who is now tied for 11th place with 70 points on the year, talked about the team’s rebound on Saturday after losing three in a row.

“We generated a lot of shots and chances and didn’t give up a ton,” the captain explained.  “The main thing is to get the two points and build off of that.”

“I liked our team game tonight,” said Sullivan.  “I thought we had the puck a lot, we generated a lot of scoring chances [and] I thought we controlled territory.  There was a lot of things to like about our game tonight.  We stayed with it.  There was no panic on the bench and we just kept trying to play the game the right way.”

After the moneyline

Pittsburgh came in as the top moneyline favorite at -260.  The total, which was set at 6.5 goals, went under for just the second time in the last seven games.

Up next

The Penguins will host Calgary Monday night.  Puck drops at 7 PM.

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