Article Written By: Adam Wible
Rogers Arena, may as well be called Crosby World.
The Pittsburgh Penguins began their Canadian road trip Tuesday night at Vancouver. Many players know the history of Rogers Arena, however, only one knows what it’s like to win a gold medal in your home country. Sidney Crosby is that player, beating USA in overtime to capture that golden moment. Crosby would pull one of his magic tricks later that Tuesday night.
“It’s hard not to think about it when you’re out there,” Crosby said. “Kind of put it in the back of your mind though, because there’s some other important things happening in the next little while.”
The Canucks came onto the ice led by back up goaltender Eddie Lack. Lack knew going into the game that it would be a shootout, if the Canucks had any chance.
As the first period got underway to little fanfare, the visiting Penguins had most of the momentum. They got on the board first, on a Brian Gibbons backhand shot. The Penguins led in shots 13-8, and the teams each had one penalty during the opening frame.
The second period was much of the same. Marc-Andre Fleury made a few phenomenal saves, and the Penguins were able to draw first blood again in the second. Evgeni Malkin’s wrister beat Lack, and gave the Penguins a 2-0 lead. Momentum was changing late in the period as the Canucks got a couple of good looks on Fleury.
At 15:35 Jason Garrison’s wrist shot beat Fleury and momentum began to swing in the Canucks Favor. Down 2-1 and very late in the second period, the Penguins got called for tripping. All momentum was lost going into the third.
The Canucks overcame a 2-1 deficit to take a two-goal lead. Chris Tanev tied it at 7:39 before Chris Higgins and Zack Kassian scored 17 seconds apart to put Vancouver ahead 4-2.
Tanev, who also had an assist, tied it at 2-2 with a low shot through a screen by Higgins and Kassian, and Higgins put the Canucks ahead on a breakaway, slipping a backhand through the legs of a sprawling Fleury with 6:53 left. He assisted on Kassian’s goal on the next shift.
Seconds after Lack robbed James Neal at the other end, Kassian, who also had an assist, batted Higgins’ high pass out of the air and chipped a floater over Fleury’s shoulder. Again, it wasn’t enough.
This is where Crosby’s heroics come into play.
With 1:11 Crosby fired a pass to Kris Letang, who beat Lack with a slap shot, to bring the Penguins within one.
16 seconds later with 55 seconds left on the clock, Crosby finessed himself past Lack, tying the game at 4.
Both teams would head to overtime, but neither team could find the back of the net.
Heading to a shootout is exactly where the Penguins wanted to be, against a backup goaltender and having all the momentum. Both goalies made saves in the first round. Sidney Crosby up second, found his way through Lack’s legs, to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the shootout.
Marc-Andre Fleury would shutdown the rest, and gave the Penguins a 5-4 shootout victory to start their Canadian road trip.
“They did it to us, so it was nice we did it back,” said Fleury, who stopped all three Vancouver attempts in the shootout and hasn’t given up a goal on 11 chances this season. “When your team does something like that, you just want to help out, and I got my chance in the shootout.”
My Picks: All home teams tonight.
Flyers 3-2, Blackhawks 4-2, Avalanche 3-1