Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On Target in Shootout Neal, Crosby Touch Reimer to Earn Win Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 4

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

On Target in Shootout Neal, Crosby Touch Reimer to Earn Win Penguins 5, Maple Leafs 4

Article excerpt

TORONTO -- Desperation built.

And built.

For the Penguins, it was a matter of holding off the hard- charging Toronto Maple Leafs after twice leading by two goals. For Penguins center and team captain Sidney Crosby, that included clawing at the stubborn black tape on the blade of his stick so he could replace it -- a personal ritual -- and take part in the shootout.

With the fresh tape finally in place, Crosby, the Penguins' second shooter, lofted a shot over Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer for a 5-4 win Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.

"The tape wouldn't come off," Crosby said. "I was getting a little worried. It's the only stick I had. I was afraid I was going to have to take the shootout with no tape on my stick. I was lucky enough to get the tape on my stick and ready to go."

Crosby also was fortunate that he was OK after getting upended and sent into the boards by Toronto's Cody Franson in the third period.

"I think he was just trying to lie down to block the pass," Crosby said. "My feet kind of got caught up. I got some air time."

Things were little more questionable about fellow Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who got crunched into the boards on a hit by the Maple Leafs' James van Riemsdyk a little before Franson sent Crosby flying.

Malkin was playing in his third game after missing four because of a concussion. He was mostly upright on the check and did not appear to hit his head. Coach Dan Bylsma said Malkin was held out of the overtime as a precaution but indicated that Malkin -- the defending NHL scoring champion and MVP -- will be evaluated for an unspecified injury.

Bylsma had no prognosis for Malkin, including whether he might be available tonight when the New York Islanders visit Consol Energy Center.

Malkin had an assist against the Maple Leafs, who erased a two- goal deficit and forced overtime when Phil Kessel scored on a rebound at 15:40 of the third period.

Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped Tyler Bozak and Nazem Kadri in the shootout, while James Neal and Crosby beat Toronto goaltender James Reimer.

"I wasn't happy giving up four goals. I wanted to make sure we got those two points in the end," Fleury said. …

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