Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins 4, Canadiens 3 (Ot) Malkin's Ot Score Caps a Fine Month Penguins Ring out a Productive Year by Besting Visiting Canadiens on New Year's Eve

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins 4, Canadiens 3 (Ot) Malkin's Ot Score Caps a Fine Month Penguins Ring out a Productive Year by Besting Visiting Canadiens on New Year's Eve

Article excerpt

It may not have been the preferred method of execution for those sitting and standing on the bench, but closing out 2016 in some sort of boring, lopsided fashion, even if it was with a win, simply wouldn't have properly represented what the Penguins accomplished.

Or the drama with which it all happened.

Anything but an edge-of-your-seat win would've felt wrong, right?

A record-setting and Stanley Cup-winning amount of resilience took shape last New Year's Eve in Detroit, and a similar thing happened Saturday with a 4-3 overtime win over the Canadiens at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins produced 12 wins in December. It's happened three other times in franchise history. Coach Mike Sullivan has now been responsible for two of them.

They've erased an NHL-high seven deficits when trailing after two this season. And while the lead they wiped out Saturday wasn't achieved until 2:04 of the third, not an eye blinked on the Penguins' bench.

"I'll always bet on our guys to come back and score big goals for us," said Marc-Andre Fleury, who might have been the Penguins' most important player on this night, stopping 37 of 40 shots. "And they did."

The first was Conor Sheary redirecting a Justin Schultz shot with his body at 19:05 of the third period, and the second was Evgeni Malkin rifling a shot from the right dot that clanked off the post and past Carey Price, an overtime winner that came via the power play.

Malkin was dazzling all night. He attempted 10 shots, put seven on goal, picked up two points and surged past Crosby and into the NHL scoring lead with 43 points -at least until Connor McDavid and Edmonton played late Saturday.

"We stayed with it all game," said Patric Hornqvist, who scored the Penguins' first goal, off a patience-filled feed from Malkin. "We played against a good team. We were the better team in the third. Tied it up there late and went into overtime. Felt really good for us."

It has felt that way for awhile for this group.

The Penguins finished 55-19-9 in 2016, the most dominant team in the NHL and probably also its least boring.

In fact, their points percentage in those 83 games -. …

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