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Penguins Locker Room: ‘Uh, Put It in the Net!’ Carter, Crosby on Comeback Win

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Jeff Carter

BUFFALO — The Pittsburgh Penguins locker room scene was much different than expected. After being dominated by the Buffalo Sabres for the first two periods and generally a step slower, the Penguins trailed 2-1 after two periods. It looked like a bad night brewing.

Yet, they surged to a 4-3 OT win over Buffalo on Friday at Key Bank Center.

Sidney Crosby made one of those “Crosby” plays early in the third period as he slid into the boards to keep the puck in the offensive zone. From his knees, Crosby zipped a backhand pass across the ice to Danton Heinen to begin a sequence that ended with Rickard Rakell burying a rebound. Crosby didn’t get an assist because Heinen touched it twice before Rakell scored, but the captain’s effort elevated the team for the remained of the third period.

That tied the game, 2-2, and was only the beginning of the wild third period and OT, which featured three Penguins goals, including an OT power-play goal winner by Jeff Carter.

Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap here.

In the final 30 seconds of regulation, things got a little chippy. Jake Guentzel and Jeff Skinner exchanged slashes. However, Skinner didn’t stop there. A couple of crosschecks, including one to Guentzel’s face, earned Skinner a match penalty and the Penguins a five-minute power play to encompass all but 21 seconds of overtime.

The Penguins didn’t need all of it. Jeff Carter buried a rebound 1:36 into OT, and the Penguins escaped with a win.

What was Jeff Carter thinking with the game on his stick?

“Uh, put it in the net,” he said with a laugh.

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins had more shots in the third period than in the first two combined. They had 17 in the third and 14 in the first 40 minutes. They also limited Buffalo to just seven shots in the final period.

Sidney Crosby

Crosby didn’t register a point, though his play sparked the team in the final period. Per usual, he downplayed his keep and the remarkable nature of that play.

“I was just trying to keep it in,” Crosby said. “Just trying to find some way. Sometimes it’s not pretty, but you’ve got to find a way to keep it in. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.”

 

PHN put the genuine question to Carter and Crosby. Mike Sullivan also weighed in on the rejuvenated Penguins in the final 20 minutes.

Mike Sullivan:

What changed between the first two periods and the third?

“We were much more assertive,” was Sullivan’s response. “I just seemed like in the first period, we didn’t do anything very crisp or clean. Our handles and our execution just weren’t there.”

 

Sullivan did not believe Guentzel suffered an injury as a result of Skinner’s crosschecks.

The Penguins have won four in a row and have a five-game points streak. After beating Buffalo on Friday, they host them Saturday at PPG Paints Arena.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are 1-4-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season.

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.