The game was back and forth. The Stars scored first on a goal by Zubov. It was a long shot from the point through all kinds of traffic, on the ice and to the far side of Fleury. He never had a chance to see it.
Staal and Recchi scored to make it 2-1 Penguins. Then the Stars scored twice to make it 3-2 Stars with about 10 minutes left in the third.
The Pens caught a break when Ryan Malone drew a high stick penalty on the Stars Jere Lehtinen. It was inadvertent, but that didn't matter. The Pens converted on the power play on Recchi's second goal of the game, and his 500th goal of his career. Congratulations to Mr. Recchi.
The game stayed tied thanks to some amazing saves (and luck) on the part of both Fleury and Turco. Ryan Whitney deserves special notice tonight for several fantastic defensive plays, saving goals at least twice (once out-muscling Eric Lindros when the puck was behind Fleury).
The overtime was back and forth, but neither team could convert.
For the shoot out, the Stars elected to shoot first and Fleury made a great save on Zubov. Christensen then scored on his turn and the Stars couldn't get anything past Fleury. Pens win.
I think this is the kind of game that can really kick start the rest of the season. I'm hoping we're looking back in a few months saying things like: "remember when Fleury stoned the Stars on the shootout" and "remember when Whitney kept the puck out of the net in Dallas?" These type of games can really ignite something.
A few notes:
- Marc-Andre Fleury played great for the most part, but he did seem to struggle a bit with rebound control.
- The Pens have a legitimate second line with Malkin, Staal and Ouellet (though Ouellet is less critical). Staal is really looking like he belongs, and Malkin was flying tonight.
- Having made that last point, if I'm Michel Therrien and I see teams falling into the habit of collapsing on Crosby, I sneak Malkin out there with him once in awhile. Let them all collapse on Sid and have Malkin make them look stupid for doing it.
- Mark Eaton played great in his first game back.
- The Pens weren't horrible on faceoffs (they weren't good either), but didn't it seem like they lost most of them? I was surprised to see they were only down 5.
One last thing - Dallas was extremely classy in stopping the game for Mark Recchi to honor his 500th goal. They seemed like a wonderful hockey town.
Next up: at Phoenix tomorrow night. Avoid the letdown! Think we'll see Thibault?