for this game

Crosby, Fleury help Penguins get past Lightning

Mar 5, 2008 - 5:37 AM
TAMPA, Florida (Ticker) -- Sidney Crosby paid immediate dividends in his return to the Pittsburgh Penguins' lineup.

Crosby set up Maxime Talbot's goal late in the third period and Marc-Andre Fleury made 35 saves as the Penguins edged the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2-0, on Tuesday.

Evgeni Malkin added an empty-netter for Pittsburgh (38-23-7), which maintained its one-point lead over New Jersey (38-23-6) atop the Eastern Conference.

Returning from a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for 21 games, Crosby had several scoring chances before setting up the winning goal.

"I felt pretty good," Pittsburgh's captain said. "As the game went on, I got a little more tired. It's been a while since I played a game, and obviously I haven't really gotten a chance to do tons of skating, so it's good to get it over with and get that feel and get that timing back.

"But it's still not there. I had some great chances that I would have loved to put in. It didn't happen. Sometimes that's the way it goes. I'm a little rusty."

But after receiving a drop pass from Talbot at the right point, the superstar carried the puck into the faceoff circle and passed it to the front of the net, where it hit a skate before caroming to Talbot, who deposited it past goaltender Mike Smith with 2:47 remaining to snap a scoreless tie.

"I just got a drop pass and drove the net," Crosby said. "I tried to put it through and (Talbot) did a great job of battling there."

"I kind of slipped out," Smith said. "I should have been there. It's an unfortunate way to lose, especially with two minutes left, or whatever it was. I think I'd rather have a goal scored on me a minute in than go all game, and then with two minutes left, let one in. Obviously, it's a tough pill to swallow."

Tampa Bay defenseman Shane O'Brien knew it was only a matter of time before Crosby did some damage.

"He is pretty special," O'Brien said. "We kept him off the board for 58 minutes or whatever, but he's a great player."

Fleury was just one of many Penguins glad to see Crosby back in the lineup.

"He's one of the best players in the league, and to have him on your side is always a big help," the goalie said.

Ironically, Crosby suffered the ankle injury in a 3-0 loss to Tampa Bay on January 18.

Talbot's 10th goal of the season was enough for Fleury, who made 10 saves in the first period, 14 in the second and 11 in the third en route to his third shutout of the season and 10th career.

"It's definitely good to get another win, and the shutout is always very good for a goalie," Fleury said. "The third period was pretty stressful. Mike Smith played a great game, too."

"He was the story of the game," Penguins coach Michel Therrien said.

Talbot also assisted on Malkin's 38th tally for Pittsburgh, which improved to 6-2-2 in its last 10 games.

Despite being outshot, 10-6, the Penguins had the best scoring chance in the first period. With 3:48 remaining, Crosby came down on a breakaway but was denied by Smith.

In the second, Tampa Bay again had the advantage in shots, recording 14 to Pittsburgh's four. The Penguins, however, again had a great opportunity as Petr Sykora was awarded a penalty shot with 6:07 to go, but Smith stopped the Czech's backhander.

Less than a minute later, O'Brien had an open left side of the net at which to shoot but sent the puck wide.

"We played hard," O'Brien said. "(Martin St. Louis) hit a post in the first, I missed a wide-open net. I don't want to sound like a whiner of whatever, but that's just kind of the way it's been going here."

Smith made another strong save on Crosby seven minutes into the third, but Fleury was just as superb with 8:16 remaining, as he stopped All-Star Vincent Lecavalier's backhander on a breakaway.

"They were doing a great job," Crosby said of the goaltenders. "Both of them gave their teams a chance to win tonight. Marc was huge for us."

Smith made 21 saves for the Lightning, who fell to 1-6-1 in their last eight.

"We played good enough to lose," Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella said.

Penguins center Jordan Staal suffered bruised ribs in the first period and did not return.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 2 2
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    3RD PRD: PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 10 (PASCAL DUPUIS, SIDNEY CROSBY) 17:13
    PIT - (EN) EVGENI MALKIN 38 (MAXIME TALBOT) 19:55
    POWER-PLAY CONVERSIONS: PIT - 0 OF 3, TAM - 0 OF 1.
    MISSED PENALTY SHOTS: PIT -

    Mar 4 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 2
    TAMPA BAY 0
    3RD PRD: PIT - (EN) EVGENI MALKIN 38 (MAXIME TALBOT) 19:55

    Penguins 2, Lightning 0  3rd - 0:05Mar 4 9:55 PM


  • NHL
    PITTSBURGH 1
    TAMPA BAY 0
    3RD PRD: PIT - MAXIME TALBOT 10 (PASCAL DUPUIS, SIDNEY CROSBY) 17:13

    Penguins 1, Lightning 0  3rd - 2:47Mar 4 9:50 PM
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    Penguins 1, Lightning 0  3rd - 2:47Mar 4 9:50 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 55 roots (Close Finish)

    Penguins 0, Lightning 0  3rd - 5:35Mar 4 9:42 PM
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    McTool Added 5 roots

    Penguins 0, Lightning 0  3rd - 8:16Mar 4 9:37 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: NONE
    MISSED PENALTY SHOTS: PIT - PETR SYKORA, 13:53 2ND.
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 6 4 10
    TAM 10 14 24
    GOALIES: PIT - M

    Mar 4 9:00 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PITTSBURGH 0 0
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    PIT 6 6
    TAM 10 10
    GOALIES: PIT - MARC-ANDRE FLEURY
    TAM - MIKE SMITH

    Mar 4 8:11 PM
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    Penguins vs. LightningMar 4 6:57 AM
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    Penguins vs. LightningMar 1 11:56 PM
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    Penguins vs. LightningFeb 24 6:33 PM