Penguins 4, Canucks 3 (SO)

Vince Comunale, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Evgeni Malkin's shootout goal led the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday afternoon.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and two assists, and rookie Olli Maata scored his first-career goal for the Penguins.
Pittsburgh goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped all three Canucks shots in the shootout, while Malkin tallied the only goal for the Penguins. He deked Vancouver's Roberto Luongo out of his skates for the game winner.
The game marked the first time in more than two years that the teams had met.
The Canucks broke a scoreless tie at the 13:50 mark of the first period when Alexander Edler shot a rolling puck toward the Pittsburgh net from just inside the red line, 92 feet away. The shot seemed harmless, but the rebound bounced high into the air off the chest of Fleury, dropped behind him and rolled into the net before he could locate it. The goal marked the first time in five home games that the Penguins had allowed the opening tally.
The Penguins evened the score less than two minutes later when Crosby notched his seventh of the season. The play unfolded when Pascal Dupuis fired a shot on Luongo that deflected off of his left arm, the rebound of which came right to Crosby positioned at the bottom of the right faceoff circle.
Crosby's first whack at the rebound deflected off Luongo's pads and came right back to him, but he made no mistake on his second attempt, wristing it past Luongo's stick side. The goal extended Crosby's points streak to eight games and extended his overall lead in the scoring race.
Despite being outshot 15-5 in the first period, the Penguins could have easily taken a lead into the first intermission, but Chris Conner and Maatta hit the post on quality scoring chances.
The Penguins went to work against the NHL's toughest penalty kill unit at the 7:08 mark of the second when the Canucks were whistled for too many men on the ice. Just 48 seconds into the power play Chris Kunitz tallied his fourth goal of the season when he tapped in a Malkin pass from behind the net, beating Luongo to his glove side and giving the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
The assist for Malkin moved him into a tie with Syl Apps for fifth place on the franchise's all-time assists list with 349 and extended his points streak to six games.
It appeared as if the Canucks had come right back and tied the game just minutes later, but despite the puck getting past Fleury, the goal did not count because the net had been knocked ever-so-slightly off its settings.
The Canucks did eventually tie the game 2-2 when Brad Richardson took a cross-crease pass from Dale Weise, waited a split second until Fleury went down and then wired a wrist shot over the Pittsburgh netminder at the 12:44 mark of the second.
Vancouver grabbed the lead back, 3-2, at 12:50 of the third when Zack Kassian deflected a David Booth point shot from right in front. However, that lead was short-lived as just 22 seconds later rookie defenseman Maatta found the rebound from a Kunitz shot and pushed it past Luongo's right pad for his first-career NHL goal. Crosby picked up an assist on the goal for his second consecutive three-point home game.
With 1:24 remaining in regulation, Pittsburgh's Brandon Sutter was awarded a penalty shot after being hauled down on a breakaway. With the game riding on his stick he came in on Luongo, but showed little creativity and fired a wrist shot on goal, which Luongo easily gloved to keep the score knotted.
Fleury made 36 saves to push his record to a perfect 7-0, while Luongo made 25 saves in defeat.
Notes: The official attendance was 18,657, the Penguins' 291st consecutive sellout. ... St. Louis Blues D Jay Bouwmeester is the only active NHL player to have appeared in more consecutive (642) games than Vancouver captain Henrik Sedin (638). ... The game marked the first time this season that the Penguins' opponent was a playoff team from last season. ... Vancouver RW Brad Richardson appeared in the 400th game of his career. ... Scratches for the Penguins were LW Harry Zolnierczyk, RW Beau Bennett (lower body), and C Dustin Jeffrey. Scratches for the Canucks were C Zac Dalpe, D Yannick Weber, and D Andrew Alberts. ... The Penguins play next on Monday night when they host the Colorado Avalanche. The Canucks continue their season-long, seven-game trip on Sunday in Columbus against the Blue Jackets.

What to Read Next