Crosby's overtime goal lifts Penguins
PITTSBURGH — Sidney Crosby wasn't sure Bryan Rust saw him, so the Pittsburgh Penguins captain gave his impromptu linemate a quick yell just to make sure.
"I tried to let him know I was there," Crosby said.
A deft drop pass from Rust and a flick of Crosby's wrist later, the superstar's lengthy postseason scoring drought was over. So were the chances of the Penguins falling into a deep hole against Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals.
Crosby's shot sailed high and hard over Andrei Vasilevskiy's stick 40 seconds into overtime on Monday night, lifting the Penguins to a 3-2 victory and tying the best-of-seven series at 1. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Tampa.
"It feels good to get rewarded," Crosby said after collecting the first overtime playoff winner of his NHL career. "I feel we deserved it tonight."
Crosby hadn't found the back of the net since Game 4 of the opening round against the New York Rangers, though Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper downplayed the idea that the two-time MVP was in a slump, pointing out a cold streak for Crosby is a hot streak for most others.
In danger of heading south down 2-0, Crosby generated scoring chance after scoring chance, including a backhand in the second period that appeared destined for an open net before Vasilevskiy stretched his glove out to make a save that could have tilted the balance of power in the series.
Instead, it only seemed to lift the Penguins to another level. Pittsburgh dominated most of the night, outshooting Tampa Bay 41-21 while spending most of the game in the Lightning zone. Only the brilliant play of the 21-year-old Vasilevskiy — filling in for injured starter Ben Bishop — kept Tampa Bay in it.
Vasilevskiy finished with 38 stops.
Matt Cullen and Phil Kessel scored during Pittsburgh's two-goal burst to start the game and Matt Murray rebounded from a shaky start to finish with 19 saves, including stuffing Alex Killorn on a breakaway late in the second period of a tie game.
Anton Stralman scored in his return to the lineup from a fractured left leg and Jonathan Drouin picked up his second goal of the series, but the Lightning lost for just the third time in 12 postseason games.