The superstar center scored the game-winning goal with 6:03
remaining to power the Penguins to a 3-1 victory over the Toronto
Crosby is seemingly the last recognizable face on a roster depleted
with eight players on injured reserve and two others serving
suspensions. That is why he was more impressed with the efforts of
his teammates than scoring his 19th goal of the season.
"We keep finding a way to win and a lot of that has to do with the
young guys coming in and the way they're playing," Crosby said.
"Those guys coming in from (AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton) are
contributing and some of the guys who are here are playing different
roles with different matchups.
"When you're missing as many guys as we are, you need everybody to
Crosby took a pass from right winger Pascal Dupuis in the slot and
rifled a wrist shot past goaltender Jonathan Bernier, snapping a 1-1
tie and giving the Penguins their ninth victory in the last 10
"Duper put the puck right on my tape, all I had to do was shoot it,"
The Penguins have also won eight straight games at Consol Energy
Center and their 15 home wins are tops in the NHL.
Crosby has scored a point in seven consecutive games.
"He made a great play on his shot, scored a good goal and that's the
way it goes," Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf said.
Right wing Chris Conner scored the Penguins' first goal 39 seconds
into the game and center Brandon Sutter scored an empty-net goal
with four seconds remaining. Conner's goal was his third and Sutter
scored his sixth.
The Penguins played without center Evgeni Malkin (left leg injury)
and defenseman Chris Letang (lower-body injury), who was placed on
the injured reserve list earlier in the day.
Malkin, the NHL's assist leader, missed his second straight game
after being injured last Saturday night in a game at Detroit. Letang
became the fourth key Penguins' blue liner to go on the IR, joining
Brooks Orpik (concussion), Paul Martin (broken leg) and Rob Scuderi
Despite all the defensive injuries, the Penguins have allowed just
12 goals in their last nine games. They also killed a penalty over
the last 1:05 to preserve the one-goal lead, not allowing a shot
after left winger Chris Kunitz was called for tripping.
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"It's not a situation where one guy, two guys or three guys
are going to play 30 minutes," Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said of
his defensemen. "We need every guy, to a man, all six guys, to
contribute in every situation."
Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves while
Bernier stopped 29 shots.
The Maple Leafs' goal was scored by rookie defenseman Morgan
Rielly, the first of his career. He was Toronto's first-round
pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Rielly's goal, on the power play at 6:03 of the second period,
drew the Maple Leafs into a 1-1 tie. Rielly beat Fleury high to
the stick side, ending the Penguins' streak of killing all 18
short-handed situations in December.
The Maple Leafs (17-15-3) have lost four of their last five
games overall and dropped 10 of their last 11 on the road.
"We were a little inconsistent," Phaneuf said. "We played pretty
good at times but we've just got to play better."
It would be hard for the Penguins to play any better with an
"It's special to look up at the buzzer and seeing so many young
guys celebrating a win in the NHL," Penguins center Joe Vitale
said. "It says a lot about this organization that we can suffer
so many injuries and still keep winning."
NOTES: Maple Leafs RW David Clarkson served the second game of
his two-game suspension for an illegal check to the head of St.
Louis Blues F Vladimir Sobotka. Clarkson will be eligible to
play Tuesday night when Toronto hosts the Florida Panthers. ...
Maple Leafs D Mark Fraser and D Paul Ranger were healthy
scratches. ... Penguins C Jayson Megna suffered a lower-body
injury in the third period and will likely miss Wednesday
night's game against the Rangers at New York. ... Penguins LW
James Neal and C Deryk Engelland — who are suspended — were
scratched along with Malkin. ... Penguins D Philip Samuelsson
made his NHL debut. He was called up along with LW Harry
Zolnierczyk from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton earlier in the day.
Samuelsson's father, Ulf, played in the NHL from 1984-2000. ...
Maple Leafs RW Troy Bodie received fighting majors in each of
the first two periods, brawling first with Penguins D Robert
Bortuzzo then with C Zach Sill.
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