VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Sidney Crosby show rolled into Vancouver for the first time Saturday night, but for the second straight defenseman Kris Letang and backup goalie Dany Sabourin were the story.
Crosby was held pointless for the second straight night and Letang scored the shootout winner, this time in the sixth round, lifting the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
"I had the chance to make the team win, so like last game I put the move in my head and just made it," Letang said. "Just like Calgary, I had confidence. It's not more confidence, I just had to do it again."
Former Canucks backup Dany Sabourin made 35 saves for the Penguins in regulation and overtime, then stopped five of six in shootout as Pittsburgh won for the seventh time in eight games. Sabourin never started a game in Vancouver during his season with the Canucks, but he was very familiar with their shooters.
"Oh yeah, I was pretty familiar with what they were trying to do so that was an advantage for me," said Sabourin, who was starting after Marc-Andre Fleury hurt his ankle in Calgary Thursday night. "I have to take it like just another game but to win against my old teammates, I think it's a bonus for me."
Petr Sykora scored in regulation as the Penguins completed a three-game sweep of their first trip through Western Canada since Crosby joined the team. Crosby was pointless for consecutive games for the first time this season, but it wasn't for a lack of chances. He just couldn't beat Luongo, who was runner-up to Crosby for the Hart Trophy as league MVP last season, but got the best of him Saturday.
Luongo stopped Crosby head to head on a penalty shot in overtime and again with the game on the line in the shootout, finishing with 31 saves in regulation and overtime before Erik Christensen and Letang beat him with shootout dekes.
"Goalies made some great saves. It was just tough to score tonight," said Crosby after being awarded a penalty shot when he was hauled down by Aaron Miller on a breakaway 2:29 into overtime. Visibly fatigued at the end of his shift, the Penguins called timeout so Crosby could catch his breath, but after faking Luongo to the ice with a strong move, Crosby couldn't get the puck over Luongo's sprawled arm.
"First one I thought I had him," he said. "If I get it up a little bit more it's a goal but second one I probably rushed a little because the puck started to roll on me. Those are opportunities you thrive on and hope to get. Unfortunately it didn't go in, but for other guys to step up is big."
Luongo was receiving treatment and didn't speak with the media after the game.
Sabourin is used to watching Luongo, something he did from the bench to start 75 of 82 games last year. But this time he got to see it from across the ice. And like everyone else, he enjoyed seeing him go head-to-head with Crosby.
"That's awesome," he said. "Crosby is a great player against a great goalie, probably one of the best, and just to watch those two guys battle, you learn a lot from those guys. Roberto made me better playing with him last year and Sid makes me better this year when he shoots against me all the time in practice."
Luongo was the busier of the two early as the Penguins outshot Vancouver 22-12 through the first half. But Luongo, who was runner up to Crosby for the Hart Trophy as league MVP last season, made a handful of terrific saves, including a stacked-pads glove stop of Sykora alone in front, and a fully extended right pad save on Ryan Malone after Crosby spotted him alone backdoor.
Sykora finally beat Luongo after Evgeni Malkin sent found Sykora alone in tight off a 2-on-2 rush. Sykora snapped a quick shot through Luongo as he slid to his right.
At the other end, Sabourin was good when he needed to be, making his best early saves off Sami Salo power-play blasts before the Canucks seemed to find their legs midway through the second period.
"He s made some huge saves, given us a chance to win," Crosby said of Sabourin. "Anyone will tell you without goaltending in this league, you re not going to go far."
|Roberto Luongo crashes into his net after Kris Letang beats him with a shootout attempt. (AP)|
|Pittsburgh (15-12-2) «||1||0||0||0||1 (2)||2|
|Vancouver (16-10-3)||0||0||1||0||0 (1)||1|
Save Pct.: .969
|18:19||Petr Sykora (10), Tip-In. Assist: Evgeni Malkin, Georges Laraque|
|03:40||Ryan Kesler (8), Wrist Shot. Assist: Alexandre Burrows, Willie Mitchell|
|Erik Christensen (3), GOAL|
|Trevor Linden (2), GOAL|
|Kristopher Letang (2), GOAL|
|43.0||Mitchell, 4 min, High-Sticking|
|05:23||Talbot, 2 min, Hooking|
|06:19||Pyatt, 2 min, Hooking|
|08:23||Malkin, 2 min, Cross-Checking|
|14:51||Eaton, 2 min, Hooking|
|02:44||Pyatt, 2 min, Holding the Stick|
|07:28||Malone, 2 min, Goaltender Interference|
|07:28||Salo, 2 min, Delay of Game|
|13:43||Malone, 5 min, Fighting|
|13:43||Cooke, 5 min, Fighting|
|18:45||Crosby, 2 min, Tripping|
|04:31||Christensen, 2 min, Roughing|
|04:31||Isbister, 2 min, Roughing|
|07:03||Krajicek, 2 min, High-Sticking|
|09:10||Roberts, 2 min, Hooking|
|Shots On Goal|
|Goalie||MINS||S||GA||SO S||SO GA|
|Attendance - 18630|
|Referees - Tom Kowal, Chris Lee|
|Linesmen - Brad Lazarowich, Brad Kovachik|