PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kris Versteeg scored the only goal in the shootout and the Calgary Flames recovered after a furious third-period rally by the Pittsburgh Penguins to get a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.
Chad Johnson stopped 31 shots in regulation and then turned away Pittsburgh's Phil Kessel and Sidney Crosby in the shootout. The Penguins' Kris Letang hit the post on his team's final attempt.
Michael Frolik scored his 13th goal of the season and Micheal Ferland added his eighth as Calgary picked up two valuable points in the crowded chase for one of the final playoff spots in the wide-open Western Conference.
Crosby inched closer to becoming the 86th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 points when he assisted on Chris Kunitz's third-period goal for career point No. 998. Rookie forward Jake Guentzel forced overtime with his fifth of the season with just under five minutes remaining. Matt Murray made 28 saves but had no chance on Versteeg's beautiful deke in the shootout.
Crosby's next shot at joining the exclusive club is Thursday in Colorado. The 29-year-old two-time MVP is playing some of the finest hockey of his career for the defending Stanley Cup champions. His 30 goals lead the league and he's second in points behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid. While appreciative of the chance to reach such a significant milestone in his already spectacular career — particularly after missing the better parts of two seasons in 2011 and 2012 while recovering from a concussion — Crosby said he'd like to get it over with quickly so the focus can turn back to his team's pursuit of first-place Washington in the supremely competitive Metropolitan Division.
Crosby had a pair of opportunities at the doorstep turned away by Johnson in the second period and had a shot from the left circle early in the third clang off the near post and then the far post before skittering out of danger.
Kunitz's goal halved a two-goal deficit, one provided by some timely playmaking by the Flames.
Ferland tipped away a crossing pass in the defensive zone then broke in alone on Murray, flipping the puck over the goalie's glove 16:19 into the second period for his third goal in five games. Frolik doubled the lead just over two minutes later, completing a perfectly executed 3-on-2 break by taking a feed from Matthew Tkachuk and firing it into the empty net.
No matter. The Penguins recovered behind Crosby. Letang forced a turnover at the point then slipped the puck to Crosby, who fed it to Kunitz for his seventh goal of the year 5:51 into the third. Guentzel tied it at 15:04 when he powered a shot from the right circle by Johnson.
The Penguins, however, couldn't quite get over the top.
NOTES: Pittsburgh F Scott Wilson exited due to an injury with 4:12 left in the second period and did not return. ... Calgary went 0 for 4 on the power play, including one in overtime. Pittsburgh went 0 for 2 with the man advantage. ... Penguins C Evgeni Malkin wore a non-contact jersey while skating with his teammates on Tuesday morning but missed his fifth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Pittsburgh scratched F Carl Hagelin, who is in the concussion protocol after getting hit in Saturday's victory in St. Louis.
Flames: Get a chance to rest up during their bye week before welcoming Arizona on Feb. 13.
Penguins: The trip to Colorado begins a road-heavy portion of Pittsburgh's schedule. The Penguins will play 11 of their next 17 away from PPG Paints Arena.
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