Pens hold off Oil

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby celebrate their win over the Oilers. (Darryl...

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and Sidney Crosby celebrate their win over the Oilers. (Darryl Dyck/Sun Media)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:45 AM ET

They were given the task of shutting down one of the most dangerous players in the game.

And for over 45 minutes last night, the line of Raffi Torres, Jarret Stoll and Zack Stortini did just that.

But then, in a span of just under five minutes, on three consecutive shifts, Sidney Crosby took control of the contest, set up three goals and led his team to victory.

"We just weren't strong enough in certain areas in the defensive zone," Stoll said. "He had two shifts and they scored two goals. You can't give up two goals on two shifts.

"We had the lead, we played well through two - not really good, just good enough - and they came out, got a lot of shots in the third period, went to the net and found a way to put them in."

The reigning league MVP - the youngest since Wayne Gretzky to win the award - came into the game with 14 goals and 23 assists.

For a time it looked as though that's how he would end it as the Oilers held a 2-0 lead and were seemingly in control of the contest.

But Maxime Talbot's goal six minutes into the third woke the sleeping giant.

On the ensuing face-off, Crosby snapped Stoll's stick, then went into his zone to collect the puck, burst up the ice, gained the blue line, stopped on a dime and found Kris Letang in the slot. The Penguins defenceman fired a shot that got through Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson tying the game.

Just over four minutes later - or two shifts later - Crosby spun out of the corner with the puck, fired it across to the point to Mark Eaton, who's shot bounced of Colby Armstrong and into the net for the go-ahead goal.

Then for good measure on his next shift, Crosby sets up Ryan Whitney for a power-play marker.

"We gave him too much room down low," Stoll said. "Behind the net we got screwed up and it went back to the point, then it was tipped and they scored a goal."

Through the first 27 games of the season, Crosby had only been shut out on two occasions. He failed to register a point in the Penguins opening game of the season, then was pointless in a 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 21.

Last night he had a couple of opportunities to score an empty-net goal which would have given him four points on the night.

"You have to watch him every shift because he's a dangerous player," said Oilers forward Fernando Pisani.

"He's a special player and that's why he's the player he is because he can turn the game around in a matter of minutes."


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