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Eric Who? Penguins Rally For 4-3 Win

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let's jump to the third period. The Penguins trail the Bears 3-0 and right off the hop Braden Holtby shoots a puck into the stands, giving the Pens a power play just 17 seconds into the final frame.

While on the man advantage, Bryan Lerg gets plastered into the boards from behind by Kevin Marshall. Team captain Ryan Craig comes right in and drops Marshall like a bad habit, but Marshall gets the extra penalty and the Pens get a 5x3 power play.

Jason Williams converts on the two man advantage with a slap shot blast from the point, giving the Pens life and a two goal deficit. Williams then sets up Brandon DeFazio for a goal just 1:53 later to make it a one goal game.  The Bears take their timeout to try to settle things down but the Penguins were just too much for the Bears in the final 20 tonight.

Robert Bortuzzo ties it at three at the 4:46 mark and just like that it's a tie game.  Three goals in less than five minutes into the third period, and Braden Holtby is replaced in net by Dany Sabourin.

From there, the Penguins would continue to out-hustle and outwork the Bears. It seemed like every Bears player that touched the puck got checked into the boards during the middle of the third period.

Then, Brian Gibbons and Paul Thompson would fail to connect on a quick transition. Luckily, Alex Grant joined the rush and Gibbons didn't give up on the play. Grant's shot would hit the outside of the net and dribble behind the net where Gibbons fed Thompson with a great pass out in front and Thompson buried it, completing the comeback and giving the Pens a 4-3 that they would hold onto the last 4:29 of the game.

The Norfolk Admirals also lost in regulation so a great night for the Penguins. They pull three points ahead of the Bears (who have one game in hand) and five points ahead of the Admirals.

It was Brad Thiessen vs. Braden Holtby in net to start.  Ryan Schnell and Philip Samuelsson were healthy scratches. DeFazio was a late add to the lineup, and there was a surprise late scratch which generated a ton of attention from Penguins fans and fueled trade rumors for most of the night.

Eric Tangradi was a late scratch after taking the warmups and while he appeared fine to those who watched the warmups, WBS beat writer Jonathan Bombulie reported on Twitter that Tangradi was experiencing back spasms and was unable to go tonight.  Let the trade rumors begin!

The Penguins host the Albany Devils tomorrow night before a rematch with the Bears down in Chocolate town on Superbowl Sunday.

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