GLENDALE, Ariz. – Brent Johnson was steady in replacing Marc-Andre Fleury, and Mark Letestu scored the only goal of a shootout to help the Pittsburgh Penguins rally for a 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday night.
Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, and the Penguins also got goals from Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz to come back from an early 2-0 deficit. Crosby and Kris Letang were each stopped by Ilya Bryzgalov in the shootout, but Letestu beat him with a quick wrist shot for the winner.
Wojtek Wolski had his first goal and an assist, and Eric Belanger and Radim Vrbata each had goals for Phoenix. Johnson stopped Vrbata and Wolski in the shootout, and Lauri Korpikoski shot wide on the Coyotes' final attempt.
Phoenix, coming off a 6-3 loss to Dallas on Friday, played without captain Shane Doan (lower body) and defenseman Ed Jovanovski (illness). Charged up by a rare big crowd of 14,642, the Coyotes didn't seem to mind early. They chased Fleury from the net with two goals in the first 7 minutes.
But Pittsburgh, sluggish early after a loss to Anaheim on Friday night, rallied in the second period thanks to Johnson and a whiff by Coyotes defenseman Derek Morris that led to an easy goal for Crosby.
Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma has stuck with Fleury despite his struggles — and Johnson's solid play — this season and had him in the lineup again against the Coyotes after the loss to the Ducks.
Belanger scored 2½ minutes in on a rush, taking a feed from Wolski and using a deke to beat Fleury to the near-side post. About 3 minutes later, Vrbata crashed his body into the net, and put the puck between Fleury's pads, making it 2-0. The goal was upheld after a long video review.
Fleury was yanked right after the goal was allowed.
Pittsburgh had a shoot-while-falling-down goal by Crosby wiped out at the midpoint of the first period when Pascal Dupuis was called for interference during a scrum in Phoenix's crease.
But Johnson kept turning away shots — including a glove-snatching save during a power play — and things got better quickly for the Penguins in the second period.
Crosby scored his ninth goal 1:16 in, scooping up a gaffe by Morris in front of his crease. Last season's NHL's goal leader had no trouble taking advantage and beating Bryzgalov gloveside.
Malkin tied it 3 minutes later, lifting in a tough-angle shot off the crossbar for his fourth of the season to tie it at 2-all.
The Coyotes went back up 3-2 on a shot by Wolski that caromed off Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin's leg, then bounded past Johnson.
Pittsburgh picked up the pressure and tied it again with 33 seconds left in the period when Kunitz one-timed Letestu's pass from behind the net just seconds after Phoenix escaped a two-man, short-handed situation.
NOTES: Phoenix has allowed six goals in the first period this season, second-best in the NHL to Boston's three. ... Fleury has been stuck on 149 career wins since beating Nashville on Oct. 21. ... The Coyotes are 0-3-1 on the second of back-to-back games.