Desperation built.

And built.

For the Penguins, it was a matter of holding off the hard-charging Toronto Maple Leafs after twice leading by two goals. For Penguins center and team captain Sidney Crosby, that included clawing at the stubborn black tape on the blade of his stick so he could replace it -- a personal ritual -- and take part in the shootout.

With the fresh tape finally in place, Crosby, the Penguins' second shooter, lofted a shot over Maple Leafs goaltender James Reimer for a 5-4 win Saturday night at Air Canada Centre.

"The tape wouldn't come off," Crosby said. "I was getting a little worried. It's the only stick I had. I was afraid I was going to have to take the shootout with no tape on my stick. I was lucky enough to get the tape on my stick and ready to go."

Crosby also was fortunate that he was OK after getting upended and sent into the boards by Toronto's Cody Franson in the third period.

"I think he was just trying to lie down to block the pass," Crosby said. "My feet kind of got caught up. I got some air time."