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Better Late Than Never: Penguins Report Card vs. Red Wings



John Marino Pittsburgh Penguins

In a season defined by the unexpected and the abnormal, the Pittsburgh Penguins waited for the return of Sidney Crosby to their lineup to do something normal. After the emotional surge of Crosby’s return on Tuesday night, the Penguins stumbled in the last two games. On Friday night, the Penguins struggled to put the best parts of their games together until the third period.

After a pair of power-play goals, the Penguins motored out of Detroit with a 2-1 win in overtime.

Every pun is intended, and no apologies are offered. PHN broke down the power-play goals and the Penguins quick decisions, which pulled the Detroit defenders out of position.

“It was a pretty tight game. We stuck with it,” Crosby said. “I thought we got better, though, as the game went on.”

It’s difficult and probably pointless to breakdown the Penguins first 35 minutes. The Penguins weren’t bad, but they too infrequently put together the pieces of their game. In the first period, they cycled well and used the low-to-high game but didn’t get enough good looks, nor did they get good second chances.

The second period was entirely forgettable for 17 minutes. Detroit had most of the high-danger scoring chances, and the Penguins were playing behind the puck. However, the game changed late in the second period when Penguins center Teddy Blueger rang the post from a tight angle shot. It was like a dinner bell and the Penguins charged.

“It was huge between the second and third. We knew we did some pretty good things,” said Bryan Rust, who scored his 20th goal of the season in the third period. “We had some chances, and it was pretty business-like (in the locker room).”

The Penguins also made a significant tactical adjustment in the third period, which allowed them the scoring chances that alluded them for the first 37 minutes.

Pittsburgh Penguins Xs and Os

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.