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‘No Stopping That Train’: Penguins Report Card vs. Vancouver



Pittsburgh Penguins Tristan Jarry and Brian Dumoulin

The Pittsburgh Penguins were generally lackluster on Monday night but escaped with an overtime win over the Western Conference middling Calgary Flames. Wednesday night in front of a hungry holiday crowd, the Penguins burst from the starting gate with a pair of first period goals before unbuttoning their pants and giving up the next four goals. The Penguins rallied from a three-goal third period deficit and scored six final-frame goals for a thrilling 8-6 win at PPG Paints Arena.

For a good while, it looked like the turkey would be the Penguins as they waddled through the second period. Elias Pettersson and Jake Virtanen stuffed in second-period goals, and Adam Gaudette appeared to firmly mash the Penguins with a goal in the final minute of the second.

But in the end, Evgeni Malkin scored an empty netter with .02 seconds remaining as gravy for a furious comeback. The comeback had several vital components, as did the Penguins fast start and their second-period turkey-coma.

“As I said to our players after the game, I love our resilience. It’s just a never say die attitude,” head coach Mike Sullivan said.

The Penguins comeback was born of several aspects. First, their intensity reached a fevered pitch, but they controlled the surge of emotion. When a team is forced to mount a wild comeback, it usually saps the energy when they get close or tie the game. When the charging team takes a breath, the momentum ends. However, the Penguins didn’t breathe until the final horn. The moment which sparked the comeback a rebound goal was a four-on-four after dual holding penalties to Bryan Rust and Elias Pettersson.

“It was Dom Kahun’s goal on that four-on-four. Getting that goal, then having a chance on the power play. We capitalized. Geno (Malkin) pulled up and scored with that slapshot,” Zach Aston-Reese told PHN. “But it all started with Dom’s goal. Getting that fourth goal was huge, and there was kind of no stopping that train.”

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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.

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