Penguins Grades: Using Sullivan’s Checklist in Resounding Win (+)
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won consecutive games for the first time in over two weeks and only the second time since Jan. 8-10. And for the first time in a couple of months, the Penguins had every reason to feel good about themselves and look forward.
A resounding 7-3 win at PPG Paints Arena against a good Tampa Bay Lightning team will do that.
The saying in baseball is, “someone is going to pay.” It means that when a team or player finally breaks out of a slump, it will be in a big way. That’s what happened Sunday, when the Penguins scored five goals in 4:27, their fastest quintet since setting an NHL record Nov. 22, 1972.
Defenseman Brian Dumoulin scored his first goal of the season. Teddy Blueger scored his second, and Jeff Carter chipped in the rare 5v5 tally.
“It was good to stay on them. I thought consistently after those goals, we had some great shifts, which obviously led to those goals,” Dumoulin said. “Some past games, the shift after the goals have been huge momentum-builders (for the opponents), and I thought we did a good job capitalizing on those, create some momentum for ourselves.”
The goal-scorers weren’t the only surprises. The Penguins also ran down coach Mike Sullivan’s pregame checklist like eager children on a scavenger hunt.
It was the performance they’d needed for weeks.
The first period began with the simple play Sullivan implores.