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Report Card: Pens Overcome Decimated D, Mistakes for OT Win | PHN+

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Pittsburgh Penguins Kasperi Kapanen

The Pittsburgh Penguins were without all three of their regular left side defensemen, and midway through the first period, the Penguins lost another key piece of their blueline when top defenseman Kris Letang left with an apparent lower-body injury, too. Rookie defenseman P-O Joseph was remarkable with three assists and the Penguins rallied for a 5-4 OT win over the New York Rangers.

Get the postgame here. The Kris Letang injury here.

Tactically, we don’t have to hit the chalkboard. Joseph used the magic word, and Sullivan repeated it several times, “Simplify.”

The Penguins don’t have the personnel to play fancy or complex systems. They have kids, newbies and vets off their stride.

“An important aspect of our team game has to be simplicity. We’ve got to help one another in all three zones,” Sullivan said. “Recognizing when our defensemen are under pressure on the breakout, for example, we have to get back, provide short options. We have to cut our skating down, we can’t just play in constant motion. We might have to stop and present ourselves for a short option…”

Sullivan’s answer became longer and more detailed, but you get the picture. The Penguins have to play simple, very simple, for now.

Defense: ????

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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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