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Penguins Grades: Impressive Comeback, Too Many Passengers in SO Loss (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Jeff Carter, Marc-Andre Fleury

If you like the glass half full, the Pittsburgh Penguins third period blitzkrieg was impressive, and the team showed character by rallying from a two-goal, third period deficit. The half-empty-glass person only needed to see the first 40 minutes in which the Penguins deserved their two-goal deficit to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Penguins had too many players turn in vanilla, drive-by performances. The Penguins needed some “ugly” near the Chicago net. They finally got it from Jeff Carter in the third period, and he sparked the Penguins to tie the game and earn a point before losing in a shootout to the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2 at the United Center on Tuesday night.

“That was a great response by our team. I don’t think we were overly pleased with how the first two periods went,” acting-coach Todd Reirden said. “I thought that our urgency and desperation went to a different level (in the third period), and that was one of our stronger periods of the year. So I was really happy with our third period.”

Opponents could keep a dozen eggs in the crease, and right now, it doesn’t appear the Penguins would break all of them.

Tactically, the Penguins played well early but quickly retreated to the perimeter and stayed there for most of two periods. Their special-teams differential was glaring; the power play couldn’t be more irrelevant, while the penalty killing continues to make up for the lack of goals.

“I think we just started playing. And you know, it’s the first two periods, we didn’t have jump. We lost a majority of the loose puck battles,” Carter said. “You know, they were just the better team in the first two periods, but we regrouped and started playing our game in the third period.”

Special teams were again a problem, and they’re a microcosm of the Penguins lack of scoring at 5v5.

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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.