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Penguins Grades: Great 3rd Period Ruined, PP Awful in CAR Loss (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins would have won the prize fight as they significantly won the territorial and scoring chance battles in the first and third periods. They dominated play, especially in the third, but a walkabout in the second period gave Carolina a 2-1 lead and the basis for a 3-2 OT win Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena.

It was a point earned, and the Penguins did get the tying goal in the final minute before a wild OT sequence, and a controversial non-call sprung Carolina on a 2-on-none breakaway winner.

Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins postgame here.

Get the Penguins’ locker room reaction, too.

Those mysterious layers and details that Mike Sullivan often references but does not publicly explain were on display in the first 15 minutes of the first period and the final 20 minutes. Sidney Crosby also avoided a kickboxing match with the boards, and Rickard Rakell tried the Michigan.

(Count me as glad it didn’t work, so I don’t have to see the highlight for years).

In Sullivan’s vernacular, the Penguins stayed on the right side of the puck. They had the proper details, even when they didn’t have the puck. In short, the Penguins had puck support which allowed their breakouts to be quick and clean. They maintained possession, and they worked the length of the ice without giving Carolina easy offense.

With a few quick passes, Sidney Crosby finished a two-on-one in the first period. In classic Crosby fashion, one bad game usually creates at least one great game. Crosby raced the length of the ice to finish the two-on-one in the first. It was his 101st opening goal, the most in Penguins’ history.

The Penguins’ split personality flipped in the second period. If not for goalie Tristan Jarry, Carolina would have buried a couple of two-on-ones in the second. Shorthanded, no less. Jarry made a few sparkling saves before trying to chip Andrei Svechnikov and losing his net later in the second period.

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