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Penguins Report Card: Gritty, Sloppy, Determined; the Good & Bad Grades (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Evan Rodrigues, Kris Letang

There is something enjoyable about an underdog rising to the challenge. That’s especially true when the underdog is the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the opponent is the hated Philadelphia Flyers. The Penguins scored 16 seconds into the game, and late in the second period en route to a 3-2 OT win on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Jake Guentzel turned a whoops into his second goal of the season when he fanned on a shot, then reached back and zipped it through traffic (Jeff Carter) at the net for the Penguins second goal.

“Yeah, I mean, just kind of a fluky goal. You go on streaks. It’s what it takes to find the back of the net there. So it definitely felt nice, and hopefully, they can keep coming now,” Guentzel said.

As good as the goaltending was on both ends of the rink, Philadelphia netminder Carter Hart should have turned it aside easily. Guentzel’s cat-that-ate-the-canary laugh in celebration only underscored the realization that his whoops created Hart’s whoops.

Otherwise, the goalies were good. Very good.

Neither team was as sharp as their goalies, but it made for some entertaining stretches of hockey. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan is in COVID protocol and was not at the game on Thursday night. He may have tossed a few pillows at his TV, especially later in the first period and in the middle of the third period, too.

Xs and Os, Results

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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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