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Penguins Grades: Another Loss to ‘Canes — the Good, Angry, & Consequences (+)

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PIttsburgh Penguins, Jason Zucker, Carolina Hurricanes

That didn’t take long. Three periods that looked like three different games, and then overtime. The Carolina Hurricanes needed just 23 seconds worth of it, to be precise. They capitalized on a lapse in judgment by Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin for a 4-3 OT win.

Malkin’s big mistake came during the first shift of the extra period, when he chased Hurricanes defenseman Jaccob Slavin behind the Carolina net. The Pittsburgh Penguins center effectively took himself out of the play and gave Carolina a manpower advantage that culminated with Slavin putting the game-winner past Tristan Jarry at the other end before overtime was a half-minute old.

“My mistake. 100%,” Malkin said. Read the Penguins locker room story here.

The 4-3 victory was the Hurricanes’ third win in three meetings with the Penguins this season. All were decided by one goal, and both of Carolina’s victories in Pittsburgh were in overtime.

“There’s a fine line between winning and losing. All of those games (against Carolina) could have gone either way, and they didn’t go our way,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I think we can be better in overtime. That’s an important element. I don’t think our overtime performance to this point in the season has been nearly what it needs to be, and we’re leaving points on the table because of it.”

Malkin’s gaffe on the game-winning goal presumably was the low point of his evening, but it wasn’t the only sour note. He failed to record a point for the first time in 10 games and was beaten cleanly on a faceoff that led directly to the Hurricanes’ second goal in the opening period.

The PK was brilliant. The power play was pretty but reverted to overpassing. The Penguins chalkboard and player grades have a few good grades, but a couple of players left a bit of meat on the holiday plate.

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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.