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Penguins Grades: Flat Pens Explode, Malkin & D-Men Sparkle (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust

The Pittsburgh Penguins began like a tired team that spent an extra day on the road and detoured from Phoenix to Montreal rather than taking a day off Monday. In fact, that’s what they did to be with teammate Kris Letang at his father’s funeral. The Penguins looked tired and flat as the Vancouver Canucks raced to a 3-0 lead in the first seven minutes on Tuesday night.

Then, coach Mike Sullivan pulled Casey DeSmith after a couple, if not three, stoppable goals. With Dustin Tokarski in net, the Penguins squashed Vancouver. The Penguins erased the three-goal deficit in just over seven minutes in the first period. In the second period, they added two more.

“I thought (Tokarski) was really solid. He made some big saves,” Sullivan said. “I thought it had a huge impact on our ability to win the game. It was a great first win for him as a Penguin.”

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin carried the team out of a funk. Malkin had four points, including a pair of goals.

Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins Recap here.

The Penguins’ power play, which was 0-for-21 over the last four games, scored twice. More importantly, the power play looked dangerous. Ty Smith played his best game as a Penguin.

By far.

“The guys have been making me feel comfortable since I got here (and) some of the coaching staff,” Smith said. “So I’ve been pretty fortunate that there are a lot of good leaders and guys on this team.”

Vancouver’s mode of attack quickly became a weakness, and the Penguins reverted to a swift counterattack. A sure defeat turned into victory, but not all grades are good.

A few Penguins found themselves riding the pine after rough first periods.

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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.