The Pittsburgh Penguins were a part of history on Wednesday night.
According to the NHL, never before in the long and storied history of the Original Six Detroit Red Wings had they rallied from a four-goal deficit on the road. After Wednesday night, that is no longer true, and they beat the Penguins 5-4 in OT at PPG Paints Arena.
The Penguins were far from perfect in the first period but finished their chances. Jason Zucker scored twice, and Jeff Carter had two points, including a goal. Even Drew O’Connor made a noticeable impact after finishing a play that he started with a hard forecheck.
But 24 hours after they gifted two points to the New York Islanders with a terrible effort that drew a dour reaction from coach Mike Sullivan, their opponent offered to return the gift.
Yet the Penguins declined the generosity.
“I don’t think issues is the right word. I think challenges is the word. And we have some that we’ve got to fix,” Sullivan said.
In addition to a partridge in a pear tree, in the first period, Detroit gifted the Penguins puck possession, power plays, and otherwise pretty soft defensive zone coverage. By the end of the first 20 minutes, the Penguins led 4-0.
And then the Penguins relaxed. The mistakes crept back into their game, and a defensive pairing that has struggled was Detroit’s target. The chalkboard is a wild dichotomy, as is the report card.