Penguins Grades: Pathetic Pens Became Super Pens in Ridiculous Comeback (+)
The Pittsburgh Penguins started poorly against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They compounded quicksand skating and scattered passing with defensive indifference and inexplicable decisions. When the game was 10 minutes old, they trailed, 3-0. By early in the second, their horrendous performance made the playoffs seem like a daydream, and they were down, 4-0.
For those watching the scoreboard, after a particularly terrible power play late in the second period, NHL scorekeepers adjusted their shot total from 23 to 22.
It seemed only fitting.
Get Dave Molinari’s Penguins recap here
Yet the pathetic Penguins became the super Penguins in a 5-4 OT win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Jake Guentzel launched the Penguins’ three goals in 3:38, just 21 seconds into the final period. The boos the Penguins earned at the end of the second period became raucous cheers, and the comeback seemed assured even in its infancy.
You could feel it immediately.
“We don’t have too many guys who would be breaking sticks and doing stuff like that in the room (during the second intermission),” Jason Zucker said. “We knew that wasn’t good enough. We’re a veteran group. We know what we need to be doing.”
With some homage to youth and desperation, the Penguins had a few players who seemed interested enough to be there even in the worst times. And a maligned veteran was on his toes to provide a little more push.