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Penguins Grades: What’s Clicking for Pens After 3rd Straight Win (+)



PIttsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin, Columbus Blue Jackets

By early in the third period, the Pittsburgh Penguins were toying with the Columbus Blue Jackets. While the score indicated a precarious 3-1 lead, the play on the ice and the disparity in possession indicated a near-blowout. The Penguins survived a zombified first period to squash Columbus 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena.

Get Dave Molinari’s always-fun Penguins postgame recap here.

Despite missing practice on Monday, both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin played on Tuesday. Coach Mike Sullivan limited Malkin’s ice time in the first period to only four minutes. Overall, Malkin played 15 minutes, which is well less than usual. Health was obviously a limiting factor.

Crosby? He played nearly 21 minutes and scored two goals, giving him 15 for the season.

Mike Sullivan said Crosby’s goal-scoring ability “probably” gets overlooked because he excels at so many aspects of the game.

“He can score in so many different ways,” Sullivan said. “That’s the thing. He’s great on his backhand. … He can shoot the puck. He’s got a great one-timer. He’s really good with his backhand. And he’s creative, with the way he thinks.”

The Penguins, who dodged a potential situation with only 10 forwards, had points in 11 of their last 13 games (9-2-2), and the struggling Blue Jackets with one win in their last five games.

The game followed the script that you may expect. The Penguins now have 10 wins in 14 games.

While Columbus had most of the jump throughout the first period. They nearly doubled the Penguins’ shot attempts (23-12) and had four of the five high-danger scoring chances, according to However, the Penguins turned the game.

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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.