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Penguins Room: Sullivan Figuring Out Lineup, ‘Winning — Way Better Than Losing’



Pittsburgh Penguins, Jeff Petry, Penguins game 5-4 OT win over Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla. — The Pittsburgh Penguins again had victory within their grasp in regulation but waited until overtime to leave Tampa Bay happy with a 5-4 OT win over the Lightning at Amalie Arena.

The Penguins have won four in a row.

The Penguins’ game featured a few standout performances from recently quiet players and one maligned source. Jeff Petry had two goals in 25 seconds. They were his first goals since Nov. 9 and 12, against Washington and Montreal, respectively.

Third-line center Jeff Carter probably had his best game in quite some time. He had a pair of assists, and his line with newly acquired Mikael Granlund and Danton Heinen had a decided advantage in the offensive zone, even figuring in on a goal when Carter assisted on Petry’s second.

The highlight goal of the evening was by Drew O’Connor, who made a power-forward move past defenseman Darren Raddysh before scoring in the third period.

Otherwise, it was a fairly well-played game between the Penguins and the three-time defending conference champion. After a first period in which they struggled to find their footing at even-strength, the Penguins were the slightly better team for much of the second and first part of the third.

With the Penguins’ win and losses by the Buffalo Sabres, Ottawa Senators, and Florida Panthers, the Penguins put a bit of distance between themselves and their wild-card pursuers. They moved into the top wild-card spot, one point ahead of the New York Islanders.

The Penguins now lead Buffalo by five points (the Sabres have one game in hand), Florida by five points (the Penguins have two games in hand), and Ottawa by five points (no games in hand).

The Penguins narrowly missed their ninth loss when leading in the third period and instead made everyone happy, including their fathers, who finished the annual “Dad’s trip” undefeated.

Pittsburgh Penguins Locker Room:

Jeff Petry

Petry not only broke a long goalless streak but had four shots, three more attempts, and five hits.

OK, we couldn’t resist a little icebreaker joke with the Penguins’ second-pair defenseman. What, no hat trick? Because the Penguins won, we could have some fun, and Petry could have a laugh:


Tristan Jarry

The Penguins’ No. 1 goalie is getting healthy. After missing 16 of 18 games, Jarry has been increasingly good. Tampa Bay scored four times Thursday, but Jarry made more than a few difficult saves, including nearly two full minutes of a 5v3 Lightning power play.

“Whenever we have a penalty-kill, I think it’s a huge momentum grab for us when we can kill it off. Obviously, when you have a 5-on-3 for almost a full two minutes, it’s always tough,” said Jarry. “They have some really good players and shoot really well.”

Jarry faced 21 scoring chances and stopped 27 of 31 shots for his 19th win. He is 19-7-5, with a save percentage bubbling around .918. The Penguins have won four in a row, and Jarry has won three of those.

He also offered the nugget of the night: “Whenever you get a win, it’s obviously way better than losing.”

Ask a simple question, and get a simple answer. Check it out:


Coach Mike Sullivan

For Granlund, it was his Pittsburgh Penguins baptism by fire. He was dropped into the deep end on the PK and 5v5.

“I thought he played well. It was a lot. It was a tall task. We used him in a lot of key situations tonight,” Sullivan said. “He really hasn’t had an opportunity to learn the subtleties or details of how we try to play. We gave him an overall foundation, but I can tell early on he’s got a lot of hockey sense. He’s got a high hockey IQ.”

The Penguins’ game evolved after the first period. Check the PHN+ report card for a more detailed report, but they had trouble getting out of their own zone in the first period.

A second-period tweak, or perhaps more than that, launched the Penguins’ attack. After giving up time-of-possession and territory in the first period, the Penguins claimed the puck in the second.

“I thought we did a really good job just being sharp and recognizing where the pressure points were and playing behind them,” Sullivan said. “When we play behind them and support the puck and just bringing people to the puck, I think that’s when we’re at our best.”