In the end, fourth-line goals and top-line heroics didn’t matter for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they gift-wrapped a game they should have won and delivered it to the Boston Bruins. Big-name teams across the league are sputtering, from the Penguins to the Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues, and Toronto Maple Leafs, to name a few. And surprises are emerging in New Jersey, Seattle, and Montreal.
It’s 10 games, I suppose no one should be purchasing playoff tickets, but the scrappy underdogs are having a moment.
Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: The Penguins squandered the 5-2 second-period lead and lost in OT. Here’s the always “take no prisoners” Dave Molinari Penguins recap.
Boston Hockey Now: If you want the other side of the story — from Boston Hockey Now — the Boston Bruins comeback.
The 5-minute video breakdown from the PPG ice level is not about the details of the loss to the Bruins but the bigger-picture Penguins game.
PHN+: The Penguins report card and takeaways. There was plenty of good, though Sidney Crosby rushed past it to the negative. Penguins analysis.
Here’s the one you want: I started the column after the Vancouver loss, nibbled on it after the Seattle loss, and finished it yesterday. Here are the problems, the fixable ones, and the ones to worry about. Last night, the lack of a shutdown line or defense pairing bit them. The Pittsburgh Penguins issues.
A big day in Steelers land. It was the NFL trade deadline, and the Steelers made some moves.
- Nick Farabaugh asserts that the Steelers got great value when received a second-rounder for Chase Claypool.
- Alan Saunders reports that Claypool had become a distraction inside the room for the Steelers.
- The trade signals multi-year rebuild is on the way for the Steelers.
- The Steelers did acquire cornerback help. Maybe. They traded for CB William Jackson III.
A Steelers reporter (not ours) told me a wild story about the locker room factions forming and the internal dissension. What you saw on Sunday with Cam Heyward and Kenny Pickett calling out teammates was just the tip of the iceberg. Buckle up.
Pittsburgh Baseball Now (+): Should they keep their two free agents? John Perrotto delivers the Pittsburgh Pirates analysis.
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NHL News & National Hockey Now
Washington Hockey Now: Stop me if you’ve heard this — older team blows third period lead, languishing near .500. Yep, the Pittsburgh Penguins are there. So, too, are the Capitals, who also blew it in the third period on Tuesday. Washington Capitals lose.
Vegas Hockey Now: Remember when people said Vegas would stink? Yeah, umm, NOPE. They are a franchise-best 9-2-0 after rallying against the Capitals. Jack Eichel is feeling it. Vegas Golden Knights takeaways.
The Athletic (+): The Maple Leafs are sinking. There’s talk of riffs with the coach. Media demanding the GM speak already. James Mirtle believes a trade is necessary to awaken the slumbering Leafs.
NYI: Crazy sequences. Casey Czikas earned a game misconduct when he plowed Chicago goalie Alex Stalock. So, Chicago retaliated and did the same to Ilya Sorokin. New York Islanders mayhem.
Philly: Those Flyers keep finding ways to get points. They stole a point against New York on Tuesday, and oddsmakers are dropping them in the Bedard sweepstakes. The scrappy Philadelphia Flyers.
Yes, John Tortorella is a great coach. He’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but he knows how to get the most out of a team.
Montreal Hockey Now: The defenseman I thought the Penguins would snag in the first round, Lane Hutson, is off to a torrid start in the NCAA. From our prospect guru: he also tops the latest Montreal Canadiens prospects list.
Calgary: One of the surprise teams, the Seattle Kraken, rallied to stun an “unprepared” Calgary Flames.
Dallas: The Stars are a team that no one is quite sure about. Are they really good? Are they draft lottery material? Sam Nestler reports with Miro Heiskanen back, the power play clicked, and the Dallas Stars feel pretty good.