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Penguins Report Card: What Needs to Change After Same Old Loss to Islanders (+)



PIttsburgh Penguins game, Jason Zucker, Evgeni Malkin fight

The Pittsburgh Penguins’ slumber ended Monday night. After weeks of being short on the scoreboard, lackluster efforts, and bad luck, the Penguins drew a line. They punched back, literally, against the New York Islanders.

Yet the results were the same.

Another lead gained.

Another third-period lead lost.

Two more points were flushed away in a 4-2 loss to New York at PPG Paints Arena.

“The last couple of games, we feel pressure. We need points, and it’s like the same story — we played the Islanders in New York, and we led by two goals,” Evgeni Malkin said. “We tried to win, but we started to play (inaudible) and waited too long. They changed the momentum and started to control the game.”

Late in the second period, it appeared things would be different. With the Penguins holding a 2-1 lead, the Islanders were pressuring when Penguins winger Jason Zucker dragged everyone into the fight. Literally.

Zucker had scored the go-ahead goal midway through the period, and the game morphed from tough to chippy. Islanders grinder Casey Czikas defended Crosby by knocking him to the ice behind the net and smothering him.

On the following shift, the Evgeni Malkin line, with Zucker and Bryan Rust, got to the front of the net, and the fireworks began. A group chat became a scrum, which became something just short of a line brawl. Linesmen couldn’t pry Zucker out of the pile while Malkin seemed to punch anyone within a few feet who was not wearing a black jersey.

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