The Pittsburgh Penguins have been able to dominate each of their opponents during the young five-game season. However, they have also proven adept at gifting goals in bunches with head-scratching mistakes and bad penalties. Friday night was no exception, but the Penguins again rallied from a two-goal third period deficit. This time they beat the New York Rangers, 4-3 in a shootout.
The aggressive and suffocating backchecks did not allow New York to breathe in the second 10 minutes of the second period. The Penguins top two lines picked sticks, stepped in front of breakouts, and swarmed the New York Rangers. Had there been fans at PPG Paints Arena, the place (should have) rocked.
Like the rest of the NHL, something is missing, and players aren’t rewarded with thunderous home support.
But those 10 minutes in the second period and the swift skating pressure in the third period had to erase five minutes of otherwise absent-minded play at the start of the second period.
“(The comebacks) show we don’t have great starts,” quipped Kris Letang before admitting the team must address the issue posthaste.
And, had there been fans, the boos may have rained from the upper decks. The Penguins gifted New York three goals in less than six minutes, including a pair just 24 seconds apart before Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan settled his team with a timeout.
Things changed after the timeout.