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4 Penguins Talking Points: ‘Stick-to-it-iveness,’ Sloppy & Emotional OT Win (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin

After a grinding defensive effort on Sunday against the New Jersey Devils, the Pittsburgh Penguins seemed disinterested in the idea of another low-event game. The barn doors flung open, and the horses ran in the Penguins’ 7-6 overtime win against the Florida Panthers at PPG Paints Arena Tuesday.

The Penguins and Washington Capitals now lead the Florida Panthers by four points in the battle for the final playoff spot in the East. The Buffalo Sabres are one point ahead of Florida.

Injuries, including Tristan Jarry’s upper-body issue that was discovered Tuesday, and maladies to Florida’s top two goalies forced both teams to use backups. Jarry was a late scratch after being announced as the starter Tuesday morning.

Penguins goalie Casey DeSmith said he found out about five minutes before he got dressed for the warmup that he would start. Coach Mike Sullivan said he found out when Jarry arrived at the rink.

To add to the drama and intrigue, neither team had a backup goalie on the bench, and neither seemed inclined to lock down or take care of their own zone in front of those goalies. Emergency backup goalie Mike Chiasson was a moment away from playing for either team.

“I don’t know if I had a bit of a laugh. I’m sure you (the media) might have. It was an entertaining game, that’s for sure. There were a lot of good plays made on both sides,” Sullivan said. “There’s a lot of talent on both teams. The entertainment value was off the charts. From a coaching standpoint, we would like it to be a tighter game. And I know we’re capable of it.”

Florida starter Alex Lyon played his second game in two nights. He struggled in the 6-2 loss to the New York Rangers Monday. His struggles continued Tuesday.

The situation only added to the chaotic energy. Given that the game was Florida’s third in four nights, the Penguins should have wrapped Florida like a 15-foot Everglades python.

Instead, it became an airboat race.

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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.