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Penguins Room: Letang Dazzles, DeSmith Makes Personal History

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Kris Letang had been through a lot since the last time he pulled on a Pittsburgh Penguins sweater.

There’d been the injury he suffered on Dec. 28 that sidelined him for nearly a month.

The unexpected death of his father just a few days later, followed by an extended leave of absence so he could be with his family in Montreal.

It was no surprise, then, that Letang really wasn’t sure what to expect when he made his return to the lineup Tuesday night at PPG Paints Arena.

“I didn’t know what to think or how it was going to go,” Letang said.

He probably did not envision putting up two goals — one of them the game-winner — and a pair of assists in the Penguins’ 7-6 overtime victory against Florida, earning recognition as the game’s No. 1 star in the process.

“I just tried to adapt to the flow of the game and get back into it,” Letang said.

Make no mistake, this was not an easy game to which anyone could adapt, because both sides showed only occasional interest in playing well defensively, as the teams combined for 88 shots on goal.

“You won’t want those games too many times,” Letang said. “You can be on the wrong side of it. We have to learn from the mistakes we made and try to tighten up.”

Casey DeSmith

Casey DeSmith didn’t know until shortly before warmups that he’d be in goal, not backing up Tristan Jarry at the far end of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ bench, Tuesday evening.

After he did get in, he had an evening that, for the most part, DeSmith likely would prefer to forget, as the Panthers put six of 39 shots past him.

He did, however, make a bit of personal history, since it might have been the first time that DeSmith came out on top in a game in which he allowed a half-dozen goals.

“I can’t remember a time when I gave up six and won,” he said. “Great job by everybody, putting seven in the net. It feels good.”

Sidney Crosby

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost in New Jersey on Sunday.

They won at PPG Paints Arena Tuesday.

No surprise that Sidney Crosby liked much more about one of those games than he did the other.

It just wasn’t the one you might have expected.

He was far more pleased with the way the Penguins played in their 2-1 overtime loss to the Devils than in their 7-6 victory against the Panthers.

“Besides the outcome (in New Jersey), there were a lot of good things,” he said. “That’s the game we want to play.”

The Penguins were generally sound and structured against the Devils. That wasn’t the case against the Panthers.

“There were some weird bounces and pucks seemed to find guys in different spots,” Crosby said.

He did, however, appreciate that the Penguins ended up with two points, regardless of how they got them.

“Sometimes those games happen,” Crosby said. “You want to be on the right side of them.”

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