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Penguins Report Card: Wild Ride, 2nd Period Tire Fire, Dominant 3rd in 7-4 Win (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Jeff Carter

The Pittsburgh Penguins were night and day different at home than they were in Game 2 in New York. They were also night and day from the first period to the second. And a new version showed in the third period. Pregnant women, and people with back problems or heart conditions should not ride this ride.

Or just watch the final six minutes when the Penguins played brilliantly.

It was a roller coaster. It was a resounding statement, a tire fire that started from a dumpster fire, and it was a resurgent win. The Penguins defeated the New York Rangers in Game 3, 7-4, to claim a 2-1 series lead.

Read colleague Dave Molinari’s Penguins postgame here.

The Penguins led 4-1 in the first period. Evan Rodrigues had three points. The joint was jumping.

“I think we were being really physical, and I think we were playing simple and kind of all on the same page. We were getting on the forecheck and controlling the puck,” Rodrigues said. “We were hanging on to it down low. And when we had lanes to the net, we were getting bodies there and putting pucks there. When you’re playing simple hockey like that, it’s easier to read off everybody.”

However, as well as they played in the first period, they played as poorly, and then some…, and then some more, in the second period.

The Penguins chased all-world New York goalie Igor Shesterkin after 20 minutes. Then put just five shots in the first 18 minutes of the second period against backup Alexander Georgiev. The Penguins and New York went to the third period tied primarily because the Penguins played perhaps their worst hockey of the season.

The special teams were again another matter as it appeared the Penguins’ top power-play unit was a Tim Burton nightmare more than a Todd Reirden diagram.

Then the Penguins squashed the Rangers in the last 10 minutes. The theme of the report card is simplicity.

Rodrigues (2-1-3) and Mike Matheson (0-3-3) had three points. Louis Domingue stopped 32 of 36, and the Penguins PP1 was a minus-1, while PP2 was +2.

From Louie Louie to E-Rod, jubilation, and disaster and jubilation again. The player grades and tactical breakdown: The PHN+ report card…

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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.