The Pittsburgh Penguins surged back from a three-goal deficit and the Anaheim Ducks folded as the Penguins pressure continued through the third period for a 7-4 win over Anaheim at the Honda Center.
The Penguins claimed acceptable effort in the first period. Tanner Pearson and head coach Mike Sullivan specifically cited the Penguins level of play as good.
“We felt like we were playing well,” said Sullivan.
“We were still playing some pretty good hockey (when down 3-0),” said Pearson.
The Penguins can say that, but they were being outplayed. Anaheim’s structure put their players between the puck and the next Penguin. The Penguins gaps were off and Anaheim had far more energy in the first period. Daniel Sprong’s tally is a prime example. Anaheim was outworking the Penguins and there was a glaring difference especially against the third line. The Ducks were controlling the zone and puck when Sprong beat Brassard to the loose puck to whip at Murray.