PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins can play dazzling hockey at times. You can also flirt with disasters on occasion. They did both in a 7-6 win over New Jersey on Tuesday, which started as a blowout before turning into something far more terrifying.
Almost becoming the first NHL team to have a six-goal lead in the third half will do so.
“Well, I’ve never had an experience like this,” said Penguin trainer Mike Sullivan. “It’s not easy to react.”
Or explain. Pittsburgh led 6-0 into the third round before the Devils put together an angry rally. Andreas Johnsson pulled New Jersey within 41 seconds, but the Devils couldn’t get another shot with the goalkeeper pulled.
It was the first NHL club to win, according to Elias Sports Bureau, despite scoring five or more goals in the third game by finding a way to hold onto the penguins. It’s not the kind of story a blueprint team wants to make to reach the Stanley Cup.
“I hope it’s an outlier,” said Sullivan.
Pittsburgh followed up New Jersey’s starting goalkeeper Scott Wedgewood, beating him four times in the first half and adding two more to replacement Aaron Dell in the second. The last 20 minutes should be the hockey equivalent of bleeding the clock.
It wasn’t you. The penguins began, as striker Evan Rodrigues put it, “to run and shoot”. The devils were only too happy to join them.
Johnsson, Nico Hischier, Jegor Sharangovich, Nathan Bastian, Jack Hughes and Nolan Foote defeated Tristan Jarry in the third, though it wasn’t enough to keep New Jersey from losing their seventh straight.
Was there any break in them? No, they stuck with it, ”said Devils trainer Lindy Ruff. You haven’t quit. They weren’t afraid to do plays. … You still wanted to do plays. … If we could have taken some of those chances early in the game, we could really have scored nine or ten goals. “
It just seemed like they did it in game three as New Jersey barely looked like a 2-1-1 win for the past 12 games, with three of the losses being caused by the Penguins. Pittsburgh moved within a point of Washington and the New York Islanders for first place in the East Division with the win.
The teams will meet again on Thursday and Saturday. The devils hope that their third period was a sign of the future.
“It’s easier to play when you lose 6-0 so we chopped off,” said Hughes. “It’s embarrassing to lose 6-0 in the NHL. As I said, it is impossible to win a game if you give up seven goals. “
Carter finds the network
Jeff Carter, who was taken over from Los Angeles at the close of trading last week to add depth, speed and a shot of grit to the penguins as the playoffs loom, defeated Wedgewood with a shot out of the circles late in the first period first goal to score since join the team.
The goal was the 391st of Carter’s career and the first for a team other than the Kings since February 21, 2012, when he played for Columbus.
“It was great for Jeff, I thought his line had another good game tonight,” said Sullivan. “Scoring the first goal as the Pittsburgh Penguin means a lot to him. I’m sure he can just relax and play now. “
SPREAD IT AROUND
Fifteen of the 21 skaters in Pittsburgh – including Jarry – had at least one point.
Sidney Crosby, Bryan Rust and Evan Rodrigues each had a goal and an assist. Jake Guentzel had two templates. So does Jared McCann, who now has 15 points in his last 14 games.
Mike Matheson, Teddy Blueger and Brian Dumoulin also scored goals for the Penguins. Dumolin’s third goal of the season began with an innocent blow from the center ice, which knuckled after hitting the ice and somehow found its way through Wedgewood.
“When it left my stick I felt like it had some bounce and some roll. I could see that the ice was quite bouncy at first,” said Dumoulin. “I’m going to take that jump and take this luck.”
Wedgewood’s 13th start to the season was also his most memorable. He only stopped nine of the 13 shots he faced before being drawn in favor of Dell to begin the second period. Dell fared little better, abandoning a goal on the first shot he faced when Pittsburgh scored their highest goal since March 3, 2020 against Ottawa.
The Devils, like they did in the Rangers loss over the weekend, made it interesting after falling miserably behind. But just like in New York, a late outbreak was not enough.
“Here’s what we need: To start it we need a better goal,” said Ruff. “Flat out, need better goalkeeper.” We made some mistakes. Every team makes some mistakes. You saw some of the goals that have been achieved. These are parades that have to be made. “
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