July 21, 2024

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07: After video review Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Brock McGinn (23) is awarded a goal and the fans and team celebrate in the first period in Game Three of the First Round in the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs between the New York Rangers and the Pittsburgh Penguins on May 7, 2022, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Penguins Grades: Team Faces Heartbreak and Distraction.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were energetic and aggressive in the first period. They were absolutely terrible in the second period. They made it through the third period, eventually clinching a 5-3 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at PPG Paints Arena.
With NHL trade rumors swirling around Penguins winger Jake Guentzel and a looming NHL trade deadline that could split up the rest of the current roster, the Penguins were alternately engaged and completely disengaged. Despite a shorthanded goal tying the game at 3-3, they managed to score a few more goals in the third period.

The Penguins were clearly dealing with the aftermath of three games in four days, devastating losses in Calgary and Edmonton, as well as the uncertainty and distraction of the NHL trade deadline. According to reports released Tuesday evening, the Penguins hoped to trade Guentzel by Wednesday evening.

Sidney Crosby was uncharacteristically out of sorts on Tuesday, indicating how difficult this position is for the team.

“For the most part.” I thought we did okay. There is a lot of noise around the team right now. “Probably more so than in previous years,” Sullivan said. “Part of our job is to ensure that we stay focused on the task at hand.” The game is right in front of us. These guys are humans. I believe that is one of the challenges we face at this time of year, but I thought we played well overall. I thought there was a lapse in the second period. We weren’t as inspired in the second period.”
The Penguins jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to a suffocating forecheck and aggressive offense. They got up “in fives,” and Columbus pursued.

The game wasn’t always clean or crisp, but the Penguins had energy and were far superior to Columbus. The counterattacks were also effective, with strong zone entries and puck possession.

And then…

The Penguins lost over 57 seconds in the second period by squandering puck possessions and appearing uninterested.

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