The Penguins and Jets entered the third period all even at 1-1 on the scoreboard. However, that all changed in just over four minutes. In a 4:32 span, Pittsburgh scored three goals, including two 40 seconds apart, to jump out to a 4-1 lead.
Everything started just 22 seconds after the puck dropped to commence the third period. Evgeni Malkin
made a diving swipe at a puck to get it to James Neal
in the slot. Neal quickly shot the puck past goalie Andrej Pavelec to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead.
Pittsburgh then scored two goals 40 seconds apart to build that 2-1 lead into a 4-1 advantage. With Pittsburgh on a power play, Kunitz found Staal in the slot. Staal quickly snapped a shot into the top corner.
Dupuis completed the scoring sequence when he outraced Dustin Byfuglien to a dumped puck in the offensive zone. Dupuis didn’t hesitate to put the puck on net, going low and far side to beat Pavelec and the Penguins had a comfortable 4-1 lead.
“We were feeling like the next goal would be a big decider,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “I’m really pleased with the way we came out in the third. We kept pushing. I thought we took over the game in the third period.”
The Penguins suffered 177 man-games lost heading into the game against the Jets. But they received some good news on the injury front as defenseman Zbynek Michalek
returned to the lineup for the first time since missing 10 contests with a concussion.
“I felt great, I’m just happy to be back and be healthy,” Michalek said. “It’s been a rough season for me so far. I’m just happy to be back with the boys. It’s so much fun when you win. Hopefully, I can stay healthy.”
Penguins coach Bylsma told his team heading into its Tuesday contest against Chicago that if the team won, he would wear an ugly Christmas sweater on the bench against the Jets. A 3-2 victory later, Bylsma stayed true to his word.
The dark green sweater, which featured a centered Christmas tree with one deer on each side, was visible under Bylsma’s suit jacket.
“It seemed to get a nice reaction from the fans,” Bylsma said.
A LITTLE THIS, A LITTLE THAT
With an assist in the game, Evgeni Malkin
extended his scoring streak to seven games for a total of 16 points (6G-10A).
Forward Steve Sullivan
recorded an assist on Jordan Staal
’s power-play goal. It was the 700th career NHL point for Sullivan.
Defenseman Deryk Engelland
did not play, serving the first game of a three-game suspension.
Author: Sam Kasan