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Snap Shots: Pens 5, Jackets 4 (OT)

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Team Reporter

Thoughts and observations from the Penguins' 5-4 overtime Game 3 win in Columbus...

* Before the game, Patric Hornqvist said the players had spent the last two days talking about how their starts had to be better. And when I asked Mike Sullivan what his team could do to improve in that regard - which wasn't going to be easy considering the Jackets were going to be back in front of their fans and feeding off their energy - he told me, "We've got to be ready from the drop of the puck. We've got to be prepared for their pressure, we've got to execute when the plays are there to be made and when they're not, we need to make simple plays."

* Unfortunately, the Pens weren't successful on that regard. On the first shift, they won the opening faceoff but turned the puck over in the neutral zone. The Jackets went in and scored just 11 seconds in. From there, I felt like they kept the momentum for the remainder of the period, and the biggest reason for that was because the Pens let them have it. They didn't make the smartest decisions, particularly when it came to managing the puck. They turned it over a number of times and put Marc-Andre Fleury in some tough situations. "I didn't think we had a horrible period, but we were a little loose on pretty much all their goals," Bryan Rust said. "We just needed to tighten up a little bit and push a little bit harder and that's what we did."

* The Pens have become known for their resilience and resolve, and they showed why tonight. They regrouped and got rewarded with a tie score. They were so dominant it felt like they were on a power play. They had Columbus pinned in their own end for lengthy stretches and forced them to chase as they moved the puck and kept possession. They made Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky work, throwing everything they could at him and finishing the period with 19 shots.

* Special teams was the story of the third. With the score tied 3-3, the Pens came up with a good penalty kill after Trevor Daley went to the box for interference with under 8 minutes left to play. They got stuck in their end for the last 30 seconds or so, but Nick Bonino produced a great individual effort to clear. Shortly after that, the Pens were awarded a power play of their own. And they capitalized, with Jake Guentzel finding the back of the net with just two seconds left. It was a huge opportunity and credit to them for taking advantage.

* The kids just keep on scoring. Guentzel scored three goals - including the overtime winner - while Rust scored one. They're making the most of playing alongside the Pens' superstar centers and finishing the chances they're getting. The offensive instincts they've displayed have been so good. They're in the right places at the right times and getting rewarded. "(Guentzel) had a great game," Sidney Crosby said. "Scored some big goals. Him and Rusty were huge for us tonight."

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