June 24, 2024

The Pittsburgh Penguins entered their game against the New Jersey Devils with slim playoff chances, which only dwindled further by the second intermission as they trailed 3-1. Despite playing their third game in four days and battling illness among their roster, the Penguins refused to concede defeat.

Defenseman Marcus Pettersson highlighted their determination, stating they believed in their ability to turn the game around. Remarkably, the Penguins staged an improbable comeback in the third period, scoring five unanswered goals to secure a 6-3 victory. While this win may not drastically alter their playoff prospects, it keeps them in contention a bit longer.

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Coach Mike Sullivan praised the team’s effort, acknowledging their lack of energy early in the game. However, he commended their resilience in rallying against a formidable opponent like the Devils. Rickard Rakell, who scored the game-winner, credited Sidney Crosby’s power-play goal for shifting momentum in their favor. Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic’s stellar performance in the first two periods kept the Penguins within striking distance, making their comeback feasible.

Sullivan acknowledged the unpredictability of hockey games, noting the common occurrence of teams erasing significant deficits. He emphasized the importance of staying focused on each game and maintaining their competitive spirit.

The Penguins’ recent victories have rejuvenated the team, as they embrace the opportunity to compete for a playoff spot. The team’s mindset remains focused on taking each game as it comes and striving to seize every opportunity.

Jack St. Ivany’s performance in his first seven NHL games suggests that he may not return to Wilkes-Barre anytime soon, unless he is sent there to gain playoff experience or decides to visit northeastern Pennsylvania for leisure.

Against the Devils, St. Ivany logged 15:45 of ice time, registering two hits and an assist, marking his first point in the NHL. He continued his partnership with Ryan Shea for the second consecutive game, as his usual defensive partner, John Ludvig, was unavailable due to illness. This pairing has proven effective, earning praise from coach Sullivan.

Their chemistry may be attributed to their prior partnership in the American Hockey League. St. Ivany acknowledged their rapport, highlighting their frequent communication off the ice. This cohesion has translated well onto the ice, contributing to their success as a defensive pairing in the NHL.

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