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The Pittsburgh Penguins own the third period

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They’ve outscored their opponents by 31 goals in that frame. That’s a lot.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Penguins returned to action with a bang, defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-2 - as if anything less could be expected from them. They scored a couple of goals in the second period, but it was the third period they really shined.

Outscoring the Lightning 4-1 in the final frame, the Penguins were able to establish a comfortable lead and then just keep adding to it, and we really shouldn’t be surprised about that. Via the Elias Sports Bureau:

Pittsburgh has been outscored by one goal in the first two periods of games this season (79–78), but the Penguins have outscored their opponents, 56–25, in third periods. Pittsburgh’s plus-31 third-period goal differential is far and away the best in the NHL this season. The Rangers and Canadiens are tied for the second-best mark (plus-19).

Well, it’s certainly a good thing they’re essentially treading water against other teams in the first two periods before blowing other teams out! It wouldn’t do for every game to include a massive comeback win.

Nine of the Penguins’ 26 wins have been the result of third period comebacks, while another three occurred when the Penguins got the game-tying goal in the third in order to force overtime and then, subsequently, win. So it’s not as though they’re constantly on their heels and forced into big third periods, but it does happen often enough to make a note of it.

You also quite often see them start to blow out other teams in the third, or just continue the blowout: they’ve done this another seven times or so. Sometimes they’re just a really, really good team that scores a lot, and a lot of those goals happen to be at the end of games.