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Penguins fend off 3-0 deficit, best Sabres in regulation

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game One

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 30: Bryan Rust #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with Chris Kunitz #14, Justin Schultz #4, Evgeni Malkin #71, and Ian Cole #28 after scoring a first period goal against the San Jose Sharks in Game One of the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Consol Energy Center on May 30, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Matt Kincaid/Getty Images)

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Things were looking a bit glum for the Pittsburgh Penguins after the first period on Sunday.

The Buffalo Sabres built a 3-0 lead, chasing Matt Murray in the process. A would-be 1-1 goal missed by a hair. It looked like the Columbus Blue Jackets would fatten their lead over second place in the Metro.

Of course, the headline gives it away: that didn’t happen. Good thing they still have Marc-Andre Fleury and a willingness to fight through their mistakes, as they rallied back to win 4-3 tonight.

(Doing so in regulation is that much more impressive.)

Fleury was a big part of that rally, making 28 saves during two periods of perfect relief work. As you’d expect, other Penguins chipped in to come back from that 3-0 deficit.

Justin Schultz continues his remarkable career turnaround, enjoying the best statistical night of any Penguins skater.

He scored a goal and two assists to help trigger that comeback, though Conor Sheary and Evgeni Malkin also deserve special mentions considering their one-goal, one-assist nights.

Despite nine shots on goal, Sidney Crosby didn’t register a point, which is just another reason why this win should hearten the Penguins as they ready for what could be a difficult road ahead as defending champions.

Speaking of which, most teams likely realize this and it’s easier said than done, but this game provided more evidence that it’s foolish to get in a track meet with this attacking team.

It’s also foolish to expect the Penguins to roll over, even when they dig themselves a big hole.