Penguins – Panthers Fallout: Key development with Neutral zone/d-zone play


Penguins – Panthers Fallout Highlighted by a Sidney Crosby hat trick in a 10:45 span, Crosby and his line took over the game in a Penguins 4-0 win over the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Jake Guentzel (3 primary assists) and Conor Sheary assisted on all three Crosby goals. “They’ve been a dynamic line for us,” Mike Sullivan said afterwards…..”The three of them, to a man have all played terrific for us,” said Sullivan. As was the case today, the Crosby line was unstoppable again. What all three continue to do so well is support each other away from the puck below the dots that is making the line so hard to defend, despite the smallish stature of the line. “Biggest thing that makes them is how well they support each other down low,” said Sullivan. “They play that give and go game.” — A big sidebar in the victory was the PenguinsRead More »

Sunday’s Penguins Buzz: Deepest team in NHL at right wing?


SUNDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ 1. Evgeni Malkin has a bad bruise from blocking a shot vs the Calgary Flames last week. The injury is limiting him right now when he shoots the puck but further evaluation on Friday showed it’s nothing more than that. There’s no reason to overanalyze the injury. He’ll be fine. The Penguins have no long-term concern, though, why have him practicing like the Penguins did Saturday when Malkin admitted it bothers him to shoot and it’s expected the Penguins will hold him out for one more game and maybe a couple more after that as a precaution. 2. A pleasant surprise for the Penguins is winger Bryan Rust is a couple weeks ahead of schedule. “Things are coming along quicker than expected,” Rust said on Saturday. Rust at the time of his injury on Feb 9 was playing a first line role with Sidney Crosby. He won’tRead More »

Penguins – Devils Fallout: Few options for opposition to slow down Crosby line


Penguins – Devils Fallout “There’s a time for all four lines to start scoring, it’s March and April and then into the playoffs” — Nick Bonino After being shutout Wednesday night, the Penguins put up six goals on the New Jersey Devils Friday night and while the team gave up a lot of chances against, Pittsburgh kept pushing and pushing all game in peppering the Devils with 43 shots. Pittsburgh scored four 5 v 5 goals, getting goals from four different lines: Kessel – Cullen – Hornqvist |Phil Kessel Goal, 6:37 of 1st period Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary | Jake Guentzel Goal, 13:30 of 1st period Kuhnhackl – Bonino – Rowney (makeshift line) | Nick Bonino Goal, 15:47 of 2nd period Sestito – Rowney – Kuhnhackl | Carter Rowney Goal, 5:17 of 3rd period The New Jersey Devils are a bottom-feeder team that might be hard to get upRead More »

Penguins still few weeks away from knowing who will & won’t be ready for start of playoffs


The Pittsburgh Penguins dealing with a magnitude of injuries is nothing new. The team has shown over the years they are equipped to deal with them in the short-term. Pittsburgh already missing Kris Letang, Trevor Daley, Olli Maatta, Carl Hagelin, and Bryan Rust to long-term injuries, will get Patric Hornqvist (concussion) back in the lineup tonight, but the injury report got even longer as Evgeni Malkin and Ron Hainsey are out tonight. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said this morning that Malkin who participated briefly in the morning skate, has been dealing with an upper body injury for a while. Malkin last season dealt with a serious left elbow injury that sidelined him for the final month of the regular season and hindered him throughout the playoffs where surgery in the summer was being mulled to fully correct the issue. “We will know more soon,” Sullivan said this morning ofRead More »

Penguins becoming a top destination to develop college hockey forwards


Penguins bolster Next Wave of Prospect Group The Penguins signing of top NCAA scorer Zach Aston-Reese is being looked at around the league as the rich getting richer. Aston-Reese is not regarded by scouts as the type of blue chip college prospect Jimmy Vesey was seen as last year, but the general consensus from scouts is Aston-Reese has a chance to be a productive bottom-6 NHL player. Aston-Reese, 22, led the NCAA this past season with 63 points (31G-32A) and had 31 goals in just 38 games. In four years at Northeastern, Reese has 148 points (66G-82A) in 145 contests. A Hobey Baker Award finalist, Aston-Reese posted a 20 point improvement in points this past season, going from 43 to 63. The significance for the Penguins is this: Multiple agents (while officially representatives for college players) contend the Penguins have become a top destination for college free agents, a drasticRead More »

The March of the Penguins


The March of the Penguins A four game losing streak from the Washington Capitals has turned a seven point lead in the division to now a one point lead over a seven day span. Pittsburgh with a win tonight vs the red-hot Calgary Flames would move into sole possession of first place. As the Capitals were steamrolling through teams, when the club acquired Kevin Shattenkirk they not only strengthened themselves for a Stanley Cup run, which they did with the acquisition, but it was widely assumed first place would stay a bit of reach for the Penguins. But, spring is upon us and we may be seeing another ‘March of the Penguins’ The Penguins may say it doesn’t matter where they finish, but it matters to the coaching staff who always want home-ice. There will certainly be a strong push to go for the division. It’s quite a difference inRead More »

Penguins – Oilers Fallout: The March of Nick Bonino, Fleury & Expansion Draft Talk


Penguins – Oilers Fallout — The Penguins don’t see it often but the Oilers outskated Pittsburgh Friday night in a fast paced, high-octane game. Connor McDavid was a big reason why. “It was a pretty fast-paced game,” Mike Sullivan said. “It was certainly one of the faster-paced games that we’ve played in.” Hard to see the Oilers getting through the West this season but lets hope a Penguins – Oilers Cup Final happens in the next couple years. What the Oilers did well after the first period vs the Penguins, was take advantage of the Penguins weaker players in matchups. Chad Ruhwedel, Tom Kuhnhackl, and Carter Rowney among them. — The March of Nick Bonino Bonino’s game transformed last spring in March with 13 points in 16 games and that built a lot of momentum into his game that carried over into April, May in making the Penguins a majorRead More »

Malkin’s season on par with 87? Sheary a $4 million a year player?


Tuesday’s Penguins Buzz Evgeni Malkin points/60 (5v5) over the last five years: 2016-2017: 2.85 2015-2016: 1.86 2014-2015: 2.39 2013-2014: 2.57 2012-2013: 1.75 With 67 points in 57 games, Malkin is giving Sidney Crosby a strong run for the team scoring race as the two are neck and neck in points and points per game, Crosby averaging 1.19 points per game (1st in NHL), Malkin 1.18 points per game (2nd in the NHL). It’s been several seasons since when Crosby and Malkin both played full seasons that near the end of the season a topic of discussion was ‘who’s having the more dominant season.’ This is finally one of those years as Malkin is putting together his best season since 2011-2012. Many hockey people think this is finally Washington’s year, I’m also in that boat, but if the Penguins get around .925 save percentage again this post-season from Matt Murray likeRead More »

Center Mismatch on Friday night, Mark Streit’s sparkling debut, & Justin Schultz future in PIT


The Center Mismatch Penguins – Lightning last night was a classic case of a major mismatch down the middle. Pittsburgh sported Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, while the Lightning came at the Penguins minus no Steven Stamkos (injured), Brian Boyle (traded) and Valtteri Filppula who was traded to Philadelphia, with Tyler Johnson and Brayden Point as their top-2 centers. With Victor Hedman getting the Crosby matchup as he often does, personnel wise the door was open for Evgeni Malkin to have favorable matchups and he made the Lightning pay all night. Malkin was dominant in all facets with 2 goals, 1 assist, and a puck possession machine, on the ice for 16 shot attempts and just 4 against in 5-on-5 play. Lightning goaltender Petr Budaj called the Penguins scoring surge a “couple lucky bounces”. “A couple lucky bounces [for Pittsburgh], but when you have possession and you have some odd-manRead More »

Will Penguins end up regretting not getting ahead of others in a flooded goaltending market?


The Summer Goaltending Market If the Penguins thought the goaltending market was bad this winter in trying to move Marc Andre Fleury, wait till the summer where the market is going to be flooded with younger, cheaper capable options. One of the questions surrounding the Penguins after Fleury was not moved at the deadline or last summer when they might have had the best chance to move him, is whether they will end up regretting not getting ahead of others in what’s going to be a flooded goaltending market in June. Unrestricted Free Agents Ben Bishop Scott Darling Brian Elliott Ryan Miller Steve Mason Mike Condon Chad Johnson Peter Budaj The market is deep here with a plethora of options for clubs. You have Ben Bishop, a Vezina Trophy finalist who while having a down season, will be the top dog on the market in seeking $5-$6 million per seasonRead More »