Penguins – Capitals What We Learned

 

Penguins – Capitals What We Learned PIT 5 – WSH 3 (F) Goaltending: Matt Murray (38 SV, .927 SV%) | Braden Holtby (25 SV, .862 SV%) PIT Goal Scorers: S Crosby 2 (33), J Guentzel (35), P Kessel (23), J McCann (17) WSH Goal Scorers: J Carlson (11), J Vrana 2 (21) The Washington Capitals through the first 30 minutes of the game, were putting on a methodical performance and as each minute kept passing by, looked to be putting the Penguins to a slow death. Pittsburgh just never seemed to have the puck, couldn’t establish much of any zone time below the dots and Washington looked well on their way to going eight points up on the Penguins in the standings. Until Jared McCann happened in creating an Evgeni Kutznetsov turnover just inside the Capitals blueline, blowing by Brooks Orpik who looked like was walking into a nursing homeRead More »

Penguins – Bruins Takeaways: Matt Murray is changing the Outlook; McCann’s Impact Continues & Scouts Buzz on Phil Kessel

 

Matt Murray is back to playing at a franchise goaltender level The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped the Boston Bruins 19 game unbeaten streak with a 4-2 win Sunday night at the PPG Paints Arena. Matt Murray was again sensational in turning aside 39 of 41 shots. Murray’s play of late has started to change the outlook of this team. Sidney Crosby has showed over the last little while there’s no way he’s going to let this group miss the playoffs but the Murray dynamic always looms of how dangerous of a foe the Penguins can be or won’t be. When Murray is playing like this and looking identical to the goaltender that backstopped the Penguins to back-to-back Titles in 2016 and 2017, you start looking at the Penguins a little bit different. Really since the outdoor game against Philadelphia, the group has started to simplify their game for the better fromRead More »

Penguins showing 2017 type blueprint of more structure, less-risk style of play without Letang; + What’s next for mentally fried Blue Jackets & More Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins are not a better hockey team without Kris Letang but what they are in Letang’s absence is a more structured, low-risk hockey club that is reaping the benefits in the win column of late. Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets was the type of blueprint the Penguins put together without Letang during their 2017 Stanley Cup run. Keep teams to the outside, collapse to the middle in the d-zone by clogging up the high/low slot with bodies and playing a lower-risk opportunistic offensive brand type of hockey. Instead of running up and down the ice that leaves you susceptible to odd-man rushes the other way, a glaring problem all season and a style that is natural to go to when a high-risk offensive minded defenseman like Letang is eating up 26-28 minutes a night. Without Letang again, the Penguins trapped it upRead More »

Sidney Crosby is still King; Jake Guentzel’s Even-Strength Prowess & McCann being that Dupuis like presence

 

Crosby is Still Kings Are we witnessing the most dominant stretch of Sidney Crosby’s career since his 25-game assault on the NHL during the 2010-2011 season? The eye test says we are. Just as it was Saturday night vs the Montreal Canadiens, in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night, Crosby was a magician on the ice in all three zone. Shift after shift it was complete dominance from Crosby once again. Crosby has been involved in nine of the Penguins last 10 goals, has 25 points over his last 12 games and this isn’t just some dominant 10-12 game run. Crosby started single handily saving the Penguins season around Thanksgiving when he returned to the lineup from a short absence and it’s happening again where he’s going to will the Penguins to a playoff berth. This 20-game or so stretch for Crosby is where it mightRead More »

Post-Trade Deadline Buzz: Penguins thought they had a deal in place to re-acquire Carl Hagelin

 

Post Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz An odd situation has emerged out of the trade deadline in that the Penguins not only tried to re-acquire Carl Hagelin, the team thought they had a deal in place to acquire Hagelin from the Kings just prior to Hagelin being traded to the Washington Capitals. What makes this so odd is when Hagelin was traded on Nov 28, it was crystal clear in the CBA that’s been around since 2013 that the Penguins would not be eligible to trade for Hagelin again this year since the team retained $250,000 of his salary. Yet, no one from either team initially realized

Latest Pens Buzz: High-Risk moves in CLB; Rust Latest & Playing the Percentages with Matt Murray

 

Latest Pens Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins dating back to the Dan Bylsma era always seem to rise to the occasion in these regular season games where they’re severely shorthanded at a key spot as they were Tuesday night in Columbus without Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin. The Blue Jackets were riding the high of their deadline moves and had no excuse to lose that game, but Pittsburgh once again came in and delivered more doubt into the Blue Jackets heads, namely Sergei Bobrovsky. Blue Jackets management was bold with their deadline moves and it’s always fun to see a team go all-in. They also targeted players whom they believe they have shots to resign in Ryan Dzingle and Matt Duchene which is smart management. But, a quick exit or not even making the playoffs is going to be catastrophic for this organization. On paper this is a dangerous team, anRead More »

Post-Trade Deadline: Basing off-ice capabilities over actual on-ice capabilities is a scary road Jim Rutherford continues on

 

Penguins Post-Trade Deadline Fallout Penguins GM Jim Rutherford made a trade Monday at the deadline for the sake of just making a trade in shipping underperforming winger Tanner Pearson to the Vancouver Canucks for rugged defenseman Erik Gudbranson. There are complications to keep trying to fix one mistake with what will surely be another mistake in acquiring Gudbranson. Gudbranson, 27, carries a $4 million cap hit through the 2020/2021 and that’s the real problem with this deal. From the eye test to several metrics, this is one of the worst value defenseman in the NHL and it’s not close. I’m always going to be somebody who trust the eye test over any metrics but the concern with Gudbranson is his game doesn’t bring optimism from either direction and it’s a Jack Johnson situation where the player is who he is at this stage of his career. This is not aRead More »

Latest Trade Deadline Buzz: Penguins covering their bases on d-man market; A Surprise late run & More Buzz

 

Latest Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz Matt Murray’s implosion Saturday night is getting all the headlines after the Penguins 4-3 loss in the Stadium Series as Murray’s inconsistences linger. Just imagine if the Penguins miss the playoffs by one point and how many will look back to that game. The real story out of this game, though, is Kris Letang’s long-term health for this season and how it has the Penguins scrambling over the last 24 hours before the deadline to cover their bases. Olli Maatta’s timetable is still up in the air, but internally his injury has been looked at as a 4-6 week injury (placed on IR Feb 12). The Penguins know they’re likely getting Maatta back this season, they just don’t know exactly when yet. Pittsburgh has some clarity on Brian Dumoulin with an official diagnosis (concussion) but there is uncertainty with Letang who is being evaluated forRead More »