Latest Pens Buzz: Crosby dazzles in McDavid Matchup; Alarming trends continue despite record & Pittsburgh’s Jack Johnson problem

 

Penguins 6 – Oilers 5 (OT) Sidney Crosby’s night vs the Edmonton Oilers: 2 Goals, including a dazzling overtime goal, 5 shots on goal, 16 of 20 (80%) on faceoffs, and was the Penguins best possession player 5-on-5 at 62%. As for the Sidney Crosby vs Connor McDavid matchup: Crosby was at 66% in possession (19/10) head-to-head against McDavid, +6 (10/4, 71%) in Scoring Chance For Percentage. It quite interesting how Crosby owned the Austin Matthews matchup and then turned in a similar performance vs McDavid, at least from a numbers standpoint. Crosby gets up for every game no matter the opponent, but I think there was some extra motivation from his end. Connor McDavid is the worlds greatest player right now, there’s no question about that, but Crosby is still holding stock in being the league’s most dominant 200 ft player. He showed that again Tuesday night. — WasRead More »

Pens- Leafs Fallout: On Murray finding his game, Penguins taking away the inside with elite level backpressure & More Takeaways

 

Plenty of Positive Takeaways from Penguins – Leafs Who saw the Penguins and Maple Leafs combining for zero 5-on-5 goals? Matt Murray posted a 38-save shutout and the Penguins earned a 3-0 shutout win over the Maple Leafs Thursday night in snapping the Leafs five game winning streak. This was a vintage Matt Murray performance that had to remind fans of the goaltender we saw so often in 2016 and 2017. Murray was playing big, squaring up shooters and looked a step ahead mentally in knowing where shots were going. This might have been his best game since Game 6 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final. He was on his angles so well, that it forced the Leafs to have to try to make perfect shots to beat him and that’s when Murray is at his best. You can argue this was a statement performance from Murray. Murray is saidRead More »

The Greatest Show on Ice? Murray returns to the net against Toronto’s offensive juggernaut

 

The Greatest show on ice? The Toronto Maple Leafs with star power are playing the brand of hockey that makes them must watch TV every night. Off to a 6-1 start, the Leafs are averaging 4.71 goals/game and are 47% on the power play. Austin Matthews is lighting up the league with 10 goals and 6 assists in seven games. Puck moving defenseman Morgan Reilly is tied for second in the NHL with 13 points. That John Tavares guy signing with home-town team is going to work out just fine. Tavares has 6 goals, 11 points in seven games as the 1-2 combo of Matthews/Tavares down the middle has combined for 16 goals and 27 points thus far this season. LEAFS LEADERS 1. Austin Matthews | 16 Pts 2. Morgan Rielly | 13 Pts 3. John Tavares | 11 Pts 4. Mitchell Marner | 11 Pts 5. Kasperi Kapanen |Read More »

Penguins – Canucks Fallout: On Johnson’s Defensive Instincts; Style change needed for pinching issues? Highlighting Crosby Line

 

Penguins – Canucks Fallout The Pittsburgh Penguins earned a point Tuesday night as Carl Hagelin forced overtime in scoring with 3:14 left in regulation off a great feed from Phil Kessel. Brock Boeser would sink the Penguins 34 seconds into overtime. There was some good for the Penguins in this one. Over the final two periods they owned the territorial edge, possessing the puck at a 59% clip and the Sidney Crosby in particular was very good throughout the game. However, a 60-minute evaluation of the Penguins performance still showed a lot of the same warts that have plagued them through six games. — A Rough First-Period Highlighted continued poor positioning in the defensive zone as Pittsburgh were out-shot 11-5 in the period and out-scored 2-1. The Penguins since July keep talking up Jack Johnson being able to play the right side and it’s just not working out. Johnson hasRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: On Schultz Injury, Speed/Possession Game lacking, Brassard’s Audition, J.S. Dea & More Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz Defenseman Justin Schultz suffered a fractured leg on Saturday night vs the Montreal Canadiens and Schultz will be out months with the Penguins expected to announce an official timeline this afternoon. Surgery has been recommended for Schultz. Is Juuso Riikola capable of filling that puck moving void the Penguins will now have? The skill set might be there to be a puck moving presence but the capability is another story. Riikola was okay vs Vegas but was greatly exposed against the Canadiens where he didn’t look much in the mold of an NHL defenseman. Two games in just isn’t a big enough sample to know what the Penguins have. The microscope is now squarely on Olli Maatta who returned to the lineup vs the Canadiens and was somehow at 13% in possession, on the ice for 4 shots attempts and 25 against in over 17 minutes ofRead More »

Phil Kessel/Casey DeSmith ‘happened’ vs VGK, Murray Latest, 2nd Pairing & plans for Maatta

 

The Penguins 4-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights Thursday night didn’t see much improvement in the Penguins level of play from the Canadiens game, except on the scoreboard. What played out is Phil Kessel and Casey DeSmith happened. Kessel recorded a hat trick, highlighted by a breakaway goal, while DeSmith was excellent in goal with 35 saves that included a 2-on-0 stop. Pittsburgh improved to 2-1 on the season because of those two. This was the type of game when a Phil Kessel shows his worth. Pittsburgh was badly outplayed and Kessel was a game changer with 3 goals. And for the first time in the week old season, Pittsburgh got above average goaltending. The negatives for the Penguins in the win was struggles to tilt the ice during 5-on-5 play. “Obviously we’re pleased that we won and we got the result,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “ButRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz on Matt Murray, Riikola, Olli Maatta Trade Chatter & Roster Flexibility

 

Latest Pens Buzz [More Trouble for Murray] [Riikola to debut] [Ottawa front and Center in monitoring Maatta situation?] [Reason behind Grant placed on waivers] The Penguins on Tuesday revealed that goaltender Matt Murray has been diagnosed with a concussion, spelling more trouble for Murray who has opened the season allowing 11 goals in 2 games. The short and long-term concern for Murray’s personally is that this is now his 3rd known concussion since April 2016. Murray was bumped a few times in Saturday’s game, but indications are the injury happened in Monday’s practice when a Penguins forward Predicting how anyone will respond from a concussion is a crapshoot, but the way Murray is already responding has the Penguins optimistic that it won’t be a long-term absence by any means, sources said late Wednesday morning. As for Tristan Jarry, it’s an earlier than expected opportunity for him to put some goodRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Coaches preparing to already deliver a statement scratch?

 

Changes coming on Defense? Does Saturday’s 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens have Penguins’ head coach Mike Sullivan already prepared to make a so called ‘sending a message’ scratch in his lineup for Thursday night’s matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights? The Maatta-Johnson pairing was horrid vs the Canadiens, but a primary reason for the coaching staff strongly leaning towards going away from that pairing for now, is getting Johnson off the right side. Despite talk from the GM and coaches prior to the season praising Johnson’s versatility to play the right side, sources say the coaches feel Johnson

Penguins defensive woes continue, dominated by Canadiens

 

Canadiens 5 – Penguins 1 (F) PIT Goal Scorers: 2nd R. Sheahan (1) 17:10 MTL Goal Scorers: 1st: B. Gallagher (1) 11:08; P. Byron (1) 15:56; 2nd: P. Byron (2) 3:43; J. Armia (1 SHG) 14:04; 3rd: C. Hudon (1) 10:08 Post-Game Buzz: Dreadful defensive play and goaltending followed the Penguins for the second straight game in a 5-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The Penguins have opened the season in allowing 11 goals in two games, albeit an improvement from last season when they allowed 14 goals through two games. This was a game where the Penguins dominated possession through 40 minutes but were outscored 4-1 through two and Montreal limited the Penguins from getting odd-man breaks through the neutral zone and countered the Penguins poor puck management and loose play defensively by putting the puck in the back of the Penguins net. Montreal was willing to play aRead More »

On Crosby/Guentzel; Letang, Lack of Confidence in Daniel Sprong 5-on-5 & More Buzz:

 

More Takeaways from Opening Night 1. An under-the-radar storyline from opening night was how good Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel were. Both had just 2 points, Guetnzel with two goals and Crosby two assists, but it could have been a 5 point night for both players. Crosby was flying all night and was on the ice for 4 Goals For and just 1 against. Keep Guentzel next to Crosby and this is what you’re going to get a lot of nights. Guentzel does not have an elite skill set but his elite hockey sense is in the mold of Marian Hossa, coaches around the NHL feel, where he can think the game near Crosby’s level. That’s why these two are so good together when it comes to the little things they do on the ice. Guentzel’s 2-goal effort highlighted again how he is always in the right spots and it’sRead More »