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Insider Only Beyond the Box Score: Sharks look like the 2016 Penguins; Low impact games from 71/81; Hertl Line vs 3rd-Pairing

Sharks overwhelm the Penguins in all three zones

The San Jose Sharks and Pittsburgh Penguins might only be separated by seven points in the standings, but that club in San Jose in a step above Pittsburgh in how they’re built and how much pace they play with.

Watching San Jose and Pittsburgh last night, it felt like a reversal from 2016.

This time San Jose is the club that comes at you in waves and with speed in all three zones that is just on another level.

San Jose pushed the pace all night, baited Pittsburgh into trying to play a track meet and the Penguins couldn’t match the Sharks in any area of the rink.

“I thought we got outplayed. We got outplayed in every area of the rink,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. We weren’t good enough. We lost the puck battles.”

San Jose was excellent at using their speed to create offense inside the circles and the Penguins had a world of trouble defending the net-front area that complicated issues defensively.

“We lost a lot of battles in front of the net,” said Sullivan.

The third pairing was especially tough to watch, notably Jack Johnson who was on the ice for 3 goals against 5-on-5.

Thomas Hertl was a nightmare matchup for the Penguins third pair.

In just 3:16 of ice-time when the Hertl line was on the ice against the Penguins third pair, things went array for the Penguins. The Sharks scored 2 goals on 6 shots and out-chanced the Penguins 9-2 when they got the Kane-Hertl-Donskoi line against the Pettersson-Johnson pairing.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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