Through 12 games, the Pittsburgh Penguins most complete game this season was a 3-0 win vs the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct 18. that jumpstarted a 4-0 Canadian road trip.
The Leafs, though, would turn the tables on the Penguins Saturday night with a 5-0 shutout win at PPG Paints Arena in putting together a masterpiece of a performance themselves.
The Penguins who have now lost three straight, were out-worked and out-skated in all three zones of the ice.
Where Toronto was exceptional vs the Penguins was with their closing speed defensively whether it was 5-on-5 or defending the Penguins power play. They suffocated the Penguins with great back pressure/gap control that played a part in the Penguins looking so listless.
Pittsburgh’s zone entries were a mess, even on the man-advantage.
Just one of those nights?
The Penguins can go ahead and say that if they want, it was just the 12th game of an 82 game regular season, but this was the type of game where the Leafs even minus Austin Matthews (shoulder injury) and William Nylander (holdout) saw their big guns outplay Pittsburgh’s and the Penguins just had no answer.
What stood out again is how bland the Penguins bottom-6 is right now in the type of situation the Penguins were in Saturday night where the top-2 lines and or the power play is held in check.
That’s why the Penguins will be in for a rude awakening long-term this season if some decision makers in the organization keep trying to talk themselves into that a Riley Sheahan-Matt Cullen duo is a good enough third line/fourth line center combination that allows Derick Brassard to play the wing or open the door to eventually move Brassard for a right handed defenseman or winger.
Is Penguins GM Jim Rutherford looking to go back to the past again as he did in the summer by bringing Matt Cullen back?
Lot’s of trade are months into the making, here’s one not to rule out……Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
— Jeff Skinner a top trade target of the Penguins over the summer prior to the draft, has 9 goals, 16 points through 14 games………Pittsburgh will be keeping tabs on how Conor Sheary’s season goes in Buffalo but obviously not for trade purposes. If Sheary scores 20 goals or 40 points, the 2019 4th-round pick received in the Sheary/Matt Hunwick trade becomes a 2019 third round pick.
— Jim Rutherford is always keeping tabs on the forward market and this year is no different. There’s already whispers Pittsburgh has Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"