NHL Source: Penguins mulling options to add impact forward
The last two games for the Penguins in losses to the Boston Bruins and the St. Louis Blues has highlighted some things of why the Penguins are trying to add a top-9 forward by the March 1 deadline and are also evaluating the market for a defensemen.
In two games vs the Bruins in a four day span, the Bruins out-attempted the Penguins 152-85, with a +23 advantage in shots, putting up 45 and 37 shots respectively against the Penguins.
5 v 5 the Penguins had just 13 shots in Thursday night’s loss, including 5 shots at even strength over the final 44 minutes of regulation.
What this game showed was how much the Penguins missed Evgeni Malkin.
Some 5 v 5 Shot Attempts For percentages vs the Bruins on 1/26/17
Sidney Crosby – 11/22, 33 CF%
Conor Sheary – 8/23, 26 CF%
Bryan Rust – 10/21, 32 CF%
Jake Guentzel – 3/11, 21 CF%
Pittsburgh’s top-2 lines were bleeding shot attempts all night.
When Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel lines were on the ice, the Penguins controlled just 30% of shot attempts, while the Bergeron and Backes lines gave the Penguins fits all night.
Mike Sullivan afterwards defended the use of Crosby’s line in not trying to get away from the Bergeron line much.
“Sid’s used to playing against that [oppositions top lines] night in and night out. He does it all the time. That’s what makes him as good as he is. When you look at that line (Marchand-Bergeron-Pasternack), that’s their top defensive line as well. So, we like that match sometimes too. I don’t think that was a huge strategy advantage on either side. There were some instances off of [icings], on occasion where we tried to free him [Sidney Crosby] up a moment to see if we could get some momemntum. Boston is a team that likes their matches and they go to the bench to get their matches.”
Stating the obvious, Evgeni Malkin was desperately missed in this one, especially with the HBK line on the decline this season as a whole. The line covered up so much when Malkin was injured last season and when Malkin was largely inconsistent in the playoffs. This season it’s a different story.
Phil Kessel has played over 270 minutes with Nick Bonino and has scored just 2 goals with Bonino as his center with a 44 CF%. Last season when Kessel and Bonino were on the ice together, the Penguins had a Goals For/60 percentage of 4.30. This season 1.75.
What Penguin management continues to weigh heading Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"