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Insider Only On Crosby/Kunitz Combo, Bobby Farnham clicking at 1.60 G/60 5 v 5 & More

— Sidney Crosby’s possession numbers have greatly improved under Mike Sullivan. While Chris Kunitz is not rekindling his former scoring prowess ever again, the numbers say Crosby has been a significantly better possession player this season when playing with Kunitz then when apart.

Crosby and Kunitz have been on the ice together for around 300:00. When playing with Kunitz, Crosby has a Goals For/60 at 2.54 and a CF% of 53.5. When apart from Kunitz (around 255:00), Crosby is at 1.64 GF/60 and a CF% of 45.

Bobby Farnham with 6 goals in 25 games, leads the New Jersey with a 1.60 G/60 at 5 v 5 this season. No Penguin is over 0.91.

Farnham’s six 5 v 5 goals would be tied for third on the Penguins with Sidney Crosby. None of this is sustainable for Farnham, but when the Penguins are struggling mightily from a depth scoring standpoint and more importantly lack some snarl and energy players, it’s warranted to question the Penguins cutting the cord on Farnham.

Bobby Farnham having more goals than the likes of David Perron, Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino and Eric Fehr just shouldn’t be happening and shows had big of disappointments those players have been.

Conor Sheary is another example of why you can’t put too much stock into how a fringe player performs during his first couple games in the NHL. Once the adrenaline rush wears off is when the true evaluation period begins. Sheary began to fade as he appeared in more and more games.

Mike Sullivan complained after the Blackhawks game about the Penguins poor wall play which played a factor in the callup of Tom Kuhnhackl.

“Kuhnhackl’s good with puck possession and he can help with the puck on the wall below the hash marks,” Sullivan told reporters this week.

Kuhnhackl now 24 is a low upside prospect but has always and still remains a player who has some intrigue about him. Penguins assistant GM Bill Guerin started taking Kuhnhackl under his wing two summers ago with a big focus on improving Kuhnhackl’s ability to win 1-on-1 battles down low and use his size properly in around the net and on the wall.

The work has paid dividends scouts say. Facing a quick Canadiens team, though, could be troublesome for Kuhnhackl tonight. Will be interesting in how he handles the NHL speed.

— 98 Points got the Penguins in the playoffs last season as the final wildcard team. 84 Points remain available with 42 games to go. Penguins will need to pick up 55 out of 84 to get to 98 points.

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PENGUINS LINEUP TONIGHT

Patric Hornqvist – Evgeni Malkin – Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz – Sidney Crosby – David Perron

Kevin Porter – Matt Cullen – Eric Fehr

Tom Kuhnhackl – Nick Bonino – Bryan Rust

Defensemen

Olli Maatta – Kris Letang

Brian Dumoulin – Ben Lovejoy

Ian Cole – Trevor Daley

Goaltender

Marc Andre Fleury

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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