One area that could become the Penguins Achilles’ Heel in the playoffs was problematic again in 3-0 loss to Stars

Pittsburgh Penguins v Dallas Stars
STARS SHUTOUT PENGUINS, 3-0
The Dallas Stars 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins not only saw the Penguins be out worked but also outplayed in all three zones.
“We got outworked,” Sidney Crosby said. “We didn’t execute on our chances. They carried the play, especially those first two periods.”
From the start, Dallas was pushing really hard and through two periods Pittsburgh had no response. Dallas held a 16-5 shot advantage, 25 minutes into the game. A Stars win saw them move to just five points out of the final wildcard spot in the Western Conference.
“This was a desperate team, played hard,” Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma said. “We have to be able to match that regardless of where our position is or what the standings look like.”
That’s a hockey team I really like at the forward position and Dallas showed excellent balance throughout their lineup upfront and they defended the neutral zone very well against the Penguins.
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Rich Peverley’s goal at 10:20 of the second period to put the Stars up 3-0 was the perfect example of the Penguins not adjusting and seeing the need of getting pucks deep. On the goal, Evgeni Malkin turned the puck over at the red line as Peverley was all over him on the back check and Shawn Horcoff closed on him, leading to the Stars going in transition and Peverley beating Marc Andre Fleury glove side.
This was the type of game where the Penguins personnel concerns come into play in the bottom-6. Pittsburgh not only lacks secondary scoring at even strength but they lack a third line that can make it hard on the opposition by getting pucks deep and playing heavy in the offensive zone.

The problem for Pittsburgh is that there isn’t much help on the way and they don’t have a ton of cap space to add depth scoring like last year. When Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin are not on the ice at even strength, the Penguins are a mess offensively at ES.
A player who continues to be a dud is Brandon Sutter who hasn’t scored a goal with a “goalie” in the net since December 19th, a span of 15 games. I don’t count his empty net goal vs the Islanders. Lack of linemates or not, Sutter has to become a more consistent player offensively. The ability is there.

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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