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Insider Only Penguins – Devils Fallout: Questions linger with winger situation

Devils 3 – Penguins 2

Casey DeSmith | 35 Saves, .921 SV%
Sidney Crosby | Goal, 7 SOG, 71.5 CF%
Jake Guentzel | 2 Assists, 3 SOG, 68 CF%
Bryan Rust | +1, 75 CF%
Matt Hunwick | Goal, 3 SOG, 40 CF%

Some key developments from the Penguins 3-2 loss against the Devils Tuesday night

— This was a huge win for the Devils (33-22-8, 74 pts). It was one of those four point swing games where the Devils are now two points behind the Penguins (36-24-4, 76 pts) for third in the division with a game in hand.

Like Pittsburgh with their No. 1 goaltender also injured, New Jersey continues to look the part of being a playoff team.

Led by Taylor Hall who should be in the Hart Trophy discussion, New Jersey showed a fast counter attack game and punished the Penguins in getting to loose pucks.

These are not the boring Devils of 10 years ago. A Pittsburgh – New Jersey would be an entertaining round 1 for sure. Both clubs can push the pace and as evident tonight, New Jersey’s forward group can play and there’s some high-end talent sprinkled in there.

With the addition of Michael Grabner and Patrick Maroon, if Marcus Johansson can get healthy, this would be one of the deeper forward groups in the East and their speed game can cause a lot of problems. The Devils remain interesting with six weeks left in the season.

2. The Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust line was down right dominant, producing two goals.

Crosby scored his 21st goal of the season in the first period and Jake Guentzel setup Matt Hunwick for a beautiful feed in the second period for a goal.

Nice moment for Hunwick on the goal.

The Guentzel-Crosby-Rust line drove possession at over 70%, on the ice for 20 shot attempts, 7 against. Pittsburgh outshot New Jersey 12-4 when the line was on the ice together and out-chanced the Devils 14-6.

This was a very positive development for Pittsburgh tonight as was Casey DeSmith with 35 saves who did nothing wrong where he shouldn’t get the next start in Boston.

3. Derrick Brassard had some good moments but was at 34% (10/19) in possession and Pittsburgh was outshot 12-5 when Brassard and Kessel were on the ice together.

Brassard played 16:58 and had 2 shots on goal.

The burning question out of tonight’s game is the winger situation. It was just one game but tonight showed why adding another capable winger at the deadline was a priority.

And there wasn’t an arms race for some of the better one’s. Edmonton in fact received just one offer for Patrick Maroon, obviously coming from the New Jersey Devils in the final 30 minutes of the deadline.

In dressing Tom Kuhnhackl and Carter Rowney, the Penguins pretty much played with 10 forwards at even strength tonight.

Kuhnhackl played just 3:43 at 5-on-5, Rowney 3:34.

If the coach is going to value dressing penalty kill specialists (basically what Kuhnhackl and Rowney are) over skill, then it becomes a problem like it did tonight in a speed game and here’s why:

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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

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