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Insider Only Penguins – Oilers Fallout: Lazer focused group had playoff feel

Penguins 2 – Oilers 1 (OT)

A big reason the Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cups and why they’ll be right in the mix of things for a third straight Cup, is how this group can throw bad losses out the window.

As the last two postseasons had shown, you can get the Penguins on their heels, take them to seven games, but beating Pittsburgh four out of seven times is a daunting task.

This might not be as deep of a team in the bottom-6 as previous seasons, but it’s likely going to be a similar situation come April and May.

We’re already seeing some glimpses of it this season of the Penguins ability to bounce back from very bad losses.

Saturday’s 7-1 loss to the Lightning had the coach calling the group a “flawed” team, the organization putting the backup netminder on waivers, and Pittsburgh came back in Tuesday’s 2-1 overtime win vs the Oilers with a playoff type performance.

The Penguins were a focused disciplined group in their own end with the likes of Chad Ruhwedel putting their body on the line and Penguins – Oilers had a playoff feel with Matt Murray putting on a show in looking like peak playoff Matt Murray.

It sure felt like a game in May with an unlikely goal scorer in Ian Cole, physical play and great goaltending from both sides.

Pittsburgh outshot Edmonton 44-30 in the win, capped off by Phil Kessel’s OT winner, but the Penguins fought through a lot of unfavorable matchups.

Pittsburgh’s higher end players were having to play a lot in their own end.

Olli Maatta was hemmed in his own end much of the night, on the ice for 10 shot attempts and 26 against, Kris Letang was at 38% (17/27) and Justin Schultz prior to suffering a concussion was on the ice for just 2 shot attempts and 11 against.

Evgeni Malkin was at 40% in driving possession, while Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were both over 60%.

While McDavid had a great goal late in the third Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access" the Penguins led by Brian Dumoulin did good job in containing McDavid in certain spots, especially through the neutral zone.

Dumoulin wasn’t overly aggressive but also wasn’t too passive in defending McDavid most of the night. Dumoulin not Letang was Pittsburgh’s best 1-on-1 defenseman vs McDavid.

A familiar trend from last season is playing out this season. Pittsburgh is bottom-10 in shot attempts against but then counter that by being elite in creating high danger chances.


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Riley Sheahan’s Debut: Assist, 14:47 TOI, 69 FO%, 42 CF%

Sheahan got the assist on Cole’s game and his debut went about as expected:

Played a smart game away from the puck, got some PK time (2:24), and as was the case in Detroit, despite the assist, he didn’t create much individually offensively. 0 shots on goal, 0 shot attempts and a 42 CF%.

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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 wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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