Whether it was special teams or 5 v 5 play, the Pittsburgh Penguins overwhelmed the New York Islanders in all facets, en route to a 5-0 win on Saturday afternoon.
It was complete domination from a Penguins team that is not only the hottest team in the NHL, they now own the second best record in the Eastern Conference and have the second best goal differential in the NHL.
Today special teams played a big part in the Penguins taking over the game. The Islanders had the first two power plays in the game and Pittsburgh not only killed off both penalties, Oskar Sundqvist scored a shorthanded goal at 12:40 of the first period, his first career goal to put the Penguins ahead 1-0.
Patric Hornqvist then added a power play goal in the second period and it was game over. New York just couldn’t play with Pittsburgh.
A big part of the Penguins domination was their play ‘away from the puck’. They were exceptional with their structure, puck support and pursuit in playing suffocating defense.
It’s been a stunning transformation with this hockey club in how well they now play away from the puck.
There hasn’t been a Penguins club in the Sidney Crosby era that plays this well when they don’t have the puck. Exceptionally well coached team right now with the attention to details but it’s on the players to execute and they are.
No questions there’s been a 100% buy-in.
Meanwhile, Matthew Murray earned his first career shutout with a 24-save performance. Was excellent with his angles as the Islanders were shooting high and wide on a number of scoring chance opportunities.
The Penguins lose Evgeni Malkin and they get even better, now 15-5-1 and averaging 3.52 goals per game this season without Malkin.
Lose Marc Andre Fleury to a concussion and the team see’s no drop off, albeit one game.