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Insider Only Penguins struggles against teams like Dallas likely to be the norm

STARS 4 – PENGUINS 1

The Pittsburgh Penguins are a middle of the pack team. Their top end skill will get by teams like the Senators, Panthers, but if Marc Andre Fleury isn’t standing on his head, night’s are going to go like this one went when the Penguins get matched up against a contending team with the type of speed and skill the Stars have.

The Penguins were buzzing in the first 5-6 minutes of the game, it might have been their best five minute stretch of the season, minus the important thing of failing to put the puck in the net.

As the first period progressed we got a glimpse of an important difference between these two teams:

The top-9 of the Stars forward group consistently creates a net-front presence. The Penguins just flat out don’t and with an inability to create offense through the middle of the ice, it’s a bad combination.

It’s a reason the Penguins so often are only scoring on perfect shots, again tonight as their only goal of the game came on a great shot and individual effort from Nick Bonino.

For the Stars, Johnny Oduya’s first period goal was a great example of what the Penguins don’t get enough of. Oduya made a fluttering shot but the Stars had bodies in the slot and sticks in the air that led to Fleury losing sight of the puck as it came on net.

4:10 later John Klingberg made it 2-0 with a beautiful snipe on the power play and Jamie Benn was parked right in front and that starts to wear on a goaltender.

From there it was game over.

The Stars found their legs after the mid-way point of the first period and it showed in their ability to defend the neutral zone like the New Jersey Devils of late 1990’s/early 2000’s in the second period where the Penguins were listless and failed to record their first shot until 11:20 of the period when Nick Bonino scored to cut the Stars lead to 3-1.

The Stars speed overwhelmed the Penguins for the second time this season and Pittsburgh had just four shot attempts through the first nine minutes of the second period.

Maybe even more alarming was the Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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