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Insider Only Pens – Devils Post-Game Thoughts on Special Teams, 3rd D-pairing & more

Pittsburgh 4 – New Jersey 2

Post-Game Wrapup: The Penguins 4-2 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night has pulled them within one point of the Philadelphia Flyers.
After losing to Philadelphia last week, it is somewhat of a surprise to head coach Dan Bylsma to be in the position the Penguins are.
“Once we didn’t get the win against Philly, did I anticipate getting back to one point against them? No,” Bylsma said. “We have to pick up two in two games to overtake them now, but it’s a lot closer than I thought it’d be.”
In tonight’s victory, Pascal Dupuis (15, 16) was big scoring twice and Pittsburgh also got goals from Jordan Staal (11) and Chris Kunitz (23).
Marc Andre Fleury made 22 saves to record the win.
Here are a few thoughts from tonight’s game….
Special Teams was pivotal to the Penguins victory. The team finally got something from their power play, even though It wasn’t a typical power play setup kind of goal. Staal’s power play goal at 17:37 of the period, was just the Penguins 4th power play in 21 games. If anything it was a “sense of relief” for the team.
“I think there was a sense of relief with the power play getting that goal,” Bylsma said.
The most encouraging sign for the Penguins is that their penalty kill unit is starting to rebound after struggling during the first 4 or 5 games of Matt Cooke’s suspension.

The unit has put together three straight very strong games and was big tonight late in the game.
Pascal Dupuis has 3 goals in his last two games and he’s not the only Penguin picking up his play of late.
Max Talbot has been much more effective down the stretch right now than he’s been at really any point this season. In fact, he started playing better when Bylsma moved him up to the second line with James Neal and Alex Kovalev when Mark Letestu was out.
It’s not a typical shutdown third line but Conner-Talbot-Dupuis unit is playing well.
Arron Asham returned to the lineup and a 4th line of Rupp, Adams and Asham is the type of 4th line the Penguins are going to go with in the first round of the playoffs.
Mike Comrie had his small audition to show something but it’s obvious the staff just didn’t see much to elevate him to a 2nd or 3rd line role.
With the next two games being pretty meaningful and the possibility that the Penguins dress Eric Godard on Friday night, hard to see Comrie getting a serious look going into round 1.
Asham and Rupp each had over 11 minutes of ice time and were effective on the cycle.
Rupp was 4 of 6 in the face-off circle and that’s a good spot for him.
I’m going to touch base on this tomorrow with the Penguins having an optional practice on Wednesday but I do not like the Penguins defensive depth behind Orpik, Letang, Michalek and Martin.
Just don’t like the mix of Niskanen – Lovejoy and I’m not much of a fan of Niskanen’s game. Niskanen with a cap hit of $1.5 million next season is a bad contract, when you can have guys of similar caliber for $500k-$600k.
Head Coach Dan Bylsma said tonight that he has addressed his team on two occasions regarding Friday’s game against the New York Islanders.
“Our sole intent is to win a hockey game, ” Bylsma said.
Tonight, Alex Kovalev became the 50th player to play in 1,300 career games. Kovalev, 38, quietly has points in 4 of his last 5 games. He is showing no interest in retiring and prefers to play in the NHL next season, according to agent Scott Greenspun.
Updated Eastern Conference Standings
1. Washington (80GP-47-22-11, 105 pts)
2. Philadelphia (80GP-46-22-11, 103 pts)
3. Boston (79GP-44-24-11, 99 pts)
4. Pittsburgh (80GP-47-25-8, 102 pts)
5. Tampa Bay (80GP-44-25-11, 99 pts)
6. Montreal (80GP-43-30-7, 93 pts)
7. Buffalo (80GP-41-29-10, 92 pts)
8. New York (80GP-43-32-5, 91 pts)

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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