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Insider Only Pens – VGK Fallout: Ryan Reaves Impact below the dots; Kessel/Malkin; D-Zone Breakdowns

Penguins – Golden Knights Fallout

The Ryan Reaves that showed up vs the Vegas Golden Knights Tuesday night is the player Penguin officials thought the team would see more of when Pittsburgh traded for Reaves last June.

Reaves second period goal was obviously a bonus but it was his ability to create havoc below the dots that has not been there on a consistent basis this season.

Reaves had a goal, 3 shots on goal and 7 hits in 10:15 of ice time. The rugged winger was at 65% in possession (11/6) and was on the ice for 9 scoring chances.


Here was sequence in a shift early in the third period where Reaves carries the puck through the neutral zone, gains the offensive zone and gets the puck behind the Golden Knight’s D where he gains possession in the left corner. This led to the Penguins establishing over 15 seconds of offensive zone time and a scoring chance with Reaves outmuscling the D in front.

2. The Penguins swarmed the Golden Knights with 5 goals in a 15:12 span and the Penguins continue to show over the last month of what them so special the last two seasons in how they can take over a game offensively in the blink of an eye.

What has to be frightening for the rest of the Eastern Conference is that Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel have never been this dominant at the same time since Kessel has become a Penguin.

With Sidney Crosby you always know what you’re going to get. As great as Malkin is, he goes through lulls and the same with Kessel.

If this is sustainable from those two through the spring, look out……..

3. Despite the winning effort, the egregious defensive breakdowns continue to be there on a game-by-game basis. They just aren’t as magnified as they were in November/December because the Penguins seem to be scoring 4 goals a night at ease.

The Penguins limited the Golden Knights to 25 shots on goal but Vegas was handed some great scoring chances on a platter by the Penguins.

Down 2-0 in the second period, Justin Schultz pinches and is below the goal-line and no covers for him leading to William Karlsson camping out at center piece with no Penguin in sight that leads to a breakaway for Karlsson.

Matt Murray’s play in the third period was disappointing, but there was a stretch in the second period with the Karlsson breakaway save at 12:28 of the period and then a big save right in front on Nate Schmidt moments after the Reaves goal where Murray prevented the Penguins from falling behind 3-0 and 3-1 in a couple minute stretch there.

The Penguins let the Golden Knights climb back in the game in the third period with terrible puck management in their own end and poor goaltending.

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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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