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Insider Only Players Observations & Buzz from Penguins – Blues: Winnik stands out, Pens get exposed on the wall defensively

464908024OBSERVATIONS FROM PENGUINS – BLUES

WINNIK STANDS OUT IN LOSS
Daniel Winnik’s most common linemate in Toronto was Nazem Kadri and we’re starting to see his ability come out the last couple games as he’s playing with more skilled players. On a line with Sidney Crosby tonight, Winnik had his best game in a Penguins uniform. He picked up a primary assist and posted a 64.5 CF%, on the ice for 20 shot attempts and 11 against at even strength.
His speed was a factor and for a bottom-6 type player, he shows good vision and most importantly patience with the puck. With the way Chris Kunitz is going, his best spot moving forward might be in the top-6.

DOWNIE SHOWS WORTH AGAINST BIG, PHYSICAL TEAM
Steve Downie scored his 13th goal of the season and Downie was very effective down low on the cycle and in around the net against a big St. Louis team. He played with discipline and was engaged offensively. Type of play the Penguins have to get from Downie in the post-season.

PENGUINS GET EXPOSED ON THE WALL DEFENSIVELY
The No. 1 pairing of Paul Martin and Kris Letang had a rare down game and the Penguins got exposed defensively tonight in a key area that’s going to be a big concern for them in the playoffs.

They are a group defensively that’s going to struggle to defend the cycle and front of the net against big, heavy teams and that’s what played out tonight on their goals against, notably the Marcel Goc goal and the Alex Steen overtime winner.
Bit of the same story on the Blues final two goals of the night.
On the Goc goal, Ian Cole was beat on the wall by Ryan Reaves and than beaten to the net.
On the Steen goal, Ben Lovejoy was worked on the wall by Steen and than also beat to the front of the net by Steen as Lovejoy took to wide of an angle in the once the puck went the point and Steen was easily able to get proper positioning on Lovejoy for the tip in goal.


POST-GAME TIDBITS
— Right or wrong time for Craig Adams to drop the gloves with Steve Ott just seconds after the Penguins went up 2-0? It’s understandable Adams is trying to do anything to earn his stripes and he was sent on the ice to fight it appeared but Ott who had a strong game, got the Blues engaged into the game with his fight and they would outscore the Penguins 3-0 and out-shoot Pittsburgh 23-16 from the time (9:00 mark) of the fight in the second period till the end of the game.
— Playing with just 11 forwards Beau Bennett still only earned 7:52 of ice time. Meanwhile, there’s a guy named Mark Arcobello who scored twice tonight and now has 15 goals on the season. If the cap space was there, the Penguins would be exploring options from Wilkes Barre in place of Bennett.
— At even strength Max Lapierre was on the ice for 6 shot attempts and 17 against. Against very good teams, poor possession players often show their true colors and that was the case for the Penguins tonight.
Brandon Sutter (39 CF%, 13 CF/20CA), Nick Spaling (27 CF%, 6 CF/16CA)
Christian Ehrhoff lasted just two shifts tonight

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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