Scouts Buzz: Penguins game plan for a pace dictating Predators defense

 

Stanley Cup Final: Can Penguins find a way to expose Preds dynamic blueline? The Pittsburgh Penguins this postseason have faced some dynamic defensemen. Zach Werenski, Seth Jones in Round 1, a deep Capitals blueline in Round 2 and of course Erik Karlsson in the Eastern Conference Final. The Nashville Predators blueline as a whole is a different animal when it comes to the top-2 pairings. And what the Penguins haven’t faced yet with the Predators top-2 pairings of Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm – PK Subban, is how they can push the pace in activating offensively and not missing a beat defensively. No group is better. Roman Josi is one of the best combo defensemen in the NHL in how he’s dominates play in all three zones. Headlined by Josi, a big part of the Penguins game plan these next two days will be dealing with howRead More »

Peter Laviolette vs Mike Sullivan

 

Peter Laviolette vs Mike Sullivan This year’s #StanleyCup Final between @PredsNHL and @penguins will be the first in #NHL history with two American-born head coaches! pic.twitter.com/AfKpkToL4f — NHLCoaches (@NHLCoachesAssoc) May 26, 2017 When Jim Rutherford fired Mike Johnston and promoted Mike Sullivan from AHL coach to the Penguins new bench boss, one thing that swayed Rutherford to promote Sullivan was how he saw some Peter Laviolette in him. “Mike really is a demanding and take-control guy. In some ways — I actually hate to this, but it’s my mind now, so I’ll do it, he reminds me of a coach that I had a lot of success with, Peter Laviolette.” Jim Rutherford on December 13, 2015 A year and a half later, the two coaches are now squaring off in the Stanley Cup Final and there are a ton of similarities between the two. Laviolette and Sullivan are very demandingRead More »

Here come the Champs: Penguins have found their game at the right time to continue writing their story

 

Penguins are NHL’s version of “Strength in Numbers” The Pittsburgh Penguins are a franchise that reaches the Stanley Cup Final in pairs. 1991 and 1992, 2008 and 2009 and now 2016 and 2017. “The last 2 years have been quite a ride. We’ll try to do it for another 2 weeks,” Game 7 overtime hero Chris Kunitz said of the Penguins returning to the Stanley Cup Final after Thursday night’s epic 3-2 overtime win. The Ottawa Senators thanks to Craig Anderson overachieved in the Eastern Conference Final and came so close to delivering a shocking Ottawa – Nashville Stanley Cup Final but the Penguins once again just found a way to get the job done. “This was a hard fought series and we knew it was going to be a hard fought series going in,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Ottawa is a really good team. They’re not hereRead More »

Stanley Cup Bound

 

Penguins 3 – Senators 2 (2 OT) The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. An epic Game 7, the hero tonight was Chris Kunitz who ended it at 5:09 of the second overtime, burying a feed from Sidney Crosby at the top of the left circle past Craig Anderson. In scoring his second goal of the night, it was vintage Crosby-Kunitz connecting that has the Penguins four wins away from becoming the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Kunitz starred in the win with 2 goals and 1 assist. Justin Schultz also scored in the Game 7 win, a power play marker in the third period to put the Penguins ahead 2-1 and it was Kunitz again providing the net front presence. What a performance from Kunitz to rise to the occasion at his age and produceRead More »

Game 7: The Hornqvist Factor

 

Game 7 What might have Penguin fans nervous tonight? It’s the fact that the Senators have a goaltender who is having one of those series where he’s playing well above his ability, has been lights out in four of six games, and it’s an Ottawa team playing with house money. Sound familiar? That was kind of the Pittsburgh Penguins last series vs Washington where they rode goaltending and opportunistic goal scoring to get by a Washington team that had no excuses not to get past the Penguins. It would be something that the Penguins make elite goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby look like AHL goaltenders in Round 1 and 2, then bow out in the Eastern Conference Final to Craig Anderson. Still, the Penguins have a right to be confident tonight. They’ve found ways to dictate the terms, style of play the last three games and have found aRead More »

NHL Rumors: Av’s staying out of goaltending market; Evander Kane/Rick Tocchet; Conor Sheary

 

Av’s don’t plan to enter Goaltending Market The Colorado Avalanche are a dreadful hockey team that has received bad goaltending the last couple years. Yet, folks shouldn’t waste much time firing up any Marc Andre Fleury to Colorado rumors this summer. The Avalanche plan to stick with high priced goaltender Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported on the NHL Network Tuesday that all signs point to the Avalanche staying committed to Varlamov. COL taking a long look at Jussi Parkilla as goalie coach. Would come over from KHL, long history with Varlamov. First such Finn in NHL? — Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) May 24, 2017 NHL Source: Coaching hire in Buffalo will have impact on Kane’s future Sabres General Manager Jason Botterill was a big fan of winger Evander Kane from a far but the new Sabres GM is in a tricky position as Kane’s entering theRead More »

Game 6 Analysis: On Craig Anderson’s Big night & Takeaways from Penguins – Senators

 

Game 6: Senators 2 – Penguins 1 Penguins – Senators is now coming down to a Game 7 Thursday night in Pittsburgh for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Few probably saw that coming after Sunday afternoon. The Ottawa Senators looked dead in the water after Game 5 with the Penguins delivering a 7-0 beat down and gaining steam. Craig Anderson, though, lived up to his reputation tonight of being a hit or miss goaltender and turned in a big time performance with 45 saves to force a Game 7. Game 6 shouldn’t be over analyzed. Ottawa got great goaltending and were opportunistic when the occasion arose. It was the perfect script for a team that has little margin for error. 0 for their last 29 chances on the power play, the Senators trailing 1-0 and lucky to not be down 2-0 on a disallowed Trevor Daley goal, getRead More »

Game 5 Analysis: The swagger, speed game has returned to 2016 postseason type levels

 

Penguins have found another gear to put Senators on the brink   The Pittsburgh Penguins are now one win away from a consecutive trip to the Stanley Cup Final and five wins away from doing something no team has done in 19 years, win back-to-back Stanley Cups. The Penguins in putting the Ottawa Senators on the brink of elimination with a 7-0 shutout win in Game 5, have found that extra gear since Game 3 and today were a club possessed to put the Senators out of their misery. It was men among boys out there today in the Penguins favor. The Penguins were so good last postseason in being able to smell defeat from an opponent where they just overwhelmed the opposition with speed and aggressiveness. That was the Penguins this afternoon in Game 5 from the drop of the puck. This series was going to play out withRead More »

Game 4 Analysis: Desperation, Big early saves lead to bounce back win

 

Game 4 Analysis: Desperation enters the Penguins Game Is Mike Sullivan still being out-coached? The Pittsburgh Penguins evened up the Eastern Conference Final with 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators in Game 4. And in the process the Penguins started looking like the Penguins again in Game 4. Pittsburgh outshot Ottawa 35-26 in the game and the Penguins established a more aggressive attack after feeding off some early saves from Matt Murray who answered the call. Murray weathered the storm in the early moments turning away a barrage of chances from Ottawa. Pittsburgh then began dictating the play. They pushed the tempo and an Olli Maatta goal with 45 seconds left in the first period was an unlikely source for sure and a bad goal given up by Craig Anderson who was off his angle but the key development leading up to the goal was the Penguins ability to attackRead More »