Penguins begin title defense Wednesday night

 

The Pittsburgh Penguins looking to become the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings, begin their title defense Wednesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The series begins in Pittsburgh Wednesday and Friday night for Games 1 and 2 before shifting to Columbus for a Sunday evening start at 6:00 p.m. There are no two-day breaks in the series through Games 1-5. ROUND 1 SCHEDULE Game 1: Wednesday April 12, 7:30PM | PPG Paints Arena Game 2: Friday April 14, 7:00PM | PPG Paints Arena Game 3 Sunday, April 16, 6:00PM | Nationwide Arena Game 4:Tuesday April 18, 7:30PM | Nationwide Arena Game 5: Thursday April 20, TBD | PPG Paints Arena Game 6: Sunday April 23, TBD | Nationwide Arena Game 7: Tuesday April 25, TBD | PPG Paints Arena The Penguins finishing the regular season with 111 points, boasted the second most points inRead More »

Penguins better equipped now than past seasons to withstand loss of Letang

 

Penguins better equipped now than past seasons to withstand loss of Letang The stage is set. The Washington Capitals have clinched the President Trophy for the second consecutive season, setting up a Penguins – Blue Jackets first round series. With Kris Letang out for the season, the talk out there is the Pittsburgh Penguins have no chance to repeat as Stanley Champions. That talk is understandable. The last six to seven years have showed that having a No. 1 franchise defenseman is one of the most if not the most important ingredient to winning a Cup. Drew Doughty, Duncan Keith, Zdeno Chara among the classic examples in recent years and Kris Letang even so last post-season where for the first time in his career, Letang brought that consistent No. 1 caliber level play throughout the playoffs that had been missing in past years from him. Any doom and gloom outRead More »

Penguins – Blue Jackets Fallout: Analytics don’t meet the eye test

 

Penguins – Blue Jackets Fallout Statement game from the Penguins in Tuesday Night’s 4-1 win over the Blue Jackets? The eye test says yes, the analytics say no. One analytic site’s model says the Penguins should have lost 3-2. Columbus had a 39-27 edge in shots and a massive +30 (60-30) edge in 5 vs 5 shot attempts. Other positives for Columbus, they limited Sidney Crosby to being on the ice for just 6 Shot Attempts For at even strength and nearly every Penguins line/D-pair was bleeding shot attempts against. The underlying numbers strongly favored the Blue Jackets and a growing trend for the injury ravished Penguins is getting out-corsied on a nightly basis. Will that eventually catch up to the Penguins? This was a game, though, where the possession numbers don’t tell much of the story. The Penguins felt in control of the game from the get-go. Columbus wasRead More »

Latest Pens Buzz: Home-Ice on the Line; Kris Letang Latest

 

Penguins – Blue Jackets Home ice in round 1 on the line tonight. A regulation win tonight will put the Penguins three points up on the Blue Jackets with three games to go. The Penguins like any team want home-ice, especially the coaching staff who always want to play at home. “We’re fighting for home-ice,” Mike Sullivan said. The Penguins see tonight’s game as an important one but it’s a bit more important for the Blue Jackets. Whether the Penguins get Kris Letang back or not (considered doubtful) for Round 1, home-ice is instrumental for the Blue Jackets to get in a series vs Pittsburgh. Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella over the last couple weeks is trying to pump into his club’s head that they belong to be considered among the NHL’s elite with the season they’re having and he wants them to play with an ‘arrogance’ that theyRead More »

Cole, McCutchen both play into the narratives surrounding both in season opener loss

 

Two of the Pirates most important players who the team must get rebound seasons from to be even a threat to make the playoffs played into the narrative surrounding both in the 5-3 season opener loss to the Boston Red Sox. Narrative 1: Gerrit Cole is not an ace Narrative 2: Andrew McCutchen’s 2016 season is who he is now. At least that’s narrative surrounding McCutchen from baseball folks. Cole getting pounded after a fantastic first four innings was the type of start that has started to make the fifth year veteran a frustrating pitcher to some. The second, third time hitters see him in game, the opportunity for a bad inning increases with Cole that doesn’t have him going long enough in games. That’s how things played out in the opener. In a positive sign Cole was bringing the heat in a big way. Hitting 98, 99 but whereRead More »

Chris Kunitz out multiple weeks with a long-term injury

 

Has Kunitz played his last game as a Penguin? 37 year old Chris Kunitz who is 6th all-time in Penguins history with 106 career playoff games, won’t get an opportunity to add to that total anytime soon. Kunitz is sidelined with a long-term injury, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said today during his pre-game media session. The Penguins are bracing for Kunitz to be sidelined for multiple weeks and he will certainly not be available to play in the first round. A source close to the situation said the best case scenario for Kunitz would be a

Penguins – Rangers Fallout: Looking like the Penguins again?

 

Penguins – Rangers Fallout The Pittsburgh Penguins looked a bit more like the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. Despite being out-attempted over the entire game in 5-on-5 play, 54-to-48, Pittsburgh used their speed game and were very effective at getting the Rangers to run around defensively that led to a number of Grade-A chances in the first period and early in the second period. A good example of that……the New York Rangers came out with an 8-1 advantage in shots to start the game and then the Penguins flipped the script in outshooting New York 14-1 to end the first period and that momentum carried over into the second period when Jake Guentzel scored 39 seconds in and Sidney Crosby scored 10:07 later. Pittsburgh peppered Lundqvist in the period and Lundqvist had to be great in the first 30 minutes of the game or this one was going to look like GamesRead More »