Hitting a Wall? Penguins bottom tier players exposed vs Flyers, others being over-extended

 

Penguins – Flyers Fallout The Penguins finally looked like a team Sunday night vs the Flyers that has hit a wall due to the injuries. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead and +11 advantage in shot attempts in the first six minutes of the game, Pittsburgh was overwhelmed in all facets. For one of the rare times this season, the Penguins appeared to be a slow, tired hockey club. And the injuries for at least one night caught up to the Penguins. With a tough stretch looming against Chicago, New York Rangers, Carolina, and Columbus over the next four games, things don’t get easier for the injury ravished Penguins. The issue for the Penguins in Sunday night’s game was how they weren’t able to hide their bottom tier players and I thought the bottom-6 lacked an energy game that is often needed when the top-6 is not controlling playRead More »

Penguins Morning Skate Buzz: Blueline getting healthier?

 

Morning Skate Buzz Prior to the morning skate, Ron Hainsey, Kris Letang, Jake Guentzel, Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley all skated going through individual on-ice workouts. The one missing player was Evgeni Malkin who will miss his sixth straight game tonight and is also not participating in the main portion of the morning skate. Is the Malkin injury is a little more serious than the Penguins have let on or is the team just being smart here and very cautious? The Penguins lineup tonight vs the Flyers will see two lineup changes, Matt Murray starting in goal and Scott Wilson in for Josh Archibald. It’s been more than 10 weeks since Marc Andre Fleury made consecutive starts. Lines Sheary – Crosby – Rust Cullen – Rowney – Kessel Kunitz – Bonino – Hornqvist Kuhnhackl – Sundqvist – Wilson D-Pairs Dumoulin – Schultz Cole – Ruhwedel Gaunce – Streit Goaltender MattRead More »

Penguins-Islanders Fallout: Things breaking the Penguins way

 

Penguins – Islanders Fallout The NHL’s review goal/review process is turning into a disaster. A playoff game is going to be decided in the wrong way and last night a playoff race almost was. It’s amazing how this league always goes out of their way to prevent goals. The Islanders first disallowed goal was a travesty that it wasn’t a good goal, yet, the reviewed goal late in the Penguins – Devils game last Friday night was somehow a goal when it was textbook goaltender interference. The refs and the league are now running into a problem because there’s becoming no precedent of what’s interference and what’s not. I’ve been in favor of a goaltender inference review process and it serves its purpose at times, but you have these refs looking at a small tablet and they’re not able to make proper calls. The off-sides review rule is also becoming aRead More »

TIOPS Prospects Buzz: NCAA Tournament Watch & Stock Up

 

TIOPS Prospects Watch Penguin officials will be busy tracking the NCAA tournament this week as the Penguins have six draft picks playing in the tournament. F Kasper Bjorkqvist, Providence | 2016 Second round Pick 29 GP – 3 Goals – 6 Assists – 12 Points D Jeff Taylor, Union | 2014 Seventh round pick 37 GP – 9 Goals – 24 Assists – 33 Points F Anthony Angello, Cornell | 2014 Fifth round pick 34 GP – 12 Goals – 8 Assists – 20 Points D Dane Birks, Michigan Tech | 2013 Sixth round pick 41 GP – 2 Goals – 7 Assists – 9 Points F Nikita Pavlychev, Penn State | 2015  Seventh round pick 34 GP – 4 Goals – 7 Assists – 11 Points F Frederik Tiffels, Western Michigan |2015 Sixth round pick 36 GP – 7 Goals – 12 Assists – 19 Points — The top threeRead More »

Toughest remaining schedule among Big 3 in Metro; Sundqvist not NHL ready?

 

Penguins destined to be top-3 in points in the East for 9th time in 11 years The Penguins 3-1 win over the Sabres was a closely played game with good goaltending at both ends and the final result went about expected, the Penguins finding a way to win and the Sabres finding a way to lose. There’s a reason one team has 101 points and the other has 72 points. The Penguins clinched their 11 straight playoff berth and what might be most impressive with this streak is over the last 11 years there’s only be one instance where the Penguins either went into the final couple days of the regular season or even the ‘final day’ needing to win to get in. That only happened during the 2014-2015 season where the Penguins made the post-season as the second wildcard team, clinching a playoff spot in the final game ofRead More »

Penguins – Sabres: Will Bylsma make it to year 3 in Buffalo?

 

Penguins not to blame for Pouliot’s lack of development As Derrick Pouliot was re-assigned again this morning, his lack of development is reaching the point where it now falls on his shoulders. Nearing the end of his 3rd professional season, he’s just not an NHL defenseman yet and that’s the reality of the situation. Pouliot was taken 8th overall in the 2012 draft and was No. 4 on the Penguins board because the amateur scouts in the organization believed he was a special offensive defenseman. Penguin scouts were so giddy when the trade was made and Pouliot was still on the board you would have thought the Penguins landed Erik Karlsson. The long-term problem isn’t that Pouliot can’t play his own end well enough at the NHL level. He was never expected to be a strong defensive player. The issue is there’s not even much to like from a skill standpointRead More »

Penguins – Panthers Fallout: Key development with Neutral zone/d-zone play

 

Penguins – Panthers Fallout Highlighted by a Sidney Crosby hat trick in a 10:45 span, Crosby and his line took over the game in a Penguins 4-0 win over the Panthers on Sunday afternoon. Jake Guentzel (3 primary assists) and Conor Sheary assisted on all three Crosby goals. “They’ve been a dynamic line for us,” Mike Sullivan said afterwards…..”The three of them, to a man have all played terrific for us,” said Sullivan. As was the case today, the Crosby line was unstoppable again. What all three continue to do so well is support each other away from the puck below the dots that is making the line so hard to defend, despite the smallish stature of the line. “Biggest thing that makes them is how well they support each other down low,” said Sullivan. “They play that give and go game.” — A big sidebar in the victory was the PenguinsRead More »

Sunday’s Penguins Buzz: Deepest team in NHL at right wing?

 

SUNDAY’S PENGUINS BUZZ 1. Evgeni Malkin has a bad bruise from blocking a shot vs the Calgary Flames last week. The injury is limiting him right now when he shoots the puck but further evaluation on Friday showed it’s nothing more than that. There’s no reason to overanalyze the injury. He’ll be fine. The Penguins have no long-term concern, though, why have him practicing like the Penguins did Saturday when Malkin admitted it bothers him to shoot and it’s expected the Penguins will hold him out for one more game and maybe a couple more after that as a precaution. 2. A pleasant surprise for the Penguins is winger Bryan Rust is a couple weeks ahead of schedule. “Things are coming along quicker than expected,” Rust said on Saturday. Rust at the time of his injury on Feb 9 was playing a first line role with Sidney Crosby. He won’tRead More »

Penguins – Devils Fallout: Few options for opposition to slow down Crosby line

 

Penguins – Devils Fallout “There’s a time for all four lines to start scoring, it’s March and April and then into the playoffs” — Nick Bonino After being shutout Wednesday night, the Penguins put up six goals on the New Jersey Devils Friday night and while the team gave up a lot of chances against, Pittsburgh kept pushing and pushing all game in peppering the Devils with 43 shots. Pittsburgh scored four 5 v 5 goals, getting goals from four different lines: Kessel – Cullen – Hornqvist |Phil Kessel Goal, 6:37 of 1st period Guentzel – Crosby – Sheary | Jake Guentzel Goal, 13:30 of 1st period Kuhnhackl – Bonino – Rowney (makeshift line) | Nick Bonino Goal, 15:47 of 2nd period Sestito – Rowney – Kuhnhackl | Carter Rowney Goal, 5:17 of 3rd period The New Jersey Devils are a bottom-feeder team that might be hard to get upRead More »