Sidney Crosby/Matt Murray, Building of a 3rd line & Adapting without Kris Letang has margin of error bigger than 2018

 

Pittsburgh’s 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Friday night was a game that saw the tables turned where Pekka Rinne was tremendous in goal with a 42 save performance at the PPG Paints Arena. It was a game where the Penguins should still feel good about themselves in how they’re building towards playing with a playoff mindset. They just didn’t get the result they wanted. The significance of the loss, though, is it makes the division an extreme longshot. Pittsburgh was in a position where they had to come out of these two games vs Nashville and Carolina by taking at least 3 of 4. Getting the 2-3 seed where the Penguins have fallen the last three postseasons won’t be the worst thing after all as a Pittsburgh – New York Round 1 matchup is matchups galore for Pittsburgh even if Pittsburgh has to start on the road. Sunday’s gameRead More »

Penguins – Capitals What We Learned

 

Penguins – Capitals What We Learned PIT 5 – WSH 3 (F) Goaltending: Matt Murray (38 SV, .927 SV%) | Braden Holtby (25 SV, .862 SV%) PIT Goal Scorers: S Crosby 2 (33), J Guentzel (35), P Kessel (23), J McCann (17) WSH Goal Scorers: J Carlson (11), J Vrana 2 (21) The Washington Capitals through the first 30 minutes of the game, were putting on a methodical performance and as each minute kept passing by, looked to be putting the Penguins to a slow death. Pittsburgh just never seemed to have the puck, couldn’t establish much of any zone time below the dots and Washington looked well on their way to going eight points up on the Penguins in the standings. Until Jared McCann happened in creating an Evgeni Kutznetsov turnover just inside the Capitals blueline, blowing by Brooks Orpik who looked like was walking into a nursing homeRead More »

Kris Letang to miss eighth straight game

 

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang who has yet to be cleared for contact, will miss his eighth straight game tonight vs the Washington Capitals. Letang skated again this morning in a non-contact sweater. Adopting a defensive mindset, the Penguins have surged in Letang’s absence, going 5-1-1 and allowing just 2 goals against per game during the stretch. Pittsburgh in their previous 10 games prior to Letang’s injury in the outdoor game, were surrendering 3.4 goals against per game. Joseph Blandisi will make his Penguins debut tonight, replacing Zach-Aston Reese who is day-to-day with a minor hip injury. LINEUP McCann – Crosby – Guentzel Blueger – Malkin – Kessel Simon – Blugstad – Hornqvist Blandisi – Cullen – Wilson DuMoulin – Trotman Johnson – Schultz Pettersson – Gudbranson Matt Murray in Goal

Penguins – Bruins Takeaways: Matt Murray is changing the Outlook; McCann’s Impact Continues & Scouts Buzz on Phil Kessel

 

Matt Murray is back to playing at a franchise goaltender level The Pittsburgh Penguins snapped the Boston Bruins 19 game unbeaten streak with a 4-2 win Sunday night at the PPG Paints Arena. Matt Murray was again sensational in turning aside 39 of 41 shots. Murray’s play of late has started to change the outlook of this team. Sidney Crosby has showed over the last little while there’s no way he’s going to let this group miss the playoffs but the Murray dynamic always looms of how dangerous of a foe the Penguins can be or won’t be. When Murray is playing like this and looking identical to the goaltender that backstopped the Penguins to back-to-back Titles in 2016 and 2017, you start looking at the Penguins a little bit different. Really since the outdoor game against Philadelphia, the group has started to simplify their game for the better fromRead More »

Penguins showing 2017 type blueprint of more structure, less-risk style of play without Letang; + What’s next for mentally fried Blue Jackets & More Buzz

 

Latest Pens Buzz The Pittsburgh Penguins are not a better hockey team without Kris Letang but what they are in Letang’s absence is a more structured, low-risk hockey club that is reaping the benefits in the win column of late. Thursday’s 3-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets was the type of blueprint the Penguins put together without Letang during their 2017 Stanley Cup run. Keep teams to the outside, collapse to the middle in the d-zone by clogging up the high/low slot with bodies and playing a lower-risk opportunistic offensive brand type of hockey. Instead of running up and down the ice that leaves you susceptible to odd-man rushes the other way, a glaring problem all season and a style that is natural to go to when a high-risk offensive minded defenseman like Letang is eating up 26-28 minutes a night. Without Letang again, the Penguins trapped it upRead More »

Sidney Crosby is still King; Jake Guentzel’s Even-Strength Prowess & McCann being that Dupuis like presence

 

Crosby is Still Kings Are we witnessing the most dominant stretch of Sidney Crosby’s career since his 25-game assault on the NHL during the 2010-2011 season? The eye test says we are. Just as it was Saturday night vs the Montreal Canadiens, in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers Tuesday night, Crosby was a magician on the ice in all three zone. Shift after shift it was complete dominance from Crosby once again. Crosby has been involved in nine of the Penguins last 10 goals, has 25 points over his last 12 games and this isn’t just some dominant 10-12 game run. Crosby started single handily saving the Penguins season around Thanksgiving when he returned to the lineup from a short absence and it’s happening again where he’s going to will the Penguins to a playoff berth. This 20-game or so stretch for Crosby is where it mightRead More »

Brian Dumoulin expected back before Kris Letang

 

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said today that Brian Dumoulin (concussion) and Kris Letang (neck) are both progressing. However, one is skating and one isn’t. Dumoulin who has been on the ice this week, is farther along in his recovery than Letang and barring no set backs, there is confidence in the organization that Dumoulin should return to the lineup next week. Letang is still up in the air on where things are headed. The Penguins continue to insist this isn’t a long-term injury but Letang hasn’t been cleared to skate yet and is doing daily off-ice work.

Post-Trade Deadline Buzz: Penguins thought they had a deal in place to re-acquire Carl Hagelin

 

Post Penguins Trade Deadline Buzz An odd situation has emerged out of the trade deadline in that the Penguins not only tried to re-acquire Carl Hagelin, the team thought they had a deal in place to acquire Hagelin from the Kings just prior to Hagelin being traded to the Washington Capitals. What makes this so odd is when Hagelin was traded on Nov 28, it was crystal clear in the CBA that’s been around since 2013 that the Penguins would not be eligible to trade for Hagelin again this year since the team retained $250,000 of his salary. Yet, no one from either team initially realized