Penguins – Capitals Fallout: Strong signs continue for Simon-Brassard-Rust
This isn’t an overreaction to one game.
The Penguins are building something with their third line of Dominik Simon – Derick Brassard – Bryan Rust.
Whether it’s been practice, a couple preseason games or now one regular season game, this line meshes so we’ll they looked like they’ve been together for months.
Penguin coaches over the summer looked at tape on Brassard, mostly as a member of the New York Rangers during the 2013-2014 season to formulate the proper group of wingers around him.
They strongly believe they’ve found the right mix.
As mentioned here in July, sources say the line that was studied by the staff from the 13-14 season was Pouliot – Brassard – Zuccarello, a line that was a major difference maker for the Rangers that season to reaching the Cup Final, where Brassard also had one of his finest seasons in a system similar to the Penguins.
The four wingers the Penguins identified weeks before training camp was a combo of Simon/Rust and Hagelin/Hornqvist.
The latter was not experimented in camp, though, the plan was for Hornqvist to skate with Brassard the first day of camp, but the Penguins looked to have found their Pouliot/Zuccarello style of players around Brassard with Simon playing the puck possession/creativity role of Zuccarello, and Rust being that north-south speed dimension on the wing next to Brassard.
This line picked up where they left off in the preseason and gave Washington fits on Thursday night.
One thing that has stood out extremely well with the trio is how they read off another and support one another.
That made the line extremely tough to deal with defensively for the Capitals in the tight areas. The support game below the dots led to the line creating two penalties and great board play led to a Derick Brassard second period goal to put the Penguins up 5-4.
Simon in particular was very good in creating offense/scoring chances from 1-on-1 situations below the dots.
How good was the Brassard line vs the Capitals?