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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 up very effectively vs the Blue Jackets in making it a struggle for the Blue Jackets in getting the middle of the ice.
Combined with great goaltending, Pittsburgh won this exact way in 2017. It’s the blueprint the Penguins need to continue when Letang returns to put themselves in the best position for a deep run. Letang has had a great bounce-back season from an offensive standpoint, but there has been a feeling in the organization that his style of play To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
It’s not a coincidence the Penguins are suddenly giving up far less odd-man breaks over the last 3-4 games.
The structure the Penguins have played while Letang has been sidelined has been a great way to insulate their bottom-tier defenseman and the goaltending. It’s also their best hope for winning a couple rounds.
— The all-in Columbus Blue Jackets look mentally fried. Although the two teams entered Thursday’s game separated by just two points, this home-and-home series has been all about the Blue Jackets and whether they would rise to the occasion. Saturday night now feels like a must-win for the Columbus from a mental standpoint or their season is going to come to a crashing halt.
There is so much doubt inside that room right now.
The Penguins had a lot to do with the Blue Jackets playing what felt like the entire game on the perimeter and not to take anything away from Matt Murray who was excellent in squaring up shooters, but some of the scoring opportunities hitting Murray right in the chest and multiple plays in the crease that saw pucks fumbling off sticks and going wide of the net just had the look of a hockey club 1-18 whose confidence is wrecked.
Pittsburgh’s 14-5 edge in high danger chances says it all.
The pressure has been too big for this group and things haven’t been right since Artemi Panarin’s former agent went public with the worst kept secret that Panarin would not discuss a contract until after the season.
Watching the Blue Jackets last night it was natural to wonder if John Tortorella will be around after the weekend if the Jackets lose Saturday but Tortorella being the fall guy would be the wrong move whether it happens soon (unlikely) or after the season.
Blue Jackets management deserves a ton of criticism moving forward for not eliminating the distractions surrounding Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin. They’ve known since the summer both will not be resigning, had several months to muster up a trade and the all-in attitude on a club even immediately after the moves that was looked at as the 5th or 6th best team in the East, was the type of gamble that should put jobs on the line this summer. To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
Just keep the Penguins on the PP, you will not have to worry about them scoring and defending them is easy.
Well that was a suck trip for an away game. Glad we showed up with 10 of us. Pens looked like a$$ were tight first ten minutes of game.
Fleurry passes plante 8 on all time wins
Too bad they don’t let Hab fans from Montreal in to watch the games….
Vegas 5-1 first period not even over yet
Thank you Capt Bandwagon.
I know it’s gong to take some a awhile. Bjugstad is nothing special.
First shot and a goal by stone
Did Fleury let it in?
Hey npl how was the short handed goal by jackets
Letang must’ve been in the line up right?
Big difference: Kessel lost his footing. Letang loses his mind.
Shut up fatman
Remember when Yoda told everyone he would fukk off? That was a nice week.
Murray puts in his best performance in 37 months and pens pull a no show.
Usually it’s the other way around
Crosby and Guentzel tearing it up without Simon, so the coach sticks that line back together and the produce nothing. Way to kill those guys momentum Sullivan!!! This loss is 100% on the coach. At least he achieved his line balance.
What’s the alternative? It is what it is.
Leave McCann there. He’s better than that minor leaguer Simon.
I’m with yoda, McCann playing where Simon probably should is why the Pens lost…
That and Bjugstad is ineffective. I agree.
Told you guys pukestad doesn’t fit he is like a dinosaur when he skates. Ponikrawsky 2.0
He’s better than Sutter was on this team
Last 10 games stats for fraud Murray card to update up Tool
Still better than MAF, we don’t need specific math for it…
Tough win for Columbus
Congratulations Same. You’re right. Kessel sucks.
Glad to see Simon back in the first line with his 7 goals on the season. Sid has 14 points in the past 6 games so that’s too good so now Sullivan has to shake that line up. Sullivan is the worst. No matter what, Sullivan can’t go more than a few games without throwing his love child on the top line. F this.
Blow it up
Don’t worry. Bjugstad will bail the pens out.
On a night where they got nothing from even the guys that we tend to rely on it make sense to single out the depth guy for a meh night
ZC that may be true but rarely seeing an up side in Bjugstad game.
He hasn’t been terrific I agree, he’s been better than Brassard but why he’s never become a solid top six is evident. Just think there was a lot to dislike last night
“The only way I can attend Habs games is cuz friends and family who have had season tix for years”… guess Sam doesnt have $45
His mom probably took away his financial privileges when he started buying multiple accounts on here. Now, he just looks for charity from people he knows.
Dusty will take him out on a date.
You can’t even afford to go Arizona vs Florida game at 7$ .
a beer at Bell centre costs more than that ticket
Pens are 9-0-1 in last 10 vs jackets. I know it looks nice on the box scored but 3 out of 9 wins came on overtime /shootout. So it could’ve went either wait.
Looks like a lot of tough wins…. “30% required OT so…”
NHL average is 23% so sam thinks 30% vs a divisional rival that sees playoff hockey is a bad thing
Now look at these two love birds they are inseparable
Obama and Trudeau would be proud for you lovers
That would be such an honor
What Honor? You have no Honor you fat pig
I mean the other option is Trump from Mar la go Florida and his homies Kim or Putin…
Its been so long since Montreal has had a good team that their fans have been reduced to enjoying moral victories. “I dont care that they lost, they played hard!”
This Murray guy could win the Pens a Cup some day…
As long as he shows up once in a while it’s good
.931 save % since December.
A lot of good individual plays on that goal. Malkins keep, Kessels chip, ZAR finding a soft spot
I told you guys the Columbus Bluejackets play in Columbus.
Kessel skates like Sam types. Jesus.
Sams the worst
told you guys jackets fans louder than ppg museum
Sam drooling over Jacket fans. Loser. Sad.
The only drooling you can see is at the PPG when 3/4 of the fans are sleeping at the game drool dripping from their mouth. No wonder it’s always a museum atmosphere
No one gives a shitt about your opinion, you’re 1A to Yodas 1B as the worst fan in the base. You’re a phoney, a fake, a poser, and bandwagon riding BlTCH
PPs a difference maker
Pens look completely disinterested
Murray’s awake, hopefully the guys can feed off those saves
Could be that typical wave you see from the underdog home team in a playoff or playoff-type game. Just need to ride it out.
Nice responsible play by Trotman not allowing the oddman break on the PP
“Haha how did you know I meant Bruce Jenner? I could have meant Bruce Lee” -Idiot Sam
You must edit your post twice.
Tickets to the next Canadiens game in Montreal going for as low as $45 on Stubhub. Pretty cheap and easy to get. https://www.stubhub.com/montreal-canadiens-tickets-montreal-canadiens-montreal-bell-centre-3-12-2019/event/103675965/?sort=price+asc&qty=2&qqd=1&qtyq=false
This gets even better lol
Sam in the last 24 hours 1. Thinks Crosby should have had the same clause in his deal that helped bankrupt the WCW 2. Claims Kessel didn’t score, but then said he did but figured “he didn’t want to” 3. Thinks Bettman orchestrated a conspiracy to make sure TB got preferential ticket sales… even in places outside TB. 4. Shit on Gonchar inexplicably like the guy wasn’t a big part of the late 00s success and wasn’t a major influence of the dman, that we see evidence of his lack of structure hurting the team! This was the guy someone… Read more »
Now get the fuckk out of here and go make sure you oiler fans stop throwing mcdavid jerseys on the ice
Where does it say Bettman you dumb fucken idiot? We are all aware that teams in TB and Nashville do this…it’s their fucken building and ownership reserves every right to sell to who ever the **** they want you fucken moron as long as it doesn’t break discrimination laws. You will NOT win a case about discrimination based on the fucken team you cheer for you mother fucken simpleton. And you conveniently overlooked this “That doesn’t mean Habs fans can’t go to the next game in Tampa (if there is one); they just have to have a Florida billing address… Read more »
Bettman did also step in. Tampa players also was ashamed playing for tampa because their games were always invaded with habs fans. Even in the commentary tsn Barnaby said it too dude just worry about mcdavid jerseys don’t get thrown in ice
A. Not an Oiler fan… it’s you that’s a home team super fan remember and B… it’s their choice, they didn’t say no Hab fans, they catered to local fans period. There is nothing wrong with this and NO Bettman never stepped in at all… he addressed it by saying he doesn’t see anything wrong with the Lightening restricting ticket sales to residents of fucken Florida… I don’t either for that matter you fucken tool. If you are a widespread representative of Queebs then this policy makes a ton of sense as I wouldn’t want you near me either. “Matt… Read more »
Same guy has a fucken opinion on how many asses in the seats or real fans in other cities but TB being popular enough they can restrict ticket sales is upsetting… you can add fucken bitchh to the list of adjectives that fit you
Here twaat waffle… he even described the simple work around you simpleton hahahahaha
Awkward… Vegas restricts too…
When you play in a place like Tampa where everyone wants to visit/vacation, these are the types of challenges you face. Vegas too. No one wants to go to Montreal in the winter, and they rarely play in the Spring.
Why would they even try to come to Montreal there is a 10 years season ticket wait. And good luck finding tickets for 1 game
When in Florida you can just walk in the arena game day and get a good seat behind the bench
Look at these home figures lol
Typical wannabe republican american, just saying shlt without evidence.
Ahahaha half of them are bandwagon teams minute team doesn’t make playoffs people would stop going.
End of day 98% league makes more money than Tampax 100%. Because 98% shows up and spend money at the arena while Tampax so called 100% maybe 50% shows up. Only true hockey American fans are flyer’s, wild and sabres rest are mostly bandwagon fans
Watch other team games and youll see empty seats specially Detroit I don’t get it they say it’s sold out always and call the self hockey town and when ever I watch their games it’s as empty as Florida, carolina should be called ghost town instead of hockey town. Only hockey town is Minnesota
So Detroit which is economically crippled in the midst of a not fully committed to rebuild is your comparison?
Evident by Montreal’s sub 100% it’s clear all teams see an ebb in ticket sales when the team is perceived to not be great…
50% show up… so tickets are purchased and no one shows up? 50%?
I fully get corporate seats but ffs you’re trying to make the case that TB plays in an empty building?
Vegas has seats full during season unlike Florida fans they only show up when they are in playoffs and then bitchh about there is more fans of other teams
Of course you’d have to off the board to try and make a point.
This season TB is 100% sellout, Montreal is 98.7% bahahahahahaha
How many of the 100% shows up.
Its so hard to get tickets, yet they are available on game day and Montreal hasnt sold out every game. Makes sense.
Honestly every time I see a hockey game from sunrise in Florida the place is half empty…..How does that franchise survive???? Vegas packs them inn 100% correct Samtheman..
Florida is a poor market, but no one is debating this. Sam brings up such low hanging fruit because he’s picked another fight where he needs vague opinions to make his point.
I dont think Sam understands the difference between Tampa and Florida. Its like comparing Montreal and Quebec. One city is good enough to keep their team, the other is a piece of shlt that did/will lose their team.
I am not kidding jokes aside only time sunrise is packed during season is when habs playing in their town then leafs come second other than that it’s empty and as quiet as penguins 100% sold out crowd level
The hole Florida it self is a shithole. Their economy roles on tourist other then that there is nothing other than oranges and cows 4 legged and 2 legged
It’s the fourth largest economy in the US… second biggest tourist destination in the US… 23% of the revenue
I’m not sure how being a tourist destination is a bad thing tho…
Add “Habs play Tampa tough” to the list. Montreal is losing the season series 3-0 by a combined score of 13-6.
Montreal got trashed by one of the worst teams in the league. Got some help from Winnipeg as well. Wouldn’t mind a first round matchup vs the islanders.
Id love to see a Tampa/Montreal series just to watch the Canadiens get destroyed in 4 games.
You think bettman will force his rule again vs habs fans invading Tampax game and to make sure Tampax fans get tickets more
Even players were complained to Gary that they felt they played in away games in their own barn
Yes Sam, it was Bettmans idea… how upset is your mother that she didn’t go through with that abortion?
I know you don’t watch any other NHL games and maybe some penguins games come April. But having habs vs tampa might be good. Only team that plays good and upset tampa is the habs even Tampa won in the season game was close. But of course you don’t know those things
Haha! The Lightning went 3-0 v. the Habs by a combined score of 13-6. Way to play them tough!
I knew your box score would show up
Bahahahahahaha… average score of over 4 to less than 2 and you think the score just don’t tell a story? Wow you’re fucken delusional
5 of Montreals 6 goals came in one game. They lost the other two 4-1 and 3-0.
Chubby: “81 hasn’t scored since January”. Next line: “81 scored yesterday”. Jesus, you’re dumb beyond words.
Yup, special kind of fucken stupid lol
I did mention up until yesterday and I think he didn’t want to score it was a accident
The way npl coming to this world was an accident
“He didn’t want to score”… but he fucken did you dumb fuck. And with many slumps even an “accident” can be the breaker lol. What a fucken moron!
Zero you talked about me getting feisty the other day in our Toews malkin passion debate…you are swearing at everyone on this site calling someone a dumb**** or a special kind of fucken stupid….. wow don’t acuse me of being un cival geez…… just saying
Everybody? Sam yes, Sam always because he’s provided multiple reasons to do so.
Sprong just scored hope zerotool is drooling somewhere in that shitholee Edmonton
Yes Sam, in a big way… I’m a huge Sprong fan you twaat lol. It’s funny I was talking to Ducks fans on line last night, they feel the same way Pens fans that get it did. One trick pony that has a ton of growing to do
Oh look, it was vs the fucken Habs lol. So of course it has to be a big deal… what a fucken loser fake ass Pens fan
I am a penguins fan and NHL fan I watch a lot of games not just penguins game that’s why in hockey pool I do good that’s why when I played playoff hockey with you guys 2 times both I finished first
Hahaha @SID4800 you calling yourselfa Pens fan. That might be the only funny thing you’ve ever said on here.
Well when ducks GM took over the team as coach he said he will value his players and see what changes will be made in summer and having spring scratched multiple games it’s clear he will be gone in a package deal. Or who knows GMJR. Will take him back for Peterson lol
Sell high this off-season if management thinks this is a better structure for this team.
Yeah they can probably do that with chubby
And get rid of leagues most expensive 3rd line winger
Depends on the return – the difference between 81 & 58 – 81, always plays –
Agree but 58 is not playing and yet has same impact of 81#
81 hasn’t scored since January and only scored yesterday and that was by fluke because he wasn’t shooting the puck he was passing
Players Sam Hates
Players Sam admires
Not one person is going to click your link!
It’s hilarious he still posts those.
Stone 8 years extension with Vegas average 9.5m a year
Wonder what sid thinks
If I were Crosby I would’ve pulled a Kevin Nash, Scott Hall type contract
Whoever gets more than me after my singing for the first 5 years of my contract you match it
The NHL is not the WWE / WCW.
Worked well for that company hey… you fucken idiot! That was literally one of the major reasons it started to fail. You’re fucken retarded
You are just aware of this contract now? I know he just signed it but it was in place as part of the trade. Lol.
Sid thinks stone can kiss one of his rings
Funny how people say letang gone defence playing more structure obviously clowns. When you have talent like letang you take risk look at sharks
So if you guys think team better without letang I’m sure team can play more structure game without chubby and malkin. Because those 2 make team looks like a circus they way they play upfront. Thank God for their pp to cover up their disgusting plays
Team won with “Chubby and Malkin” while Letang watched, SJ has been one of the game greatest chokes…. you literally have zero argument here
The Penguins have allowed 13 so far, the Sharks have allowed 5. Try again.
The fact Letang is French Canadian can’t be overlooked. Fleury was short on hockey IQ too.
Jackets should fire tortorella and then their good players will resign.
Nobody wants to live in Columbus.
It can’t be more shitholee than Florida
I was looking top 10 worst cities of USA for 2019 and Columbus wasn’t one of them. Florida was number 6. Delaware was 1st
Two states on a top 10 city list? Interesting.
Both Florida and Delaware are not cities, they are states.
Have you ever been to Florida?
Columbus is actually not that bad of an area
So can Letang return and simply pick his spots better? Or finally have the minutes reduced to allow that structure to be maintained for more of the game? Of even keep a Schultz on the PP more often. This is not a slight at Letang, guys a terrific player but the thought processes often make you scratch the head. Despite a strong season overall there is a good reason he isn’t in Norris chatter. If he can slide back into the line up without creating risk issues the team would improve immensely. Hopefully watching the last few games will help… Read more »
He’s had a decade to make that adjustment. Ain’t gonna happen.
Letang thinks he is Bobby Orr.
True, I am just hoping there is some recognition that in the midst of season he has been lauded for much of the year the team is suddenly playing great hockey in their own and it’s without him. If he can just hold back a bit… Gonchar was a bit of a wild west guy until later in his career too
And lazy at times. Remember Moen how he past him and guy seemed careless I’m sure you can find in YouTube somewhere
Here. Enjoy zero. https://youtu.be/PRheP-uFsbs
You mean the guy who the Pens let walk that summer, who slowed considerably through that season at 36, is getting called lazy by you despite all he did to help this team succeed (including mentor Letang) all because your Habs got lucky and beat the Pens?
How hard did you cheer when the Pens were knocked out that year? Fucken fakeass Pens fan
You have to test the market this off-season for Letang. Sell, while he is coming off a solid numerical season and somewhat healthy. No guarantees after this year.
Zero…I actually agree with you…..if Letang can comeback and be smarter and pick his spots that will be so beneficial….Grudbrason, Pettersson, Schultz Trotman all have been good….Johnson too I guess 🙂
I thought Prow was supposed to be the first d call up AHL all start…does the prganization not have confidence in him? anybody know?
Trotman was the worst D last night
The Pens seem to play much better with a more “no name” style defense. They look more dialed in when Letang is not there. Maybe bc the high risk moves are elimated off the back end. Even JJ looks a bit more comfortable with the extra ice time he is getting. I still hate that contract though.
Maybe the comment section should be labelled New Story Ideas
The first sentence is pretty funny. He states they aren’t better, then proceeds to write about how they play a style more conducive to winning and all the issues while he’s in the lineup.
Maybe they should reconstruct the PP zone entry. A 5 year old can read it and prepare for it.