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Insider Only Penguins speed game, NZ/DZ structure shine in keeping the Jets to the outside

Penguins excel vs Jets in critical area

The Penguins Friday night ran their winning streak to eight games with an impressive 4-0 shutout win over the Winnipeg Jets.

Whether the Jets are a Stanley Cup contender like they are now or a bottom-feeder like they were for so long, things never change when it comes to Pittsburgh getting a ‘W’ against the Jets/Thrashers franchise.

It’s just automatic.

Pittsburgh’s winning streak has seen them feast on non-playoff teams and this one was the most impressive win thus far of the streak.

The underlying #’s don’t tell the story of how good the Penguins were vs the Winnipeg.

Pittsburgh finished the night a brutal 39% (5vs5) in possession, but they were about even in scoring chances and were +5 in high danger chances (all situations).

As it’s been the case for a couple years now, When the Penguins are playing a speed game like they were vs the Jets — if the scoring chances/high danger chances are strong with the high-end talent they have, the possession numbers should be an afterthought. —

It was a game the Penguins felt in control all night.

And it started with how well the Penguins tracked the puck on the forecheck and most notably with back pressure through the neutral zone and into defensive zone.

You saw a team in Pittsburgh look a lot quicker than Winnipeg.

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The Jets are a bigger, methodical group of offensive forwards who get a lot of their offense inside the circles.

Pittsburgh structure was very good, looking like a team that put a game-plan in place like it was a playoff game with a second/third layer group of defenders that kept the Jets to the outside and made it awfully tough for Winnipeg to get pucks through.

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The Penguins blocked 25 shots in the win. Marcus Pettersson led the Penguins with 4.

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Murray who was one of the worst statistical goaltenders at one point this season, is now 11-5-1 with a .289 GAA and .913 SV% on the season.

Dominik Simon took home the games No. 1 star with a goal, team-high 7 shots on goal and was 59% in possession.

It Took Simon sometime to get going again after returning from injury, but the last couple games show why the coaching staff, especially Mark Recchi are so high on him.

His high hockey IQ meshes well with star talent in being in the right place with puck support, ect, that the coaches really like about him.

It’s the case with Sidney Crosby where the Penguins can always put Simon up on the top line for stretches and the coaches feel Simon can be a much better long-term fit with Evgeni Malkin than Tanner Pearson because of Simon’s better ability to get the puck to Malkin in high danger areas.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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