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Insider Only PIT – NYR Fallout: Brassard line with Rust shines, Crosby line under 35% in possession

Penguins lose out on getting 2 pts, Rust-Brassard-Kessel show early chemistry

Bryan Rust | Goal (11), 5 SOG, 62 CF%
Carl Hagelin | Goal (9), 2 SOG
Riley Sheahan | Goal (10), 55 CF%
Derrick Brassard | Assist, 3 SOG, 61 CF%

The Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers Wednesday night that saw the Rangers outscore Pittsburgh 4-1 over the final 14 minutes of the game, was nothing more than Pittsburgh letting their foot off the gas and playing down to their competition in the third period.

Pittsburgh blew leads of 2-0 and 3-2 in the third period.

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In the big picture when it comes to which opponents are the best matchups, it doesn’t really matter for the Penguins on where they finish in the Metropolitan Division as there’s no real separation between Philadelphia, Columbus or New Jersey, Pittsburgh’s most likely first round opponents at this point, but you always want home-ice, regardless of whether the statistics show home-ice isn’t that important in the NHL playoffs.

That was a game the Penguins had in the bag against a lowly opponent that tore down their roster at the deadline.

1. Washington Capitals | 69 GP – 85 Pts
2. Pittsburgh Penguins | 71 GP – 85 Pts
3. Philadelphia Flyers | 70 GP – 81 Pts
4. New Jersey Devils | 70 GP – 80 Pts (1st WC)
5. Columbus Blue Jackets | 70 GP – 79 Pts (2nd WC)


— A bright spot for the Penguins in the loss was the immediate chemistry of the Bryan Rust – Derrick Brassard – Phil Kessel line.

The line produced a goal in the second period, Rust scoring from the slot 1:53 into the period off a feed from Brassard and the line as a whole was at 60% in possession and the Penguins had an 11-3 edge in shots during 5-on-5 play when Rust-Brassard-Kessel were on the ice together.

From the very first shift the line was on the ice, Rust provided some of the little things Pittsburgh’s third line had been missing.

His speed/angles on the forecheck to pressure the puck made an immediate impact leading to a turnover from Kevin Hayes and a high danger chance from Rust minutes into the game.

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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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