Penguins are coming at the opposition in waves
When the regular season ends on April 6th, the Metropolitan Division will likely have a similar look as the past two seasons.
The Washington Capitals finishing in first place and the Pittsburgh Penguins finishing in second place.
For the rest of the NHL here come the Penguins.
That debacle vs the Carolina Hurricanes less than two weeks ago did something in that it woke up the Penguins high-end talent and what we have now is that the high-flying Penguins from Sidney Crosby on down.
Pittsburgh followed up a 4-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings Saturday with a dominating 5-2 win over the Rangers Sunday night and it was vintage Penguins of the past two seasons.
Fast, electric offensive brand of hockey where the Penguins kept pressing offensively at every moment.
Pittsburgh peppered the Rangers with 47 shots and this game felt more like it was an 8-2 game than 4-2 with an empty net marker from Carl Hagelin that sealed a 5-2 victory.
Scoring chances at 5-on-5 were 27-12 Pittsburgh.
Whether Dominik Simon and Daniel Sprong are long-term fixtures this season as top-line players remains to be seen, but in the short-term, it’s made the Penguins lineup so much deeper in that Pittsburgh can space their talent around with Jake Guentzel and Phil Kessel now on the third line.
And why Jake Guentzel can work anywhere was highlighted on Phil Kessel’s second period goal where Guentzel makes a soft dump-in and forces Kevin Shattenkirk on his backhand, Pittsburgh creates turnover off the forecheck and Kessel snipes one past Lundqvist for a 3-2 lead.
Guentzel didn’t get an assist on the play but the high-hockey IQ was on display where he continues to make things happen offensively whether he’s playing wing or center.
— Crosby and Simon were great in the win vs the Rangers and the waves Pittsburgh’s first, second and third lines came at the Rangers was just on another level.
Mike Sullivan and Mark Recchi did an excellent job of also mixing and matching the lines in certain spots.
People say Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel can’t play together?
A couple shifts a game might not be the worst thing.
The two were on the ice for 2:55 together at even strength and the results:
Sidney Crosby scored a third period goal off a primary assist from Kessel and the Penguins were 6-0 in scoring chances and 3-0 in high danger chances
Oh, and Sid is one shy of 400 goals in his career. pic.twitter.com/1WkOhAAyVD
— NHL (@NHL) January 15, 2018
— The Penguins suddenly look like the Penguins again and another big development in recent games is that for one of the rare times over the last year and a half, Carl Hagelin is looking like the Carl Hagelin from the 2015-2016 season.
He was tremendous in the weekend wins over the Rangers and Red Wings in his ability to hunt loose pucks. He created that chaos dynamic his game is built on in pressuring the opposition.
The coaching staff has constantly defended Hagelin to Penguin management To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!