After playing the Rangers twice this week, the Penguins suffered a disappointing loss on Monday, but were able to send a clear message on Wednesday when they played the Rangers a second time. That message was that the Penguins are capable of learning from their mistakes, thanks to an excellent coaching staff and hardworking team. Regular season is a time of growth of preparation. In a way, mistakes are meant to be made so that they can be fixed before playoff season. So what did the Penguins change that led to their win on Wednesday?
The Penguins ended Wednesday’s game with a 6-1 score. 5 goals were scored in the second period and 1 was scored in the third. After being down by 1 in the first period, the Penguins came out in the second period on fire. What really stood out to me the most during this period was that the youth of the Penguins contributed to the aggressive offense. This is probably no surprise considering the Penguins’ youth and speed became a driving force down the stretch last year. However, seeing Conor Sheary and Scott Wilson contribute to the Penguins’ offensive efforts proved that the youth and speed are still there. Also, let’s not forget Sidney Crosby scoring two goals as well. He currently leads the team with 14 goals so far.
The Penguins’ defense has always been a topic of discussion. I am sure we can all agree that some nights we hate the Penguins’ defense, and some nights we love it. On Monday night, the Penguins’ defense was not at the level that the Penguins play at. The lack of net presence and turnovers, caused a lot of problems for the Penguins. Kris Letang was also having a bad night, and unfortunately we can not afford a defensive player like him to have a bad night. However, the Penguins’ improved greatly on Wednesday, in regards to their defense. The Penguins’ defensemen suffocated the Rangers’ forwards who were trying to enter the offensive zone. They also took away sticks and battled for puck possession. This limited the Rangers offense and took away their zone time.
Shooting The Puck
There was a significant difference in shot production when it came to Monday and Wednesday’s games. On Monday night, The Rangers out shot the Penguins 36-31. That’s not a terrible differential, but in the second period the Penguins had 9 shots on goal, and in the third period the Penguins had 8 shots on goal. It was also obvious throughout the game that the Penguins were passing the puck around way too much. However, after Wednesday’s game, the Penguins out shot the Rangers 38-17. During the second period of this game, the Penguins had 11 shots on goal. During the third period, the Penguins had 17 shots on goal and limited the Rangers to only 4 shots on goal! The Penguins’ increase in shot production definitely contributed to their win on Wednesday, and overwhelmed the Rangers.