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Game Three Observations; When Will The Sleeping Giants Wake

When teams have a two goal lead, the announcers like to bring up the old adage that this is the hardest lead in hockey to hang on to.

They might have a point.

In three games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team with the two goal lead in the game has gone on to lose said game by a score of 4-3. Pittsburgh was victorious in games one and three, Columbus won game two.

For the first time in this series the special teams were not special. There was not a single power play or shorthanded goal scored in this game despite ten combined power play chances.

Here are a few observations so far from this series.

Standouts (average ice tim...

Depth and Resiliency Key Big Comeback Win for Penguins

I have said on multiple occasions that this Pittsburgh team is not deep enough to beat a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference Finals or in the Stanley Cup finals.

Now, as is the usual case, I might be wrong.

The Pittsburgh Penguins turned the tide in game one by using the following combinations.

Kunitz – Crosby – Gibbons

Bennett – Sutter – Stempniak

Jokinen – Malkin – Neal

Glass – Vitale – Adams

The result was three lines that could not only skate well, but that could pressure enough to score goals.

The game started out as a physical battle that heavily leaned toward the Columbus Blue...

What You Need to Know, Penguins Versus Jackets Team Breakdown

Breakdown: Team Analysis

Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.

They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.

(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)

The q...

Breaking: Letang To Return To Penguins Lineup Tonight

In a brief and sudden press conference on Wednesday morning, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero announced that defenseman Kris Letang will be returning to the lineup.

Letang, 26, suffered a stroke in January while the Penguins were on a road trip out west. It is important to note that once Letang had successfully underwent treatment, including blood thinners; he would be medically cleared to play.

“He's at no further risk to suffer a stroke playing hockey than going to grocery store.” Said Ray Shero at the press conference

He is correct in saying so. Letang has a heart condition that doesn’t change with elevated heart rates, unlike the heart condition...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

Peaking at the Proper Time; The Penguins Paradox of Finding Health and Consistent Play

Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.

Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.

Or are they?

While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.

At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...

An Underwhelming Trade Deadline Provides Depth; Shero Makes the Right Moves for the Organization

There was so much discussion over the potential trade for Ryan Kesler that many in Pittsburgh became blinded to what this organization truly needed. Thank goodness for the fans, Ray Shero was not “all in” for Kesler as some beat writers seemed to be reporting.

While Ryan Kesler would have been a good addition, it was a move that was seemingly a luxury. With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, there is no need to have another top two line center in the fold when your depth is as poor as Pittsburgh’s was this season. To counter that, Ray Shero went and acquired Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak.

Goc and Stempniak were acquired from the Florida Panthers and Calgary Flam...

Kesler Report Becomes Official; The Penguins Are Foolish To View This As A Fix

When the rumor came out of the woodwork just a few days back, I was taken by surprise. I figured the Penguins were more interested in acquiring winger depth than trying to reestablish the dominant three center model that won them a Stanley Cup.

But what do I know about building a competitive hockey team.

Pittsburgh is reported by just about every major outlet to be heavily interested in acquiring Kesler’s services. He would be an instant upgrade at the third line center position and has the ability to play wing when needed; however, there is a big problem with this.

For one, Kesler would join the Penguins at a time of depletion. With Pascal Dupuis and Beau Bennett ...

Penguins Start the New Year Off Right; The Top Six Still Remains a Question Moving Forward

With the injury list for Pittsburgh starting to cool down in the New Year, the Penguins looked to regain their top form.

Unfortunately for the Penguins, an injury to top six forward Pascal Dupuis has left a major void in the roster. His top end speed and defensively responsible style made him a very good compliment to the offensive powers that are Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

In his absence, Pittsburgh was able to go 9-2-1 in January. Crosby had his production dip slightly into the range of 1.3 points per game, just below his 1.45 ppg career average. Since his departure Crosby has had a revolving door of wingers including the following: Tanner Glass, Jayson Megna, Brandon S...

Maatta Finnishes Capitals, Pens Win 13th Straight At Home

The Penguins only held the lead in Wednesday night's game against the Washington Capitals for 1:54. The good thing is that it was the final 1:54 of the game after rookie defenseman Olli Maatta finally put the Penguins on top for a 4-3 win.  The Penguins have now won 13 straight at home setting a new franchise record. 

The Capitals got on the board first more than halfway through the first period when Brooks Laich scored shorthanded after a turnover on a breakout pass by Kris Letang. Laich paitently peeled around a fallen Letang who expected a pass before beating Marc-Andre Fleury to the blocker side.

Letang made up for it in the second period tying the game at th...