Olli Maatta

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Pittsburgh Takes The Next Step Towards Being Great

It is official. The Pittsburgh Penguins have found a new gear under head coach Mike Johnston.

Nothing is a greater proof of this than their last four games, of which, they have won by a combined score of 19-3. They shut out the Predators, Kings, and Sabres; while scoring 8 goals against the Devils in the process.

It took just one month but the Pittsburgh Penguins are the most dominant team in the league.

They have a plus 19 goal differential on the season, leading the league in goals for with 4.10 goals per game. Their power play has a success rate of 41.9% with 18 goals on 43 chances.

Defensively the Penguins are again one of the best in the league. Their 2.20 goa...

The All Inclusive Pittsburgh Penguins Preview; The Two Week Late Edition

It is rather rare to see a team that has made the playoffs eight season’s straight fire their head coach. It is even rarer to see a team fire their General Manager after such success.

A new coach, a new system, some fresh new faces, and a different approach to free agency are just some of the major changes that have Pittsburgh fans once again clamoring for hockey.

The coach, the system, and the plausible results

Keep the puck on your stick for the majority of the game and there is a good chance you will win. Tough concept to grasp is it not?

No. For some reason it was for the former regime. Their outdated dump and chase method, plus stretch passing, led to a ...

Rangers Take Game One; Pittsburgh Still In Control of Their Destiny

The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped game one of their series against the New York Rangers in terrible fashion on Friday night. There were multiple instances of horrible turnovers and poor positioning that inevitably led to a Rangers victory.

The Rangers Benoit Pouliot was the most visible player on the ice for a majority of the game. He played physical and smart, leading his team with a goal and an assist. His line mate, Derick Brassard, scored the overtime winner after a horrible Rob Scuderi turnover below the net.

Matts Zuccarello failed to register a point in the game, but certainly had himself a strong afternoon. His mix of speed and tenacity helped keep the Penguins top line ...

What You Need To Know, Round 2: Pittsburgh Penguins Vs. New York Rangers

Team Breakdown

Pittsburgh: The Penguins managed to secure victory against the Columbus Blue Jackets by using their depth, their defense, and strong play on the puck. The Penguins had a tough time getting everything going against the very tight checking Blue Jackets, but still managed to control the puck at a 60% corsi and shake up the lines enough to avoid the preferred match ups of Columbus.

All of this plays in well against the Rangers. Pittsburgh will not have to focus exclusively on the forward match ups, mostly because New York’s shut down play Boyle has not had great success against Crosby. Pittsburgh has been able to use five different lines, comprised mostly of t...

Win And Advance; A Look Back At The Series That Was And How It Came To Be

The series came to end after a dominant performance by the Penguins and a third period they kind of showed up for.

This is not entirely fair to say. The Jackets did come back in game three in an epic way. Scoring three goals in the final ten minutes to scare Pittsburgh was a great ending for all. It gives hope to the fans for next season and reminds Pittsburgh to stay humble.

Although, in all fairness Pittsburgh had to play short Joe Vitale and Brandon Sutter for the final frame. With both leaving via injury, the Penguins only had three lines available.  They got caught flat footed, tired, and instantly fell into penalty trouble. The Jackets then threw everything they had...

Penguins Push Jackets To The Brink Behind A Barrage Of Shots

How does a team bounce back from a game in which they surrendered four unanswered goals? They put 51 shots on net while having an even strength possession time above sixty percent.

That is how strong the Pittsburgh Penguins were on Saturday night.

Snapshots:

Crosby and Malkin played a total of eleven minutes together in even strength situations. It was a desperate move for Dan Bylsma, but certainly paid off. Malkin and Crosby dominated the puck all night long, proving that their goal drought is nothing but bad puck luck.  Crosby, Malkin, and Kunitz had 15 combined shots as a line.

Brandon Sutter hasn’t just played well; Brandon Sutter has become a cataly...

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 ...

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...

How To Prepare For The Rest Of The Caps Season

Being a half-decent sports fan is about moderating expectations.

You don't want to be that guy or girl who goes into every season saying "this year is ours because reasons" because if you do, you'll wind up crying in the corner clutching your jersey and listening to sad Radiohead. You don't want that.

A 4-3 loss to the Penguins in Pittsburgh saw the Capitals slide to third in the Metropolitan division, their third loss in a row. It was a good effort by the visiting Caps but, like always, almost every Capitals goal saw a Penguins equalizer shortly after.

And on cue with 1:54 to go, the Penguins scored a gut-punch goal from rookie defenseman Olli...