Chris Kunitz is one of the most under-appreciated players around the league.
Capitals first goal: Penguins were in perfect coverage but just need to tip their cap…Nisky took his guy on the boards, Scuderi was in adequate position, and Pyatt was all over his guy but the Capital just made a better play – no hate there.
I’m convinced there should be a rotating wheel of nasty players on Malkin’s line to open up space for he and Neal…Glass, Goc, Pyatt would all be good in spurts on the second line – be physical in the corners, go to the net, and screen the goalie – Put Bennett and Jokinen elsewhere (both on a third line with Sutter?)
Matt Niskannen could be a +500 on the season and he’s still a turd in my book; he’s useless defensively and somehow Bylsma thinks he’s a good idea on the Penalty Kill. When he and Malkin are out together it’s one opportunity after another for the opposing team…don’t be fooled by his +/-, which is usually an accurate indicator of on-ice productivity, but it’s the only thing the local media talks about because it’s the only feather in his cap… #turdwatch
Brooks Orpik was an absolute BEAST tonight…I don’t need to say anything else; his play did all the talking.
Simon Despres may have had a poor game against the Blackhawks (His first NHL game in nearly two months), but over the last few games he’s certainly earned his keep. Bare in mind, Maatta and Despres are the only big puck moving defensemen the Penguins have…speaking of Maatta…
Dan Bylsma is completely hell-bent on exhausting Olli Maatta before the playoffs begin – since the Olympics Maatta has played over 20 minutes every single night…the kid only played 91 games in the OHL last year – this year he’ll hit 91 by Game 3 of Round 1…he’s going to burnout, it’s not a matter of if, but when…But at least Bylsma is resting Fleury, a guy that just had three weeks off for the Olympics.
The Penguins have reached 25 shots only once in March (5 games) – meanwhile the Penguins have given up 30 or more shots in 4 of 5 games, and 40 or more shots in 2 of those 5 games. They look tired…a deep run in last year’s playoffs in addition to their top players being subjected to a cross-planet flight to and from Sochi while participating in five-six more games may be taking it’s toll.
Aside from Crosby and the special teams, the Penguins don’t do anything that’s Championship caliber: They don’t protect leads; they don’t outmuscle teams in front of either net or in any of the four corners; Their coach is terrified to make meaningful adjustments, and further suffocating this version of the Penguins is the injury bug that has hit them like the black plague.
A too many men on the ice penalty with 2:17 left in the third period for the Penguins is just so inexcusable…it’s not something that good teams do, and it’s not something that good coaches allow to happen…(while it doesn’t happen all of the time, it’s certainly not the first time the Penguins have been guilty of a late bench penalty).