Since the start of 2022, the Pittsburgh Penguins have managed to snag points in 12 of 15 games despite a poor effort. They have been lucky enough to get scoring from all four lines this season in addition to Vezina calibre goaltending. Along with the on-ice play, Mike Sullivan is finally getting his much deserved Jack Adams considerations. Although their record is great, they’ve had some very poor games which have resulted in a win. The Pittsburgh Penguins’ play has been underrated all season mainly from the number of man-games lost and adversity they’ve faced. Although we’ve seen their powerplay get a bump in production, injuries remain the issue for this team.
Penguins Collecting Wins Despite Poor Efforts
The Penguins have been blessed with the breakout season of Evan Rodrigues. The Penguins have had insane goal-scoring from Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, and Evan Rodrigues. We also can’t leave out Sidney Crosby returned from injury and hasn’t missed a beat as he’s playing at a 1.1 point per game rate and an 80 point pace in 70 games. When the offensive production from all four lines has gone silent there is always one line that steps up for this team. The one area the team has struggled in is finishing on chances and outright high danger chances. Along with the forwards, the Penguins have seen a jump in offence most notably from defencemen Kris Letang and Mike Matheson. The issues come from just not playing to their full potential. Oftentimes we’ll see the offence extremely elite in the third period but invisible in the first two periods. So you may be wondering, no issues were mentioned minus effort, if you have no effort to your offensive game you’re going to get torched in the defensive zone. Luckily the Penguins have Tristan Jarry.
We may be seeing one of the best seasons of Kris Letang’s career. This is good and bad for the Penguins due to his contract being up this off-season. The Penguins have been better defensively than they have offensively this season. The issues come ay the inability to be positioned properly, getting beat, and a guy being left alone above the two defencemen. Oftentimes we’ll see John Marino get beat in the corners consistently or Kris Letang makes an ill-advised pass. In all honesty that could come down to decision making too. Most notably on the powerplay, we’ve been seeing them give up chances due to bad passes often from the defensemen. Defensively the Penguins have missed Teddy Blueger who suffered a broken jaw. The line of Teddy Blueger, Zach Aston-Reese, and Brock McGinn has been one of the most underrated defensive forward lines in the entire league. Although they’ve had some defensive blips, the Penguins should return to form after the all-star break.
Tristan Jarry. All people need to do is watch a single period of a Penguins game and they will see just how good the Surrey native is. The problem with the Penguins goaltending has been their backup goaltender in Casey Desmith. Although he recently had a bounce-back game in an overtime loss to Seattle, Desmith has underperformed this season after a great 2020-21 season. He has been one of the worst backups in the NHL. At high danger, Desmith has also disappointed with being only 0.500, yikes. The one game Penguins fans had hope was when we saw Louis Domingue come in and shut down the San Jose Sharks with a .976 save percentage. Since then, we’ve seen Casey Desmith stun the Detroit Red Wings in an eventual overtime loss with a highlight reel save. The main concept we see displayed here is inconsistency. As Domingue comes back from injury, the Penguins will have two fringe backups. It will be a battle between the two as Jarry is starting to show how much his load is impacting him.
A point can be made about the hardcore schedule the Penguins have faced in January. The Penguins have had the injury bug with many games being played in so little amount of days. The schedule seems to get quite a bit tougher now until the end of the season. This team is a playoff lock while a home-ice advantage does not seem to mean anything in their past playoff performances. Their current matchup would be the powerplay merchants the New York Rangers. They have yet to play the Rangers in the regular season. As we see the all-star game this weekend it will be great for the Penguins to get a break. Their first game back will be against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. The points from here on out will be very important in the Metropolitan division. Based on their roster and analytics, the Penguins have it in them for their deepest run since 2017.
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