On December 14, 2016 the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Boston Bruins at PPG Paints Arena. After a close scoring game, the Penguins were able to overwhelm the Boston Bruins with their offensive speed and gritty play. As of right now, the Penguins lead the Metropolitan Division with 43 points on a seven game win streak. The Bruins are now third in the Atlantic Division, which ties them with the Ottawa Senators, who have 35 points. Also, the Pittsburgh Penguins currently lead the NHL with 43 points so far. So how were the Penguins able to defeat a defensive team like the Bruins?
I have written a lot about the Penguins’ speed in previous articles, simply because it is a significant part of their identity. A huge part of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ success is their offensive speed. The goals that were scored in Wednesday night’s game were a product of the Penguins’ speed coming out of the neutral zone. The speed coming out of the neutral zone is what pushed the Bruins’ defense back, which put less pressure on the Penguins’ offense. This also gives the Penguins more room to skate, and exposes open areas of the ice.
The Penguins have become expert shot blockers while coached by Mike Sullivan. Compared to previous years, the Penguins are now giving up their bodies to protect their goalies form having to make difficult saves. Not only is this helping the goalie out, but it also frustrates teams that cannot penetrate the Penguins’ defense. While shot blocking may not appear to be that important or significant in games, it appears to be helping the Pittsburgh Penguins win. Shot blocking is another layer of defense that slows down the opposition’s game, and prevents offensive chances. The Penguins have demonstrated how willing they are to throw their bodies on the ice, in order to prevent a scoring chance.
The players that can get on the ice and give it their all every game, are the players that we love the most. Recently, we have seen multiple players step up and produce scoring chances. An obvious player is Sidney Crosby, who is having an amazing season so far. He currently leads the NHL with 21 goals on the season, making his presence on the ice known. Another consistent player is Justin Schultz, who is currently tied with Shea Weber at +18. A lot of fans were thrilled to hear that Justin Schultz would continue his career as a Pittsburgh Penguin during the offseason, and he is now proving why he deserves to wear the Pittsburgh Penguins uniform.