It’s not uncommon for a team in the playoffs to rely on their depth scoring. In fact, it is more often than not we see the teams that have the most depth in their lineup find their way deeper into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. If your first line can produce as much as the Penguins’ has, the focus on depth goes away.
After a six-game first round and a game one 3-2 victory over the Washington Capitals, linemates Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel sit atop the league lead of points in the playoffs. Both finished with 13 points in the first round, and Crosby added two more in game one while Guentzel added three. Not only do the two lead in points, they also have scored the most goals in the 2018 playoffs netting 7 each. Still yet to be mentioned, Patric Hornqvist has 8 points in the playoffs and he missed two of the games in the first round.
Don’t let playing with Crosby take away from the success of Hornqvist and Guentzel, as both have proven that they are legitimately good players and aren’t necessarily being carried by Crosby. Guentzel had an unreal playoff run in the previous year as a rookie and has obviously picked up right where he left off.
The impact the line has on a game is no joke either. Pittsburgh found themselves trailing by two goals in the third period of game one against Washington when Justin Schultz tipped the shot past Braden Holtby, who up to that point was having an outstanding game. Slightly less than two minutes later, Guentzel set Crosby up for a one-timer to tie the game up at two. Guentzel, then, tipped a Crosby shot to take the 3-2 lead that would stand for the rest of the game.
All three goals came within 4 minutes and 49 seconds of each other. Scoring outbursts like that from the top line have proven to lead to success for the Penguins who have scored 31 goals in the first seven games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.