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Friday, February 22, 2013

What We Learned From The Pittsburgh Penguins In Their 6-5 Loss To The Philadelphia Flyers

     Now that I am able to finally stomach the result of the game, I can now look at what we have learned from the Penguins 6-5 loss to the Flyers the other night.

 Paul Martin has improved
 Martin had been receiving lots of criticism for his underachieving since he has arrived in Pittsburgh. Martin however, has turned things around, he scored the game winning goal against Buffalo and had an assist on 3 of the 5 goals scored by the Penguins against the Flyers. His offensive performance from the blueline has really improved as he is able to get the puck on net which has allowed for rebound opportunities for the Penguins. Just recently it was noted that Martin had asked if he wanted to be traded during the off-season which he of course declined. Ever since, Martin has stepped up his game and has been performing at the level the Penguins had expected him to play at when they signed him.

The Powerplay has been producing more
     Alright, so they are not necessarily scoring on every powerplay or every other, but the powerplay unit has seemingly stepped it up and has started to shoot a bit more as opposed to passing. Ever since the acquisition of James Neal the powerplay has vastly improved. The Penguins are first in the Eastern Conference with a powerplay percentage of 27.54%. Though the Penguins still are in need of someone to 'quarterback' the powerplay, the offensive production on it has increased immensely.

Marc Andre Fleury is the Penguins No. 1 Goalie

(3.)     Before the season started, many wondered if Tomas Vokoun would give Marc Andre Fleury a run at the starting gig for the No. 1 Netminder. After Vokoun's performance against the Flyers, it became apparent that Fleury is the Penguins go to guy in net. In the three games after Vokoun recorded a shutout against the New York Rangers, he has gone 1-2 and has given up an average of 4 goals per game with a save percentage of 0.854%. Where as Fleury in his seven starts since, has gone 6-1 and has only given up an average of 2 goals per game with a save percentage of 0.927%

Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin need to shoot more
     Despite having arguably the two best players in the world, they both possess a flaw that they have each demonstrated. More often than not they will attempt to make a flashy play by passing it to another player when they themselves have a golden opportunity of their own to score. While they do need to maintain their play making abilities, they also need to put the puck on net too create more scoring opportunities for themselves and the team.

Lack of Veteran Presence & Leadership
     Ever since Bill Guerin retired, the Penguins have been missing that veteran leadership in the locker room and on the ice. Guerin not only provided a strong presence as a veteran, but was able to add scoring along with it. One player that comes to mind is Jarome Iginla. While it may be a pipe dream, the benefits from it would do wonders as not only would the Penguins be getting both a veteran and a pure scorer in Iginla, but would have someone who already has established chemistry with Sidney Crosby, as evident of the 2010 Winter Olympics when they both helped lead Team Canada to Gold!

     These are just my own observations, some may agree while others will disagree. Whatever the case, the Pittsburgh Penguins have improved but still need to address some issues along the way, especially if they plan on contending for a Stanley Cup!

Image Sources: 1.
                          2. Pittsburgh Penguins Official Facebook Page

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