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Penguins dial it back to Spring 2017

December 15, 2018, 9:58 AM ET [1 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Pittsburgh turned back the clock to Spring of 2017 last night when they defeated the Boston Bruins by a score of 5-3. They lost the shot attempt battle 32-64, shot 14.8% (if you don’t count the empty net goal), and lost Kris Letang to injury. Stanley Cup here we come.

Casey DeSmith did a great pre 2017-18 Matt Murray impression by turning aside 48 out of the 51 shots that were on net. Sidney Crosby had two points while Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had one. Even Matt Cullen got in on the action with a very nice assist. Zach Aston-Reese was filling the Scott Wilson role by scoring twice after being promoted to the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel.

Unfortunately, the biggest story exiting this game is the health of Kris Letang. He left the game in the third period. He couldn’t put weight on the injury and was helped down the tunnel. Needless to say this is not an injury the Penguins can play through. Pittsburgh’s defense depth is their weakness and with Justin Schultz injured there isn’t even anybody who can pretend to play the Letang role like Schultz did in 2017. The severity of Letang’s injury has some catastrophic potential. Also, it might have looked worse than it is. At the present time we don’t have an update on his injury.

Here is what the Penguins would have to replace if Letang were to miss some time:

He is third overall in the NHL in time on ice per game at 25:55. He only trails Seth Jones (26:20) and Drew Doughty (26:18).

When Kris Letang is on the ice the Penguins own 55.7% of the shot share. When he’s off the ice that drops to 47.4%. Brian Dumoulin is a nice compliment to Kris Letang, but we’ve seen what happens when he’s paired with a lesser partner.

Letang is eighth overall among defensemen who have played 300 minutes in 5v5 points per 60 at 1.46. H

He’s pretty much doing everything and then some this year.

Pittsburgh will host the Kings tonight with or without Kris Letang. The game seems secondary right now.

Thanks for reading!
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