The Penguins were only able to take a disappointing single point out of the four available to the Islanders this week. What wasn’t disappointing was the entertainment value towards the end of Thursday’s game. Between the scoring chances created and Thomas Greiss’ amazing saves it was a fun viewing experience.
The results weren’t ideal for Pittsburgh. They are showing signs of life after a cold stretch of play
Tonight Pittsburgh shifts their focus to the Toronto Maple Leafs and hopes to keep that trend going. It will be the last meeting for these two teams in Pittsburgh unless they somehow find themselves in the Eastern Conference Finals (wouldn’t that be fun). The matchup has lost some of its luster as Auston Matthews is out for a month because of another shoulder injury. Toronto still boasts a solid center combo in the top six with John Tavares and Nazem Kadri. Although, much like the Penguins when Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin is out of the lineup it doesn’t leave much worth writing about in at the bottom six center position.
Last night Elias Pettersson did something really clever and awesome
It’s a great play that the Sedins used to use. I do remember the Penguins almost being victimized by this same concept 13 years ago in Buffalo. It was the second week of the NHL season after the NHL lockout in 2005. To the best of my memory Thomas Vanek had the puck in the neutral zone with a defender up near the blue line. Instead of driving wide or trying to deke through the defenseman Vanek slapped the puck in off the dasher and immediately sprinted towards the slot. He caught his own carom inside the top of the circle and in one motion rang the crossbar. It was insanely good and worthy of the audible “woah” from the crowd. I always thought Vanek would do that more often. It never really became a go to thing for him. It would be a smart idea for Boeser and Pettersson to make it a thing because if you have defenders scared of that play it would likely cause the defender to be more passive and make for easier controlled zone entries. When they cheat up you make them pay with creative area passes. I really enjoyed what those two Canucks did and the memory I had of Vanek’s solo effort a long time ago. Wish I could have tracked down some video of Vanek’s play.
Thanks for reading!