Here is the possession report
The above chart was created by Micah Blake McCurdy (@ineffectivemath). These charts are free at his Hockey Viz website after 2PM Atlantic time.
Let's talk about the defense pairings. As you can see Kris Letang and Brian Dumoulin were amazing. There really isn't much to add. That's the top pairing and there's no sense in breaking that up.
The elephant in the room is the Maatta/Daley pairing. It doesn't work. It has never worked. At some point they are going to have to receive strictly third pairing minutes which leaves the Cole/Schultz pairing with a lot more responsibility. Or the team could mix and match the bottom four defensemen into new pairings.
I don't think that the current setup is a good one for the long term. Unfortunately a lot of the success of the non top pairing defensemen relies on Olli Maatta being a functional player. The problem is that his season has been a yoyo. He has had some awful stretches, then he has a run of decent play, then awful again. He was once viewed as a player whose strength was consistency and that just hasn't been the case in 2016-17.
Pittsburgh will get an up close and personal look at Kevin Shattenkirk this evening who is the most attractive rental player in this year's trade market.
Phil Kessel was the hero in overtime.
Columbus got a bad break on that blocked shot and Phil wasted no time pumping home the rebound for his second goal of the game. His first goal of the game was a vintage Phil snapshot to the top corner. His shot is just fun to watch.
Phil finished the game with two goals and one assist. Kessel is on pace for 27 goals in 82 games this year. More impressive is the fact he has been a point per game player in 2016-17. If this pace continues he will match his career high from his 2011-12 season in Toronto when he had 82 points in 82 games. He is only nine points behind his 59 point total in his debut season with Pittsburgh.
Here is a Daniel Sprong update
Pittsburgh will get their first look at the St. Louis Blues led by their former assistant coach Mike Yeo. In Yeo's debut the Blues defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 5-1.
This is the Penguins first back to back game since January 11th and 12th. This will provide an opportunity for Marc-Andre Fleury to make his first start in eight games. Looking ahead at the schedule there are only two more back to back situations before the trade deadline. Could Marc-Andre Fleury only have three starts left in his Penguins career counting tonight?
Well, this is certainly interesting. There is no reason to not play Fleury in a back to back situation unless...
Tonight marks the beginning of a quirk in the Penguins schedule. The next six games will all be against Western Conference teams (STL, CGY, COL, ARI, VAN, WPG).