Skill 2 Violence 0
April 15, 2017, 11:39 AM ET [62 Comments]
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The Pittsburgh Penguins have not played great hockey so far in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Pittsburgh Penguins remain undefeated and will take a 2-0 series lead into Columbus on Sunday.
Marc-Andre Fleury combined with Sidney Crosby to lead the Penguins to victory. The Game 2 script looked a lot like Game 1 where Columbus enjoyed shot volume, but couldn't quite figure out how to translate that into high danger scoring chances.
The Penguins led the Blue Jackets in high-danger chances in Game 1 6-3 and last night they cranked it up to the tune of a 14-9 advantage. The Crosby line was on the ice for half of those high-danger chances at even-strength. Columbus has 108 shot attempts at even-strength so far this series, but only 12 of them are high danger. This is in contrast to the 82 shot attempts Pittsburgh has at even-strength with 20 high-danger chances.
Among goalies this year who played 1,000 minutes Marc-Andre Fleury was near the top of the league in low-danger save percentage. He was decidedly average in medium-danger and high-danger areas. Columbus just hasn't done a good enough job of making Fleury work. The Flower has been excellent through two games.
I referenced a Matt Souva article before the series started. That article was about how Brandon Dubinsky has had the shot attempt advantage on Sidney Crosby in recent memory and how that hasn't translated into shutting Sid down. The reason was because while Dubinsky had the shot attempt advantage he wasn't shutting the Crosby line down from getting their own looks. They ultimately playing high event hockey. That has continued this series. Only Jake Guentzel has been on the ice for more even-strength events than Crosby and he's a linemate. Trading chances with Crosby isn't going to work if there is a lot of trading going on because Sid is ultimately going to create and convert more frequently than you are. Here is Sid's handy work on the night with Mike Lange
The physicality approach backfired for Brandon Dubinsky. It was his roughing penalty at the end of the second period that led to the Penguins third goal which was a much needed insurance goal. Sid to Geno never gets old. Evgeni Malkin has three points in two games. Not bad after a month off.
It can be frustrating when you have the puck more than the other team and aren't being rewarded for it. That frustration boiled over towards the end of the game when Matt Calvert blindsided Tom Kuhnhackl with a cross check to the neck area.
He'll definitely be suspended though...
No other sport condones premeditated violence quite like the NHL. It seems to be a good business model. There must be plenty of evidence that people are flocking to see all of the violence the league has to offer.
Oh you mean the majority people don't climax to needless violence? Most people aren't sociopaths? Who would have thought? Huh, weird.
Carl Hagelin and Chris Kunitz are both back skating again and that means the Penguins forward grouping has the potential to get that much better. It might get worse before it gets better for Columbus.
The Blue Jackets will take their 100-65 lead in hits into Game 3 tomorrow night and Pittsburgh will take their 2-0 series lead.