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3 Impressions: Kings 5, Pens 3

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins

Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the Pens’ 5-3 setback against the Los Angeles Kings.

1. Physicality
The Kings are a big, physical hockey team. And it was very noticeable. They were able to use their size to maintain zone time and establish a heavy forecheck. They tilted the possession in their favor, evidenced by their 37-20 advantage in shots. The Kings were strong along the wall and were able to grind the Pens down.

2. Transition Gap
Although the Kings are known for their strength and size, it was their transition game that was particularly effective against Pittsburgh. Mostly, that was due to the Pens failure to reset on the backcheck and poor transition gaps. The Pens backed off as the Kings pushed the puck with speed. The Kings scored two of their goals off of rush plays, and had several other great scoring chances. LA connected for a few breakaways, one of which led to a penalty shot opportunity for Marian Gaborik (stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury).

3. KuniKaze
One of the major bright spots was the play, or continued play, of Chris Kunitz. He has been one of the team’s best forwards over the past several weeks. He was rewarded with a bump up return to Sidney Crosby’s line. He posted a goal, three points and a plus-3 in the contest. Kunitz was strong on the puck and had good vision to set up Olli Maatta’s goal with a pass from below the goal line.

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