Penguins assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins 3-0 win against the Los Angeles Kings at CONSOL Energy Center.
1. I thought the depth of the bench really came through tonight. When you get into a special teams game like we did you need guys filling a variety of roles. I thought our ability to get the four lines all going really helped.
2. It’s a broken record, but the special teams again are hard to ignore. Those guys on the penalty kill blocked shots and did their job. The power play scored big goals again.
3. Individually, I think you have to look at a guy like (Chris) Kunitz, not just because of the two goals, but also his board work tonight, his wall play, the way he battled going to the net. Of course, (Marc-Andre) Fleury with the shutout again. He made some big saves, particularly at the end and didn’t miss the empty net by much.
Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the bench.
1. TEAM D
The Los Angeles Kings were the NHL’s No. 1 defense last season. But it was Pittsburgh’s defense that put on a show on Thursday. The Kings put up 36 shots in the contest, but most weren’t high quality scoring chances. Pittsburgh cut off the slot and forced the Kings to play in their own zone and kill penalties. The Penguins really shut it down in the third period, even using the 1-2-2 trap. Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury took care of the rest, recording his second shutout of the season. He was really tested in the final minutes of the third period to earn that shutout.
2. SCUDS STELLAR
One Penguin player that really stood out against the Kings to me was defenseman Rob Scuderi. He was matched up against the Kings’ deadly “That 70s Line” (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, Tanner Pearson), which has totaled 34 points (17G-17A) in nine games this season. Scuderi also was given the responsibility of covering New Jersey’s Jaromir Jagr on Tuesday, and other than an odd assist on a fluke goal that went off a Penguins’ stick, kept Double J quiet.
3. QUICK ON THE DRAW
I’m running out of things to write about the Penguins’ incredible power play. It may be the best puck-moving squad I have ever seen. The man-advantage unit was a pivotal part of the game, netting two goals. But what’s maybe more impressive (though only slightly) has been the Penguins’ ability to draw penalties to give their power play opportunities. The Kings, normally a very disciplined team, had to kill a season-high six penalties. Most of the penalties (tripping, hooking, interference) were the result of the Penguins’ hard work. The Penguins really drew and earned those penalties and those power-play opportunities.