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Notes & Quotes: Playing With A Swagger

by Sam Kasan / Pittsburgh Penguins
Thoughts, observations and comments from the Penguins’ 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings.

Swagger Back
What else can you say about the way the Pittsburgh Penguins are running up victories like the national deficit? Pittsburgh is playing like a dominant hockey team right now because, well…they’re a dominant hockey team.

The Penguins’ haven’t lost in regulation in their past 12 games, going 10-0-2 in that stretch and are 12-1-3 under interim head coach Dan Bylsma. Pittsburgh is playing with confidence, with composure and with a newfound swagger. 

“I think there is a confidence and a swagger to our team,” Bylsma said. “We play an aggressive style. We talked about it (Friday) with some of the players. Our whole team has a role and mentality on how we need to play every night and in every situation. Whenever a guy has ownership in the team, when your team has an identity and knows how it has to play, then you start to develop a bit of a swagger for your team. We have every right to have that right now with our record in the past 15 games.”

The Los Angeles Kings netted their only goal thanks to a huge discrepancy of players. Two Penguins were in the penalty box and Los Angeles had a five-on-three opportunity. Pittsburgh fielded forwards Craig Adams and Maxime Talbot and defenseman Rob Scuderi.

Talbot won the faceoff but Scuderi broke his stick trying to clear the puck, creating a de facto five-on-two. Adams (right handed) gave up his stick to Scuderi (left handed). Despite the obvious disadvantage, the Penguins managed to kill a majority of the penalty, thanks to two important blocked shots by Adams.

“It was a 1:42 five-on-three that we were facing,” Bylsma said. “We had a couple blocks there from Craig Adams which was great to see. We broke a stick so we were short that way as well.”

The Penguins played admirably through the difficult situation but the Kings eventually broke the shutout with a goal. Drew Doughty took a slap shot from above the far circle. The puck deflected off of Michal Handzus and into the goal.

“In the replay, the puck is going wide,” Bylsma said. “It hits the player in front of the net and goes in. I’m not quite sure that shot would have gone in on its own. It was a great job by our penalty kill. It’s disappointing to let that one up but it was five-on-three. For the rest of the game and prior to that, our penalty kill was strong again tonight.”

“I still think the guys did a good job,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said. “Adams made two big saves and the goal was off the guy’s pants in front. So that was lucky but I though our guys did alright.”

Steal and Score
Sidney Crosby scored one of the best single-handed effort goals of the year. Justin Williams had the puck below the far circle in the Kings zone. He tried to get the puck to Jarret Stoll in the slot.

However, Crosby anticipated the play, threw his stick in the passing lane and intercepted the puck. He then avoided a poke check and spun a backhand shot far side off the post and into the twine.

“(Williams) looked over his shoulder and knew I was right behind him so I figured he was going to try to go up the middle with it,” Crosby said. “I just stepped out quick and got my stick on it. I did that and got a shot onto the net.”

And into the net.

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