Gameday #8 Recap: v. New Jersey Devils

Super brief recap because we already need to start getting on the gameday for today. This was a huge game for the Pens, a win put them in control of the division, a loss put them two games behind the Devils and Islanders. Not only did the Pens win, but they came out with an emphatic statement, netting a 5-1 win over last year’s beast in the East, the New Jersey Devils. What follows is a brief analysis of why the Pens found so much success yesterday.

Remember when we identified these three things as a basis for the Penguins’ early troubles? Well guess what, the Pens, at least to a certain extent, have addressed all three.

Coaching: Bylsma is finding his favorable matchups and pairings. Check out this article from Hooks Orpik at Pensburgh for more on the success of the Pens’ shutdown pair, and what it subsequently means for Kris Letang, and his partner, whether it should be Nisky or Despres.

There’s no doubt that Bylsma needed time to find the pairings that were going to get the job done, and he didn’t have that opportunity without any preseason or training camp, but he’s come in a big way. Just think about Robert Bortuzzo’s goal if you have any doubt that Bylsma is getting the matchups he wants.

Remember when people wanted to fire HCDB? Yeah, me either.

Team Chemistry: The Sid-Duper-Koon line combined for 10 points yesterday, can’t argue that kind of chemistry. Further, the Pens started to get a lot more secondary scoring with both Brandon Sutter, and, improbably, Robert Bortuzzo getting on the board.

Literally brought the place down

Further, Zach Boychuk looks to bring something that no one else has done with Nealer and Geno so far: contribute. Skating in on a two-on-one with Geno, Boychuk actually took the shot himself. It was a revelation.

Here’s the Proof…

Power Play: They didn’t get any in the Devils game, but they did against the Rangers. Further, they just look better, they’re holding the puck in the zone, they’re getting better opportunities and things are just flowing. It’ll take a few days, maybe even a few weeks to get everyone fully comfortable with one another, but the Pens aren’t losing momentum as a result of the PP now.

Literally game in less than 2 hours.

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