The Pittsburgh Penguins have been firing on all cylinders currently and are at present sitting in fourth place within the Metropolitan Division. They have improved in each space of their recreation, particularly goaltending and particular groups. The Penguins have two video games left in 2022 together with a division matchup with the New Jersey Devils. In order for the staff to continue being successful via the second half of the season, their excellent particular groups and goaltending play should proceed.
Pittsburgh’s beginning goaltender Tristan Jarry has been proving within the final couple months why he’s a severe Vezina Trophy contender this season. Jarry’s file earlier than the loss to the New York Islanders on Dec. 27 was 11-0-3. However, he has now fallen to 15-4-4 with a .918 save proportion. In the sport towards the Carolina Hurricanes on Dec. 22 he saved 32 of 36 photographs within the staff’s 4-3 additional time loss. He can be within the ultimate yr of his contract and will turn into an unrestricted free agent on the finish of this yr.
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As the Penguins get set to maneuver into the second half of the season, they’ll want Jarry to stay constant. If he continues to carry out at a excessive degree, Pittsburgh wants to begin making severe strikes to re-sign him earlier than the tip of the season.
It appears that the Penguins’ particular groups unit has lastly hit its stride. Both the penalty kill and the power play have been on fireplace over the past month and a half. Defenseman Kris Letang, who suffered the second stroke of his profession on the finish of November, scored in the course of the Florida Panther’s energy play on Dec. 15 within the Penguins’ 4-2 victory. In the 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Dec. 20 the penalty kill didn’t enable a purpose in all three of New York’s energy performs. There have been a number of stand out gamers on the penalty kill together with Jan Rutta. Although Rutta isn’t recognized for his offensive manufacturing, at 6-foot-3 and 204 kilos he has proved to be a powerful presence on protection. His sturdy forechecking and aggressive model of play have been the right addition to the penalty kill.
The energy play has additionally drastically improved from what it was to open the season. A current change Pittsburgh made was to maneuver Rickard Rakell as much as the primary power-play unit which has made an enormous distinction. Rakell has been persistently good since becoming a member of the staff in March of this yr. He makes everybody round him play higher, which has been evident particularly on the highest power-play unit.
Jake Guentzel, who can be on the highest unit, scored two targets within the recreation towards the Panthers, one among which was on the ability play. During the sport towards the Rangers, Evgeni Malkin scored a power-play purpose in the course of the second interval. Bryan Rust, who performs on the second unit, additionally scored a power-play purpose towards the Rangers. Captain Sidney Crosby scored a power-play purpose within the loss to the Hurricanes in the course of the first interval. His tally made 10 straight video games with at the least one power-play purpose.
Consistency is Key
The Penguins have been discovering success currently due to a full staff efficiency. They have been getting manufacturing not solely from their high two strains but in addition from their backside six and particular groups. The key for Pittsburgh as they head into the second a part of the season can be consistency. Players resembling Rust and Rutta should proceed to contribute in a optimistic means. The Penguins have two extra video games left in 2022 and can be seeking to head into the brand new yr on a excessive.
My identify is Sylvie McCarthy and I’m a graduate of the University of North Florida. I’ve frolicked as a sports activities author for the Casper Star Tribune in Casper, Wyoming and the Picayune Item in Picayune, Mississippi. Sports is my ardour, and I’m so excited to be writing for The Hockey Writers the place I can be masking the Pittsburgh Penguins.