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Power Play, Kessel 2x; PHN Extra Penguins Report Card vs. Detroit



PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27: Pittsburgh Penguins Right Wing Phil Kessel (81) waves to the fans as the number one star of the game in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Detroit Red Wings on December 27, 2018, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)

The Pittsburgh Penguins eventually overpowered Detroit and showed the patience and discipline which they lacked in the early season. The Penguins adjusted and didn’t take silly penalties or press. The power play featuring Phil Kessel converted twice and the Penguins put down the upstart challenger, Detroit Red Wings 5-2 at PPG Paints Arena.

It may seem like yesterday when the Penguins were the young, fast upstarts and the Detroit Red Wings were the over-30 veterans with a deep and talented roster with plenty of old-man muscle. The tables have turned and Detroit is now the exact type of team which has given the Penguins fits.

But the Penguins power play is still potent, especially when Phil Kessel shoots.

“We shot the puck sometimes,” said Kessel. “If we keep doing that, we’ll be all right.”

In the first period, Detroit was on the puck like white on ice. The Penguins breakouts had more Red Wings in position than Penguins. The Penguins rushes looked like a Detroit motorcade escorting the Penguins to the zone, then locking them to the outside.

The second period looked the same until the Penguins power play put one on the scoreboard. Detroit stacked the blue line, but Crosby slipped an end-around pass to Kessel who got behind the defense. Kessel banked one off Derick Brassard one minute later and the Penguins were able to get on the right side of the puck.

The Penguins second-period adjustment to the puck pressure was center drive pressure and a trailer. They were able to clear some space on the wings and the high slot for shots and offensive chances. The shots loosened up Detroit and put them on their heels.

Then the experienced Penguins took over. The Penguins had 30 shots in the final 40 minutes.

Penguins Report Card

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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