In every neighborhood, there is one house that annually dishes the good candy. You know, the house which serves the full-size Snickers bars and M&Ms, not the fun size Almond Joy or the other B-grade stuff that settles in your plastic pumpkin carrier for days until all of the Starbursts and Swedish Fish are gone. Tuesday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins were the good house as they brought their A-game and embarrassed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-1 at PPG Paints Arena.
However, you’ll forgive Philadelphia goalie Brian Elliott for wanting to egg a few houses on his way home. The Penguins blitzed Elliott for six goals in two periods, and only one was a softie.
Tuesday morning, PHN published a story we’ve been holding for over a week. When a team gets essential players back in the lineup, the overwhelming tendency is to relax or have a letdown. At least on Tuesday, the Penguins showed they are building on the fruits of their recent labors, not forgetting it.
The Penguins group effort is becoming the culture, not unique. Re-read that last sentence for full impact. The culture of the Pittsburgh Penguins is evolving. As we’ve been predicting for a few months, the hard-nosed, honest play has become the Penguins go-to style.
“I thought our forwards did a great job on the forecheck of disrupting their breakouts and not letting them come out clean and also backchecking,” Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin noted.
It’s been a long time since the Penguins were an honest hockey team in October. Perhaps that has never been the case until now.
Tactically, the Penguins did everything well, at least while the game was being contested. The Penguins also did not let up, despite a great temptation to exhale and ease up. Instead, the Penguins contained Philadelphia with more honest hockey. But the Xs and Os also tell a unique story.