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New Names and Opportunities, Same Goals for Penguins Penalty-Kill (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins game, Teddy Blueger

CRANBERRY — Mike Vellucci doesn’t feel as if the Pittsburgh Penguins’ penalty-killing really imploded during the final few months of the 2021-22 season.

After all, sliding from first to third in the league rankings hardly constitutes a precipitous plunge into the special-teams abyss.

And it’s not as if there weren’t some obvious explanations for the drop in the Penguins’ efficiency when they were down a man.

There was the broken jaw that sidelined Teddy Blueger for 16 games, and seemed to affect him well after he returned. The trade that sent Zach Aston-Reese to Anaheim. The way Jeff Carter, who turned 37 on Jan. 1, appeared to wear as the season progressed.

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