In a larger sense, we didn’t expect much from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. The Penguins lineup was gutted by injuries to Evgeni Malkin, Teddy Blueger, and Jared McCann, three of the four best Penguins centers. And without a strong presence in the middle, the Penguins game was almost necessarily be boiled down to stock hockey.
On paper, the Penguins outplayed the New Jersey Devils, despite the 3-2 New Jersey win. The Penguins sent 42 shots at New Jersey goalie Scott Wedgewood, and NaturalStatTrick said the Penguins had more scoring chances, but that’s why the paper doesn’t count.
The situation altered the Penguins game and identity. We’ll get to the structure in the Xs and Os, and the details that decided the game were summed up in one sentence from Marcus Pettersson.