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Penguins Grades: Gritty & Successful, ‘Solid’ Penguins Win 4-2 (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Brian Boyle

The grinders accounted for a pair of goals, the big guns didn’t make mistakes, and the Pittsburgh Penguins were in control for their third straight win and fifth straight win at the Prudential Center. The game did not feature some exciting elements, which are also coaching nightmares that the Penguins have shown in recent weeks.

The Penguins worked to beat the New Jersey Devils, 4-2 on Sunday. Conspicuously absent from the Penguins game were big mistakes, turnovers, and bad decisions.

“I think that was it, really–it seemed like every position was playing very solid, it didn’t seem like we’re making a lot of big, glaring mistakes. And so I think it was just a solid effort,” Mike Matheson said.

For the record, I wrote the analysis before Matheson dished that quote which fit perfectly.

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn’t trade chances or yield boatloads of chances with bad decisions then rely on goalie Tristan Jarry. Instead, they ground away for their scoring opportunities. It was the closes to clean Penguins hockey we’ve seen since early January. However, head coach Mike Sullivan disagreed slightly.

“I felt our guys, our team was really locked in against Ottawa. I thought, we worked today,” Sullivan said. “You know, we were trying to dictate the terms out there as far as controlling territory and executing some of the strategies that we utilize as a group to try to do that. But I do think we played well enough to earn a win.”

I’ll take a team getting inside the dots and getting shots in those scoring zones, which they didn’t against Ottawa, any day.

Brian Boyle and the Pittsburgh Penguins penetrated the low zone and controlled the game. The fourth line had two goals (Matheson, Boyle). The Penguins’ top line was its consistent self, too. Smart play, consistency, and gritty play.

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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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