It’s the win that counts, but that doesn’t mean the Penguins aren’t dealing with a few problems. The NHL regular is about building towards a goal, building good habits, and solidifying your team for the most grueling playoffs in sports. The Pittsburgh Penguins continue to stack wins, and it is a testament to several factors from head coach Mike Sullivan to the willingness of players to play any role to help the team.
It was the Penguins third line, which began the season as the fourth line, which defended the Washington Capitals most dangerous line then scored the game-winner on Sunday.
But the wins over Philadelphia on Friday night in OT and the win over Washington on Sunday should not be whitewashed, nor the Penguins cracks glossed over. They were ugly. The Penguins won because they are a good team which adhered to its system and has special players, but in both games, their flaws were also exposed. The margins of victory were secured by goaltending despite being outplayed in the third period.
Things have been different for the last few weeks.
“This game is so much about momentum, and so (Washington) had it in the third period,” head coach Mike Sullivan said after his team spent nearly the entire third period in their own zone. “We got on our heels a little bit, but I thought we did a better job of pushing back in this one than the last one.”
Pushback may be in the eye of the beholder.