There is a phrase that is often used in the city of Pittsburgh by their hockey fans: the best defense is a good offense. For years, this has been the case with the Pittsburgh Penguins. This idea of just outscoring your opponents, no matter how many goals you have to score, is the best way of playing hockey.
This idea seems to be left behind especially after several years of disappointing playoff runs. The team knew that it had to change their overall team philosophy.
The Penguins made many changes this year. The team added free-agent defenseman and former Penguin Rob Scuderi. The team was in desperate need of a shutdown defenseman, and they got one in Scuderi. He is a player that will clean out the front of the net and will be Marc-Andre Fleury’s best friend on the ice.
The Pens seem to also be focusing more on two things: controlling rebounds and capitalizing on mistakes by other teams.
When the opposing team is in driving into the Penguins’ zone, the defense seems to force opponents to shoot where the Penguins want them to shoot. Fleury also seems to have better positioning on the shots that are taken. He seems to be more in control of his body, thus controlling rebounds and allowing the Penguins to go on to the rush quicker.
Fleury has not allowed any bad goals so far this season. Heck, Fleury has not allowed many goals period in this early part of the season.
The Penguins also are having a knack of forcing turnovers and striking on the rush. The Penguins seem to be getting more odd-man breaks by using their speed and this new defensive philosophy. This will create more power plays and when James Neal and Kris Letang return, it will add up to many more power play goals for the Penguins.
After a very underachieving 2013 season, the Penguins look hungry to win the Stanley Cup. If the Penguins can continue this tough defensive play, their talents on offense will have no problems putting goals on the board and racking up the wins along the way.