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Scouting the Pens

We did this a little bit last year and Frank at Pensburgh has always been really helpful.  Once again he helped out by giving us a little bit of knowledge on the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I've often thought the best way to find out about a team is to ask their fans and that is exactly what we did.

Things to know about the Pittsburgh Penguins' Offense
The number one thing to remember about this year's Penguins team is that they don't give up.  The Pens, when trailing in the third, have been incredible with comeback wins.  And no, I'm not just referencing the last meeting between the Penguins and Sabres.  In fact, just the other night against the New York Islanders the Penguins entered the third period down 3-1.  They quickly mounted a four-goal third, including an Evgeni Malkin hat trick, to beat the Isles 5-3.  As great as it may seem from the outside looking in, it has been hell on the nerves to watch some of these games.  You never want to get confident that your team will pull off every game like this, but you also don't want to write off an offense with this much promise.

Things to know about the defense
The defensive pairings have received the occasional makeover this season.  Of course, this is all in part with coach Michel Therrien's attempts to find a cohesive group that can perform without Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney.  So far, the latest pick-up Philipe Boucher has done well with rookie Alex Goligoski, while Kris Letang has also received some power play time with Boucher.  I wish I could provide a more definitive analysis of the defense, but honestly your guess is as good as mine.  Overall though, the system is reliant on the boards and keeping the puck out of the middle.  While this may, in theory, limit shots from the opposition, the Pens are basically just looking to keep the puck on the boards in hopes of a turnover that can lead to a breakout pass and rush the other way.  They like to play fast.

Things to know about the goaltending
Here's where it gets a bit tricky.  Right now Marc-Andre Fleury is questionable with one of those "lower body injuries."  Rumors have suggested it's a knee injury, while other hints have suggested a hamstring/groin pull.  In other words, no one knows and everyone speculates.  So the Pens are relying on Dany Sabourin.  Sabu has done a decent job in net, but hardly looked on top of his game Wednesday night against the Islanders.  After giving up three goals by the midway point of the second, Michel Therrien pulled him in favor of rookie goaltender John Curry.  Curry went on to stop all 11 shots faced and may find himself with his first NHL start either against your Buffalo Sabres Friday or Saturday against the Devils.