Forming the oldest team in the National Hockey League (NHL), the Pittsburgh Penguins have adopted a new approach in recent games to reduce the chances of scoring against them, even if it means sacrificing a little offense.
If the strategy wasn’t followed to the letter against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, with the two teams alternating scoring opportunities, they still scored against their opponents twice in their last three road games.
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“We’re not 25 anymore,” Quebec’s Kristopher Letang told Pittsburgh Hockey Now. Sometimes you realize that when a team wants to score against you and they’re making a lot of progress, good defensive play can actually create more quality chances for you offensively.”
In addition to missing the playoffs last season, a very poor start to the season made the club and the 36-year-old defender realize the importance of adopting a less risky style of play. With an average age of 30, the longest in the NHL according to eliteprospects.com, that’s another reason to be cautious.
“Even though we have a ton of skill and can create a lot of offense without anything happening on the ice, forcing the other team to make mistakes will give us a better chance,” Letang added.
The Sainte-Julie native has collected one goal and seven points in 13 games since the start of the campaign.
The Penguins are on a four-game winning streak in which they have scored 20 times and surrendered just five times.
Not just defensive
Better defensive play, however, does not mean that the team will wait for the opponent in their zone, which would be a bad sign, according to forward Sidney Crosby.
The captain speaks instead of greater responsibility in the game “Penovac”.
“We don’t want to sacrifice defense to try a play that isn’t there,” the center fielder said. Our ability to pressure the puck allows us to create offense. So we will continue like that, without trying to force the game unnecessarily.”
Pittsburgh will visit Nationwide Arena to face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night.
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