Hockey Night in Canada's Scott Morrison delivers his insights into the world of hockey, on and off the ice.
Penguins proving worth on big stage
Monday, April 28, 2008 | 12:16 PM ET
By Scott Morrison
It is hardly breaking news, the revelation that the Pittsburgh Penguins are good.
We've discussed that earlier in the season and the point has been reinforced with six straight victories to open the playoffs, four versus the decidedly beatable Ottawa Senators and now two against the very difficult New York Rangers.
So if you thought it was just the Senators propping them up, think again.
Now, the six straight victories in itself is impressive, but it's how those victories were achieved that is even more eye catching.
Willing to win in different ways
Twice the Penguins have won with shutouts, including a 2-0 decision over the Rangers on Sunday afternoon to take a 2-0 lead in their series. In total, through six games, they have given up just nine goals and seven of them came in two outings. Twice they gave up one, twice they gave up none.
Along the way they have scored 23 goals themselves, including five in the series opener with the Rangers in which they erased a 3-0 deficit.
As impressive as the big comeback was, it’s still the attention to detail, terrific goaltending from Marc-Andre Fleury and overall defensive play in the playoffs that is making folks take notice.
It is one thing to have tons of firepower, to run and gun and win games. With the weapons they have up front, spread over three lines, that’s to be expected.
It's entirely another to have the ability to win tight, low-scoring games as well. That is stuff of a serious contender, which the Penguins obviously are.
Shift from Mellon Arena a test
As the Rangers noted afterwards Sunday, that was the kind of game they like, the kind of game they have feasted on all season. But it was a game the Penguins ultimately found a way to win.
Don't overlook the Penguins ability to play hard-nosed hockey, either. There is sandpaper on that team, which gives them yet another dimension.
The series is far from over, of course, much can change with a switch to Madison Square Garden, but the Penguins are going to be very difficult to beat.
That’s not breaking news, either, just further confirmation of what we’ve always known, but now are seeing it proven on the big stage.
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About the Author
Scott Morrison, the recipient of the Hockey Hall of Fameís 2006 Elmer Ferguson Memorial Award, has been covering hockey for 25 years. The Toronto native began his career at the Toronto Sun in 1979. After spending more than 11 years as a hockey writer and columnist at the paper, Morrison became Sports Editor in 1991 and led the section to being named one of North America's top-ten sports sections in 1999 - the first sports section in Canada to receive the AP Sports Editors North American Award. Scott, a former two-term president of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association, joined Rogers Sportsnet in 2001 as Managing Editor, Hockey, and is currently both a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada and a columnist for CBC.ca.
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