Mar 19, 2013, 7:54 PM EDT
After causing many to wonder if their defense would short-circuit their Stanley Cup hopes, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been putting things together in their own end recently.
NHL.com points out a stark disparity. The Penguins allowed 36 goals in 22 periods (a little more than seven games) from Feb. 20 to the first intermission of a match against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 7; from that point, they only allowed nine goals in their last 20 periods (a little under seven contests).
That’s a long way of saying that things have gotten a lot better lately.
Maybe they’re tightening up because they’re playing without star Evgeni Malkin. Perhaps Mark Eaton‘s return has helped things out a bit. It’s likely that Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun have a lot to say about those goals allowed numbers, too.
Whatever the reasoning may be, Sidney Crosby & Co. insist it’s been something they’ve been working on for a while.
“I don’t think it was something that just happened then,” Crosby said. “It’s been something that’s been in our minds for a while. It just takes something to just see it and identify it and then to kind of repeat it too.
“That’s been our mindset for a long time — but it’s something that we had to get used to doing.”
The Penguins are testing that improved defense against their up-and-down rivals the Washington Capitals on NBC Sports Network right now.
- Agent: Franson has spoken with ‘half a dozen’ teams (Updated) 7
- Your 2015 HHOF Class: Fedorov, Housley, Lidstrom, Pronger, Ruggiero 31
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder 94
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ 82
- Sens’ Chiasson headed for arbitration 1
- Pricey Platoon? Stars reportedly sign Niemi for three years, $13.5M 18
- Hodgson, Stalberg placed on unconditional waivers 24
- Buyouts loom as Richards, Parenteau and Fistric clear unconditional waivers 4
- UFA of the Day: Chris Stewart 18
- Penguins sign Ian Cole to a three-year, $6.3 million deal 11
- Trade: Flyers send Rinaldo to Bruins for 2017 third-rounder (96)
- Bypassing a buyout? Kings terminate Richards’ contract for ‘material breach’ (86)
- Trade: Flames land Dougie Hamilton for package of picks (75)
- Trade: Busy Bruins send Lucic to Kings (66)
- Consensus reached: 5 minutes of 3-on-3 OT could be in place for 2015-16 (60)