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Penguins ponder recent run of improved defense

Mar 19, 2013, 7:54 PM EDT

penguinsdefensegetty Getty Images

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.

  1. eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    When the Flyers vs Pens first round playoff match up happens Fluery will be on the bench in favor of their backup !

    • bigbadbruins77 - Mar 19, 2013 at 9:28 PM

      Umm flyers won’t make the playoffs

      • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 19, 2013 at 9:50 PM

        You probably though the flyers would not comeback from 0-3 either !

    • bgrillz - Mar 20, 2013 at 7:53 AM

      Flyers have about as much chance of playing the Pens int he first round as the playoffs being played on sand. They have none chance of making the playoffs. By far one of the most overrated teams in the NHL, proving that first round victory and explosion was a fluke.You have to leap frog 4 teams to get there with 18 games left…good luck with that.

  2. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Mar 19, 2013 at 8:08 PM

    Their neutral zone D play has greatly improved as well as their play in the offensive zone which helps tremendously when the other team breaks out of the zone. They could do a little better on the face offs. Hope to see a tight d play this evening.

  3. modellforprez - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:16 PM

    daaaamn cappy what the front door happened to you. GUINIGANS WINNIGANS 10 STR8 and no sign of losing anytime soon. without geno and letanger the banger. geez and ray didnt even aquire anyone yet. if he gets his man which he usually does they “CAN” be unstoppable.

  4. ironman721 - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:18 PM

    The D has been better but let’s be honest, the big difference is the fact that the Pens are not spending the entire second period in the penalty box. They are not taking as many stupid penalties and the refs are not inserting their stupidity as much as they were earlier in the season.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - Mar 23, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      Ironman just wanted to let you know with my recent post under latest Pens article just trying to get juices flowing for tomorrow nite not that we need anymore just havin some off the wall fun !

  5. sampulls - Mar 19, 2013 at 10:24 PM

    eigglesnosuperbowls

    If memory serves me correctly, you were the one who said Claude G was better than Sidney C before this season started.

    How stupid do you feel now?

    • pens5829 - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:43 PM

      I think he went to bed early tonight, so I’ll answer for him. “Pretty STOOPID!!!”

  6. csilojohnson - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:24 PM

    sampulls, is that the first post of his you’ve read? I think his grammer, spelling and sentence structure say enough about his intelligence. Point being… was the question nessesary?

  7. jacketsfan7 - Mar 19, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Oh yeah the pens have been doing WAY better defensively , it starts with the signing of mark eaton , that was an awesome signing by Shero and I love how the pens carry on from injury like Letang and Malkin

    • Jeff Thomas - Mar 20, 2013 at 5:38 AM

      It’s amazing how 29 other GMs could have been so wrong about Mark Eaton. I don’t how many, if any, teams he contacted about playing but he was ready to file his retirement papers before he called Ray Shero and asked for one more shot. I’m glad because he clearly has alot of hockey left in him.

      • chanceoffleury1 - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:57 PM

        I thought I read somewhere that another team called Bylsma since they were interested in Eaton and they knew he had played for him. When Bylsma got the call he decided he wanted to sign Eaton instead. It was a great pickup. He was exactly the type of player the Pens needed: a veteran defense-first defenseman. Helps that he came chemistry-ready with some of the players, too.

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