Kukla's Korner

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Breaking down the Sharks-Penguins series tactically

From the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle:

The explanation that’s been given on the broadcasts and in most of the coverage is that the Penguins are winning with speed, and that’s true to a point. They’re the smaller, quicker team, as is typically the case in the Eastern Conference. Increasingly, it seems to be what wins in the NHL.

But Pittsburgh skaters such as Ian Cole, Ben Lovejoy and Nick Bonino, among others, aren’t particularly fast players. Part of what’s winning this series for the Penguins is tactics. Coach Mike Sullivan deserves credit for being able to take advantage of his team’s strengths – offensive talent and ability with the puck throughout the lineup – and the Sharks weaknesses – some bigger, slower players down the lineup who mishandle the puck.

San Jose’s strength, meanwhile – dominating the cycle deep in the offensive zone – has been mitigated by the fact only Joe Thornton’s line is spending much time there.

Those tactics were talked about a little bit after Game 3. Instead of the traditional dump and chase, the Penguins are using more of a chip and chase – placing pucks in good spots in the neutral zone or the shallow portion of the offensive zone and skating into them. Their no-name D (aside from Kris Letang) has done a nice job of breaking the puck out assertively and finding the forwards with this simple approach in mind.

Continued with analysis from Ray Ferraro, Chris Johnston, Jamie Baker and coach Pete DeBoer

Filed in: | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ben+lovejoy, ian+cole, kris+letang, mike+sullivan, nick+bonino, pittsburgh+penguins, san+jose+sharks

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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