Kukla's Korner Hockey

Kukla's Korner Hockey

Questions In Pittsburgh Need Answers

05/27/2021 at 6:27am EDT

from Emly Sadler of Sportsnet,

Questions will be asked about the core: can it stay together, sustainably, for another run? Since winning back-to-back Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017, the club has won just a single playoff series.

But front of mind for many right now, in the wake of Wednesday's disheartening loss, will be goaltending. Once boasting the kind of depth organizations dream of, the team chose Matt Murray over Marc-Andre Fleury with Vegas calling a few years ago, then went with Jarry over Murray last off-season. Jarry’s under contract for two more seasons at $3.5 million per; DeSmith, one more at $1.25 million.

While his regular season numbers weren’t as strong as last year’s, which ultimately won him the starting gig, Jarry put up respectable stats worthy of a No. 1 behind a strong offensive team through most of 2020-21. But he now finishes the post-season with a stat line that tells a drastically different story: 3.18 goals against average, .888 save percentage through six games in his first full playoff series against the Islanders, a team not exactly known for scoring.

With the core at the age and stage that it is, top-tier goaltending was the most obvious missing piece this spring. With new management at the helm, where does that factor in? Time for a young netminder to develop isn't the kind of luxury this group has if they're to turn around and make another run. How Pittsburgh tackles its crease will be the biggest key as we shift focus from looking back on this season that was to looking ahead to what the next could be.

more and a look at all the games played on Wednesday...

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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.

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