What a display of pure dominance from the Pittsburgh Penguins these past few weeks. They’ve outplayed, outmuscled and outscored their opposition more often than not. Because of that, they went on an impressive 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end as the Dallas Stars defeated Pittsburgh Saturday. What does this winning streak say about the Penguins?
First, The Streak
The winning streak, which now stands as the longest winning streak in the 2021-2022 NHL season, started Dec. 4 against the Vancouver Canucks. That game showcased winger Jake Guentzel scoring a hat trick in the second period and Sidney Crosby capping the scoring off in the third period. Little did fans or the organization know that this game would be the start of something great.
Fourteen games later, with five of them being postponed due to COVID, the Penguins faced off against the Stars. Pittsburgh jumped to an early lead with goals from Brian Dumoulin and Kasperi Kapanen in the first period. Then, the Stars clapped back in the second with a goal from Denis Gurianov. Then, in the third period less than two minutes apart, the stars scored twice to end the scoring at 3-2.
There are a few factors that can be chalked up as the reason the Penguins lost. The one, main factor could be Bryan Rust and Brock McGinn entering COVID protocol, therefore missing the game. That being said, the Penguins were forced to play with only 11 forwards. This seems likely as they were dominant in the beginning, but noticeably lost their steam as the game progressed. With a tough loss in Dallas, this winning streak showed a lot of things about the Pittsburgh Penguins.
What Does It Mean?
Mainly, it showed that the Penguins aren’t messing around anymore. After their last playoff performance, there were many people saying how the Penguins are washed up. This shows that they clearly aren’t. Crosby is still just as capable of dominating the ice every time he’s out there. It showed that their offense is still incredibly lethal as they were able to put the puck in at will.
Most importantly, that winning streak showed that Tristan Jarry is a very capable goaltender. Many fans demanded he be traded after an abysmal showing in the postseason, but general manager Ron Hextall held faith. Now, Jarry is putting on a show. With a 1.94 goals against average and a .931 save percentage so far this season, he’s been nothing short of astonishing.
It’s still a little early to say, but if the Penguins play as they have these past few weeks, there’s nothing stopping them from a fortuitous playoff run. They have incredible offense, shut-down defense and now very competent and reliable goaltending. It’s no secret that they are on the right track, and the future is looking very promising as of right now.
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