Tribune-Review Penguins beat reporter Rob Rossi assesses what the Penguins showed during their run to the Stanley Cup final and what they need to show to return next season - and win:
1. SPECIAL TEAMS MATTER
The Penguins came within two wins of the Stanley Cup largely because they prevented opposing power plays from consistently scoring. Their penalty kill rate was 87.1 percent - third in the playoffs. They rated among the NHL's top penalty-killing clubs after Feb. 26 trades that added right wing Marian Hossa, forward Pascal Dupuis and defenseman Hal Gill. The Penguins finished the regular season with a top-five power play and scored at least one advantage goal in their first seven playoff games. Midway through the second round, though, their power play went powerless. They lost one-goal contests at home in Games 4 and 6 of the Cup final because they could not convert on 5-on-3 opportunities that lasted more than one and a half minutes each. Their power play went only 5-for-27 (18.5 percent) against the Detroit Red Wings.
To win the Cup: The Penguins' special teams must be special when the stakes are highest, and consistent throughout.
2. EXPERIENCE IS NECESSARY
The Penguins proved through three rounds they could handle opponents of …