Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dumoulin's Offense Shows Up in Big Way in Short Playoff Run

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dumoulin's Offense Shows Up in Big Way in Short Playoff Run

Article excerpt

There was a time not too long ago when Brian Dumoulin goals and scoring chances were rare occasions, usually reserved for playoff games.

But Dumoulin started to show flashes of offensive growth this year, to the point that, when he had a goal and five assists in 12 playoff games, it didn't seem to be an anomaly - as it was with his previous postseason points totals - but the continuation of a trend.

"I think just whenever the opportunity presented itself, I tried to create some offense somehow," Dumoulin said. "The forwards don't have much room out there, and, if I had a little bit of room and I would create something for them, I would try. I was just trying to leave it all out there and, whatever opportunity arises, try to take it."

For as long as he's playing with Kris Letang, Dumoulin never will be considered the more offensively inclined member of his defense pairing. But, in addition to maintaining his defensively responsible play, he was one of the Penguins' most dangerous offensive weapons from the blue line in this short playoff run.

His seven points were third-most among defensemen, behind only power-play regulars Letang and Justin Schultz. His 21 shots on goal in the playoffs were seventh-most on the team, ahead of forwards such as Phil Kessel, Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust.

That last fact probably isn't ideal for the Penguins, but it does reflect that Dumoulin was showing a bit more willingness to be aggressive with his offensive opportunities and put the puck on net. Dumoulin even created what ended up being one of the most pivotal scoring chances for the Penguins this postseason. He was stopped by a magnificent save from Braden Holtby in the waning minutes of Game 5 against Washington, giving the Capitals a rush the other way, which Jakub Vrana finished for the winning goal.

Even though Dumoulin didn't finish that chance, just getting himself in that position can be seen as a positive. He was much more assertive throughout the playoffs, unafraid to take defenders off the rush. …

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