A Look Back, Look Ahead for Pens
Rossi, Rob, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
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 equal (New York Rangers) or lesser overall talent (Ottawa, Philadelphia). …